Whether or not you’re familiar with this nerve, you might not know the numerous benefits of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS).
Today, we’ll tell you more about this incredible nerve and what vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) from home can do for you.
- Vagus Nerve Stimulation: The Basics
- Vagus Nerve Stimulation: The Benefits
- The Vagus Nerve, Digestion, and the Gut-Brain Axis
- How to Stimulate the Vagus Nerve
- What is tVNS?
- Vagus Nerve Stimulation: The Bottom Line
Vagus Nerve Stimulation: The Basics
We’ll start with the basics. Your vagus nerve is the longest in your body. It starts at the base of your brain and runs down your neck and through your chest to your abdomen.
This nerve is essential for many things, including digestion, heart rate, and blood pressure. It also plays a role in mood and anxiety.
The vagus nerve gets its name from the Latin word “vagus,” which means “wandering.” This is because the vagus nerve wanders through your body, connecting different organs along the way.
The vagus nerve is part of what’s known as the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The PNS is responsible for “rest and digest” functions in your body.
This includes things like digesting food and keeping your heart rate low when you’re at rest.
In contrast, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) is responsible for “fight or flight” functions. This includes things like increasing your heart rate and blood pressure when you’re in danger.
Your vagus nerve is important because it helps keep these two systems balanced. When the vagus nerve is working properly, it sends signals to the brain that tell the body to relax.
This can help reduce stress and anxiety. It can also help to improve digestion and heart function.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation: The Benefits
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about some of the benefits of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). While VNS is mostly known for its ability to treat seizures and depression, there are many other potential benefits of this therapy.
Could mood and reduces anxiety
VNS is a powerful treatment option for depression for many people. This is thanks to the fact that VNS can help to balance the levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain. This can lead to an improvement in mood and anxiety reduction.
Could help with weight loss
If you’re struggling to lose weight, VNS may be able to help. In many patients who had vagus nerve stimulation devices implanted for other reasons, weight loss was a common side effect.
This is thought to be because VNS can help signal to the brain that the stomach is full sooner.
Could improve heart health
VNS has also been shown to be beneficial for heart health. In one study, patients with heart failure who received VNS therapy significantly improved their quality of life. They also had a reduced risk of death from cardiovascular disease.
“It is also possible to stimulate the vagus nerve directly to improve parasympathetic tone and reflexes.
It has been shown that vagal nerve stimulation (VNS) leads to improved left ventricular hemodynamics, increased heart rate variability, better vagal reflexes, and greater nitric oxide expression.
VNS also results in improvement of the renin-angiotensin system, reduced heart rate, modulation of inflammatory cytokines, less likelihood of spontaneous or induced ventricular arrhythmias, and reduced mortality.
5 This wealth of data led inexorably to the hypothesis that vagal nerve stimulation might improve the outlook of patients with congestive heart failure.”
Could help manage chronic pain
If you suffer from chronic pain, VNS may be able to help. This is because VNS can help to block pain signals from reaching the brain.
Currently, clinical trials are underway to determine how helpful VNS can be for pain relief, including for specific conditions such as fibromyalgia.
Many people, including athletes, incorporate VNS into their training routine. This is because VNS can help to promote recovery after exercise by reducing inflammation and improving blood flow.
The Vagus Nerve, Digestion, and the Gut-Brain Axis
It’s also worth diving deep into the relationship between the vagus nerve and digestion. Again, this is because the vagus nerve plays a vital role in gut health.
The vagus nerve plays a helpful role in the connection between the CNS and the ENS. This is because the two are constantly communicating with each other via the vagus nerve.
This communication is critical for maintaining a healthy digestive system. When there’s a problem in the gut, it can lead to problems in the brain. This is why gut health is so important for overall health and well-being.
Many different factors contribute to gut health. These include things like diet, exercise, sleep, and stress levels. In addition, the vagus nerve is also a key player in gut health.
VNS is helpful for gut disorders like inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and Crohn’s disease. This is credited to the fact that VNS can help reduce gut inflammation.
In one study, patients with Crohn’s disease who received VNS therapy significantly improved their symptoms. They also had a reduction in the number of flare-ups and hospitalizations.
How to Stimulate the Vagus Nerve
Along with surgical implantation, there are more convenient and accessible ways to stimulate the vagus nerve. These include:
- Transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS)
- Meditation and mindfulness
- Cold exposure therapy
- Music therapy
What is tVNS?
Before we go, let’s talk more about tVNS and how you can try it with the help of an at-home vagus nerve stimulation device such as Xen by Neuvana.
Stimulating your vagus nerve at home is easy with these special headphones and the handheld device they connect to. That way, you can begin experiencing everything VNS has to offer without leaving your home!
Vagus Nerve Stimulation: The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are many potential benefits of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). If you’re interested in trying this therapy, be sure to talk to your doctor about it.
VNS is a safe and effective treatment for many conditions, and it may be able to help you too.
Jean Smith is a fitness enthusiast and blogger who focuses on fitness and a healthy lifestyle. She is passionate about assisting people in living healthier lifestyles and is constantly on the lookout for new and creative methods to stay fit and healthy. Her articles are excellent resources for anyone interested in improving their health and fitness.