Vagus Nerve

As someone concerned about health, perhaps your biggest worry would be an inflammatory response. Your body was reacting badly to abuse. The abuse can take various forms. Poor eating, lack of sleep, toxins or even a fall. Traditionally, you would be advised to take medication to heal and repair. Research is now suggesting an alternative. You have the ability to trigger its actions. It’s a part of your nervous system. It is called the vagus nerve. Take a deep breath. There, you just triggered your vagus nerve. It is Also known as the wondering nerve because it has multiple branches with roots in the cerebellum and brain stem. It extends all the way to your abdomen and touches most organs.

A German scientist discovered that triggering the vagus nerve causes secretion of a chemical. This compound was later identified to be acetylcholine. Acetylcholine acts as a tranquillizer. Deep breathing, meditation and artificial stimulation all trigger its calming quality in your body. However, its effect extends to helping your body reduce inflammation.

A healthy vagus nerve is an indicated by a minor increase in your heart rate when inhaling and a slight decrease when you exhale. If you are healthy with good habits, the chances are that your vagus nerve is healthy. An unhealthy vagus nerve would be indicative of existing or predisposition to depression, loneliness, inflation heart attacks and strokes. Machine induced stimulation of the vagus nerve was shown to reduce the pain of rheumatoid arthritis. Scientists hope that similar results may also be possible for people with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

There are several ways to stimulate the vagus nerve. Chanting, Yoga, meditation, deep breathing, exercise, especially Tai Chi, acupuncture, fibre and exposing yourself to the sun are some easy ones. Prayer also seems to trigger the vagus nerve. If you ever needed a reason to believe in God, here it is. It’s called the vagus nerve.



Ritesh is a born again health enthusiast and holds a Certificate in Physiology from Harvard Medical School and a Certificate in Nutrition from Tufts University.