Hi, I'm Carrie

Carrie is a certified Functional Medicine Practitioner and a National Board-Certified Acupuncturist by the NCCAOM. She graduated with a 4-year Masters of Science in Acupuncture and Eastern Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colorado.

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Vagus Nerve Stimulation and Acupuncture

Jul 14, 2023

Unveiling the Healing Power: How Acupuncture Regulates the Vagus Nerve

auricular branch of the vagus nerve

In the realm of holistic healing, acupuncture has emerged as a remarkable practice that taps into the body’s innate ability to find balance and promote well-being. Among its many benefits, acupuncture has been found to have a profound impact on the regulation of the vagus nerve, a vital component of our autonomic nervous system. Let’s delve into the fascinating world of acupuncture and explore how it influences and regulates the vagus nerve, paving the way for enhanced health and harmony.

Understanding the Vagus Nerve: The vagus nerve, aptly named after the Latin word for “wandering,” is the longest cranial nerve in our body. It acts as a vital communication pathway between our brain and major organs, including the heart, lungs, digestive system, and more. It’s influence extends to various bodily functions, such as heart rate, digestion, inflammation regulation, and stress response.

The Mechanisms of Acupuncture on Vagus Nerve Regulation:

  1. Sensory Stimulation: The placement of fine needles at specific acupuncture points stimulates sensory nerves beneath the skin. These sensory signals travel to the brain, activating and influencing the vagus nerve’s function. By modulating vagus nerve activity, acupuncture promotes relaxation, stress reduction, and improved overall well-being.
  2. Autonomic Balance: Acupuncture has the unique ability to rebalance the autonomic nervous system, which consists of the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches. The sympathetic branch is responsible for our “fight or flight” response, while the parasympathetic branch, including the vagus nerve, promotes relaxation and restoration. Through targeted acupuncture treatments, the parasympathetic activity is enhanced, leading to a harmonious autonomic balance and improved vagus nerve regulation.
  3. Neurotransmitter Modulation: Studies suggest that acupuncture influences the release and balance of neurotransmitters in the body. These chemical messengers play a crucial role in nerve signaling and communication. Acupuncture has been found to regulate the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and GABA, which can impact vagus nerve activity and function.
  4. Inflammation Regulation: The vagus nerve plays a vital role in regulating inflammation in the body. Acupuncture has demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties, which can help reduce inflammation and support optimal vagus nerve function. By creating an environment of reduced inflammation, acupuncture contributes to overall health and wellness.

The Holistic Benefits of Acupuncture on Vagus Nerve Regulation: Beyond its direct impact on the vagus nerve, acupuncture offers a plethora of holistic benefits that align with the goal of promoting vagus nerve regulation. These benefits include stress reduction, improved sleep quality, enhanced digestion, pain management, immune system support, and emotional well-being. By nurturing the vagus nerve, acupuncture empowers the body’s natural healing mechanisms and supports optimal functioning.

As we embrace holistic approaches to wellness, acupuncture stands out as a remarkable tool for vagus nerve regulation and overall health. Through its multifaceted mechanisms, acupuncture influences the vagus nerve, leading to improved autonomic balance, stress reduction, and enhanced well-being. If you’re seeking a natural, non-invasive approach to optimize your health, consider exploring the transformative potential of acupuncture. Consult with a qualified acupuncturist to embark on a personalized journey of vagus nerve regulation and revitalization.

Remember, nurturing the vagus nerve is not just an isolated act; it’s a step toward embracing a harmonious and balanced life.

Unlock Your Health Potential: Book an Acupuncture Appointment Today!

at home vagus nerve stimulator tool

My go to tool for at home vagus nerve stimulation is the Hoolest mini. I use it for better sleep, flight anxiety and for times of high stress when my other tools aren’t enough. I love it because it’s easy and very portable, I also love that it’s not a prescription medication, and for those with flight anxiety, you know what I’m talking about!

According to Hoolest, the VeRelief device targets a very specific branch of the vagus nerve called the Auricular Branch of the Vagus Nerve (ABVN). This branch is only found in and around the ear area and communicates directly with a region in the brain called the Locus Coeruleus and Reticular Activating System. These brain regions are responsible for helping us recover from stress responses and falling asleep when we need to. 

The ABVN is very effective at helping people calm down during a stress response or anxiety episode, and has been shown to be helpful for other health related issues like gastroparesis, digestion issues, IBS, or lowering blood pressure. However, Dr. Hool does not recommend VeRelief to be considered a solo treatment for these aliments, but can be an excellent modality to add to treatment plans.

Hoolest has great customer support and offers a 60-day money back guarantee on all their products if you don’t find value in them.

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