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  • Writer's picturePauline Smit Reiki

What Happens in Vagus?

If you follow social media, you may have recently seen a number of therapists and back pain specialists showing you simple exercises you can do to stimulate your vagus nerve. But what is the vagus nerve, what does it do and how can Reiki help with its functioning?

The vagus nerve is the longest nerve in your body. It starts at the base of your skull and stretches out like a web across your chest and abdomen. As you might remember from science lessons at school, nerves send little electrical signals through your body to help your muscles work. As you know, Reiki is all about helping the energy flow freely in your body and your nerves are an important part of this process.

So what happens in Vagus? Part of the answer is Vagus-stuff, or to be more accurate vagusstoff. Vagusstoff is the chemical that helps the electricity move from one junction of a nerve to the next nerve fibre or muscle fibre. We all need our vagus nerve to work well and we all need our vagusstoff to help move the messages in our body along.

What is the vagus nerve’s job?

The vagus nerve is involved with lots of essential functions in our body. These include messages to the muscles in our heart to tell the heart to beat in a rhythm; messages to our lungs (to expand and contract so we can breathe) and messages our stomach to remind it to digest food.

When the vagus nerve is stimulated has been associated with positively helping with epilepsy, headaches, chronic pain, MS. There are medical ways to do this, but there are also activities you can do which stimulate it. This lets the vagus nerve know that it can relax, and let your body find a relaxing rhythm.

So how do we tell our vagus nerve to relax?

You won’t be surprised to know that many of the ancient relaxation methods have this impact such as meditation, chanting, yawning and stretching. Yoga and other slow movement exercises like tai chi also help with the healthy functioning of the vagus nerve.

Reiki sessions also have this effect as they help energy flow freely, help people to relax, and a Reiki practitioner knows about energy systems and energy flow. This nerve carries messages between your brain, your heart and your feet, so effectively linking your chakras which are major energy points in your body. Through Reiki you can help the energy to flow freely and balanced within these systems, which will help you feel well, energised and relaxed by releasing stuck energy in the body, enabling you to let go of past experiences where you may still be holding on.

On the left an image with the chakras and their position in the body and on the right an image of the vagus nerve in the body. Can you see how your energy system with its chakras and the vagus nerve are so strongly connected?

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