Vagus Nerve Hack | Sternal Release

Are you experiencing any kind of blood pressure dysregulation, heart palpitations, bradycardia, slow heartbeat tachycardia, or faster heart rate that may be associated with your autonomic nervous system? 

Rather watch or listen? 

Sternal Release Exercise Precaution

Before we jump into the anatomy, I want to make sure that if you have any concerns about this particular exercise, please check with your doctor or health practitioner to see if it is appropriate for you.

Vagus Nerve Anatomy

With that said, let’s start with the anatomy of the vagus nerve, recognizing that this aspect of the vagus nerve is how we are going to influence it via the vagus nerve exercise. 

The vagus nerve exits the brainstem and we have branches into the ear, throat, and then the area that we’re focusing on today is the influence of how the vagus nerve innervates the SA node of the heart. It passes through the lung tissue, and the diaphragm although not innervating it, and then it moves into the entire GI tract. We can influence the vagus nerve it through the SA node of the heart, as well as a pressure change. We can target the baroreceptors that are lying within the carotid artery and the aorta. Because of this pressure change, we can influence the vagus nerve response and create the relaxation response.

How to Do Sternal Release + Reminders

Before performing any vagus nerve exercise, you always want to make sure that you are in a safe environment. Again, you should consult with a healthcare provider if this is necessary and appropriate for you. For example, if you’re experiencing extreme blood pressure dysregulation, this may not be suitable for you at this time. However, you do want to ensure that you’re safe, you feel confident in the exercise, and you approach it with gentle curiosity rather than aggression. If you’re starting this particular exercise for the first time, ensure that you begin with just a little bit and gradually increase your duration over time.

To perform this exercise, grab a medium-sized soft ball and lie over the ball, with the ball directly underneath your sternum. Allow yourself to settle in, taking some nice slow diaphragmatic breaths. Then, when you’re ready, take a breath in through your nose, pretend to cough, but don’t actually cough. Do this as if you’re holding your breath. Then exhale slowly, and repeat this exercise for anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes. However, we recommend starting with a very small volume of it might be very beneficial for you.

If this was helpful, please give it a like, give it a share, and, of course, subscribe to our YouTube channel, the Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. Our goal is to help you live your best life, heal, transform, and, more importantly, thrive.

If you need help more individually, please reach out for a discovery session. We would love the opportunity to help you in any of these areas. And in addition to that, you can feel free to join our app, the Movement Paradigm. We have monthly challenges, live Q&As, and an amazing community, all geared toward whole-body health. So hope to see you there!

Other things that might interest you:

Vagus Nerve Hack | 4-minute Facelift

Are you experiencing anxiety or chronic stress? Maybe you feel like it’s daunting to try to practice deep diaphragmatic breathing. Well, if that’s the case, I’m hoping that this technique will be very effective for you, bringing you from a state of fight or flight or even freeze to a state of social engagement where you can be calm, grounded, mindful, and connected.

Rather watch or listen? 

Why consider the 4-minute facelift?

If you’re feeling like you are experiencing this chronic stress and anxiety where it just feels really hard to connect and move inward, then I would recommend this reset. It is a version of Stanley Rosenberg’s work but is a bit more expansive to bring you to a state of social engagement. 

Our vagus nerve is 80% of our parasympathetic nervous system. However, we also want to consider our facial nerve, trigeminal nerve, and glossopharyngeal nerve, which are all involved in the expressions of our faces. 

How to perform this exercise

We’re going to start by using either hand on either side of your face. Begin by placing one hand on each side of your face, just outside the nose. Press gently on the first layer of skin, feeling the tissue. Move the hands up and down, assessing resistance. Be gentle with your skin and tissue. Identify the area with more resistance and hold that position until you experience a sigh, swallow, yawn, or a combination, indicating relaxation of the nervous system.

Move to the inside of the eye, applying a little pressure. Move the hands up and down, finding resistance. Hold the position where resistance is felt until you experience a sigh, swallow, or yawn. Return to the starting position, going a bit deeper into the tissue. Move in a circular motion, identifying resistance and holding until the tissue softens or shows signs of relaxation.

Focus on one side of the face to observe the path and increased blood flow. Use the tongue on the roof of the mouth, moving through the alphabet to activate the glossopharyngeal nerve and enhance awareness in the tongue area. 

