How does your Vagus Nerve affects bodily function?

24 May 2021

A client came to my practice because of constant issues with tightness around their neck (feelings of constriction when tears filled in their eyes) and abdominal regions.

They had difficulties taking deep breaths, vocal pitch control and voice projection as well. However, their consultations with the ear, nose and throat specialists and all diagnostic examinations revealed no underlying structural or pathological causes.

Should this scenario depict a condition that you experience, a registered massage therapist would likely chat with you about your vagus nerve. Vagus is Latin means wandering because it’s the longest of the cranial nerves which transverse past the head and neck to your body’s chest and abdominal regions. This nerve also innervates the muscles of your throat and the voice box too.

The Vagus nerve is also known as the pneumogastric nerve. It has mixed functions. It sent sensory messages such as taste to the brain (afferent). Besides, it relays messages from the brain to the neck, heart and lungs. In addition, the digestive tract and other organs, rest and digest (parasympathetic nervous system).

This nerve is known to over-react with some people, causing a drop in heart rate and blood pressure resulting in fainting (vasovagal syncope). It can also be dampened by C and D PTSD, stress, anxiety and trauma resulting in a low vagal tone.

However, some means by which it can be stimulated are neuromodulation with a mild electrical pulse, acupuncture, reflexology and effective massage therapy. Your massage therapist would empower you with self – manage strategies by educating you on breathing techniques, mind-body relaxation techniques, yoga, laughing, humming, chanting and cold therapy (cryotherapy) to impact your vagal tone.

You may be interested in further reading:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6697069/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6718640/

The Vagus Nerve
The longest cranial nerve is the Vagus Nerve

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