In recent years, there have been some incredible advances in the field of vagus nerve science. In this article, we will share some of the most important ones and also provide an update on the latest vagus nerve stimulation devices.
Vagus Nerve Science Breakthroughs
To begin, here are some ground-breaking vagus nerve science discoveries that have been made in relatively recent years:
One of the most significant breakthroughs in vagus nerve science was discovering the vagus nerve’s role in inflammatory diseases. Scientists found that by stimulating the vagus nerve, they could reduce inflammation in the body. One example is how vagus nerve stimulation can help with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) symptoms.
In a study published in The Lancet, researchers found that vagus nerve stimulation could actually help to reverse some of the damage caused by RA. The study found vagus nerve stimulation decreased the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the blood and also reduced the number of inflammatory cells in the joints.
This is a major breakthrough because it shows that vagus nerve stimulation can not only help to relieve symptoms, but it may also be able to actually repair some of the damage caused by inflammatory diseases.
Depression and PTSD
Another major breakthrough with the vagus nerve was the discovery of its role in mood disorders such as depression and PTSD. Scientists found that vagus nerve stimulation can effectively treat these conditions for some people.
According to researchers from this 2017 study, the effects of VNS:
“Suggest that tVNS may modulate emotional state as reflected by downregulating fight-or-flight and upregulating a physiological state conducive to positive social engagement. These results show a direct impact on the hyperarousal symptoms of PTSD by tVNS.”
The gut-brain axis
Another significant breakthrough in vagus nerve science was a better understanding of the gut-brain axis, a concept first discussed in the 1960s. Scientists found that the vagus nerve is a key player in the communication between the gut and the brain. For example, vagus nerve stimulation can be used to treat conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease.
Gut health plays a starring role in your overall health and wellbeing, so this is a significant breakthrough. By understanding the vagus nerve’s role in gut-health, we can begin to develop new and effective treatments for conditions that have previously been difficult to treat.
The vagus nerve and HRV
Finally, scientists have also been studying the vagus nerve’s role in heart rate variability (HRV). HRV is a measure of the variation in time between every heartbeat. A high HRV is associated with good cardiovascular health, while a low HRV is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Studies have shown that vagus nerve stimulation can increase HRV. What makes this so exciting is that it means vagus nerve stimulation may be able to improve cardiovascular health.
These are just a handful of examples of the big breakthroughs that have been made in vagus nerve science in recent years. As you can see, your vagus nerve is a critical player in many different areas of health and disease. This makes it a very promising target for new treatments and therapies.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation Devices
Now we’ve reviewed some of the most exciting vagus nerve science breakthroughs. Next, let’s take a look at the latest vagus nerve stimulation devices.
Handheld vagus nerve stimulator
One of the newest vagus nerve stimulation devices is a handheld vagus nerve stimulation device such as Xen by Neuvana vagus nerve-stimulating headphones. What’s particularly exciting about devices such as these is that they’re non-invasive and far more accessible than surgical VNS.
It’s clear vagus nerve stimulation devices are becoming more and more advanced. As research continues to uncover new and exciting vagus nerve science breakthroughs, we anticipate seeing even more innovative vagus nerve stimulation devices hit the market.
Other Ways to Stimulate the Vagus Nerve
Along with vagus nerve stimulation devices which are widely considered the most effective option besides surgical-implantation, there are several other practices which can also help stimulate the vagus nerve.
Interestingly, this practice touted for its calming effects can also help to stimulate the vagus nerve. In fact, a 2018 study published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience found meditation can actually increase vagal tone.
The study found that individuals who participated in a contemplative activity program had increased vagal tone compared to those who didn’t take part in the program. The study participants also had reduced anxiety and depression symptoms.
Cold therapy is increasingly popular in the wellness arena, and for good reason! Not only can it help to relieve pain, but it can also help to stimulate the vagus nerve.
Exciting studies have shown the potential of cold exposure to vagal nerve stimulation. For example, one study found that vagus nerve stimulation increased the expression of brown fat, which helps to burn calories and keep the body warm.
Chanting and humming
Many groups of people, including Buddhist monks and Christian nuns, practice chanting or humming. While this practice has other benefits as well, it’s also an effective way to stimulate the vagus nerve. The vibrations produced by chanting or humming can trigger the branches of the vagus nerve that extend through the throat
Chanting or humming can help to stimulate the vagus nerve, which can in turn help to reduce stress and anxiety levels. It can also help to perk up your mood and boost cognitive function.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice that involves inserting thin needles into specific points on the body. Depending on where the acupuncture needles are placed, this practice can help to stimulate the vagus nerve and promote overall health and wellbeing.
Each of these practices can help to stimulate the vagus nerve and promote overall health and wellbeing. If you’re interested in trying vagus nerve stimulation, be sure to talk to your doctor about the best option for you.
So there you have it, a comprehensive guide to game-changers in the field of vagal nerve stimulation! As you can see, this is a rapidly growing area of science with many exciting breakthroughs and developments. As a result, we can expect to see even more vagus nerve stimulation devices and therapies hit the market in the years to come.