Following that, perform an ear release by gently pulling back and down on the side of your ear. Feel the gentle pull towards the outside shoulder and await any signs of relaxation, like a sigh or yawn.

Combine all these steps on both sides of your face. Lastly, do the cheek lift for about 30 seconds. Bring your tongue to your nose, lift your cheeks, and turn your head. Hold for 30 seconds, and then bring it back to the center. This should create a relaxing yet invigorating feeling, a sense of presence.

This is a great way, as many of the other vagus nerve exercises are, to be able to use this sensory information to provide input to the brain, to be able to regulate our nervous system, and to bring us to a state of safety and connection.

Hopefully, you enjoy it as much as I did. And if this is not the right one for you, that’s okay too. There are so many options. Still please explore them and see your response, how you feel, and how you might be able to integrate that into your day. 

If you found this information helpful, please be sure to give it a like, share it with others, leave a comment below, and, of course, subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm®, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. 

If you’re looking for personalized guidance on your journey and feel that you need an individualized approach, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We would welcome the opportunity to assist you.

If you’re interested in accessing a wide range of programs, including those on nutrition, somatics, and vagus nerve exercises, as well as movement programs to help you optimize your overall wellness, consider checking out our app, The Movement Paradigm, available on both Apple and Google platforms.

Other things that might interest you:

3 Vagus Nerve Hacks

Are you experiencing some kind of dysregulation in your nervous system? Perhaps you’re feeling dizziness, blood pressure fluctuations, or even heart rate fluctuations like bradycardia, where your heart rate is low, or tachycardia, where your heart rate is high. You might even be experiencing other unexplained digestive symptoms.

Let’s dive into three simple vagus nerve exercises that can help shift you from a dysregulated nervous system state to a state of social engagement, where you are grounded, connected, mindful, and in a state of safety and connection.

Rather watch or listen? 

The oculocardiac reflex

For the purpose of today’s blog, we are going to jump right into the vagus nerve exercises. You can check out all of my other blogs on somatic exercises and vagus nerve exercises to help you regulate. 

Today, we’re going to focus on the oculocardiac reflex. This reflex is essentially influenced through the eyes and has an impact on our state of social engagement. It’s also connected to other cranial nerves, such as the trigeminal nerve and the vagus nerve, and it specifically influences our heart rate and autonomic functions.

Vagus nerve exercise 1

The first technique we’re going to discuss was initially described in 1908. When applying pressure to the extraocular muscles, it can lead to a potential 20% decrease in heart rate. 

When performing this exercise, please ensure you apply very gentle pressure. Use a completely flat hand and gently cover your eyes, avoiding any poking or excessive force. Apply gentle pressure and hold it until you observe a sign of relaxation, which could manifest as a sigh, a swallow, a yawn, a deep breath, or a general state of relaxation.

Vagus nerve exercise 2

The second exercise is a convergence exercise. To perform this, you can use either your finger or a pen. Begin by having your eyes fixated on the tip of your chosen object. Slowly bring the object closer to your eyes while maintaining your focus. Continue observing until you reach a point where the object appears as one instead of double vision. You can repeat this exercise until you experience a relaxation response.

Vagus nerve exercise 3

Moving on to the third exercise, which is the cheek lift, this integrates everything we’ve discussed so far. When we consider the cranial nerves associated with the state of social engagement, it involves multiple cranial nerves, with facial expressions playing a significant role. Our facial expressions influence how we regulate our nervous system and co-regulate with others when we interact in social settings.

Start by bringing your tongue all the way to the tip of your nose. Next, focus on lifting your cheeks as high as possible. You’ll simultaneously raise your tongue and your cheeks. Lastly, turn your head to the final position and try to hold it there for at least 30 seconds or more. Begin with the tongue, then the cheeks, and finally, the head turn. After approximately 30 seconds, return to the center and repeat the exercise on the other side.

Key takeaway

I recommend doing all three of these exercises. Begin with the first one and pay attention to how you feel. Check if you experience that sign of relaxation or a drop in heart rate, which you can measure. As mentioned, the heart rate can decrease by up to 20%, so ensure you feel comfortable and safe. Proceed to the second exercise and reassess to make sure everything still feels good. If you’re still feeling great, move on to the third exercise to integrate everything together.

