The Vagus nerve is the longest nerve in the body, which runs from the brain, down the neck, around the digestive system, liver, spleen, pancreas, heart and lungs. The tone of this nerve is measured by tracking the heart rate as well as the breathing rate.
It is said that the higher the vagal tone, the faster the body can relax after stress. Having a high tones reduces the risk of stroke, causes better blood sugar regulation, lowers blood pressure, reduces migraines, and improves digestion. There is often a better mood with a high vagal tone with less stress.
Low vagal tones are associated with strokes, diabetes, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, and cardiovascular conditions. There is also a higher chance of inflammatory conditions such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, endometriosis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
There are several ways to increase the vagal tone. While it is most often thought of as being predisposed, one can work hard to make these changes. These changes include:
1. Breathe from the diaphragm. This will stimulate the vagal tone.
2. Humming can help by stimulating the vagus nerve. You can either hum a song or repeat the word “OM”.
3. Speaking will help to stimulate the vagal nerve.
4. Wash the face with cold water, which will also stimulate the vagal nerve.
5. Meditation will promote feelings of good among not only yourself but with others.
6. Balance the gut microbiome. This will give positive feedback to the rest of the body, which will increase the tone of the vagal nerve.
If you do suffer from any of the conditions stated above, it is often worth it to look into changing the vagal tone. A good meditation practice can help stimulate the vagal tone, which will bring the tone up higher. Looking closely at the vagal tone may seem like a minor thing, but it can greatly improve the quality of one’s life.