During a time when many of us are spending most of our time at home, we're looking for new ways to stay busy and healthy. Perhaps you've started working out at home, or you're cooking more than you ever have before. But did you know vagus nerve stimulation can also be done from the comfort of your home?
Today we're going to discuss the wonders of at-home vagus nerve stimulation. But first, let's talk about the vagus nerve and the benefits of stimulating it in the first place.
What is the vagus nerve?
The vagus is the 10th cranial nerve, and it's often called "CN X." Vagus is the Latin term for "wandering," and the more you learn about the vagus nerve, the more its name makes sense.
The vagus nerve is the longest nerve of the autonomic system. It extends all the way from your brainstem to your digestive system. Along the way, it "wanders" into virtually every major organ system of the body. In fact, the vagus is the information highway from the brain to the heart, airways, lungs, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, and small intestines.
Because the vagus nerve is part of the autonomic nervous system (which regulates body processes without conscious effort), it plays an important role in regulating critical body functions—heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, digestion, and speaking, to name a few.
Interestingly, the management and processing of emotions also happen via the vagus nerve. This takes place between the heart, gut, and brain. This explains why we often have a strong "gut reaction" to intense mental and emotional states.
The vagus nerve is known to balance the nervous system by promoting a relaxation response. When stimulated, the vagus nerve can help with, among other things, mood, calmness, digestion, and sexual arousal.
You're probably also familiar with the "fight or flight response." This refers to the physiological reaction your body can have to perceived threats or attacks. It's urging you to either fight and face a threat, or to flee from it.
Your ever-vigilant sympathetic nervous system revs up and releases adrenaline and the stress hormone cortisol into your body during this process.
But then, the vagus nerve tells your body to relax by releasing acetylcholine to balance things out. Think of the vagus nerve as a fiber optic cable sending back instructions to release enzymes and proteins to calm you down.
What is vagus nerve stimulation?
Using the right technology, you can now trigger this calming response with vagus nerve stimulation.
While it's become even more popular in recent years, vagus nerve stimulation has been utilized and studied for decades. Practices like meditation, yoga, chanting, and mindfulness all provide indirect stimulation to the vagus nerve, primarily through deep breathing.
There are also more invasive methods known as direct vagus nerve stimulation that involve implanting a surgical device that sends electrical signals to an electrode wrapped around the left vagus nerve inside the neck. These devices are utilized for specific medical conditions like epilepsy and depression that are otherwise difficult to treat using conventional medicine.
But there's great news for those who want to experience the many benefits of vagus nerve stimulation (which we'll get to shortly) in a non-invasive and safe way known as transcutaneous VNS or tVNS.
Scientists are focusing on the benefits of ear-based tVNS and its potential to maintain a healthy balance in the nervous system and, to the extent possible, mitigating the effects of chronic conditions. tVNS can be applied by the user and does not require surgery or other procedures.
What are the benefits of vagus nerve stimulation?
As you can imagine, based on the important functions of the vagus nerve, there are significant benefits to stimulating it.
Researchers are discovering that the vagus nerve has a significant impact on the symptoms of a variety of disorders. Evidence shows that stimulating the vagus nerve can reduce the symptoms associated with depression and the effects of anxiety.
As for transcutaneous VNS, it has been successfully studied in numerous individuals for a variety of purposes. These include improving mood, sleep, focus and cognition, and athletic performance recovery.
Take a look at this video to learn more about vagus nerve stimulation.
At-home vagus nerve stimulation
Today, there are ways to stimulate the vagus nerve from home rather than hoping it kicks in by itself or relying on a more invasive option. Our favorite way to do this involves music and headphones. It's true!
Xen by Neuvana
There's an accessible and effective option for increasing overall wellness, calmness, balance, and rejuvenation through vagus nerve stimulation.
Xen by Neuvana Headphones connect to a handheld device that generates an electrical current to stimulate the vagus nerve. Conveniently, it's all controlled by an app on your phone.
The vagus nerve is stimulated, all while you're listening to music or sounds and going about your day. The stimulation sends messages to the brain to generate calming sensations to the body.
The Science Behind Xen by Neuvana
If you're like us, you want to know about the science and evidence backing a product before you try it for yourself.
By the way, science fans won't want to miss this post either where we discuss the study of neurogenesis (forming new brain cells).
Xen by Nuevana was invented by a top cardiac surgeon, Dr. Richard Cartledge. He not only maintains a high volume clinical practice but also invents novel surgical techniques and procedures and cutting edge products like Xen by Neuvana. He currently serves as Chief of Cardiac Surgery and Medical Director of the Christine E. Lynn Heart and Vascular Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, Baptist Health System.
Click here to learn even more about him.
His Xen technology uses a revolutionary platform to send gentle, calming electrical signals via patented earbuds, targeting a branch of the vagus nerve in the ear. It then seamlessly syncs vagus nerve stimulation with your music.
The greatest part of this at-home vagus nerve stimulation is that you can effortlessly integrate it into your daily routine. You can reap its rewards while reading a book, working at your desk, watching TV, or spending time with friends.
Do you have more questions about using an at-home vagus nerve stimulator and Xen by Neuvana technology? Take a look at our FAQ page where we cover what it feels like to use Xen headphones when to use this technology, and much more.
Shop the entire Xen by Neuvana collection here.
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