Activating Your Vagus Nerve: Five Effective Tips - Thriven Functional Medicine Clinic
Goertz
Beth & Saundra Goertz
May 22, 2024
Cali Salmond Health Coach
Finding a Primary Caregiver: Essential Tips and Reasons
June 27, 2024
Goertz
Beth & Saundra Goertz
May 22, 2024
Cali Salmond Health Coach
Finding a Primary Caregiver: Essential Tips and Reasons
June 27, 2024

Today, I want to talk about activating your vagus nerve and its significance for overall health.

What is the Vagus Nerve?

The vagus nerve, the 10th cranial nerve, originates from your brainstem and travels down both sides of your neck. It’s unique because it’s the only cranial nerve that extends below the neck, playing a crucial role in regulating autonomic functions—those essential bodily functions you don’t have to think about, like heart rate, digestion, and respiratory rate. If you’re experiencing issues with cardiac health, digestion, emotional regulation, mental health, or respiratory function, activating and toning your vagus nerve can be highly beneficial.

Five Tips to Activate Your Vagus Nerve

1. Light Exposure:

Sunlight plays a significant role in our body’s circadian rhythms. In the morning, the sunlight has warmer hues (red and yellow), which transition to sharper blue wavelengths by noon and return to warmer hues in the evening. This natural light cycle triggers the production of melatonin, signaling that it’s time to prepare for sleep. However, exposure to artificial blue light from screens in the evening can confuse your brain, making it think it’s still daytime. To counteract this, consider using blue light-blocking filters or glasses and avoid screens at least an hour before bedtime to ensure you get optimal, restful sleep.

2. Laughter and Connection:

Laughter is a powerful tool for activating your vagus nerve. Watching funny videos, connecting with friends and family, and sharing inside jokes can boost your mood and enhance your overall well-being. The benefits of laughter extend beyond just the vagus nerve, promoting emotional and physical health.

3. Gargling:

Gargling stimulates the vagus nerve by creating vibrations in the throat. You can gargle with any fluid, but saltwater is a popular choice. The key is to gargle vigorously, which helps activate and tone the vagus nerve, supporting better autonomic function.

4. Cold Water Immersion:

Cold water immersion might sound daunting, but it offers significant benefits for vagus nerve activation. This practice involves exposing your body to cold water, which can help reduce stress and inflammation. However, if you have chronic health conditions or other concerns, consult your healthcare provider before trying cold water immersion to ensure it’s safe for you.

5. Reducing Chronic Inflammation:

Chronic inflammation can interfere with your nervous system and overall health. While acute inflammation from injuries is beneficial and short-term, chronic inflammation is not. To manage chronic inflammation, focus on reducing stress, avoiding toxins, and improving your diet. Incorporating nutrient-dense foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and reducing high-sugar and heavily processed foods can make a significant difference. Remember to make small, sustainable changes to your diet for the best long-term results.

In summary, activating your vagus nerve through these five tips—managing light exposure, incorporating laughter and connection, gargling, cold water immersion, and reducing chronic inflammation—can significantly improve your overall health and well-being.

Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more health tips, and leave a comment below if you found this helpful or have any questions. We’d love to hear from you!

Stay healthy and see you soon!

Comments are closed.