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  • Anna Batsakes

Vagal Toning for Better Health

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 is responsible for regulating a wide range of functions in the body, including heart rate, digestion, immune system response, and communication between the brain and the 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.

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 a variety of methods, including deep breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, qigong, and certain types of physical activity.

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.

One of the most effective ways of vagal toning is through deep breathing exercises.

Additional techniques for stimulating the vagus nerve include:

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 which in turn stimulates the vagus nerve.

Laughter: having a good laugh lifts your mood, boosts your immune system, and stimulates the vagus nerve.

Spending a few minutes a day tending to your vagal tone can increase your ability to relax and remain resilient. To learn more, join Five Swans facebook group at:

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