To incorporate these exercises into your daily life, consider your facial expressions in your day-to-day interactions. Aim to smile and minimize significant frowns and expressions throughout the day. Softening your facial expressions can have a significant impact on your nervous system, influencing your own emotions as well as how you affect those around you. This, in turn, can positively impact various aspects we discussed earlier, such as regulating heart rate and blood pressure, optimizing immune function, and promoting digestive health.

If you found this information helpful, please be sure to give it a like, share it with others, leave a comment below, and, of course, subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm®, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. 

If you’re looking for personalized guidance on your journey and feel that you need an individualized approach, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We would welcome the opportunity to assist you.

If you’re interested in accessing a wide range of programs, including those on nutrition, somatics, and vagus nerve exercises, as well as movement programs to help you optimize your overall wellness, consider checking out our app, The Movement Paradigm, available on both Apple and Google platforms.

Other things that might interest you:

Top 5 vagus nerve hacks to do at your desk

Have you ever felt stressed or anxious but didn’t have the time or space to go for a walk or do a full meditation? Well, you’re not alone! Many of us face this challenge in our busy lives. The good news is that there are simple vagus nerve hacks that you can do at your desk to quickly regulate your nervous system, no matter the situation.

In today’s blog post, we will share five easy techniques that you can try right now to activate your vagus nerve and promote relaxation. While these techniques are not a replacement for physical activity, they can be a quick and effective way to calm your mind and body in a pinch.

So, grab a seat, take a deep breath, and let’s dive into these five simple vagus nerve hacks that you can start incorporating into your daily routine today. And don’t forget to check out our other resources on vagus nerve exercises and understanding this fascinating aspect of our nervous system!

Rather watch or listen? 

5 vagus nerve hacks to do at your desk

1. The Salamander

One of my all-time favorite exercises for improving neck mobility, reducing pain and stiffness, and regulating the nervous system is called the Salamander. It’s a combination of Stanley Rosenberg’s Salamander exercise and some modifications I’ve found to be effective for many of my patients and clients.

To do the Salamander, interlace your fingers and place your hands at the back of your head on the occipital area. Next, side bend your upper body while looking in the opposite direction with your eyes. If this causes discomfort, such as headaches, eye pain, or dizziness, adjust your vision to a soft gaze. Hold this position for about 30 seconds before returning to the center and switching to the other side.

During the exercise, you may notice a yawn or a swallow, which is a sign of nervous system relaxation. After completing the Salamander, test your neck’s range of motion, and you’ll see an immediate improvement.

The Salamander works by providing neurological input from our eyes and hands to the brain stem, where the vagus nerve and the spinal accessory nerve are located. This stimulation increases blood flow to the area, which helps relax the neck and nervous system.

I highly recommend giving the Salamander a try if you’re experiencing neck discomfort or nervous system dysregulation. It’s a simple yet effective exercise that can make a big difference in how you feel.

2. Salivating

This is one of my favorite exercises because it can be quite effective, and no one knows what you’re doing. It’s a self-limiting vagus nerve exercise, meaning it can only have a positive effect, and nothing can necessarily go wrong.

Generating a copious amount of saliva is, in fact, a parasympathetic response. If you have trouble generating saliva, it can indicate that you might be in a fight-or-flight state. However, with a little effort, you can proceed with the exercise.

First, place your tongue at the roof of your mouth and press against it through your mouth. Keep pressing against the teeth, and you’ll start to generate some saliva. You can also think about something appealing, like a juicy lemon or orange, to stimulate saliva production.

Once you’re able to produce saliva, let your tongue bathe in it for a while before ultimately swallowing it. Swallowing is a sign of nervous system relaxation. The pharyngeal branch of the vagus nerve innervates the back of the throat, and this exercise stimulates it. It’s typically a self-limiting exercise, making it easy and beneficial to do.

Watch: Vagus Nerve Hack | Salivate

3. Breathing Technique

In this technique, I will be discussing a basic breathing method that involves a short inhale and an extended exhale. While there are many different breathing techniques, such as 4-7-8 breathing and box breathing, it’s important to choose the right one for your specific needs and situation.

