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Nadia

Vagus Nerve Stimulation

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Nadia

Comments made by Alto on several threads about how she's gotten relief from stimulation to her vagus nerve with acupuncture got me looking into what those acupuncture points might be (Alto, do you get ear acupuncture or are there other body points?). Googling this I read that implanting a device that stimulates the vagus nerve is being used to help people who suffer from epilepsy and depression.

 

That procedure is supposedly extremely expensive and of course invasive, so I've been looking up other ways of stimulating the vagus nerve. Apparently, you can do this just through deep, slow belly breathing. Click here for one method.

 

Over the past year I have sometimes been able to do deep breathing, usually when I am walking, that leaves me feeling with a sense of relief and well-being. Almost like a bit of a high. Not a too-much-oxygen high, but more like a sense of deep calm and well-being nearing on pleasure (like swimming in the ocean and then lying on a warm beach). I can't always get it right, but right now I tried deep belly breathing and felt it again. I don't know how well it would work if I was deep in AM anxiety, but I'm going to try it. As soon as I stop doing the breathing the feeling disperses, but I think if I did this a few times a day I could probably get my anxiety levels down.

 

Apparently you can also stimulate vagus nerve endings in your ear with your finger, by doing the Valsava maneuver, and by carotid sinus pressure (which can be dangerous).

 

Google for more info! There is everything from how yoga helps stimulate the vagus nerve to interest in it in relation to Kundalini awakening. (Not sure what to think about kundalini awakening, but the link is a good read anyway.)

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Altostrata

My acupuncturist does full-body acupuncture. He has an MD and a PhD in neurophysiology.

 

Please let me clarify: He's given me treatments to CALM and STABILIZE vagus nerve activity, not to stimulate the vagus nerve!

 

The symptoms he was dealing with were spells of disorientation, buzzing in the chest, palpitations, or tachycardia accompanied by a lot of stomach gas and belching. (Also known as "autonomic dumping.")

 

Because the vagus nerve affects both heart rate and stomach activity, he thought my vague nerve was "irritated," which is a bad thing. (I don't know what irritates it. I am suspecting sitting a long time at the computer might be involved.)

 

I don't know what would happen if you stimulated your vagus nerve.

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Nadia

I also was thrown off by the term "stimulation", but apparently it is somehow sending a signal through the vagus nerve to have it exert a calming influence. For example, the deep breathing and the Valsava maneuver slow heart rate and lower blood pressure. There are a ton of links from everything from the Mayo clinic to the wiki article that have good info.

 

Your acupuncturist sounds amazing!

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Nadia

I forgot to mention that this morning I tried a combo of a lying down "power pose" and the deep breathing technique I posted a link to, with very good results. The only problem is I feel better, so I relax and am able to doze off, but then as soon as I do the anxiety starts again and wakes me. I'm hoping for eventual long term benefits, though.

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Altostrata

That sounds like a good way to train your body to relax, Nadia.

 

I talked about the vagus nerve with my acupuncturist today (yes, he's very knowledgeable, thank you!). He said traditional Chinese medicine isn't based on anatomy, so there's no exact analog in acupuncture for calming or stimulating the vagus nerve.

 

He did speak in terms of the sympathetic (activating) and parasympathetic (calming) nervous systems. By reading different types of energy, traditional Chinese medicine seems to mobilize one or the other or harmonize them, and this affects the vagus nerve.

 

Sorry, he couldn't be more precise than that!

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fefesmom

I recently heard a teleconference by the center for mindful eating (TCME.org) and the presenter (Donald Altman) also mentioned deep, belly breathing for twenty minutes as a way to press on the vagus nerve which will/can produce serotonin.

I have tried it and I don't know if it produces serotonin or not but I know I feel more calm after breathing like that for a while; not just taking a few breaths.

It couldn't hurt.'FM

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GiaK

I just posted something written by By Gopi Rao about how yoga effects the vagus nerve...

 

I know that yoga does profound stuff with my nervous system, one way or another. I can feel it. Of course deep healing does take time by this method :)

 

About Yoga and the Vagus Nerve

http://beyondmeds.com/2013/03/20/about-yoga-and-the-vagus-nerve/

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Jose

Thanks for bringing this subject to discussion.

