The Fascinating Role of the Vagus Nerve in Health and Well-being
The vagus nerve, a remarkable part of our nervous system, plays a crucial role in maintaining our overall health and well-being. Originating from the brainstem, this extensive nerve extends throughout the body, touching various organs and systems.
The vagus nerve, translates into the “wandering nerve”. It has an impressive distribution and supplies a wide range of organs with nerve fibers:
1. Heart: It plays a role in lowering the heart rate and regulating heart function, making it crucial for maintaining a healthy heart rhythm, especially in what is termed “Heart Rate Variability”.
2. Lungs: It participates in regulating the respiratory rate and promoting relaxation of the airways, contributing to healthy breathing.
3. Stomach and Digestive System: It sends signals to the stomach and intestines, promotes peristalsis (muscle contractions), and regulates the release of digestive enzymes, which are essential for proper digestion.
4. Liver: It regulates the release of bile and promoting healthy metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.
5. Gallbladder: It triggers the release of bile for the digestion of fats.
6. Spleen: Regulation of the immune system and blood circulation.
75% of your parasympathetic nervous system!
The vagus nerve has both sensory (afferent) and motor (efferent) functions, making it a vital communicator between the brain and the body. One of its key roles is within the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps us rest, digest, and restore. Scientific studies have highlighted the vagus nerve’s profound impact on reducing stress, promoting relaxation, and supporting optimal organ function. 
Its optimal function is important from day one, since during fetal development and infancy, the vagus nerve holds incredible significance. According to Steven Porges’ Polyvagal Theory, the vagus nerve is intricately involved in establishing healthy social engagement patterns and emotional regulation. It influences early bonding experiences, shaping the foundation for healthy relationships and emotional well-being throughout life.
Considering its extensive influence on the body, when the vagus nerve experiences dysfunction, various health issues can arise. Research suggests that vagus nerve dysfunction may contribute to imbalances in the gut-brain axis, affecting digestion, mood, and overall immune function. Inflammation, which is closely tied to many chronic diseases, can also be influenced by vagus nerve dysfunction. Recognizing the signs and symptoms associated with vagus nerve dysfunction is crucial for early intervention and seeking appropriate care.
How does this relate to Chiropractic and in particular Neuro-Functional Shifts?
Neuro-functional shifts in the spine, particularly at the junction between head and neck can potentially disrupt nerve signaling of the vagus nerve. This is the area where the vagus nerves leaves the head (cranium) to starts its course down the neck towards the chest and abdomen. At UMOYA, our Chiropractic care focuses on maintaining a healthy spine through gentle adjustments, which can help restore proper nerve function overal. Specific to the vagus nerve, we use gentle cranial adjustments to release any unwanted tension or irritation on the vagus nerve. By ensuring a well-functioning nervous system, our goal at UMOYA is to support overall health and improve the body’s ability to heal and self-regulate.
Remember, investing in your health is a gift you give yourself and your loved ones. Together, let’s build a healthier community—one person and one well-functioning nervous system at a time.
 1. Tracey, K. J. (2007). Physiology and immunology of the cholinergic antiinflammatory pathway. Journal of clinical investigation, 117(2), 289-296.