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The Eíriú-Eolas Quick Guide
Disclaimer Bio-energetic Breathing (round breathing) is contra-indicated in pregnancy, epilepsy, bi-polar disorders or other chemical imbalances. All other portions of the Eíriú-Eolas Breathing and Meditation system may be utilized with these conditions. Introduction Welcome to the Eíriú-Eolas Breathing and Meditation System. By utilizing this 21st century revival of an ancient breathing and meditation technique, you are now embarking on an exciting journey of discovery. Eíriú-Eolas is the premiere tool of the age to help you relax and gently work through emotional and psychological trauma, releasing the repressed emotions and mental blocks that stand between you and a successful, fulfilling life. It is important to perform the warm-up exercises as given on Disc 2. They increase lung capacity, circulation and will greatly enhance your Eíriú-Eolas experience. If you are already following a system of physical activity that incorporates stretching and flexibility, such as yoga, this portion may be modified to suit or can be skipped. Pipe Breath Pipe Breath is used to stimulate the vagus nerve and is performed in three stages to utilize your entire lungs. Stimulating the vagus nerve is like hitting the “off” switch for your stress response. The constricting of the glottis (voice box) almost yet not quite to the point of producing sound causes stimulation of the portion of the vagus nerve which passes between the trachea and esophagus. Practice so you can hold that glottal constriction while inhaling to achieve greater relaxation. The major stimulation of the vagus nerve occurs during exhalation and this is why Eíriú-Eolas Pipe Breath calls for an extended exhalation. Warrior Breath The Warrior Breath is intended to clear the lungs of old, stale air. It strengthens the muscles involved in making a good exhalation as preparation for the next part of the program. You may find your sides a little sore the first time you perform this exercise. The muscles will strengthen quickly and this will pass. Vocalizing “Ha!” helps make the exhalation more complete. It is also good for getting out frustration. Children love doing Warrior Breath!
Bio-energetic Breath Bio-energetic Breathing, or round breathing, is used at the physical level for oxygenating your body to better process physical toxins. At the emotional level, it begins the process of gently releasing layers of emotional toxicity. As these layers clear, you will find yourself able to think more clearly and remain calm in stressful situations, allowing you to respond in an efficient and harmonious manner.
Meditation (Prayer of the Soul) The breathing exercises are intended as preparation for the meditation, which is the heart of the Eíriú-Eolas system. The meditation is performed with “seed”, which means it is neither mindless nor without aim. The seed, entitled “Prayer of the Soul”, has been carefully composed to be unlimited in its application to life and to create a subconscious ground of positive, life-affirming thoughts in your quieted mind. The prayer addresses the Divine Cosmic Mind, which is existence in and of itself. If you wish to address the Divine Cosmic Mind in terms more familiar such as Jesus, Buddha, Allah, Krishna etc. that is also fine. Should a divine personification not be part of your outlook, you may even look to your own “best self” as being addressed. The Prayer of the Soul is intended to be universally applicable to all personal philosophies. It’s best to first practice exercising your diaphragm and perform Pipe Breath. Then add more to the program as you feel comfortable. Keep in mind that you breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. This applies to the entire program!
Common Questions Q: How often should I practice Eíriú-Eolas? A: Generally it is recommended you complete the entire program twice per week and the meditation daily, preferably before sleeping. This allows your subconscious to process while you rest. Also, you may perform Pipe Breath daily, as desired. The worldwide Eíriú-Eolas community has chosen Monday and Thursday evenings for completing the whole program, each in their own time zone. If you are ill or dealing with a specific problem, you might want to complete the entire program daily for a while.
Q: I can’t keep up with the counting, what should I do? A: If the count is too long or too short for you, adjust to what is comfortable. As you become more proficient you will find it easier to keep to the count. The important thing when doing Pipe Breath is to make the exhalation longer than the inhalation, and to empty your lungs as completely as possible. The brief pauses between inhaling and exhaling are also important because they allow for full gas exchange within the lungs.
Q: Can I lay down for the breathing exercise? A: Laying down is fine. The point is to be as comfortable as possible.
Q: Can three-stage breathing be done without the arm positions? A: The three arm positions for Pipe Breath allow you to progressively use the whole of the lungs.
Q: I’ve mainly had issues with sitting cross-legged for a long period of time. My legs fall asleep and start bothering me. Can I do the program in another position? A: Sure. You can try sitting in a chair, for example. The important thing is to find a position that is comfortable for you. The girls in the video practice yoga and even they sometimes do the program on a chair or lying down. Q: I have difficulty breathing with my stomach and it does not rise properly. Any advice? A: Check that you are moving your diaphragm correctly. It needs to push downwards when you breathe in while your ribs rise, then relax back up into a dome shape when you breathe out to expel old air. It should come naturally once you have practiced the breathing for a while and you have become used to the movement. View the images of the diaphragm on the introductory DVD and try to get the feeling of the position, action, and feel of your diaphragm. After a little practice, you should be able to feel your diaphragm press down and flatten out as you breathe in. Another issue might be your posture. Try doing some simple breathing exercises while standing up. Remember to keep your shoulders relaxed. If you feel overly tense in your ribcage, neck, back or other area while doing the breathing, this means you are doing more than your body can currently handle. If you have not done this sort of breathing before, you should take care and gently ease yourself into it. Q: I am having trouble breathing in for the full count. Do I need to do this? A: If the count is not impossibly long for you then yes, try to breathe in for the full count. Otherwise do the best you can so that over time you can gradually work your way to the full count. Children, for example, have smaller lung capacity and may not be able to breathe in for the full count.
Q: Why is it important to breathe through the nose and out through the mouth for the whole program? A: There are nerve endings at the top of the pharyngeal passage that, when stroked with air that travels in the same direction, will synchronize both halves of the brain. If you then breathe out and the air reverses through these nerve endings, it disrupts the synchrony. This is a technique used in hypnotherapy to calm and quiet the brain. Q: Nothing seems to be happening. Am I doing it correctly? A: The benefits and effects of the Eíriú-Eolas system can be taking place under the surface for some time before things are processed, with or without your awareness. If you try to have “intent” other than assimilating the concepts of the prayer (which are designed not to constrain activity of the subconscious) or if you try to add “bells and whistles”, you could be circumventing the positive benefits of the Eíriú-Eolas breathing and meditation system.
Common symptoms and experiences Lessening of joint pain Lessening of muscle spasticity Refreshing and/or deep sleep Feeling energized Increased relaxation Experiencing sensation of heat Experiencing sensation of white light surrounding oneself Decreased heartbeat Intense and detailed dreams (see later for details) Zoning out, difficulty staying awake during breathing exercises and meditation (see later for details) Sensation in the solar plexus Ringing ears Tickling or numbness in arms, legs, lips (common side-effects of hyper-ventilation) Feelings of joy and elation Change in appetite (reduced desire for foods that are incompatible with your body) Hunger after the breathing and meditation Bursts of unanticipated laughter Abdominal pain, sharp pains in body (symptomatic of organs becoming more functional again) Increased heart rate External and internal interruptions during breathing and meditation Sweating Watery eyes Desire to cry (see later for details) Depression (can last a couple of weeks, only temporary) Anger, disproportionate to situations (see later for details)
Q: I am experiencing cold and flu-like symptoms (fever. perception of actually being in the present. which carries two-way communication between the gut and the brain. thoughts. Should I restart the program when this happens? A: You don’t need to restart the program. I snap myself out of it. fatigue) as a result of practicing the program. Science News. it can be like a hole in the dyke that gets very large very fast. Janet Raloff. Schwartz suspects that hormone-like peptides produced by the gut in response to food are responsible for amplifying the signals triggered by the motions of the stomach and small intestine. . I snap into a dream state where I no longer hear the audio. When you kick-start the vagus nerve and start putting things back in motion after years of the physical cesspool backing up. Questions about symptoms and experiences Q: Why am I so hungry? A: Pipe Breathing stimulates the vagus nerve. As soon as I realize this. pains. This occurs when your body is dislodging toxins at a faster rate than your body can eliminate them. it is your mind symbolically expressing what was suppressed in your subconscious) Sharper awareness. which in turn affects your hunger. How the brain knows when eating must stop — vagus nerve responds differently to each nutrient to decode what and how much has been eaten : The vagus nerve. Why is this happening? A: The program detoxes not just emotionally but physically. transmits distinctly different patterns of electric signals in response to carbohydrates and to protein in the gut. If you are suffering physical symptoms it is likely to be a Herxheimer reaction. irritation (temporary) Perceiving images during meditation (try not to be too distracted by this.- Feelings of disconnection from the world (temporary) Confusion. This is called “zoning”. chills. There's another component of the vagus nerve's reaction to protein. 1996 http://findarticles. aches. It is a positive sign that your subconscious is beginning to process and heal. How the brain knows when eating must stop. Schwartz of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore. senses. finds Gary J. It is perfectly normal and a good sign that something is happening.com/p/articles/mi_m1200/is_n22_v150/ai_18947098/ Q: During the breathing and meditation.
keep in mind that the Eíriú-Eolas breathing and meditation system is the most efficient. Remember. If you are experiencing anger. effective. As your diet and supplement intake will help with this process. they will no longer control your thinking and/or your life choices. Q: How do I continue with the system when I start crying? My normal reaction is to hold my breath. Mark Hyman The Ultra Simple Diet. Everyone is different and has different stuff buried inside them. then resume the program once you have finished crying. What works best for one individual may differ from what works best for another. You could spend years in psychotherapy and never have the same results that you can achieve with just a few months of practicing the Eíriú-Eolas system. Edelson and Deborah Mitchell Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Unpleasant or scary dreams are in fact your suppressed negative emotions rising to the surface. Q: Why do I experience scary dreams after doing the program? A: It is your emotional center that dreams. then we recommend you undergo the program no more than twice per week and perform only the Pipe Breathing and meditation for now. Sherry Rogers What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Autoimmune Disorders. Also. we highly recommend the following Diet and Health books: The Ultra Mind Solution. Rodger Murphree Q: Why am I experiencing so much anger and sadness? A: This is quite normal and is a sign that the program is working. but this is one of several ways in which it may be processed. A: You can cry as much as you need to. omitting Warrior’s Breath and Bio-energetic Breath. keep a pillow nearby while doing the program so you can punch it when you feel like it. . Mark Hyman Detoxify or Die. you are bringing up and processing old emotions that are stuck in your subconscious and body tissues. Once they are released. Quite often you will process this just by dreaming it away. and least painful way to deal with these things by retroactively utilizing the body’s own stress coping mechanism. Stephen B.If you are experiencing symptoms that are too much for you to bear.
Long term benefits As you continue practicing the Eíriú-Eolas system. You will become strong in areas where you were once weak. *************************************************************************** You are welcome to visit the Eíriú-Eolas website to access the discussion forum. or online. You will experience the constant guidance of your higher self. You will feel this guidance in the form of protection. Eíriú-Eolas teachers are always available to answer your questions either in your local community. range and initiative.eiriu-eolas. where you can meet and interact with others on this same exciting path. as you will also have the ability to perceive danger in greater capacity than before. www.org . you will embrace a new quality of energy. Your higher self will guide you to acquire the knowledge you need on a practical level to protect yourself from unnecessary harm. This guidance will be active in the work of your hands and the words of your mouth.
I’d like to thank all those who developed and are helping to share this amazing program. After practicing EE for a short period of time. three teenage children and generally trying to get ahead in life. After the WTC I developed various severe immune problems within six months and have become increasingly frustrated at the methods I’ve employed to attempt to cope with my health issues. Recently while talking with a group of new friends. I now know I don’t have to give up and can honestly work with a group of people who are similarly inclined towards better health and existence. Another important result has been a marked reduction in addictive thought patterns and anxiety produced by unhealthy lifestyle decisions.E. I feel I’m now back on track and better equipped to figure out what’s really important in life. I figure that must be rejuvenation!! By far the best benefit from EE has been the ability to put my life in perspective.“ . Kenya „I’ve been working with the program since June 2010. I found the will to get on the Ultra-Mind diet and rapidly lost 6 Kilos! My sleep is now much better and I now am able to sleep for 6-7 hours without waking up. I asked them to guess my age. Since childhood I have always chewed my fingernails but now I don’t. but I have quit biting my fingernails. Ingrid and Elan are a formidable team and are building E. The siren call of sugar and unhealthy food choices is not as alluring or necessary now. . persistent childhood emotional issues and having the noxious fumes of the World Trade Center waft over my apartment in downtown Brooklyn for several months. I was surprised when the nearest guess put me 5 years younger. It was much easier for me to put life in perspective so to speak. New York into an oasis of learning. I found I was more relaxed and calm. and this is a somewhat embarrassing one.Kinyash. Fortunately. Together. One of my obvious and ongoing results has been a loss of over twenty pounds of excess weight and not just any type of weight either. The following are a few of the testimonials we’ve received about the positively amazing results that can be achieved by anyone with this incredible new program: „I’ve been doing EE for over 6 months now and I’ve had some great results! Leading a “modern” lifestyle rapidly left me totally stressed… a busy work environment with long hours and short deadlines. Oh. It seemed the weight I was carrying was literally loaded with toxins and spiritual heaviness courtesy of an already unhealthy modern lifestyle. I was overweight and not able to sleep for more than 4 hours at a go. physical and emotional outlook on life and being. Before diving into any specific health experiences.Reviews People from all walks of life – and from all over the world – are already practicing Éiriú Eolas with amazing results. growing and evolving. I would first like to affectionately commend my instructors as they have been primary in assisting me in the rewarding and grueling process of changing my mental.
Computer Consultant.“ . Every time I breathe the wrong way I am reminded by the animation. metaphorical shame based weigh ins or unrealistic expectations yet numerable positive changes come in short order. YAY! My hearing seems to have gotten better. Genetic Research Technician. California „The EE program has helped me experience and release much emotional baggage. too. that’s a wonderful feeling.“ . I don’t wish I was somewhere else. It’s amazing – I really can’t describe it.Joe. My appetite has increased with no weight gain (another YAY).Aude. doing something else. only means. New York „My anger has abated A LOT.Elaine. Arizona „The introductory video is so nicely made. What I’m holding here is a miracle!“ . Here’s a great slogan: “Does your soul need a holiday? Then our EE program might just be the solution!” .“ . NYC „I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this.Frank. Texas . and I’ll place in the entirely different context of Eiriu Eolas. The info coupled with the visuals just stays with me. Executive Assistant.“ . Administrative Assistant. All those 3D explanations are just stuck in my mind now. Health Kinesiology practitioner. As Gore Vidal wrote.Brent.” . Belgium „I’ve practised yoga and breathing meditations over the years but there was absolutely no comparing that to this experience. with the Éiriú Eolas DVD set in hand. “There are no ends Joe.Jim. UK „There have been many improvements in my life since I began the programme: For the first time in my life. I feel so strong and optimistic. Eiriu Eolas has no predetermined goals based on guilt.Margaret.Unlike other programs.
“ . Chile „Today the process included cleansing tears as I recalled patterns of loss and abandonment in my life. Student. Computer Programmer. North Carolina I am both alert and relaxed most of the time. UK „I’ve tried a little of Yoga before but it simply missed the mark since it just didn’t have that ‘power’ to relax me the way the EE program does.“ . the round breathing especially.Amokrane.“ .Elizabeth. Filmmaker. Everything about the experience was utterly gracious. . Armenia „My experience doing EE is always blissful. Astronomer. no nonsense breathing techniques really make the difference!“ .Ken.Chris. doing it solo. I feel so blessed to have been given the gift of Éiriú Eolas.„It’s like feeling “cleaner”. New Jersey „The most deeply healing practice I’ve ever encountered.Tom. It’s such a beautiful experience.Mike. body and soul. USA . so that I am in a deep meditative state… I used to lead group meditations and kirtans (devotional chanting) for many years.“ . Missouri „The breathing technique is a great tool for the kids because they can do it anywhere and it does seem to really work. The vagus nerve stimulation and the very effective. this is the closest word I could find to this sensation. No other practice has had such a positive and lasting effect on my mind. that I have only experienced in group meditations after an hour or more.Second Grade School Teacher. EE produces results in just a few minutes.“ .
But energy with a sore. and it is so easy to integrate into a busy life.it can be broken up into shorter periods during the day. I have more confidence.„Having explored many different breathing and meditation techniques over the years. But with Éiriú Eolas.“ . but that energy got lost quickly when I returned to daily life. John where he runs a bookstore. and the pipe breathing is available whenever you need it. I have completely eliminated all the aches and pains associated with ‘growing old’. When I was raising a family. whenever you feel those stress chemicals shooting into your gut. but nothing came close to producing the emotional release and detoxification he experienced right from the start of his daily EE practice. It is hard to find a half an hour morning and night to sit on your mat with young kids. He knew it was something he wished to share with others. achey body isn’t much help. Henry See was not prepared for the gentle power of Éiriú Eolas. The forum is a valuable resource as well. “Other types of meditation left me feeling energetic after going to weekend retreats. so gentle yet powerful. I found it difficult to do regularly the zen meditation I was practising at the time.Henry See. he says laughing. If I can help just one otherperson achieve those benefits. I can get up and perform just for the sheer pleasure of it without being hounded by that negative voice in my head telling me that I am an idiot and am makinga fool of myself”. “It is such a remarkable programme.” Henry has been teaching EE for almost a year in the northern British Columbia community of Fort St. it is worth it. I noticed that with the EE. that energy is always there. “The work that is being done by the research team at EE is remarkable. It is reassuring for the students to know that there is a clear scientific basis to the programme. “There is an active music community up here in FSJ. I used to have all sorts of blocks about getting up and performing.” The health benefits are also impressive. Canada . Other techniques had left him feeling grounded. With EE. With the changes to my diet recommended by the EE programme.” He is also impressed with the scientific grounding of the techniques provided for the students.
The difference in the way you feel is obvious after the first session. I have this one -. good stuff for general health and mental well-being. but it was difficult for me to achieve effects and keep focused. even if you have done meditation before. Highly recommended. you can use it either to relax and get to sleep.Great program with good instruction. Interestingly. So far my mind has felt clearer and I feel like stress just rolls off of me. Deep breathing is really important. I have done meditation before. There's also a CD included that is great to play on my mp3 player before I go to sleep that guides you through the exercises and meditation. ." It's a deep-breathing technique that systematically oxygenates the body and relieves stress at the same time. April 17. yet the positive effects come fast! This video explains the science behind the breathing techniques. and it changes over time. It also explains how to do it step by step. or to energize yourself for the day. too. The title is Irish Gaelic and pronounced "airu olas. This breathing and meditation program makes it so simple.great for stress relief This review is from: Éiriú Eolas (DVD) Just saw this listed on Amazon. I already own a copy. 2010 This review is from: Éiriú Eolas (DVD) I got this video at the New Life Expo after seeing the lecture there.
In fact.aspx?page=1 It used to be dogma that the brain was shut away from the actions of the immune system. 24. But that’s not how it is at all. scientists believe that they can tap into the body’s natural healing defenses and calm the sepsis storm before it wipes out its victims. 750. More than two decades ago. Each year. sending commands that control the body’s inflammatory response to infection and autoimmune diseases. With this new understanding of the vagus nerve’s role in regulating inflammation. The vagus nerve is located in the brainstem and snakes down from the brain to the heart and on through to the abdomen. and 215. His talk – Physiology and Immunology of the Cholinergic Anti-inflammatory Pathway – will highlight the discoveries made in his laboratory and the clinical trials underway to test the theory that stimulation of the vagus nerve could block a rogue inflammatory response and treat a number of diseases. Dr. Tracey headed into the laboratory to figure out why the body makes its own cells that can do fatal damage. Tracey is a neurosurgeon who came into research through the back door of the operating room. Tracey and others are now studying ways of altering the brain’s response or targeting the immune system itself as a way to control diseases.000 will die no matter how hard doctors fight to save them. She didn’t make it.NERVE’ NEW UNDERSTANDING OF VAGUS NERVE’S ROLE IN REGULATING INFLAMMATION http://www.news-medical. Dr. And stimulating the vagus nerve sent commands to the immune system to stop pumping out toxic inflammatory . it turns out that the brain talks directly to the immune system. will be giving the 2007 Stetten Lecture on Wednesday.000 people in the United States develop severe sepsis. at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. Dr. Tracey discovered that the vagus nerve speaks directly to the immune system through a neurochemical called acetylcholine. and hospitals are the battlegrounds for these potentially lethal conditions. thanks to the scientific detective work of Kevin Tracey. Understanding the intimate relationship is leading to a novel way to treat diseases triggered by a dangerous inflammatory response. Dr. Sepsis is triggered by the body’s own overpowering immune response to a systemic infection. he was treating a young girl whose body had been accidentally scorched by boiling water and she was fighting for her life to overcome sepsis. including life-threatening sepsis.net/news/2007/10/24/31690. shielded from the outside forces of nature. MD. MD. Tracey. Dr. director and chief executive of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. Oct.
He calls this network “the inflammatory reflex. leukemia. please visit: http://www. “This was so surprising to us. who immediately saw the potential to use vagus stimulation as a way to shut off abnormal immune system responses. The Feinstein Institute. Tracey has presented his work to the Dalai Lama.blogspot. sepsis. Inflammation is key to many diseases – from autoimmune conditions like Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis to Alzheimer’s. human genetics.org or http://feinsteininstitute. The relationship between the nervous and immune systems has been accepted as a reality. where scientists have identified a strong inflammatory component. but has been elusive. ranks in the top 6th percentile of all National Institutes of Health grants awarded to research centers. Feinstein researchers are developing new drugs and drug targets. For more information. who has shown a great interest in the neurosciences and the mind-body connection. but explanations based on cellular biology have been slow to materialize. Alzheimer’s disease. Here I will discuss some of the recent experiments that reveal obvious connections between nerves and .markers. lymphoma. Numerous examples in alternative medicine appear to show that a variety of treatments have immunological impacts. lupus. He has also written a book called “Fatal Sequence. NY.com/2008/09/vagus-nerve-controls-intestinal.html Macrophages release inflammatory signals (TNF. psychiatric disorders. IL-1. part of the North Shore-LIJ Health System. neuroimmunology. Headquartered in Manhasset. diabetes. Acupuncture is anti-inflammatory by stimulating the vagus nerve-mediated effects on macrophages. IL-18) that result in tissue inflammation. inflammatory bowel disease. Tracey. The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research is home to international scientific leaders in Parkinson’s disease. IL-6. and medicinal chemistry. rheumatoid arthritis.” Research is now underway to see whether tweaking the brain’s acetylcholine system could be a natural way to control the inflammatory response.typepad.” about the double-edge sword of the immune system.” said Dr. Nicotine is anti-inflammatory by acting on the acetylcholine receptors normally responsive to acetylcholine released by the vagus nerve.com/feinsteinweblog/ VAGUS NERVE INFLAMMATION CONTROLS INTESTINAL http://coolinginflammation. Dr. and producing results where science meets the patient.FeinsteinInstitute.
i. IL-1. vagus stimulation is anti-inflammatory and blocks NFkB activation through a competing transcription factor. for example. are exposed to a bacterium. that are released from the macrophages and trigger behavioral changes in the surrounding cells of the tissue. Returning nerve impulses via the vagus nerve subsequently release acetylcholine back into the surrounding tissue and block inflammation. LPS will signal a macrophage. Expression of the inflammatory genes is controlled by a master transcription factor.macrophages that may explain in medical terms at least part of the efficacy of acupuncture. It has been shown that macrophages also have receptors for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine that is released by branches of the vagus nerve in the intestines. Thus. which are observed as inflammation. Nicotine for example has been observed to block inflammation by LPS. Dilation of blood vessels that causes reddening. inflammatory genes are expressed. NFkB is activated. TNF. IL-18. Acupuncture appears to work by needle stimulation of the vagus nerve that sends signals to the brain. IL-6. lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or endotoxin. It has also been recently shown that excitation of the vagus nerve releases acetylcholine and blocks the response of intestinal macrophages to LPS. NFkB.e. If the sentinel cells of a tissue. and signal the expression of five dozen genes. Dozens of different inputs determine if NFkB will be activated or quieted. Among these genes are inflammatory mediators. that would serve to localize spreading inflammatory signaling and emphasize the source of inflammation for action by the circulating elements of the immune system. STAT3. acupuncture would be exploiting an existing inflammation dampening system. swelling and warmth of tissue inflammation results from changes at the cellular level. receptors on the surface of the macrophages bind fragments of the bacterial cell wall. Thus. . In this context. mediators are secreted and tissue inflammation is observed. Nicotine acts by binding to the acetylcholine receptors of the macrophages and is similarly anti-inflammatory. macrophages.
The mice were then exposed to sodium dextran sulfate (DSS) to simulate inflammatory bowel disease symptoms. Using this technique.INFLAMMATORY MAST CELLS SILENCED http://coolinginflammation. Basically that means that a video camera sensitive to infrared can be used to detect infrared dyes produced when NFkB is activated -. is activated. Further experiments were performed to determine if the inflammatory and anti-inflammatory reactions could be transferred to other mice by transferring cells from the treated mice.html In a previous article. The vagus nerve appears to stimulate regulatory T cells that lower the activity of inflammatory cells.blogspot.com/2009/09/vagus-nerve-controls-gutinflammation. . below). the role of the vagus nerve in gut inflammation was examined using real-time biophotonic labeling. Mice of this strain were prepared with and without the vagus nerve intact leading to the intestines. NFkB. I outlined the role of the vagus nerve in responding to infection/damage signals by producing signals that inhibit inflammation. The cut vagus experiments demonstrated that the vagus nerve was responsible for suppressing inflammation. researchers were able to demonstrate that cutting the vagus nerve produced heightened inflammation in gut treated with an irritant. In a recent article (ref. Cutting the Vagus Nerve Permits Inflammation Mice with intact vagus nerves exhibited much less inflammation in their gut than those without vagus innervation. Inflammation/NFkB Activation Visualized in Live Mice The studies were performed in a mouse line constructed to express an infrared fluorescent protein in cells in which the inflammation transcription factor.the camera is able to visualize regions of inflammation in living mice.
castor oil and menthol. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2009. [Epub ahead of print] . which normally produce an anti-inflammatory response. DSS mice would cause bowel inflammation in other mice. rosacea. This would explain why rosaceans will become inflamed by hot or cold stimulation that would normally lead to anti-inflammatory stimulation of regulatory T cells. O’Mahony L. reduced the population of regulatory T cells (CD4+. signals from vagus nerves will no longer produce anti-inflammatory suppression. Shanahan F. Absence of Regulatory T Cells Can Explain Many Inflammatory Diseases In many inflammatory diseases. van der Kleij HP. Loss of vagal anti-inflammatory effect – in vivo visualization and adoptive transfer. capsaicin. CD25+) Block Inflammation Transfer experiments showed that inflammatory T cells (CD4+.g. Bienenstock J. CD25-) from cut vagus. the regulatory T cell population declined in the presence of inflammatory signals. there appears to be a deficiency of regulatory T cells. Similarly. So. In fact the same nerve signals may become inflammatory. produce inflammation in rosaceans. CD25+) in control mice treated with DSS. celiac. without the vagus stimulation. In the absence regulatory T cells.Regulatory T Cells (CD4+. Further tests showed that either cutting the vagus or adding inflammatory T cells from a mouse with a cut vagus. but that did not happen with the same type of cells from mice with intact vagus nerves. Reference: O’Mahony C. e. Crohn’s disease. Aug 12.
the same breathing style is called “round” breathing by the Chinese in the context of qigong. I have been practicing.ca/articles/breathing. For more than a decade now. I stand on the shoulders of giants. .ca] for Professional Training.” There’s more to it than you think. although in a much different way.1 Interestingly. It’s the tip of an iceberg most people have never seen or heard of. What I teach today is an adaptation of what I am still learning whenever I visit Gabriola.BREATHING: THE ART OF BIOENERGETIC BREATHING: A POWERFUL TOOL FOR PERSONAL GROTH AND TRANSFORMATION by Paul Ingraham http://saveyourself. teaching and exploring an unusual form of therapeutic breathing. I learned about bioenergetic breathing from Joanne Peterson and Drs.haven.” and has its origins in the bodywork philosophies that emerged originally from Alexander Lowen’s interpretations of Reich and Jung. It is known as “bioenergetic breathing. So when I teach this kind of breathing. Having difficulty breathing? If you are having difficulty breathing.php The shoulders of giants Someone tells you to “take a deep breath. please see below for possible causes in Appendix: Difficulty Breathing. Jock McKeen and Bennet Wong at Gabriola Island’s renowned Haven Institute [www. and has deep roots in that culture.
Breathing with your body Bioenergetic breathing is basically just fast. continue for five to ten minutes. . In a typical bioenergetic breathing session. I am more of a coach. Go as fast as you reasonably can while still actually taking and expelling a good chest-full of air. deep breathing. and the upper respiratory tract is simply an obstacle course. How fast is fast? “Fast” is roughly double to triple your normal resting respiratory rate — about the same as if you’d just been exercising. which is assertive and full. and potentially useful. nose and throat.ca/articles/anatomy-of-vitality. and then wind down again. Although I offer many suggestions while “coaching” a breathing session. “Wow. For more information about the deeper philosophy of breathing. The mouth and throat are open wide. Most people attempt to breathe predominantly with their mouth. Every kind of breathing is intrinsically expressive of the individual. It emphasizes inhalation. and to use deep breath to reveal personal habits. If you were to breathe like this in front of someone. It does not pause at the top or the bottom of the breath. they would say. Depth is more important than speed. never shaping or controlling the movement of air. this is not because anyone ever breathes incorrectly.php]. it is the body that breathes. but act otherwise normal. And it’s easy. removed from the path of the breath. not a “call 911” pace. In fact. you might work up to a vigorous pace of breathing in the space of a minute or two. I do not have the conceit of the healer when I do this work. hey. read The Anatomy of Vitality [http://saveyourself. The overall effect is pretty vigorous. forming a smooth sine wave. It induces heightened and altered states of awareness and sensation. Don’t cut corners off the amplitude of the breath just to get greater speed. but it doesn’t have to be ridiculous. But I suggest that you just try it first … I think that you’ll like it. My job is to encourage new and unfamiliar breathing – to stimulate altered states.No therapy at all What I enjoy most about this form of “therapy” is that it is no therapy at all. what’s up? You been running or something? Doing some kind of deep breathing exercise?” It’s an eyebrow-raising pace. And what’s the point of all this breathing? Breathing is stimulating. but simply a kind of education. limitations and resistance to full experience of life.
most people will experience anxiety. dry throat. it is usually accompanied by tetanus — sustained but mild contraction of muscles. As a coach. “the fade” is the most difficult of all avoidance tactics to navigate. Sounds dramatic. frustration or apathy. Obviously. it is typical of most aging biological organisms.The surprising challenges of deep breathing For something so simple.” and your lips will feel like you’ve just been to the dentist! This is different than spasm. oh my! Transient physiological consequences of deep breathing The challenge is complicated by the fact that bioenergetic breathing tends to cause three harmless but potentially alarming side-effects: parasthesia. bioenergetic breathing proves to be a surprising challenge for nearly everyone. So what is it that gives people such trouble? The challenge is emotional. Getting past these defenses is so surprisingly difficult that most people need coaching. Parasthesia simply means “altered sensation. and encourage you to actually experience all of the new sensations – instead of developing a sudden. frustration or (most problematic) a suspiciously intense apathy. and tremors. at the fingertips and in the toes. and they tend to go away with practice. keep you breathing clearly. tetanus and tremors. doesn’t it? Well. and we humans have an enormous repertoire of tactics for controlling and limiting the experience so that it is a little less boat-rocking. It wears off quickly. This is powerful stuff. experiencing fear.” usually in the form of tingling that starts around the mouth. As a breathing coach. tremors may sweep through the body . an attack of silliness. and so on. I myself went through them and came out the other side many years ago. wheezing. intense interest in something else. and it is more stiff than painful. aches and pains that magically pop out of nowhere. Shallow breath constitutes a comfort zone that we are reluctant to leave. But these experiences really are harmless. The hands and feet tend to “claw up. I get sleepy and tune out. Most struggle. squirming. I can spot all your tricks. and it happens to be my own favourite reaction to breathing: when the going gets tough. Shallow breathing is the norm in our society. As they attempt to proceed. As it advances and spreads. Parasthesia. Some common avoidance behaviours that I’ve observed over the years include chain yawning. it is kind of exciting. Finally. blowing and hissing. Shallow breath constitutes a comfort zone that we are reluctant to leave. tetanus. In fact. the challenge isn’t technical — it’s just heavy breathing. giggles or ticklishness. Breathing hard stirs up interesting and alarming sensations.
Bioenergetic breathing can be a handy way to deliberately induce cathartic crying jags. “When you’re done. expect it to take a while. Sadness and anger are the two great unexpressed emotions in our society. both physiological and psychological. some people notice that they cry every time they breathe like this. These symptoms are produced by an altered mind-body state. but this too passes rapidly — and should actually be indulged when it occurs. perhaps favouring a specific limb or side. The tendency to tremor is a “letting go. Any sensation you experience during breathing will go away as you slow down and stop. Soul diving! You might become emotional during bioenergetic breathing. “What else is there? When will I be done crying?” The answer is. The breathing shakes us loose. I must emphasize again that all of these side-effects are temporary. Most of us have deep wells of them. simply because they don’t breathe enough. and a privilege to experience. It’s a very distinctive sensation. And that is what this work is all about. Indeed. The tingling is the sensation of qi — when your hands are tingling fiercely with qi.” We are all hanging on tightly to so very much. Let yourself shake.2 It is not dangerous in any way. and virtually any other kind of emotional experience is possible for different people. it feels like you are holding balls of fire. But trust me: there is something beyond all the crying. But many also feel like they want to hit something (hint: try a pillow!). I advise you not to try to stop it. or for the same person in different sessions. I often explain to people that martial arts and yoga practitioners may study for their entire lives without knowing the sensation of qi. Bioenergetic breathing is not hyperventilation. Feeling sad and frustrated are the most common reactions to breathing. including out own bodies.erratically. The tetanus is a consequence of some changes in blood chemistry. . It’s soul diving. Be free! Martial arts and yoga practitioners may study their entire lives without knowing the sensation of qi.” If you’ve been holding back sadness for thirty years. Most people feel like crying. prompting the question.
But you can work up to all kinds of noisy nonsense. There are no rules. leaning backwards. And on and on … . You’ll be amazed at how long you can do it. or randomly. The possibilities in this category alone are virtually limitless. flat on your back with the knees up. That’s a good place to start. Try visualizations. Try adding sound to breathing. squatting. For a real challenge. Call me if you have questions or you want a coach. either rhythmically and repetitively.Possibilities Go to it. “fill” the less flexible parts of yourself. I’ll leave you with a few of those … • • • • • • • • • Try breathing like mad for a five minutes and then holding your breath for a while. like you are groaning with satisfaction and weariness at the end of the week. Try breathing in different positions. the solar plexus. the upper chest. do not hesitate to be emotionally noisy. one out. while doing virtually any stretch … Try breathing in different patterns: three sharp breaths in. Some classic positions are: draped over an exercise ball (face up or face down). Slow down and stop if you get alarmed. child’s pose. Try adding movement to the breathing. If you have the privacy. Try breathing by “filling” different parts of your body: the deep belly. touching your toes. Start with noisy exhalations. or visualize yourself like a coal that swells with heat and light when you blow on it! I like that one … Try breathing with music that you love. but many possibilities. Two examples: pull energy in through your head with the intake and flush it out your toes on the exhalation.
perfectbreathing. as well as the Breath Pacer application for the iPhone.RETRAINING. And I came to realize that in every one of these interventions the common or even primary mechanism was breath control and although there were different techniques and forms – alternate nostril breathing. schizophrenics. BREATH RETRAINING. it didn’t matter.it was ultimately about slow deep breathing. Whether it was a chronic population on an in-patient ward. and it became clear . Dr. Perfect Breath: What was it that initially sparked your interest in the breath and its applications to health and wellness? Fred Muench: I went to school for clinical psychology and during my training I realized that every patient intervention uses a stress management technique even if it is just as an adjunct. NERVE. So we started hearing more and more about it. After I graduated I was working at Columbia doing process research into the mechanisms of change in people. We were looking at social support. depressives. Fred Muench is a clinical psychologist who served on the team that developed the Helicor StressEraser bio-feedback device for breath-based stress reduction. with some startling revelations on the profound effects breathing has on depression. Muench offers a unique perspective into the science and application of conscious breathing. anxiety cases. There was also the mindfulness revolution of the early nineties which occurred while I was in grad school.com/breath-retraining-vagus-nerve-and-depression-dr-fredmuench Dr. FRED MUENCH http://www. THE VAGUS NERVE. and at people changing their environments. there was always some form of stress management that was a part of the treatment. different counts and ratios . AND DEPRESSION DR DEPRESSION WITH DR. stimulus control techniques. anxiety and hypertension.
stress reduction methods like meditation or breath retraining . studies. But in depressives that is exactly what you want. Compared to active relaxation treatments that don’t utilize breath retraining as an active component. Typically people think these are not great outcomes.the powerful effects on depressives. . So I started focusing on breathwork more and more as time went on. it is extremely powerful. low heart-rate variability (HRV). and reduced low-frequency HRV. recuperate. The effect sizes are either large or very large and that is compared to active treatment not placebo.stress reduction techniques were an excellent predictor of outcome. and stress reduction. Since leaving Helicor. It is not a one way intervention. Low skin conductance. Whether it was engaging in physical activity. Breath retraining reduces sympathetic nervous system over arousal and increases para-sympathetic nervous system activity – the relax. regenerate system –which calms you down. and investigations that you’ve conducted. The whole body is under-aroused – it can’t get moving. what has surprised you the most? FM: My perception. The effects are so significant they make any drug look like a placebo. was that breathing techniques help with stress arousal and anxiety and stress-related conditions. but brings the body into to equilibrium so it can work. That was what really took me by surprise . breath retraining. With depressives the problem seems to be under arousal.that stress reduction was a key part of how people changed their behavior. At that time Helicor was looking for a director of clinical research. Increased vagus nerve tone activates parts of the body that need activating and quells the parts that need to be relaxed. I’ve been working on applications like the Breath Pacer for the iPhone. which is all true. focused on psycho-physiology and what happens to the body as people are breathing. Proper breathing seems to bring balance to the body. Unfortunately these outcomes have not been widely publicized which is a shame. as well as other applications and phones as well. What shocked me was the powerful effect of breath retraining on the symptoms of depression! What I found so interesting was that when you have an anxious or hyper-tense population. Perhaps one of the most important outcomes is increased vagal nerve tone. and I think that of the general public as well. These are all indicators of depression. what you are dealing with is sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight system) over-arousal. Breath retraining increases skin conductance and increases low-frequency HRV. The vagus nerve is the primary pacifying nerve in the body. That led me full force into this entire world of biofeedback. PB: During the research.
. yoga. Where they take it from there is up to them.who don’t understand the concept of slowing down their breath. and when your mind wanders. I’ve been quite surprised at how many people are oblivious to the effects of their breath . StressEraser has the added benefit showing you the breaks in the waves so you can see what is happening. especially on the subway. It really is a simple mechanism. By slowing down your breathing you create more vagal activity. The physiological effects of just focusing on breath are so powerful. maximizing its benefits. while the StressEraser is actually a biofeedback device. These technologies provide them with a window into the power of breath. The down side is that some people are very anxious and get even more stressed out seeing their physiology being tracked on the device. rapid breathing patterns inhibit the vagus because the period of vagal activity is too short and the nerve does not have time to pacify the other nerves that it touches. I’ll just close my eyes and use the audio component to guide my breathing and do 20 minutes of breathwork on the way to the office. During exhalation your heart rate decelerates and during that period of deceleration the vagus becomes active. and Breath Pacer? FM: There is a difference in the function and value between StressEraser and Breath Pacer. that is even better. With bio-feedback devices (such as StressEraser) you can train yourself to keep the heart-rate deceleration for as long as possible. Both of these devices make breath retraining accessible to those who don’t know about it or have difficulty performing the activity. that alone would be sufficient.PB: What is the connection between the breath and the vagus nerve? How does the breath impact vagus function? FM: The breath’s effects on the vagus occur primarily during exhalation. or meditation. but if they graduate into integrating other practices such as mindfulness. PB: What do you see as the main benefits of using biofeedback technologies like StressEraser. The ultimate goal however is to encourage people to practice focusing on their breath. or are chest breathers. I personally found that I was easily distracted doing breathwork and discovered that the external focus provided by the device was very helpful. For those people the simple metronome function of the Breath Pacer might be a better place to start. Shallow. accentuating its relaxing and regenerating effects. It does help you to stay focused. The Breath Pacer is a simple metronome.
get help. That is my focus because we can see it happening.anything with the experience of guided training. a video. But as I said there is not enough solid research yet to know the specific impacts of these different types of breathing. or a qi gong class . Clearly you see heartrate deceleration during breath holding and I think taking slow inhales with long holding before the exhale helps . which helps determine the proper breath rate to create that autonomic balance. If you are having difficulty. helps to lateralize the brain (emphasize one hemisphere over the other). We know that around 6 breaths per minute. Get some sort of professional help. You can breate 6 breaths per minute from your chest. deep breathing? FM: In terms of research. but some people need help. That is what we’ve done with Breath Pacer. . What I’ve learned it that it is a lot harder than I thought it was to teach proper breathing. But I don’t know of specific research regarding breath holding. a book. for example. and perhaps affect visual acuity as well. there seems to be the suggestion that alternate nostril breathing. Studies that have been done don’t seem to have good control groups.particularly in situations where you are dealing with anxiety in the moment. I just want to look at the empirical information. People enter their height which indicates how the blood flows through body. PB: What do you recommend for people wanting to get started with breathwork? FM: There are two things: The technology can help them get started focusing on their breathing and help guide them. such as alternate nostril breathing? How do these practices differ from simple slow. As a researcher.PB: What are the benefits of specific practices. but you’ll probably hyperventilating after 3 minutes and decide that it is a bunch of garbage. A lot of practices use it. activate certain regions of the brain. Some people are chest breathers and no amount of technology will change that. anything that will help you understand the fundamentals of the practice. you get the autonomic balance. but I would recommend that they take 2 hours out of their life to either join a yoga class. However. there is currently much more anecdotal evidence.. That is why I focused on autonomic balance where breathing is in synchronicity with your heart rate. It is the same with breath holding. Some people get it right away.
” “I can’t tell you what you’ve done for my life. I have lots of opportunities! It has made a huge impact in terms of my personal emotional reactivity. I found that I was using it as a crutch rather than a preventative measure. I seem to have found a measure of peace.especially now that I have kids.not your only tool but a very important tool that can help you function throughout the day. I use it mostly on the train for 20 minutes on my way in to the office and also on the way home and I feel much more even-keeled.perfectbreathing. I’m not seeing patients any more. Now it is a part of daily routine.” It is a glorious feeling and it really makes your day. I can go right to engaging with my family because I’ve had that time to myself. nicer person. The best thing though is people calling the company and telling us that this has changed their life. Discover more ways you can improve your health. speak. how have these techniques changed your life? How are you using them? FM: That is a great question . Reach them at info@perfectbreathing. and blog tirelessly on the subject. “I’m a better. and finding peace on a NY subway . For example I’d get into a situation . train.com. It’s tool that I’ve integrated into my life and recommend that other do as well. performance. As I was learning and integrating it into my life. I can come to work much more balanced.PB: How has this knowledge. and I always know that I have it up my sleeve.like going to a last-minute meeting – where I was feeling anxious and using the breathing and feeling like it wasn’t working. but I integrated it into my practice by showing patients how to use the techniques preventatively. Don Campbell and Al Lee are the authors of Perfect Breathing: Transform Your Life One Breath At A Time (Sterling Publishing/2008) and write. Where everyone else on the subway just seems annoyed.in and of itself .is more than anyone can ask! PB: That is a quite an accomplishment! FM: In terms of clinical practice.” “I’m more mellow.com . I can walk in the door and my kids will jump on me and I don’t need that 5 minutes or so to decompress and get settled. and wellbeing at www. I don’t react to situations. trying to get them to realize that it is a very important tool .
html Acetylcholine. alpha7nAChR agonists and EPA and DHA may augment the formation of anti-inflammatory lipid molecules: lipoxins. Peripheral macrophages and synovial fibroblasts respond in vitro to specific alpha7nAChR cholinergic stimulation with potent inhibition of proinflammatory cytokines. Fibroblasts balance inflammatory mechanisms and arthritis development through feedback cholinergic stimulation by nearby immune cells. resolvins. resolvins.com/headlines/370612/can_vagus_nerve_stimulation_halt_or_ameliorate_rheu matoid_arthritis_and_lupus. it is proposed that vagal nerve stimulation. In view of their similar anti-inflammatory actions. Collagen induced arthritis in alpha7nAChR(-/-) mice was significantly severe and showed increased synovial inflammation and joint destruction compared to the wild-type mice. the principal vagus neurotransmitter. Strong expression of alpha7nAChR in the synovium of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis patients was detected. polyunsaturated fatty acids: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) also suppress inflammation. This implies that therapies directed at regulation of the cholinergic and alpha7nAChR mediated mechanisms and enhancing the formation of lipoxins. lupus and other rheumatolo . Similar to vagal nerve stimulation and alpha7nAChR agonists. protectins and maresins. inhibits inflammation by suppressing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines through a mechanism dependent on the alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor subunit (alpha7nAChR) that explains why vagus nerve stimulation is anti-inflammatory in nature.CAN VAGUS NERVE STIMULATION HALT OR LUPUS? AMELIORATE RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS AND LUPUS? http://7thspace. protectins and maresins may halt and/or ameliorate rheumatoid arthritis.
Focal epilepsy would appear to be connected with brain function.drugaddiction.NERVE. tics. more a survival function. Both epilepsy and drug addiction are still considered by some to have congenital. genetic origin – in both cases no genetic cause has in fact been located. EPILEPSY AND DRUG ADDICTION http://answers. There is also a wide range of non-epileptic seizures. and sometimes have psychosomatic causes.ca/drug-addiction/vagus-nerve-epilepsy-drug-addiction/ Holistic support for the vagus nerve. reaching the heart. with . tremors and spasms that have the appearance of epilepsy – but without the cerebral discharge. The vagus nerve means “wandering” and indeed the vagus (10th cranial) nerve extends direct from our brain throughout the body. boosting the immune system and trying to restore equilibrium. our muscles and our skin. and bring the body back to homeostasis. In an effort to compensate for stress factors. Non epileptic seizures seem to be associated with somatic aberrations. not optimal to good health. Chronic stress causes the sympathetic nervous system to gear up the body in a defensive way. VAGUS NERVE. that is part of our parasympathetic nervous system could bring about an end to epilepsy and drug addiction. our digestive system and peripheral organs. the vagus nerve is activated. There is evidence of glial function in the brain trying to compensate for stress where epilepsy is involved. and very often tonic-clonic spasms and convulsions. Epilepsy is precisely caused by excessive discharge of electrical activity in the brain resulting in loss of consciousness.
much of the stress that we suffer from today comes from the necessity of having to deal with toxic human relationships from a position of relative powerlessness. using holistic therapy – people can achieve recovery from drug addiction and epileptic symptoms. Both epilepsy and drug addiction can be a result of chronic over stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system. For some it is the epileptic discharge of mental and physical tension – for others it might be taking refuge in alcohol use. The epileptic response would appear to be a natural type of ECT devised by the body to rid itself of both physical and emotional tensions generated by overwhelmingly toxic stress. Causes of epilepsy are known to be sources of intense stimulation. we have no choice. and parasympathetic attempts by the vagus nerve. helping to bring the body into balance and harmony – using methods that are natural – and 100% drug free. virtually all psychosomatic. and other body regulators to try and down regulate the stress. such as flickering lights. Apart from physical toxic stressors. We don’t get catharsis by negotiation.increasingly strong indications that for both disorders it is trauma and an abusive childhood that is causal of these symptoms. A similar effect is achieved when people compulsively turn to drug and substance abuse. no option – to emotionally survive the situation – we have to take drastic action. trying to conquer the stress. . or binaural sound entrainment. Sadly. Holistic methods and treatments provide parasympathetic support. auto immune and compulsive. and a hyperactive vagus nerve. modern day life abounds with traumatic. In a holistic sense. impulsive disorders can be explained in terms of conflict between the mind-activated sympathetic nervous system. When emotional conflicts are resolved. the glilia. A holistic approach has no difficulty with treating both epilepsy and drug addiction as symptoms of distress – each being the best way that the individual concerned learnt to defend against and tried to deal with particular stressors in their life. or shooting up with a needle. toxic emotional conflicts and stress.
Yale. the Dalai Lama. Duke. but to learn what we know about regeneration of the body. The point wasn’t to learn how to treat disease. stem cells. New York. MEDITAION & HEALTH http://drhyman. Mehmet Oz. Columbia. protection from illness. Buddhist scholars. ON VAGUS NERVE. it was! The goal of the conference might sound complex — but it was quite simple. genetics.com/ “The mind has great influence over the body. the immune system. and maladies often have their origin there.” — Moliere What were Dean Ornish. and more from MIT. brain aging. last week? We — along with an assortment of Tibetan monks and doctors. So what did we talk about? . stress physiology. Dan Brown. and prize-winning biomedical scientists in the field of aging.NERVE. If that seems intriguing. We were there to investigate the relationship between the science of longevity and wellness and the ancient Indo-Tibetan practices of meditation and training the mind. The convergence of “post-modern biology” — the new science of “systems” thinking and medicine — and the ancient wisdom and practices of Tibetan medicine and Buddhism was startling. and UCSF — were all part of a special conference at the Menla Center. and optimization of our function and wellbeing. Harvard. and I all doing in Woodstock. The subject of this conference: Longevity and Tibetan medicine. meditation researchers.
promoting system breakdown and aging. . For example. Simply put. and you can switch on the genes that help control inflammation. as you know from my books Ultraprevention and UltraMetabolism. He describes this as the inflammatory reflex (i). But this isn’t just any nerve. reduce inflammation. Let me explain. It is the most important nerve coming from the brain and travels to all the major organs. we explored the relationship between the nervous system and health and aging. As you get older. discovered how the brain controls the immune system through a direct nerve-based connection. Kevin Tracey. And.Well. meditation. You can actually control your gene function by this method. Even more fascinating was the discovery that our bodies can regenerate at any age. Activate the vagus nerve. it is the way the immune system responds to the mind. the director of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. your immune system produces more inflammatory molecules. by activating the vagus nerve. and other ancient practices. What’s the benefit of that? Well. and the connection between the immune system and health. By creating positive brain states — as meditation masters have done for centuries — you can switch on the vagus nerve and control inflammation. That’s not just talk. and your nervous system turns on the stress response. inflammation is one of the central factors of disease and aging. It’s backed by scientific studies. for one thing. But that’s not all we learned at the conference. And you can activate this nerve — through relaxation. Your immune system is controlled by a nerve call the vagus nerve. you can control your immune cells. and even prevent disease and aging! It’s true.
So what does this have to do with relaxation? The HRV is also controlled by the vagus nerve. bowel. PhD. .Diane Krause. MD. In biology. The result? They found higher levels of gamma brain waves and thicker brain cortexes (the areas associated with higher brain function) in meditators. the healthier we are. And how are these stem cells controlled? You guessed it: the vagus nerve. the healthier you are. The least complex heart rate is the worst — a flat line. from Yale University discovered that our own innate adult stem cells (cells that can turn into any cell in the body from our bone marrow) could be transformed into liver. and stillness — can activate the vagus nerve. (ii) This is a phenomenal breakthrough. So relaxation — a state of calm. The more complex and resilient we are. They’ve mapped out the brain function of “professional meditators” by bringing Tibetan lamas trained in concentration and mental control into the laboratory. (iii) Relaxation can have other powerful effects on our biology. And the vagus nerve. peace. The same is true for us. It means that we have the power to create new cells and renew our own organs and tissues at any age. in turn. Its complexity is called heart rate variability (HRV) or beat-to-beat variability. Scientists have even shown how meditation makes the brain bigger and better. our heartbeat. activates your stem cells to regenerate and renew your tissues and organs. Here’s why. and skin cells. for example. Take. The more complex your HRV. being a complex system that can adapt to its environment and that is resilient and flexible is critical to health. lung.
where he was tortured. but our responses to those stressors. peaceful. In fact. and prohibited from practicing his traditions for more than 20 years.As you can see. Perhaps stress is more about the stories we tell ourselves about our lives. one of the leading theories of aging is that the protective ends of our DNA (called telomeres) shorten as we age. What is remarkable is that they didn’t suffer from posttraumatic stress syndrome — that they emerged intact. The monk replied that it was his fear that he would lose compassion for his Chinese jailers! I have met a number of these old monks. As we learned at the conference. . the damaging effects of stress are clear. happy. smiling. placed in solitary confinement. By learning to create positive brain states through deep relaxation or meditation. you can: * Reduce inflammation * Help regenerate your organs and cells by activating stem cells * Increase your heart rate variability * Thicken your brain (which normally shrinks with aging). the Dalai Lama told a story of a Tibetan monk he met who had been in a Chinese gulag. We learned that it’s not always outside stressors that are the most important. and giving back to the world. who spent the better part of their lives imprisoned and tortured. On the other hand. turning on the relaxation response and activating that vagus nerve is critical to health. The Dalai Lama asked him what his greatest stress was. Let me review what we learned at the conference. * Boost immune function * Modulate your nervous system * Reduce depression and stress * Enhance performance * Improve your quality of life Not bad for just learning to chill out! Think you’re too stressed out to relax? Not so fast.
they become so short that the end of our DNA unravels and we can no longer replicate our cells. Perhaps the development of compassion and wisdom in coping with unfavorable life conditions is the true key to longevity. The caregivers who felt the care to be a burden had shorter telomeres. There is a new scientific language to understand how the qualities of the mind control the body through effects on the vagus nerve. the Dalai Lama said that the seat of compassion is actually biological and — necessary for survival. PhD. immune cells.Elizabeth Blackburn. Find a teacher or check out tapes or CDs [Practice the Éiriú Eolas Program!] 2) Stretch it out. What’s even more remarkable? In a study of caregivers of sick patients. Then you can have a healthy. while those who saw their work as an opportunity to be compassionate had no shortening. DNA. which can be as high as 120+ years! So here are a few tips to activate your vagus nerve and prevent aging: 1) Learn to meditate. your body has all the resources and infinitely adaptable systems to self-regulate. Yoga can be a great way to release tension and deeply relax. thriving life — and live out your full lifespan. stem cells. so they die. explained that. who discovered telomeres. You simply have to learn how to work with your body. . rather than against it. and thrive. the health of the caregivers’ telomeres was determined by their attitude! It sounds impossible. (iv) In closing. ultimately. Remarkably. The ways we can change our bodies through changing our minds is not longer a theory. regenerate. It just may be that working to understand our true nature through the cultivation of our minds and hearts with positive practices like meditation or similar techniques is critical to health and longevity. telomeres. repair. Remember. Try a yoga class in your area. but it’s true. and more. mental stress produces a more rapid shortening of the telomeres — and leads to faster aging.
2002 Jun. Wasserman RH. Adler NE. Mark Hyman.16(17):1893-7. Write in your journal about your inner experience — this has been shown to boost immunity and reduce inflammation. Massage has been proven to boost immunity and relaxes the body deeply. Kerr CE. 853 – 859 (19 Dec 2002) ii Krause DS. Benson H. The only way you can do it is if you are not stressed! 6) Get back to nature. Greve DN. Cawthon RM. Lin J. 2005 Nov 28. McGarvey M. Morrow JD. Dusek JA. Now I’d like to hear from you… Have you noticed how stress affects you? Have you noticed people looking older after significant life stressors? Have you noticed how people who seem to have a happy disposition or compassionate attitude toward life don’t seem to age as quickly as people who are angry and miserable? Do you have any other suggestions for how to reduce stress. Learn qi gong. Quinn BT. Climb a mountain and watch a sunrise.101(49):17312-5. 5) Make love. Accelerated telomere shortening in response to life stress. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. or better yet. Tracey. 4) Get rubbed the right way. 7) Express yourself. Epub 2004 Dec 1. . Moore CI. Gene Ther. which will calm your nervous system. Nature 420. Review. Plasticity of marrow-derived stem cells. 2004 Dec 7. The inflammatory reflex. Fischl B.9(11):754-8. iv Epel ES. Rauch SL. iii Lazar SW. Treadway MT. Neuroreport.3) Get some energy. a relaxing ancient system of energy treatment and balancing. how to better your manage your own response to stressful events? To your good health. Gray JR. Dhabhar FS. Meditation experience is associated with increased cortical thickness. Blackburn EH. MD Notes i Kevin J.
When sensory cells in the inner ear are damaged. in Dallas. “Because there are too .. debilitating for others. “Current treatments for tinnitus generally involve masking the sound or learning to ignore it. which funded a large part of the research. and currently incurable.D. “If we can find a way to turn off the noise.D. Similar to pressing a reset button in the brain. The research was conducted by scientists from the University of Texas at Dallas and MicroTransponder Inc. Jr. associate professor of behavior and brain sciences at UT-Dallas.” said Michael Kilgard. and a co-principal investigator on the study. the resulting hearing loss changes some of the signals sent from the ear to the brain. For reasons that are not fully understood. and things begin to go awry. “We believe the part of the brain that processes sounds—the auditory cortex— delegates too many neurons to some frequencies. Battey.TINNITUS: VAGUS NERVE STIMULATION – TINNITUS: LATEST “ELIMINATE RESEARCH RESULTS MAY HELP TO “ELIMINATE THE TINNITUS” SOURCE OF THE TINNITUS” http://www.D. director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD). M. Ph.” said James F.. such as from loud noise. some people will develop tinnitus as a result. this new therapy was found to help retrain the part of the brain that interprets sound so that errant neurons reverted back to their original state and the ringing disappeared..com/tag/vagus-nerve-stimulation/ NIH-funded researchers were able to eliminate tinnitus in a group of rats by stimulating a nerve in the neck while simultaneously playing a variety of sound tones over an extended period of time. Ph.. The hallmark of tinnitus is often a persistent ringing in the ears that is annoying for some. we’ll be able to improve life substantially for the nearly 23 million American adults who suffer from this disorder.mattasons.. says a study published today in the advance online publication of the journal Nature.” Tinnitus is a symptom some people experience as a result of hearing loss.
tones with no VNS. In a second group of rats.many neurons processing the same frequencies. M. indicating that the tone alone was not enough to initiate the change. a large nerve that runs from the head and neck to the abdomen. The researchers found that the number of neurons tuned to the 9 kHz frequency had jumped by 79 percent in comparison to the control rats. Rats in the control group received VNS with no tones. indicating that the ringing had stopped for the treated rats. it releases acetylcholine. with the playing of a single tone.. to eight rats. roaring. Conversely. . measurements were taken four weeks after noise exposure. and others on the research team first sought to induce changes in the auditory cortex of a group of rats by pairing stimulation of the vagus nerve. of MicroTransponder. researchers played a high-pitched tone. and three weeks after therapy ended. the researchers followed two treated and two control rats for an additional two months and found that the treated rats maintained this benefit for 3. According to Dr. at 9 kilohertz (kHz). norepinephrine. At the same time that the tone was played. an electrode delivered a very small electrical pulse to the vagus nerve. the researchers tested whether tinnitus could be reversed in noise-exposed rats by increasing the numbers of neurons tuned to frequencies other than the tinnitus frequency. Neurons tuned to the higher frequency increased by 70 percent while neurons tuned to the 4 kHz tone actually decreased in number. Dr. It had to be accompanied by vagus nerve stimulation (VNS). it’s these changing brain patterns that produce tinnitus. or no therapy. but it may also be heard as clicking. When the vagus nerve is stimulated..” In addition. along with co-principal investigator Navzer Engineer. Kilgard. or a whooshing sound. including midway through therapy.D. then 10 days after therapy began. while the controls continued to be impaired. They wanted to find out if they could induce more brain cells to become responsive to that tone over a period of time. Kilgard. and one day. one week. the data from control rats indicated their tinnitus had continued throughout the testing period. Inc. 300 times a day. and other chemicals that help encourage changes in the brain. Rats that received the VNS paired with tones showed promising results for each time point after therapy began. For both groups.5 months after noise exposure.D. the neurons fire in sync with one another and they also fire more frequently when it is quiet. Next. A group of the noise-exposed rats with tinnitus received VNS that was paired with different tones surrounding the tinnitus frequency 300 times a day for about three weeks. For 20 days. they are firing much stronger than they should be. Ph. What’s more.. which is usually a high-pitched tone in one or both ears. they randomly played two different tones—one at 4 kHz and the other at 19 kHz—but stimulated the vagus nerve only for the higher tone.
“The key is that. . and whether the treatment would work equally well for new tinnitus cases in comparison to long-term cases.” MicroTransponder is a neuroscience-based medical device company that is working to develop treatments for a variety of neurological diseases. Engineer. the researchers found that the VNS treatment paired with tones had not only reorganized the neurons to respond to their original frequencies. “The clinical protocol is being finalized now and a pilot study in tinnitus patients will be conducted in Europe in the near future. chronic pain. but it also made the brain responses sharper. how long the treatment should last. decreased excitability. This indicated that the tinnitus had disappeared. However.” said Dr. Kilgard.” said Dr. “The support of the NIDCD has been essential to allow our research team to continue our work in this important area of tinnitus research. where they remained. the control group levels continued to be distorted. We are retuning the brain from a state where it generates tinnitus to a state that does not generate tinnitus. and decreased synchronization of auditory cortex neurons.000 people with epilepsy or depression. indicating that the tinnitus persisted. including tinnitus. and anxiety. we’re not hiding the tinnitus. We are eliminating the source of the tinnitus. the researchers are currently working to fine-tune the procedure to better understand such details as the most effective number of paired frequencies to use for treatment. vice president of preclinical affairs at MicroTransponder. unlike previous treatments. Overall. VNS is currently being used to treat roughly 50. we’re not masking the tinnitus. and MicroTransponder hopes to conduct clinical studies using VNS with paired tones in tinnitus patients. In the meantime.The researchers also evaluated neural responses in the auditory cortex in these same rats and found that neurons in the treated rats had returned to their normal levels.
will be giving the 2007 Stetten Lecture on Wednesday. MD.000 will die no matter how hard doctors fight to save them. and hospitals are the battlegrounds for these potentially lethal conditions. thanks to the scientific detective work of Kevin Tracey.VERVE’ NEW UNDERSTANDING OF VAGUS VERVE’S ROLE IN REGULATING INFLAMMATION It used to be dogma that the brain was shut away from the actions of the immune system. The vagus nerve is located in the brainstem and snakes down from the brain to the heart and on through to the abdomen. Each year. at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. scientists believe that they can tap into the body’s natural healing defenses and calm the sepsis storm before it wipes out its victims. including life-threatening sepsis.000 people in the United States develop severe sepsis. 24. director and chief executive of The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research. 750. With this new understanding of the vagus nerve’s role in regulating inflammation. Oct. Sepsis is triggered by the body’s own overpowering immune response to a systemic infection. shielded from the outside forces of nature. MD. it turns out that the brain talks directly to the immune system. Tracey. Dr. Understanding the intimate relationship is leading to a novel way to treat diseases triggered by a dangerous inflammatory response. sending commands that control the body’s inflammatory response to infection and autoimmune diseases. His talk – Physiology and Immunology of the Cholinergic Anti-inflammatory Pathway – will highlight the discoveries made in his laboratory and the clinical trials underway to test the theory that stimulation of the vagus nerve could block a rogue inflammatory response and treat a number of diseases. But that’s not how it is at all. In fact. and 215. Tracey and others are now studying . Dr.
Tracey is a neurosurgeon who came into research through the back door of the operating room. Tracey has presented his work to the Dalai Lama. More than two decades ago. where scientists have identified a strong inflammatory component.ways of altering the brain’s response or targeting the immune system itself as a way to control diseases. about the double-edge sword of the immune system. Dr. . She didn’t make it. Dr. Dr. Tracey. He calls this network “the inflammatory reflex.” Research is now underway to see whether tweaking the brain’s acetylcholine system could be a natural way to control the inflammatory response. Tracey headed into the laboratory to figure out why the body makes its own cells that can do fatal damage. Dr. Tracey discovered that the vagus nerve speaks directly to the immune system through a neurochemical called acetylcholine. “This was so surprising to us. Inflammation is key to many diseases – from autoimmune conditions like Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis to Alzheimer’s. who immediately saw the potential to use vagus stimulation as a way to shut off abnormal immune system responses. who has shown a great interest in the neurosciences and the mind-body connection. he was treating a young girl whose body had been accidentally scorched by boiling water and she was fighting for her life to overcome sepsis. He has also written a book called Fatal Sequence.” said Dr. And stimulating the vagus nerve sent commands to the immune system to stop pumping out toxic inflammatory markers.
Tracey and colleagues have found that when the vagus nerve detects interleukin-1 (left).000 people each year in the United States alone1. The molecular details of a connection between the nervous system and the inflammatory response to disease have been uncovered. exaggerated and chaotic version of the usually well-organized inflammatory arm of our immune defences. by acupuncture. These immune cells then make and release various cytokine ('alarm') molecules. Although a great deal of time and effort has been spent researching septic shock. including tumour-necrosis factor (TNF) and interleukin-1. One . which stimulates macrophages. Several drugs (orange boxes) inhibit steps in TNF synthesis. or with the use of nicotine (which mimics acetylcholine). This suggests new avenues of research into controlling excessive inflammation. Sepsis is a complex. it releases acetylcholine (right). which binds to the alpha7 receptor2 on macrophages and inhibits cytokine production.INFLAMMATION: NERVOUS INFLAMMATION: A NERVOUS CONNECTION Claude Libert Clockwise from lower right: many bacteria contain lipopolysaccharide in their cell walls. But too much TNF in the blood can be harmful. and kills over 175. it remains difficult to understand and treat. This suggests possible new ways of controlling inflammation: through electrically stimulating the vagus nerve. In addition. leading to excessive inflammation and septic shock.
The details of this link have. Writing on page 384 of this issue. This receptor might make a good target for future drugs to treat sepsis. Kevin Tracey and colleagues2 describe how they identified a receptor protein that is stimulated by the nervous system and which in turn inhibits a key molecular mediator of inflammation and septic shock. This ‘parasympathetic’ nerve emanates from the cranium and innervates all major organs in a subconscious way. when it was discovered that there is a connection between inflammation and the involuntary nervous system. invade the systemic blood circulation. they all take time to work — and time is usually short when treating patients with sepsis. been unclear — until now. There are also antibodies and soluble receptors that bind to and block TNF once it has been released. although the value of these approaches is beyond doubt. ref. For instance. there are drugs that inhibit the transcription of the TNF-encoding gene into messenger RNA. TNF has been found to be a central mediator of chronic inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. For instance. But. or help to recruit immune cells. release and activity of TNF. and adhesion molecules that again enhance immune-cell migration)3. namely cytokines. and have seen some success in treating certain inflammatory disorders5. it induces the expression of a large number of genes that encode essential inflammatory molecules (such as other cytokines.promising lead was provided two years ago. But once bacteria. Furthermore. molecules that are produced during the inflammatory response increase blood flow to infected areas. These cells in turn release ‘alarm’ molecules. the translation of the mRNA into protein. Tracey’s research team has been studying TNF since this protein was discovered (see. For instance. Tumour-necrosis factor (TNF) is one such molecule. Inflammation has several roles in the body. allowing the migration of immune cells. Recently. This protein can affect nearly all cell types. for instance. 6). As long as TNF production remains confined to the site of infection. It is finely branched and is composed of both sensory (input) and motor (output) fibres. enzymes that help to break down the barriers between cells. the inflammatory response is clearly beneficial. This is of relevance because it means that the vagus nerve can on the one hand sense continuing . One way in which inflammation is triggered is in response to lipopolysaccharides — components of the cell walls of many bacteria — which activate the immune system’s macrophages. 1). one of which is to contribute to the immune system’s ability to fight off intruding microorganisms. Several means of doing so have been developed (Fig. Tracey’s group described another level of control of TNF synthesis — namely by means of the vagus nerve7 — thereby providing a new and exciting link between the involuntary nervous system and inflammation. and consequently TNF. however. or the release of the TNF protein. blood ‘poisoning’ and sepsis can develop quickly. So there is much interest in learning how to control the production. 4. and has a range of biological activities. some of which have powerful proinflammatory properties.
such mutant mice displayed an exaggerated response to lipopolysaccharide in terms of their production of the cytokines TNF. and on the other hand suppress it. The discovery of the connection between the involuntary nervous system and inflammation had already yielded new ideas about treating inflammatory disorders such as sepsis: for instance. Parkinson’s disease . In fact. Tracey and colleagues2 pin down the relevant nicotinic acetylcholine receptor: it is one comprising five copies of the monomer 7. after injecting lipopolysaccharides into rats. It’s also very difficult to find out. This suppression is efficient and. Yet epidemiological studies indicate that nicotine protects against several inflammatory diseases. acetylcholine and nicotine were no longer able to prevent the release of TNF — data that the authors confirmed by studying 7-deficient mice.inflammation (presumably by detecting cytokines through receptors on the nerve surface). Macrophages express acetylcholine receptors known as nicotinic receptors. nicotine has been found to have powerful immunosuppressive and inflammation-suppressing effects. such as ulcerative colitis. Conversely. interleukin-1 and interleukin-6. On a different note. Finally. Tracey and colleagues showed that electrically stimulating the vagus nerve of 7-deficient mice no longer afforded protection against lipopolysaccharide (in contrast to the situation in wild-type mice). More specifically. to show that macrophages express the 7 subunit. a small compound has been developed that can trigger the vagus nerve in rats. But how does the vagus nerve have this effect on macrophages? It was already known that. the new findings suggest that molecules that stimulate the 7 subunit would also be worth developing. showing that the procedure is safe and feasible — and to study the effect on inflammation. after this nerve is stimulated. in a technical tour de force. a good deal faster than the mechanisms mentioned above. as the receptors are pentamers containing different combinations of a possible 16 monomers. and respond to the released acetylcholine (or the acetylcholine-mimicking nicotine) by suppressing TNF release. Looking to the future. They started by using -bungarotoxin. But the precise identity of the nicotinic receptors on macrophages was not known. surgically severing the nerve not only removed this protection but also sensitized the animals to lipopolysaccharide. From a therapeutic point of view. its endings release the neurotransmitter molecule acetylcholine with lightning speed. a molecule that binds to just a subset of receptor monomers. Of course. When the authors blocked the expression of this protein. above all. In their latest paper. thereby reducing inflammation8. it would be interesting to stimulate the vagus nerve electrically in people — as is currently done in thousands of epilepsy patients. These findings2 could have therapeutic implications. Tracey’s group found7 that. this is clearly important to know. electrically stimulating the vagus nerve prevented both the release of TNF from macrophages. the health risks associated with smoking are immense. and death.
Nature Rev. Stone. et al. 384-388 (2003). 22 December 2002 (doi: 10. J. T. A.1038/nature01339). 2. 45-48 (2002). Lett. et al. 31. 12. Rev. R. & Pearson. 319. Exp. J. It can also reduce fever and protect against otherwise lethal infection with the influenza virus9. & Spiller. Borovikova. B. 1202-1208 (2001). Mainous. | Article | 6. Tracey. . Psychiatry Med. et al. Annu. Int. T.III. 10. S. 2. It might be worth finding out whether these effects. Steyer. et al. as well as the reported beneficial effects of prayer and acupuncture on inflammation (the last of which is known to depend on acetylcholine)11. Nature Med. Feldmann. | Article | 4. 195. 7. K. Y. Bernik. hypnosis and meditation are well known (since the beginning of the twentieth century in some cases) to reduce inflammation10. 781-788 (2002). 555-564 (2002). Nature Rev. Neurosci. Wielockx. advance online publication. J. R. 7. Sopori. J. Pavlovian-type conditioning. N. M. | Article | 8. W. 372-377 (2002).and even Alzheimer’s disease. | Article | 9. Immunol. L. Wang. King. | Article | 11. References 1. | Article | 12. Talley. Science 64. Nature421. P. Son. R. Med. 364-371 (2002). E. Immunol. Vassalli. D. 415-425 (2001). Lancet 360. are mediated by the vagus nerve and the 7 subunit. G. H. 365-367 (1994). 3. Immunol. 458-462 (2000). V. 411-452 (1992). E. | Article | 5. 470-474 (1986). et al. Science 234. The demonstration2 that nicotine binds to the 7 subunit on macrophages fleshes out the details of how nicotine produces such effects.. M. 2. The data also make me reconsider the possibilities and molecular biology of ‘alternative’ medicine. Nature 405. | Article | 10.
we have found that people systematically sigh – little quarter-second. and tongue to emit soothing displays of concern and reassurance. Without activation of the vagus nerve. our study found. when activated. the vagus nerve is doing its work. produces a feeling of spreading. the body’s caretaking organ. preparing the body for fight or flight. The vagus nerve helps slow the heart rate down.VAGUS NERVE AND COMPASSION From Born to Be Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life by Dacher Keltner (pages 228-230): [The vagus nerve] resides in the chest and. your heart would fire on average at about 115 beats per minute. face. in the speaker. or reassure others in distress with our concerned gaze or oblique eyebrows. mouth. physiological psychologist Steve Porges has made the case that the vagus nerve is the nerve of compassion. stimulating the muscles of the throat. The vagus nerve does the opposite. When we sigh in soothing fashion. instead of the more typical 72 beats per minute. reducing our heart rate to a more peaceful pace. muscles that are involved in vocalization. …Porges notes that the vagus nerve innervates the muscle groups of communicative systems involved in caretaking – the facial musculature and vocal apparatus. the vagus nerve is directly connected to rich networks of oxytocin receptors. liquid warmth in the chest and a lump in the throat. enhancing the likelihood of gentle contact in close proximity with others. literally jumping five to ten beats per minute. our heart races. In our research. calming the sigher’s flight/flight physiology. connecting up to facial muscle tissue. As the vagus nerve fires. and the digestive organs. those neuropeptides intimately involved in the experience of trust and love. When we are angry or fearful. and a trigger of comfort and trust. stimulating affiliative vocalizations and calmer . In a series of controversial papers. The sigh is a primordial exhalation. the heart. Second. breathy expressions of concern and understanding – when listening to another person describe an experience of suffering. the lungs. for example. the kidneys and liver. the vagus nerve is the primary brake on our heart rate. distributing blood to various muscle groups. The vagus nerve … originates in the top of the spinal cord and then winds its way through the body…. Third.
responsible for immobilization behavior: for example. presumably it triggers the release of oxytocin. and devotion throughout the brain and body. trust. what is known as the dorsal vagal complex. sending signals of warmth. to other people. shame-related behavior when socially humiliated.cardiovascular physiology. the vagus nerve. Reptilian autonomic nervous systems share the oldest portion of the vagus nerve with us. But as caretaking began to define a new class of species – mammals – a region of the nervous system. Reptiles’ autonomic nervous systems also include the sympathetic region of the autonomic nervous system involved in flight/flight behavior. Finally. emerged evolutionarily to help support this new category of behavior. and ultimately. . more speculatively. the shock response when physically traumatized. the vagus nerve is unique to mammals.
com) That first little offshoot stimulates certain muscles in the vocal chamber. www. facilitating communication. The 10th of the cranial nerves. it is often called the “Nerve of compassion” because when it’s active. it helps create the “warm-fuzzies” that we feel in our chest when we get a hug or are moved by a chick-flick. You can see from this diagram that the vagus nerve branches off to everything from the neck down to the colon.subtleyoga. The vagus nerve is really a bundle of nerves that originates at the top of the spinal cord and enervates all sorts of organs.com/220/ A corny title – but a cool nerve. The fourth reduces heart rate and there’s some new scientific findings that are suggesting that the vagus nerve might be closely connected to receptor networks for oxytocin – the feel good hormone/neurotransmitter of parenthood. Its fibers are parasympathetic – the relaxing side . hugs and bonding.VIVA LAS VAGUS VERVE http://www.peterjurek. Here’s a picture: (Peter Jurek.
So the vagus nerve can be related to heart rate. gratitude. For years I have heard teachers talk about how yoga benefits the vagus nerve – from shoulderstand and down dog to chanting and pranayama – Yoga is a virtual celebration of the vagus nerve – a practice of viva las vagus! But here’s something even cooler – the research that Dacher Ketlner. we have found. but. director of the Social Interaction Laboratory at the University of California. love and happiness. lay person’s way to understand the nervous system is sympathetic = fight or flight.of the nervous system (that’s somewhat simplistic. a useful. People who have high vagus nerve activation in a resting state. in general. Do it for love. . digestion and even skeletal muscles. Pretty easy to see how even the simplest yoga routine would stimulate lots of branches of this nerve.” There you go. are prone to feeling emotions that promote altruism – compassion. parasympathetic = rest and digest). Berkeley is doing shows that stimulating that vagus nerve is not only good for you – it’s good for the planet! “Our research and that of other scientists suggest that activation of the vagus nerve is associated with feelings of caretaking and the ethical intuition that humans from different social groups (even adversarial ones) share a common humanity.