If you’re feeling a bit anxious at work due to having multiple tasks to complete and want to calm your system down, this method is great for you. On the other hand, if you need to be alert and focused for an upcoming meeting, box breathing might be more suitable.

For this technique, imagine taking a small inhale and exhaling for about double the length of the inhale. There’s no exact time that you need to follow, but the extended exhalation will stimulate the vagus nerve, which releases a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine, resulting in a relaxation response. The vagus nerve passes through the diaphragm, so practicing this extended exhale is an effective way to quickly calm your nervous system.

However, some people may feel a sense of air hunger when attempting this technique. This happens when your body struggles to maintain the proper amount of carbon dioxide in your bloodstream. If you experience this, simply return to normal breathing for at least a minute before trying again. Even doing three breaths in this manner can be a powerful way to calm your system. Feel free to check out my videos on breathing for more techniques to suit your needs.

Watch: Best breathing hacks

4. Hand Reflexology

Hand reflexology is one of my favorite techniques, and it has its roots in Eastern medicine. There are specific reflexology points all over the body, including one on the hand and another on the bottom of the foot, that are related to the vagus nerve.

If you’re sitting at your desk, it’s really easy to try this technique out – I’ve even done it while in the car, using the same hand. To begin, locate the reflexology point on the inside of your pinky finger. You can work on either side, so choose the one that feels more comfortable for you. Starting from this position, you can begin by making slow circles or rubbing back and forth. Then, you can apply more pressure to go deeper or just use a feather-light touch.

You don’t have to use all of these techniques – you can try one, two, or all three of them, depending on what works best for you. If you don’t have time to use both hands, you can just use your thumb to apply pressure.

It’s important to keep in mind that not everyone will have the same response to this technique. If you don’t feel anything right away, don’t worry – it might just mean that your nervous system isn’t responding at the moment. Give it time and be patient. The key is to try it out for yourself and see if it works for you.

Watch: Vagus Nerve Hack | Hand Reflexology

5. The Ear Pull

The ear pull is an incredibly powerful technique that is both a vagus nerve exercise and a craniosacral exercise. To perform the ear pull, grab the earlobe and gently pull it back and out while holding that position. You will likely have a response almost immediately, and you can hold that position until you feel satisfied. If you prefer, you can hold the position for about a minute or two.

Another technique that you can try is massaging inside the ear. This technique is particularly powerful because the vagus nerve has branches in the ear, making it one of the direct ways to stimulate it. By pulling the ear, it influences fluids in your brain and affects the membranes as a craniosacral technique.

Watch: Vagus Nerve Hack | Auricular Ear Release

The Bottom Line

My patients have experienced a lot of positive responses with these techniques, and I hope they can be helpful to you as well. Don’t forget to check out all of my vagus nerve exercises and videos for more techniques to try.

I hope that you will give these a shot, and just remember that this is a way for you to begin to learn about your own nervous system—how to regulate and control your state.

If this was helpful, please give it a like and a share. Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement. And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel. Thank you!

If you’re looking for support on your health journey, we’re here to help! Feel free to reach out to us for a discovery session.

Other things that might interest you:

What if vagus nerve hacks aren’t working

Top 5 Vagus Nerve Hacks to Help You Relax and Restore

How Your Vagus Nerve Affects Your Gut Health

Vagus Nerve Hack Neck Relief

Did you know that mechanical issues at the level of your cervical spine can influence the proper function of your vagus nerve? This can ultimately affect your blood pressure, heart rate, gut issues, anxiety, depression, and more. Essentially, this is yet another potential underlying cause that you may want to explore as the root of your vagal nerve dysfunction.

Rather watch or listen? 

Anatomy

As we know from our vagus nerve anatomy, the vagus nerve exits the brainstem. As it comes forward through this jugular foramen, it branches into the ear and throat. Then it comes actually down right through the front of the neck before it enters the heart, lungs, and digestive track.

What happens when there is a restriction in mobility?

Any restriction in mobility can create mechanical pressure and, therefore, neuroinflammation of the vagus nerve. For example, forward head posture can create compression of the vagus nerve.  If you are sitting at a desk all day, have an airway dysfunction such as a deviated septum, small nasal valves, enlarged turbinates, tonsil and adenoid issues, could influence forward head posture.

We also want to think about forward head posture as a result of the nervous system. If we are stressed, anxious, and depressed, that will also lend itself to a forward head posture, potentially a rounded posture.

Breathing and posture are interdependent on each other. If there’s a breathing issue, there’s a posture issue; if there’s a posture issue, there’s a breathing issue.

What can you do if you have posture issues

1. Body awareness

We can become aware of how we hold our bodies throughout the course of the day. We can become in tune with our postures and our positions, how long we’re there,  and be able to simply just check-in.

2. Addressing the issue

The second thing is addressing or exploring what airway issues may be present for you. If you are suspicious of this, seek out a professional to evaluate you.

At the minimum, try Mutes, a nasal dilator at night, to open the airway up to 38 percent, along with Xlear. It is important to reinforce nasal breathing.

3. Try these vagus nerve hacks

There are many ways to stimulate the vagus nerve, and I’ve done several blogs and videos on different exercises that can be very helpful.

●     Trapezius twist

The first, by Stanley Rosenberg, is the trapezius twist.

Grab your elbows and rock them back and forth at waist level, chest level, and above your shoulders.

It wakes up the trapezius muscles in the back and improves your posture immediately.

●     Myofascial release

When your lymph is congested, this can cause inflammation of the vagus nerve.

With your hand moving in a diagonal direction under your jawline towards your ear, traction the tissue up very gently. Move the skin over the tissue.  

Hold that position until you have some release. This may come in the form of a sigh, swallow, yawn, or a feeling of just a sense of relaxation. It will immediately bring your neck into a better position and could potentially relieve not only mechanical pressure on the vagus nerve but the other cranial nerves and even spinal nerves as well.

●     Salamander exercise

This is a version of Stanley Rosenberg’s exercise that I found to be extremely helpful. You’re stimulating the vagus nerve while also relaxing the spinal accessory nerves.

To do this exercise, interlace your fingers and bring them behind the back of your head. From this position, side-bend your upper body, and look with your eyes in the opposite direction. Hold that position for 30 seconds, and then you’ll come back to the center and repeat on the other side.

You want to check your range of motion in your neck before and after, and there should be an immediate improvement.

This provides neurological input from your eyes and your hands to the back of your head. It brings blood flow to the brain stem, where the vagus nerve and other cranial nerves exit. This creates a relaxation response as well as stimulates the spinal accessory nerve to create relaxation in the Sternocleidomastoid muscle and the upper trap muscle.

The mechanical influence of how your neck is positioned, joint mobility, soft tissue elasticity, lymphatic congestion, and airway dysfunction can all influence your vagus nerve.

Make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement, and if you’d like to reach out to us for a consultation, please do so we would love to help.

Other things that might interest you:

What if vagus nerve hacks aren’t working

Liver and brain connection | vagus nerve

Vagus nerve test | Gag reflex

What if vagus nerve hacks aren’t working

Have you been trying all of these different vagus nerve hacks, and they just don’t seem to be doing the trick? You’ve tried breathing, meditation, humming and cold showers, but you still feel like you’re dysregulated?

Rather watch or listen? 

How vagus nerve issues present

As many of you know, vagus nerve issues can present very differently for each person.

For one person, it may present as heart rate and blood pressure dysregulation. Another person may experience dizziness, headaches, or digestive issues, even something such as gastroparesis. Some may have increased anxiety or depression.

Even if you’ve tested your vagus nerve, such as the uvula or gag reflex test, and it’s shown that there has been some dysfunction of the vagus nerve, it is important to ask why there is vagus nerve dysfunction.

Why you may be having vagus nerve issues and how to address them

Although vagus nerve dysfunction may cause a whole host of different symptoms for each person, it is really imperative to figure out why that is happening. I know that many of you have heard, “getting to the root of the issue.” Many times, there is more than one underlying cause.

You may have had a predisposition in addition to a triggering event such as an infection, toxin exposure, vaccine, or even a stressful event.

And we also have some kind of, you know, triggering event or perpetuating factors that might be contributing to this ongoing process. So it’s really important to look at all of those.

If, for example, you have a gut issue like Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO), leaky gut, candida, or even a parasite, this will largely impact your gut-brain connection. Your gut and brain are connected via the vagus nerve.

