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Vagal Tone Regulating & Resilience

Vagus means wondering, which is how the vagus nerve is perceived. It has bidirectional neural fibres from your brain stem to your heart and through many avenues to your gut; the gut-brain-heart axis. 20% of these neural fibres stem from your brain, the remaining 80% stem from your gut. The vagus nerve does link in with other nerves such as your facial nerve, which gives you the ability for facial expressions.

A flexible and self-regulating vagus nerve allows you subconsciously and seemingly deal with stresses that we are faced on a daily basis. This is coined Vagal Tone, the ability to instinctively ramp up your sympathetic nervous system when there is a possible threat. And then to wind itself back down again when the threat is deemed a non-threat or when it has passed.

We all have a 'window of tolerance' of our stress levels, we call this the Ventral Vagal state. It is here that you will feel calm, at peace and coherent. It is completely natural to pop out on either side of the tolerance lines, in fact, it is good way to keep your resilience of stress intact.

If our ability to self-regulate back into Ventral Vagal state from a Sympathetic state is hindered, we may find we spend a lot of time in Sympathetic, this can be exhausting for our bodies. Overtime, we may physically and mentally exhaust ourselves and drop below our window of tolerance into a more of a slumping, unmotivated, unable to get out of bed mood. This is called the Dorsal Vagal state.

The goal for working with your vagus nerve is to primarily recognise your different states, understanding your unique nervous system. Then, working with the vagus nerve exercises to help you discharge energy from being in Sympathetic, or if in Dorsal Vagal to add energy back into your body. We are aiming to anchor you more frequently into a Ventral Vagal state so to increase your window of tolerance, and to bring back in more resilience to your nervous system.

Miriam Bunder
Integrative Bodywork Therapist

ATMS Member 15464

ABN 38 016 837 325

I acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which I share my work, the Cammeraygal clan of the Eora nation, and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging.
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