If you are looking for a secret ingredient that improves your sexual life, well then search no more because you already have it in ya!
So, what's this vagus nerve?
Well, vagus nerve is the longest nerve that branches and connects to most of the major organs between the brain and colon. Technically, it comes as a pair of two vagus nerves, one for the right side of the body and one for the left. It’s called “vagus” because it wanders, like a vagrant, among the organs. The vagus nerve is largely responsible for the mind-body connection and acts as a mediator between thinking and feeling. In simpler words, it is the queen of the para-sympathetic nervous system aka the "rest and digest" or "chill the heck out" system.
But why are we talking about it?
Because our mind and body play a huge role in deciding the kind of intimate life we have and the connections we make. Our body senses our breathing patterns and adapts the heart rate in response. Upon exhalation, it is the vagus nerve that triggers the relaxation response. Therefore, when your vagal activity is the highest, your heart rate will be lowest.
Deep breathing or slower breathing also pushes the diaphragm downward towards the pelvis, improving relaxation, increasing blood flow and allowing more mindful sexual experiences and orgasms. Even slow, deep moans have a similar effect on the body and the overall sexual outcomes. With the amount of power vagus nerve holds in our bodies, it can be a bitch to you only if you let it be one.
But Dr. T, why would our nerve be a bitch to us?
It's a fantastic question and here's why vagus nerve can turn against us. The health of our vagal tone impacts how our brain perceives our organ function. Given the constant high-stress situations we live in along with poor eating habits and unhealthy lifestyle, the quality of our vagal tone keeps decreasing. This not only increases the overall heart rate of the body but also impacts the amount of oxygen that is then supplied to the brain hampering our bodies to truly feel relaxed in the moment. The vagal tone can also be affected if one lives with chronic or inflammatory conditions or other such co-morbidities that then inhibit para sympathetic activation.
But don't you worry! Here is what can you do to maintain your vagal tone and have the sex life of your dreams.
Regulating breath is one of the easiest and quickest ways to go about improving and strengthening the vagal tone.
Ideally, follow a two inhale (through nose) and one long exhale (through mouth) breathing pattern to activate your rest and digest system. Other ways you can improve the vagal tome include :
Alternate-nostril breathing or breathing through nose
Find comfortable silences
Connect with nature
Diaphragmatic breathing, the slower the better
Exercise (within your ability/within your physician’s guidelines)
Expose your skin to sunlight
Try gratitude practice
Hum (such as a rhythmic Om)
Laugh, smile, and giggle often
Listen to calming instrumental music versus amped-up, heavy music
Sing (make a joyful noise!)
Regularly move your body
Eat probiotic amd whole-foods diet
Meet with people who lift your spirit versus make you feel crummy
You can't hate it, you can't love it, but you can always try to be friends!!