Eighty percent of the information from the vagus nerve goes to the brain from the viscera. Conversely, if there is any type of structural pathology, such as airway dysfunction (deviated septums, small nasal valves, enlarged turbinates, jaw issues, tongue tie, etc.), these will influence the vagus nerve, as the vagus nerve passes through the diaphragm.

If we are breathing from our neck and shoulders 25,000 times a day, that will affect how that nerve functions.

The last is a lymphatic issue. Our nerves are bathed in our lymph system. If there’s any congestion from systemic inflammation, perhaps stemming from the gut originally,  or myofascial restrictions, these will impact the vagus nerve. Our vagus nerve passes right through the left supraclavicular region, where we have the majority of our lymph draining here. If it’s congested, it will affect the rest of the system.

I hope you can appreciate that there are many reasons to delve into to be able to understand why you have vagus nerve dysregulation.

We offer integrative vagus nerve therapy to be able to help you, through this journey to be able to identify what these causes are and really help you take the next step forward, It’s important to continue to do all of the suggested vagus nerve hacks, all while determining the underlying causes of why you have it in the first place, emotionally and physically.

If you are ready to take action now, schedule here: https://p.bttr.to/3Qu7wRd

If it was helpful, give it a like, give it a share, and of course, make sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset nutrition and movement thank you as always.

Other things that might interest you:

5 inflammatory triggers

Vagus nerve test | Gag reflex

Liver and brain connection | vagus nerve

Vagus nerve test | Gag reflex

You know I love to hack the nervous system, and here is another way to explore your vagus nerve.

The gag reflex is innervated by cranial nerves, cranial nerve IV, the glossopharyngeal nerve, as well as cranial nerve X, the vagus nerve. Here is another way to assess your vagal nerve function, amongst other things.

Rather watch or listen? 

What you should expect from physical therapy

1. Thorough evaluation

You deserve a thorough evaluation, no matter what you are reaching out to physical therapists for, whether that’s movement issues, chronic pain, acute pain, vestibular, balance issues, post-surgery, pre-surgery, or any other reason.

That means not only a physical therapist should be looking at your current symptom (s), but they are looking to figure out why they happened in the first place, even during post-surgical cases. A thorough evaluation includes looking at a detailed movement assessment, where your compensation patterns lie, what might be driving some of the issues you’ve had, and all of your modifiable lifestyle factors. How is your sleep? Your nutrition? How are your relationships? How is your stress management? If your therapist is missing these details, they are missing a huge element of helping you heal.

2.  Practicing what they preach

You deserve a physical therapist who practices what they preach, whether that’s movement, balance, or exercise. They should be a health leader, educator, and movement specialist, and because of that, they have an obligation to be able to do the things that they are recommending that you should do.

3. 1-on-1 care

It is hard to find 1-on-1 care in today’s healthcare environment. I worked in the outpatient practice for eight years, so I understand a busy outpatient setting, and unfortunately, the demands of insurance companies are dictating this. However, you deserve to be able to be the only person in the room, to be listened to, and to have your therapist understand your diagnosis, prognosis, underlying causes, current concerns, goals, and plan of care without being pulled in a million directions. One-on-one care is extremely important, whether that’s 30-minute sessions or 60-minute sessions.

4. Someone who will look at you as a whole person

You should expect someone who listens to your story and understands that you are not a “shoulder problem,” you are not a “hip injury,” and that you are a person; you are human with a story and emotions and thoughts and all the things that make you wonderful. So, make sure that someone is looking at you as a human with a beautiful story, not just an injury.

5. Mindful and intentional movement

You should expect a therapist to help you perform mindful, intentional movement to help guide you to move with interoception, internal awareness of self, and to be able to understand movement quality, as opposed to high-volume exercises with poor form.  As movement educators, one of the greatest gifts we can share with you is to help you move your body the way it was intended to so that you can continue to do the things you love.

What you shouldn’t expect from physical therapy

What are some of the things that you should not expect from physical therapy? This is equally as important.

1. You should not be on things that will not help you get well

You should not be on hot packs, cold packs, electrical stimulation, ultrasounds, or other modalities that aren’t helping you get well. They are sometimes time-savers for the therapist, but they are not actually creating better movement in your body. They’re not getting to the root of your issue. They are not moving you forward, and you want to be able to maximize your time spent in physical therapy.

