Vagus Nerve - The Nerve You Need to Know About
6 Ways To Restore Its Tone
The vagus nerve. Simply described, it’s the sensory highway that tells your brain what’s going on in your organs—especially the digestive tract, lungs, heart, spleen, liver, and kidneys. It’s also an essential part of the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps calm our organs and deal with the aftermath of a fight-or-flight, adrenaline-response situation. You’re probably already getting the hint—the vagus nerve plays a huge role in overall wellness. But guess what? It can also be behind chronic inflammation and pain.
If your vagus nerve is functioning at its best, your body can relax faster after sensing danger, (like a grizzly bear encounter) or just a perceived threat (like panic about public speaking). But if that nerve is suffering from low tone, it has a harder time regulating inflammation—and that can end up causing damage to organs and blood vessels if it persists. If you experience fatigue, anxiety, digestive issues, food sensitivities, depression, brain fog, or a sense of despondency—the vagus nerve is always affected. A few easy changes to your diet and daily routine could be just the 180 you need to feel better.
Ready to restore and strengthen your vagal tone? Start with these six tips.
1. TAKE A COLD SHOWER
It’s worth it, we promise. The cold stimulates the vagus nerve. Even better—try to simulate a ‘hot and cold plunge’ where you swap from hot to cold water for five minute increments. If you can’t handle the thought of a frigid shower or bath, even lowering your face into ice water for five reps of 20 seconds will have an effect.
2. THIS ONE’S FUN—SING, LAUGH & HUG
Each of these actions releases oxytocin and serotonin, hormones designed to relieve stress and give your mood a boost. Research gives us reason to believe that the vagal circuit and emotional regulation are linked, so by all means—laugh it up.
3. GUT HEALTH GOALS
Eating right, juicing, and taking probiotics help to keep your gut flora stable and healthy. By supporting your digestive tract, you’re supporting the gut’s own nervous system (called the enteric nervous system) which connects to the brain through the vagus nerve. Also try intermittent fasting or reducing calories—both are linked with better vagal tone.
4. ZERO IN ON HEART RATE VARIABILITY
Heart rate variability is the measure of variation in time between each heartbeat. According to Harvard Health, people who have a high HRV may be more resilient to stress. And the best part is, it’s really simple to do. (Try the MELT Method’s Rebalance Sequence, which will boost your HRV through breath techniques like the 3D Breath Breakdown and stimulate vagal tone, too).
5. CHILL OUT THE JAW TENSION
Misalignment of the jaw can cause low vagal tone—yet another example of the incredibly complex and amazing interconnectedness of our bodies. To address this issue, try MELT’s Quickie Facelift and Neck Release, which can help release tissue and boost balance and connection to help your vagus nerve function efficiently.
6. TREAT YOUR HANDS & FEET
Doing a MELT treatment daily (try this one free!) will stimulate the fluid flow through your entire body, including the billions of sensory nerve endings in your hands and feet. This is an indirect (and uh, super enjoyable) way to help the autonomic nervous system bring balance to your whole body in just 10 minutes a day.
These MELT Maps are just the tip of the iceberg—explore more videos to help restore nerve tone with MELT On Demand.
Here are some YouTube videos that can also help: