Vagus Nerve Stimulation May Improve Well Being
When it comes to promoting a healthy lifestyle, the doctors and staff here at Restoration Healthcare will always be the first to advocate for proper exercise, a healthy diet, and supplements and meditation over drugs, surgery or medical implants.
That being said, we’d like to briefly introduce you to the vagus nerve. You’ve got one on each side of your body, running from your brainstem through your neck to your chest and abdomen. The term comes from the Latin word for “wandering,” and these nerve fibers network the brain with the stomach, digestive system, lungs, heart, spleen, liver and kidneys.
With vagus nerve stimulation, a medical device is surgically implanted under the skin on your chest and connected to the left vagus nerve. When activated (stimulated), the vagus nerve reports back to your brain what is going on in the above-mentioned organs. To date, such a procedure is used for those suffering from epilepsy and some forms of depression.
But let’s suppose there are other benefits to be derived from this pair of nerves. And let’s further surmise you don’t want an electrical device surgically implanted into your neck for the rest of your life. What if there was a way to derive benefits from the vagus nerve by participation in certain exercises? What if you could reduce or eliminate chronic debilitating conditions such as inflammation, bowel issues, asthma, diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome and obesity through such a program?
What if people who have low vagal tone could benefit from giving that response a boost? Low vagal tone is associated with a range of health issues, while those with high vagal tone are healthier and stronger, which means they’re likely to be happier and upbeat.
As we mentioned, the vagus nerve plays a key role in keeping track of our body’s organs. As author Gaia Vince says in her article, Hacking the Nervous System, “It is an essential part of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for calming organs after the stressed ‘fight-or-flight’ adrenaline response to danger.”
And helping you shift your body out of ‘fight-or-flight’ mode is something we care deeply about here at Restoration Healthcare. While there’s no hard science yet to back it up, we believe the vagus response — vagal tone — is hugely improved through the exercises found in ‘Foundation Training.’ In fact, the reason we’re such big advocates of Dr. Eric Goodman’s Foundation Training is because people always tell us they feel “good” after a Foundation Training session.
In addition, we’ve created our functional medicine practice such that the parasympathetic state is nurtured whenever you’re in our space.
Learn more about how the vagus nerve is vital for keeping our bodies healthy by reading Hacking the Nervous System on MosaicScience.com, and then talk with Drs. Raleigh and Bakman about all of this the next time you’re in the office.
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*Image credit: Truth-seeker2004 [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons.