I’ve been reading on the Vagus nerve lately looking to confirm a hunch. In context: The vagus nerve (aka cranial nerve X) is usually described as being largely responsible for the mind-body connection since it goes to all the major organs.

Brief update on what the Vagus nerve does

Here is a gist of what the Vagus nerve does:

  • In the gut, it increases stomach acidity, digestive juice secretion, and gut flow.
  • In the heart, it controls heart rate and blood pressure = Vagus activation will lower the risk of heart disease, among other lethal diseases.
  • In the liver and pancreas, it helps control blood glucose balance.
  • In the gallbladder, it helps release bile, which can help you get rid of toxins and break down fat.
  • It reduces inflammation in all target organs by releasing acetylcholine.
  • It helps control fertility and orgasms in women.
  • It promotes general kidney function.
  • In people with fatigue, food sensitivities, anxiety, gut problems, brain fog, and depersonalization, the vagus nerve is almost always at play.
  • Studies have found that higher vagal tone is associated with greater closeness to others and more altruistic behavior.
  • Some studies suggested that the vagus nerve is important for getting in the mental state of flow.

And on, and on.

See the whole list + associated studies to validate ALL of the above claims here.

Research shows positive effects of vagal stimulation on a variety of conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Alcohol addiction
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Autism
  • Bad blood circulation
  • Bulimia
  • Cancer
  • Chronic heart failure
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Heart disease
  • Leaky gut
  • Memory disorders
  • Migraines
  • Mood disorders
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Obesity
  • OCD
  • Severe mental diseases
  • Tinnitus

For what I am interested in, the Vagus nerve is the body’s major parasympathetic nerve = every time you relax and/or feel good that guy – actually those twins – is/are involved.

What I found confirms what I thought: 80% of vagal nerve fibers are afferent (body to brain), while the remainder are efferent (brain to body). Said differently, most of the communication traveling through the vagus nerve is body-mind, not mind-body.

Essentially, the Vagus nerve reverses the flow of information — rather than orders flowing from your brain to your body, the nerve is instead taking some very strong suggestions from the body back to the brain.

Maybe I and many others like me are jumping to conclusion too quickly, but doesn’t this hint rather heavily at the mechanics of why it’s what we do that’s really important in terms of its physical impact, not what we think?

What we do with our bodies does matter, greatly, so why not choose to celebrate life daily and fill it with smiles, laughter, play, singing, dancing and many more creative expressions of aliveness just because we can?

Just saying.

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