Prompted by “There’s a single nerve that connects all of your vital organs — and it might just be the future of medicine”: http://www.businessinsider.com/vagus-nerve-stimulation-2015-6
The prompting piece is worth reading for your better health understanding, so I’ll keep my input brief here.
Let’s take the title…
“There’s a single nerve that connects all of your vital organs — and it might just be the future of medicine”
Combine it with…
The vagus nerve starts in the brainstem, just behind the ears.
It travels down each side of the neck, across the chest and down through the abdomen. ‘Vagus’ is Latin for ‘wandering’ and indeed this bundle of nerve fibres roves through the body, networking the brain with the stomach and digestive tract, the lungs, heart, spleen, intestines, liver and kidneys, not to mention a range of other nerves that are involved in speech, eye contact, facial expressions and even your ability to tune in to other people’s voices.
Operating far below the level of our conscious minds, the vagus nerve is vital for keeping our bodies healthy. It is an essential part of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for calming organs after the stressed ‘fight-or-flight’ adrenaline response to danger. Not all vagus nerves are the same, however: some people have stronger vagus activity, which means their bodies can relax faster after a stress.
The strength of your vagus response is known as your vagal tone and it can be determined by using an electrocardiogram to measure heart rate. Every time you breathe in, your heart beats faster in order to speed the flow of oxygenated blood around your body. Breathe out and your heart rate slows. This variability is one of many things regulated by the vagus nerve, which is active when you breathe out but suppressed when you breathe in, so the bigger your difference in heart rate when breathing in and out, the higher your vagal tone.
Research shows that a high vagal tone makes your body better at regulating blood glucose levels, reducing the likelihood of diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease. Low vagal tone, however, has been associated with chronic inflammation.
Add some meditation…
Those who meditated showed a significant rise in vagal tone, which was associated with reported increases in positive emotions.
Then finally add the obvious need to scientifically recognize and consequently study to likely verify that mild intake of cannabis (and perhaps other psychedelics — when used properly) also improves vagal tone without serious side effects — a serious part of the aforementioned future of medicine when pathetic “science” (e.g. the irrefutably junk kind “proving” cannabis use is harmful without critically factoring in strain differential, intake method, and precise intake amount) and hideously inappropriate stigma (that still apparently heavily dominates professional healthcare for no good reason) is finally healthily removed for us all.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go improve my vagal tone.