Recently, the vagus nerve has gotten a lot of attention in the health sphere. This is because this tenth cranial nerve is essential for regulating critical organs in the body such as the heart, gut, brain, and lungs.
Your vagus nerve is the master regulator of the “rest and digest” part of your autonomic nervous system (ANS), the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). This means that an optimally functioning vagus nerve puts your body and mind in a state of restoration, repair, and allows it to effortlessly perform its subconscious functions. In contrast, a heightened sympathetic nervous system (SNS), the “fight and flee” part of the ANS, keeps one’s body on guard and ready to defend against threats.
Various triggers such as stress, digestive issues, trauma, pain, and other factors can stimulate the vagus nerve and cause an imbalance in the nervous system with resulting symptoms. This is termed a vagal response. The vagus nerve can also be damaged leading to several disorders that impair essential bodily functions.
HRV (Heart Rate Variability) and the symptoms we are experiencing allow us to indirectly assess our vagal tone. From there, we can use lifestyle practices such as diet, movement, mindfulness, social connection, and music therapy to help to optimize our vagal tone and enhance our resilience.
In my latest post and video, I explore how a theory based on the vagus nerve’s functions provides an innovative approach to dealing with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). It is referred to as the polyvagal theory, which is the scientific study of the neurological, psychological, and physiological effects of feeling safe. I also briefly highlight how essential oils can support this therapeutic application.
- A review of the vagus nerve
- The polyvagal theory and its key principles
- Using the polyvagal theory for PTSD
- How essential oils can enhance vagal tone
When one is free of threat, the nervous system can relax and allow for balance in the mind-body (homeostasis) to support growth, health, and restoration.
Naturopathic Medicine and Holistic Resources for Hormone, Digestive, and Mood Support
- Stay Connected! Sign-up for my free weekly newsletter.
- Free resources and more education on essential oils and mind-body wellness are available to you here.
- Tools for coping with isolation and separation.
- Learn about my community membership program that provides full access to my essential oils database, essential oils course, Q&As, and exclusive content.
Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.