2. You shouldn’t be warming up on machines

You don’t want to get to physical therapy and go on the treadmill or bike to warm up for 10 or 15 minutes—you want to learn how to move your body. Every minute counts!

3. You shouldn’t be on tons of band exercises

You should not be going through tons and tons of band exercises with poor form without guidance. Especially when you feel like you are going through the motions and you could do this at home.

If you feel like you could do that at home, that’s your first sign that this is not a good fit.

I want everyone to believe in physical therapy. We have an amazing opportunity to share with you the gift of movement.

In summary, when you think physical therapy is a waste of time, you’re put on machines and lots of modalities, and you feel like you are competing for your PT’s attention, you deserve better.

Please make sure to find a great physical therapist in your area who does one-on-one care, looks at you as the whole person, that addresses potential root causes of your injury or your pain or any other issue that you might be experiencing.

If you need help, please reach out to us, we do virtual and in-person care, and we perform holistic physical therapy. Schedule your evaluation here: https://p.bttr.to/3qHXz8i

If it was helpful, give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm, for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Other things that might interest you:

3 ways to treat your acute low back pain

Pelvic floor–Gut Connection

A neck exercise that really works

Vagus Nerve Hack | Salivate

Because of the anatomy of the vagus nerve, salivating can be an extremely effective technique for calming the nervous system.

Rather watch or listen? 

Anatomy

The vagus nerve exits the brainstem and as it exits, it branches into the ear and into the throat—the pharyngeal branch of the vagus nerve.

Why perform this exercise?

Ultimately, we are stimulating the pharyngeal branch of the vagus nerve. There are three types of salivary glands—the parotid, submandibular, and sublingual. When you are able to generate a copious amount of saliva, you are, in fact, stimulating the vagus nerve and in a parasympathetic state.

If you’re not able to do that, then that might be indicative that you are not in a parasympathetic state; perhaps you’re in a fight/flight or freeze state. Whether you are actually salivating or bathing your tongue in your saliva, you will ultimately bring yourself to a parasympathetic state.

How to perform the exercise

To perform this exercise, think of something that will stimulate saliva. For example, you can think of a juicy lemon. Then, you can begin to bathe your tongue in the saliva.

Once you do that, wait patiently until whatever response you may have—that could come in a swallow, which is a response of your nervous system of relaxation. You could also simply feel relaxed and calm.

Everyone may have a unique response, but this can be an effective technique to bring yourself to a parasympathetic response.

If this was helpful, make sure you give it a like, give it a share. Please check out all the other vagus nerve hacks that may be able to help you self-regulate so to be able to take control of your nervous system.

If you are ready to take action now, schedule here.  https://p.bttr.to/351vvVU

Other things that might interest you:

How Your Vagus Nerve Affects Your Gut Health

Top 5 Vagus Nerve Hacks to Help You Relax and Restore

Why You Should Track Your HRV

Covid and the vagus nerve

At this point, you may know someone who has experienced long-haul COVID, or perhaps you know somebody that’s had some type of adverse event occurring from the vaccine. Many times this presents as neurological symptoms and therefore is important to discuss the connection between the vagus nerve and COVID.

Rather watch or listen? 

The connection between the vagus nerve and covid

Patients with long COVID  may have had swallowing issues, headaches, blood pressure dysregulation, shortness of breath, difficulty with digestion, and more. All of these things can be directly linked to the vagus nerve.

At this point, we’re well aware that the COVID virus (SARS Covid-2) can affect the nervous system. The vagus nerve exits the brain stem, branches into the throat, affecting our swallowing, branches into the ear, and moves down to innervate our SA node of the heart and into the entire digestive tract, thus considered one of the most powerful nerves in the body.

If the nerve is inflamed, that can affect a whole host of nervous system functions, specifically our autonomic nervous system. There’s preliminary research in small subject samples looking at exactly how this is happening. So, with ultrasound, it’s showing the vagus nerve as it exits of the neck, is demonstrating some thickening and reactive tissue signaling, indicating that there’s inflammation in the nerve.

As we can see, this can cause a lot of different symptoms. Because of the innervations and the anatomy of the vagus nerve, you could have everything from dizziness and blood pressure dysregulation to heart palpitations and digestive issues. Even more obvious is the impact on mood, anxiety, and depression. The vagus nerve is 80 percent of our parasympathetic nervous system, our ‘rest and digest’ state.

Additionally, what’s very interesting is as it relates to the adverse events reported from the vaccine, there are numerous cases of neurological type symptoms that can present very similarly. Headaches, swallowing issues, and ear pain have been reported more frequently in females than males as it relates to post-vaccine injuries, yet so much of it is under-reported. Still, there are over 800,000 cases of adverse events, many of them neurological in nature.

Now when you’re beginning to assess the symptoms that you may have had over the past few years during this time of the pandemic, you begin to look at what precipitated. How was your health before the COVID hit? Did you have COVID? Did you have covid multiple times? Did you have a vaccine? Did you have boosters? All of these things should be factored in when assessing your recent health history.

Here’s the most important thing: whether you had COVID and/or you had some type of adverse event from the vaccine, your body is designed to heal itself. If you are focusing on what is driving inflammation for you, whether that’s food, bugs, viruses, hormones, stress, and so on, you can heal. Whether it’s a virus, bacteria, or a parasite, you can absolutely get to the root cause.

Please know that there’s always hope, and there’s always a way to get better.

If you check out all of my vagus nerve hacks, those are simply a way to begin to regulate your nervous system, improve your vagal tone, and thereby decrease inflammation in your body.

Interested in our upcoming 6-week online vagus nerve program? Register here: https://px9bh0on.pages.infusionsoft.net/

I hope this is helpful. If it was, please give it a like, share it, and subscribe to our Youtube Channel — The Movement Paradigm — for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Other things that may interest you:

How Your Vagus Nerve Affects Your Gut Health

Vagus Nerve Hack | Gastroesophageal Release

Top 5 Vagus Nerve Hacks to Help You Relax and Restore

Vagus Nerve Hack | Gastroesophageal Release

Do you suffer from acid reflux, and you’re trying to figure out how to manage your condition? Many factors go into this, but today’s focus is on a visceral release for your gastroesophageal junction that may, in fact, help relieve your symptoms.

Rather watch or listen? 

It’s important to remember that when we are in a stressed state, we have blood flow that’s moving away from the digestive tract. To be able to digest optimally, we have to be in a parasympathetic state, i.e., rest and digest.

Stimulating the vagus nerve via the digestive tract by performing visceral releases can be a great way to manage and treat your condition. 

The gastroesophageal junction connects the esophagus to the stomach. The esophagus, stomach, and the rest of the digestive tract are innervated by the vagus nerve. This junction itself regulates the food and fluid that is moving from the esophagus to the stomach. This is a very important function because this is one of the things that can contribute to acid reflux. From an anatomical perspective, the esophagus passes right through the diaphragm. As you’re performing the exercise, diaphragmatic breathing is very important before, during, and after to be able to calm the nervous system down and optimize esophageal mobility. If the diaphragm is restricted, then that means it could compress the esophagus as well. 

To perform this technique:

  1. To find the location, move down the sternum and under the xiphoid process. Perform this exercise lying down and while you gently press into the tissue. You might already feel some tenderness, which is quite common and normal. 
  2. Once you’ve assessed the tissue, then traction the tissue down and to your left towards the stomach. Once you’re there, perform your diaphragmatic breathing. As you inhale, you’re creating resistance against the tissue. As you exhale, move down and out while tractioning the tissue more. Perform this until you feel a release or until the tissue begins to feel more relaxed. You might also have another response in your nervous system, such as a sigh, swallow, or yawn. However, you will feel the tissue relax and feel not as tender. Those are all positive signs that you’re performing the technique properly. 
  3. Perform this in-between meals. You don’t want to do it immediately before or after a meal. You can perform this exercise right before bed or in the morning. 

Make sure you speak to a medical provider if you are dealing with a chronic condition to make sure this is an appropriate technique for you. Always be gentle and intentional, and never aggressive. 

Please make sure to check out all of our other vagus nerve hacks that can help you optimize your health and longevity. Make sure to give this a share and subscribe to our YouTube channel, The Movement Paradigm for weekly tips on mindset, nutrition, and movement.

Other things that may interest you:

Ancient Navel Massage Practices

Vagus nerve hack | Diaphragmatic and Lymphatic Release

10 ways to measure your health that’s not the scale