I suffer from chronic depression and have been on SSRIs on and off (more on than off) for nearly 13 years. For most of this time I was in darkness about the reasons behind my illness, which is the case with most mental illnesses as you know.

However, In the last few months I have increasingly come across ideas and facts and become aware of the relationship between the vagus nerve, daily habits, positive thinking and depression.

Essentially I have found the mind-body factor that causes my suffering, and I am determined to learn more about it and reverse the trend.

There is a breathing technique called sudarshan kriya (in its simplest version it takes about 20-25 minutes) that I learnt and have practiced for 4 months now that has outstanding effects in my physical and mental mood.

This technique is a great massage for the vagus nerve, and of course for oxygenating and energizing the body.

 

Research about the matter is growing considerably. Here is an article that explains the relationship pretty well:

http://www.thevirafoundation.org/images/Trauma_Treatment_Breathwork_Part_I.pdf

 

You may also be interested in the research that Dr Barbara Hendrick has been doing for years, it has been an eye opener for me:

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21567876-you-can-it-helps-think-well-yourself-first-place-think-yourself

 

Yoga is a great stimulator of all organs, muscles and nerves, but the combination of yoga and breathing is especially good for the vagus nerve. Positive thinking is the third pillar, which is why the introduction of meditation in any kind -but apparently more effective with loving/kindness mediation- in the habits has a well proven impact.

I could sense this before and now I can actually feel it and understand it!

 

Best wishes,

Jose

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GiaK

breathing, is, indeed part of yoga! I agree it's a big part of my healing too. I'm going to look up the particular kriya you're doing now...thanks for the info

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GiaK

oh...it's the art of living people...I really wanted to learn that but they came over to my house and couldn't deal with how sick I was...and besides that I felt that paying $350 to learn a breathing technique from a guru that has millions of followers and riches comparable to the Catholic Church was highway robbery. Still I was disappointed...I really wanted to learn and have heard other good things about it.

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GiaK

you know...

 

the kriya is clearly very powerful...as with all powerful things that affect the body it seems it can go either way...that is, be good or bad...

 

here are some disaffected members from Art of Living who have a different take on the kriya...frankly the people that visited me seemed off...and very much blindly guru worshiping...they gave me the creeps and they were not tolerant of my illness either.

 

just be aware if anyone wants to pursue:

 

http://aolfree.wordpress.com/2011/03/05/is-sudarshan-kriya-safe/

 

http://artoflivingfree.blogspot.co.uk/2009/12/sudarshan-kriya-is-it-freeing-or-frying.html

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Jose

oh...it's the art of living people...I really wanted to learn that but they came over to my house and couldn't deal with how sick I was...and besides that I felt that paying $350 to learn a breathing technique from a guru that has millions of followers and riches comparable to the Catholic Church was highway robbery. Still I was disappointed...I really wanted to learn and have heard other good things about it.

 

$350!!! Jeez, that seems robbery.

I learnt the Kriya in a $70 course of them. I did feel what you mention, this blind worshiping thing -sectarism- but what I was after was the breathing technique, and it is good. I don't follow these people.

The article I linked above describes the technique well. Having said that, when it comes to the fourth component of the sequence (the sudarshan kriya itself) it says that it is very difficult to describe and it needs an instructor.

This I is not true. It's pretty simple.

 

I'm referring to and practising the short kriya, which has these four components and takes about 25 minutes. The long kriya is a different matter. I was told it should not be done more than once a week. I have only tried four times in 5 months and have felt a good effect afterwards, but can see how it may be a little too much for some people.

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GiaK

so you think if I carefully read the paper you linked to I can figure it out?

 

I'd like to experiment...very carefully...I do trust my body.

 

thanks very much, again, for the info, Jose.

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Jose

is this an accurate description of it?

 

http://www.yogawiz.com/pranayama/sudarshan-kriya.html#continued

 

how long should each stage be?

 

I have read this and it seems different from what I was taught. What I learnt and what I practice looks nearly exactly like what is described in the article:

 

Component 1 - breathing making a gutural sound like trying to close your throat while you breath. Breathe in counting 4 in your mind, hold breath counting 4, breathe out counting 6, count 2 while no air in the lungs.

The article says this is done in a 10+10+10 way: 10 times with your hands each side of the waist, then rest for a few seconds, 10 times with your thumbs under armpits and hands open, rest and 10 times with palms against your upper back, elbows pointing upward.

At the course I was told it was 8+8+6 instead of 10+10+10. Honestly I don't think it is noticeable for the beginner (as I am).

What makes a difference is sitting in the thunderbolt pose.

 

Component 2 - bhastrika: still thunderbolt pose, fists next to your shoulders, you breath in very rapidly (like a blow, but with care) while you lift your arms to the ceiling and open your hands, then bring the fists back down to the shoulders while releasing the air rapidly. All through the nostrils. Up and down should happen in around 1.5 seconds. You do three series of 20 ups and downs with a 20 second rest in between.

 

Component 3 - sit in the lotus position or similar, do the ohm three times.

 

Component 4 - the sudarshan kriya itself: breathing normally (no sounds, not taking full inhalations or exhalations), but without stops between inhaling and exhaling, lotus position or resting your back against something like a wall, etc. 20 times in and out at a slow pace (5 seconds per in+out), 40 times medium speed (1-2 seconds per in+out) and 40 times fast (double the medium speed). You do this 20+40+40 series three times without stops.

 

Finally breathe normally for about 3-5 minutes and relax, lying doing if you wish.

 

Some of the confusion comes from using the term 'sudarshan kriya' to refer to both component 4 and the whole 4-part exercise. I'm in the latter.

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Jose

so you think if I carefully read the paper you linked to I can figure it out?

 

I'd like to experiment...very carefully...I do trust my body.

 

thanks very much, again, for the info, Jose.

 

I think so. I read the paper before going to the course. At the course I found there were two things I was doing wrong: the position of the hands on the upper back (behind neck but as low as possible is correct) in the thirds round of component 1 and the continuity of component 4.

 

You will see that this sequence is nothing strange when you practice. You need an empty stomach, by the way.

The key to component 4 (what the article refers to as difficult and needing an instructor) is breathing normally but making sure you use abdominal breath and don't stop between inhalation and exhalation.

The long sudarshan kriya, however, is intense indeed. It can make you dizzy, hot, awkward,.. When I went to the course it felt great the first time -aside the dizziness- but some people felt too dizzy or even anxious. It's a lot of hyperventilation, to be honest.

 

Component two does not need to be very forceful, just has to feel strong and powerful in and out. This is up to the person, I think. The moving up and down of the arms helps with the lungs.

 

When I do these exercises I can actually feel how the internal organs are massaged. Since you practice yoga you will be very familiar with this sensation.

 

All the best.

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Nadia

Interesting link about the breathing technique.

 

Here is another one that a friend shared with me that I am trying to practice regularly:

 

www.wheatbeltaikido.com/DojoDocuments/KiBreathing.pdf‎

 

Look up ki breathing on the internet for other approaches. I find if I do this right it generates a sense of well-being for the duration of the breathing that is pretty powerful. I can't always "get it", but I'm getting better at it.

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GiaK

nadia,

that URL isn't working for me.

 

can you check it and see if it's right

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Jose

Thanks Nadia.

GiaK, the URL seems to work with me:

KI

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btdt

I keep coming to this Vegus Nerve issue in relation to withdrawal in so many different ways it occurred to me it was time it had a home of its own in relation to withdrawal.   Perhaps having its own home will bring with it a spot light on vegus nerve involvement and possible treatment in the withdrawal process. 

 

Perhaps some easier paths for future withdrawal people.  

 

I found this at an Afib site. 

 

"A 2007 research paper “Intestinal Inflammation caused by Magnesium Deficiency” indicates

significant functional changes in the small intestine and in remote organs as well as increased
sensitivity to oxidative stress. From testimonials offered on the BB, we know well how intestinal
disturbances cause various conditions leading to afib and the subclinical inflammation factor is
well known with vagus nerve irritation as well.(5)
Some reports indicate magnesium citrate is highly bioavailable, but it’s also known this form does
not stay in tissues for long. It’s used in the citric acid cycle or Kreb’s cycle and is typically shunted
out of the body quickly. It also has the laxation effect.
When compared to magnesium citrate, magnesium bisglycinate is half as reactive (hypoacidity)
when taken on an empty stomach (600 mg Mg/day) and more bioavailable based on classic
symptoms of hypomagnesmia.
According to the National Institutes of Health, the form of magnesium is just as important as how
much magnesium you're getting. Cheaper forms, such as Oxide and Chloride, are poorly
absorbed and quickly excreted from your body.
 
 for new afibbers, we typically
recommend starting with the Essential Trio which includes magnesium glycinate, potassium and
taurine. Potassium is the key rhythm stabilizer, but can’t function without adequate magnesium.
Periodically, someone posts that magnesium supplementation had no effect on improving their
afib. This prompted me to examine why that might be. What influences might bring about a
negative result? "
 
much more to read on this site. 

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Petunia

topics merged

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btdt

Please stay with me as some of this may not seem like it fits keep in mind we are thinking vagus nerve and its affects... when it is unhappy. 

https://hatinring.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/vagus-nerve-imbalancehiatal-hernia-syndrome/

 

"A recent advance in cardiology is the sub-field of Heart Rate Variability (HRV). HRV refers to statistical analyses of five-minute, (or longer), electrocardiograms. HRV analyses and subject follow-up for “all-cause mortality” yielded the conclusion that Heart Rate Variability is perhaps the best predictor of life expectancy. (12) But Heart Rate Variability–and even stress, “stress vulnerability” and “reactivity to stress”–have been demonstrated to be highly dependent on the state of the Vagus Nerve."

 

"From an imbalanced Vagus Nerve, any other organ can begin to malfunction depending on genetic weakness and various other factors."

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Jose

Btdt thanks for posting this information.

I'm convinced of the role of the vagus nerve in depression, and the relation with a/d withdrawal.

In fact I'm pretty sure one the main reasons why abdominal breathing and good nutrition help so much is because of its effects on the vagus nerve. After all, the vagus nerve connects the brain and the gut.

Not sure if I shared this before, but there it goes:

http://helenpapas.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/activating-the-vagus-nerve/

Best wishes. Jose

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Moonlitelotus

Pretty sure my vegal nerve gets over stimulated from eating. That's why I get shortness of breath and acid reflux after eating I believe. My most uncomfortable symptom.so acupuncture can calm this nerve? I need that. Sorry alto I hope you don't mind me posting this.

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Altostrata

Moonlite, I want you to put all your questions in your own Intro topic. Thank you.

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stan

disorder of sympathetics systems and the vagus nerve

 

nervous-system.jpg

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nancy2

Thanks for this! I just breathed out as hard as I could and then coughed -- and, wow, really felt the well-being and calmness.

nancy

 

Ooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. :wub:

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GiaK

oh... I didn't remember this post...it just turned up in my stats...

 

I did an article on stimulating the vagus nerve the other day...on Mad in America now

 

Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve and Thus Chill Out: Simple, Natural, Uninvasive Methods - http://go.shr.lc/1HV3wRL

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Nomoreheadmeds

I tried this lastnight I was at the end of my tether yesterday with cortisol spikes.I must be honest it did help a little.

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GiaK

when it's really bad a little matters...I made a habit of collecting LOTS of little things that helped...and I still use most of them 5 years later as needed...I found that it's good to have lots of different tools ... they're not all appropriate for all needs so having many to choose from was helpful.

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Serenity23

I tried this lastnight I was at the end of my tether yesterday with cortisol spikes.I must be honest it did help a little.

 

What are cortisol spikes? Is there something related to the adrenal glands with AD withdrawal?

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Nomoreheadmeds

Yes Serenity23.

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SquirrellyGirl

Just saw on The Doctors a piece about a vagus nerve stimulator gizmo where music is played in one ear bud and the vagus nerve is supposedly stimulated from the other ear bud...supposed to make you feel calm, good... Anyone heard of such a thing?  Did a web search and only saw reference to epilepsy.  

 

The product is called Nirvana

 

http://www.thedoctorstv.com/videos/earphones-that-get-you-high

 

Gimmick?

 

SG

Edited by KarenB
merged similar topics

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Sheri755

Just saw on The Doctors a piece about a vagus nerve stimulator gizmo where music is played in one ear bud and the vagus nerve is supposedly stimulated from the other ear bud...supposed to make you feel calm, good... Anyone heard of such a thing? Did a web search and only saw reference to epilepsy.

 

The product is called Nirvana

 

http://www.thedoctorstv.com/videos/earphones-that-get-you-high

 

Gimmick?

 

SG

I'm very intrigued and would love to know if it's effective!

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