Boosting Digestion with Vagus Nerve Stimulation: Techniques and Tips
There’s nothing quite as frustrating as dealing with the symptoms of poor digestion. It can mean many uncomfortable days and nights and can leave you feeling concerned about your own health. That’s why many who deal with digestive problems, look for ways to boost their digestion and feel better as a result.One of those ways is with vagus nerve stimulation. The vagus nerve and digestion happen to have a connected relationship and great vagal tone can actually lead to better digestion. That means vagus nerve stimulation could be the answer to your digestive problems.
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What is The Vagus Nerve?
To get an understanding of the vagus nerve, think of it as a communication highway for the body. It’s the longest nerve in the body and it travels to just about every system we have. It starts at the brain and then extends to each of the systems that help us function (such as the digestive system).
The vagus nerve is in charge of controlling the parasympathetic nervous system, also known as our “rest and digest” response. When stimulated, it can kick the parasympathetic nervous system into high gear which ultimately will help you to relax as the heart rate slows.
The Vagus Nerve and Digestion
So, what is the real connection between the vagus nerve and digestion? Are they really that closely related that one could have an effect on the next?
The vagus nerve happens to be the nerve that communicates between the brain and the gut directly. It sends signals to the gut from the brain that it’s time to digest the food we’ve put into it. This will then increase your intestinal gland activity and relax the sphincter muscles in the gastrointestinal tract so you can begin to digest.
If the vagus nerve is stimulated, it can help with any digestion related illnesses you may experience.
Techniques and Tips for Vagus Nerve Stimulation
So, now that you know vagus nerve stimulation could be the answer to your digestive woes, how exactly do you go about stimulating it? Here are some of our best techniques and tips for vagus nerve stimulation. These are sure to help with your digestive health and leave you feeling healthier and happier overall.
Take deep breaths
Breathing is something you do every day without thinking, but it also happens to be a great vagus nerve stimulation technique when done intentionally.
Try taking slow, deep breaths that help to trigger your relaxation response. This will help send calming signals to your brain. Try taking 10 breaths per minute to help slow things down and help yourself feel relaxed as a result.
Of course, your diet will have an effect on how your body functions, but how you eat can have an influence on vagus nerve stimulation as well. Try chewing your food until it’s completely liquified in your mouth, then swallow it. Keep in mind this could be anywhere up to 20 chews!
Try putting your fork down in between bites and eating slowly and mindfully without distraction. Eating is never a process that you want to rush.
Hop in a cold shower
Cold exposure is a fantastic way to stimulate the vagus nerve. That’s why cold showers can be so effective (and cold plunges are so popular right now!). You could take a nice, icy cold shower after a long hot day, or simply splash your face with some cold water.
It might not be the most enjoyable experience, but the cold will help to reduce anxiety and improve your stress response which are each things that can have an effect on digestion.
Try meditation or yoga
If you’re not practicing yoga and meditation, now may be the time to start! Meditation is known for its powers in reducing stress and anxiety as the vagus nerve is stimulated. Yoga is also beneficial for stimulating the vagus nerve fibers and improving your overall mood.
Both practices often include mindful breathing as well, which means you’ll hit two birds with one stone!
Those times where you sing along to your favorite song or sing while you’re in the shower can actually help to stimulate the vagus nerve. This works by activating the muscles at the back of the throat as well as the vocal cords, which are each connected to the vagus nerve.
Start singing, chanting, and humming more often to see these incredible results.
Move your body
Exercise is great for you for a lot of reasons, but it can help to stimulate the vagus nerve and the digestive system as well. When you move your body, waste is better able to move through it. This will help your systems to function and help you feel a lot less stressed as well.
Try acupuncture or massage
Acupuncture and massage are both great ways to relax, and they can also be super helpful for improving vagal function. You might get a professional to help massage out specific parts of the body such as the sinus or the feet to help with vagal function specifically.
One of our favorite ways to stimulate the vagus nerve is using technology such as Xen by Neuvana. It’s a super effective and fool proof way to stimulate the vagus nerve and happens to be quite enjoyable!
The technology simply consists of a handheld device that connects to your smartphone. You put on the stimulating headphones and then can experience the effects of vagus nerve stimulation directly.
Xen by Neuvana will sync with your music and lifestyle so you can relax without having to make any major adjustments to your daily routine.
Your journey to better digestive health awaits! And it might even be easier to achieve than you ever could have thought. The vagus nerve and digestion have a relationship we can use to our advantage, so why not give it a try?
We hope these tips have been helpful! Take things slow and you’re sure to see results in no time.
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