There are 12 cranial nerves in the body. They come in pairs and help link the brain with other areas of the body, such as the head, neck, and torso.
Some of these nerves send sensory information, including smells, sights, tastes, and sounds, to the brain. Other cranial nerves control the movement of various muscles and the function of certain glands.
While some cranial nerves have either sensory or motor functions, others have both. The vagus nerve is such a nerve.
What does the vagus nerve affect?
The vagus nerve is responsible for various internal organ functions, including:
* heart rate
* cardiovascular activity
* reflex actions, such as coughing, sneezing, swallowing, and vomiting
It also forms a link between the gut and the brain, playing a role in what scientists call the gut-brain axis. Their studies show links between the vagus nerve and conditions such as obesity and depression.
Before I forget…The word “vagus” means wandering in Latin. This is a very appropriate name, as the vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve. It runs from the brain stem to part of the colon.
The vagus nerve sensory functions are divided into two components:
* Somatic components.
These are sensations felt on the skin or in the muscles.
* Visceral components.
These are sensations felt in the organs of the body.
Sensory functions of the vagus nerve include:
-providing somatic sensation information for the skin behind the ear, the external part of the ear canal, and certain parts of the throat
-supplying visceral sensation information for the larynx, esophagus, lungs, trachea, heart, and most of the digestive tract
-playing a small role in the sensation of taste near the root of the tongue
Motor functions of the vagus nerve include:
-stimulating muscles in the pharynx, larynx, and the soft palate, which is the fleshy area near the back of the roof of the mouth
-stimulating muscles in the heart, where it helps to lower resting heart rate
-stimulating involuntary contractions in the digestive tract, including the esophagus, stomach, and most of the intestines, which allow food to move through the tract
As you can easily see, the vagus nerve is worthy of your attention as part of your recovery.
And here is a great way to reset it for optimal function!
#1: Look straight ahead for 5 seconds, then turn your head and look to the right for 5 seconds and then left for 5 seconds