The Power of the Vagus Nerve and the Position of the Tongue

Image of the brain with nerves coming out and lighting upt

The vagus nerve is often referred to as the body’s longest parasympathetic cranial nerve and plays a pivotal role in regulating vital bodily functions. This multifaceted nerve is intricately linked to processes such as breathing, digestion, and relaxation, making it a key player in maintaining overall physiological balance.

The vagus nerve, also known as the 10th cranial nerve, operates as a major component of the parasympathetic nervous system—it is responsible for promoting a state of rest and digestion. It spans from the brainstem to various organs throughout the body, forming a vital connection between the central and peripheral nervous systems. This extensive network allows the vagus nerve to exert influence over diverse physiological functions, including heart rate, respiratory activity, and gastrointestinal processes.

The Impact of Tongue Posture on Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Recent research sheds light on the connection between tongue posture and vagus nerve activity. The vagus nerve requires stimulation to function optimally and promote a restful state. Maintaining a low resting tongue posture can hinder this stimulation, leading to a chronic state of stress. Often those with low tongue posture are also mouth breathers and have other symptoms of chronic stress that are linked to a myriad of other health issues like cardiovascular problems, IBS, and autoimmune diseases.

Recognizing the role of the vagus nerve in maintaining a harmonious balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems underscores the importance of adopting habits that support its optimal function.

Steps to Enhance Vagus Nerve Stimulation

Given the crucial role of the vagus nerve in promoting relaxation and overall health, it becomes imperative to incorporate practices that enhance its stimulation. Mindful activities such as deep diaphragmatic breathing, meditation, and yoga have been shown to positively influence vagal tone, promoting a restful state. Additionally, maintaining proper tongue posture, especially during periods of rest, may contribute to sustained vagus nerve activation.

Myofunctional therapy as well as working with an airway dentist can help you properly use the muscles in and around your mouth as well as help you relearn how to properly rest your tongue for vagus nerve stimulation.

The research showing that tongue posture can impact vagus nerve stimulation underscores the interconnectedness of seemingly unrelated aspects of our physiology. By embracing practices that foster vagus nerve activation, we unlock a powerful tool for stress reduction and overall health.