Your Highway To Healing
The Vagus Nerve
The journey of cancer from diagnosis through treatment, to healing, requires an “all hands-on deck” mentality. Along this journey, heightened stress from information overload, decisions one makes, to recovering from treatments all can put the sympathetic nervous system in high alert. Once in fight, flight or freeze, controlled by hormones cortisol and adrenaline, a whole cascade of change evolves, if unable to return to the parasympathetic nervous system for rest, repair and calming.
This is where the vagus nerve – meaning wandering in Latin, and the longest nerve in the body – plays a pivotal role for healing, and maintaining health, along with its major role of controlling inflammation. Since many chronic diseases today are affected by inflammation, like diabetes, arthritis, and cancer, engaging the vagus nerve for optimal well-being is vital, according to Dr. Navaz Habib, author of Activate Your Vagus Nerve. Lessening sympathetic nervous system dominance is key.
Two-time cancer survivor Dr. Veronique Desaulniers states not being in a calming state using the vagus nerve sets up angiogenesis and increased tumor growth over time. Keeping calm and more in the parasympathetic nervous system so healing can occur, is her mantra, as cancer is a very incoherent, chaotic energy. Utilizing the vagus nerve as your healing partner is wise.
This long nerve carries sensory information like a circuitry system linking the brainstem, through the neck, heart, lungs and abdomen. Having tools to enhance vagal tone increases HRV or heart rate variability (time between beats) which can improve survival rate of cancer 4x higher. Dr. Desaulniers mentions Heart Math’s Inner Balance technology that measures HRV and its unique window into the heart/brain connection.
Tools For Anyone To Stimulate the Vagus Nerve (Dr. Habib)
- Belly Breathing – inhaling into belly first, then raising the chest
- Nature Via Sunlight – regularly is linked to enhanced HRV levels/solid sleep
- Cold Shower At the End – as long as possible on neck/head
- Meditation and Massage – both relax, and calm, with profound restoration
- Yin Yoga – with breathwork, offers tranquility and peace
- Laughter and Friends –vigorously is a fun way to enhance vagus nerve functioning
- Essential Oils – one drop of lime and clove oils behind ear, aids de-tox, breathing rose oil lessens fear in the brain’s amygdala
- Touch Ears – massage ears, then with finger behind ears inhale and exhale, and hum a lot