Try Moving Meditation to Improve Vagal Tone
The vagus nerve is the longest and most complex of the cranial nerves, running from the brainstem through the face and thorax to the abdomen. It regulates a wide range of bodily functions, including heart rate, digestion, immune system response, and communication between the brain and body.
One of the key benefits of the vagus nerve is its role in regulating the body's "rest and digest" response, also known as the parasympathetic nervous system. This response helps to counterbalance the "fight or flight" response activated by the sympathetic nervous system and is important for maintaining overall physical and emotional well-being.
Studies have shown that vagal toning can have a wide range of benefits for overall health and well-being. For example, it has been shown to improve heart rate variability, reduce inflammation, and decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Vagal toning is the practice of stimulating the vagus nerve in order to strengthen its function and promote a healthy balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. This can be done through various methods, including deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, qigong and meditative movement practices, among other things.
Body practices like meditative movement and qigong involve slow, deliberate movements coordinated with deep, rhythmic breathing and mental focus. These practices are thought to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and stimulate the vagus nerve, which in turn can improve vagal tone.
Studies also show that qigong practice can improve symptoms of various conditions, including anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and fatigue, which are also associated with low vagal tone.
Overall, meditative movement practices like Qigong provide a range of health benefits for both physical and mental well-being and are well worth the effort.
Spending a few minutes a day tending to your vagal tone can help increase your ability to relax and remain resilient. Additional techniques for stimulating the vagus nerve include:
Breathwork: By promoting slow, deep breathing and reducing stress and anxiety, breathwork can help to activate the parasympathetic nervous system and stimulate the vagus nerve.
Spend Time In Nature: nature can have a positive impact on vagal tone by promoting relaxation, reducing inflammation, and encouraging physical activity.
Foot massage: can assist in stimulating the vagus nerve.
Immersing face in cold water: This elicits the vagus nerve, decreasing heart rate, stimulating the intestines, and turning on the immune system.
Eating fiber: stimulating vagus impulses to the brain and slowing gut movements makes us feel fuller after meals
Loud gargling: water or loud singing activates our vocal cords, stimulating the vagus nerve.
Laughter: having a good laugh lifts your mood, boosts your immune system, and stimulates the vagus nerve.
Five Swans health and wellness coaching sessions can get you back on track with your energy and health. As integrative health coaches, we can work with you and your health providers to ensure your lifestyle practices support your overall well-being. Try joining one of our Qigong or meditative movement classes for extra support. Book a complimentary 30-minute discovery call with us here.