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  • Writer's pictureEduardo Picasso

Osteopathy and the vagus nerve (Part 1)

The vagus nerve arises at the level of the medulla oblongata (we could say "below the cerebral hemispheres" - simplifying a lot -), and extends and connects with the pharynx, the esophagus, the larynx, the trachea, the bronchi, the heart, the stomach, pancreas, and liver; and other viscera, such as the kidneys and intestines. It exits the skull through a hole called the posterior tear. There are two vagus nerves, one on the right and one on the left, therefore there are two posterior foramen tears (at the back of the head, nape area, one on each side). This nerve is one of the main ones in charge of regulating the parasympathetic nervous system (which is automatic, does not depend on our will, and prepares us for digestion, relaxation and rest). It regulates the control of the heart, lungs, muscles of the neck and airways, liver, stomach, pancreas, gallbladder, spleen, kidneys, small intestine, and part of the large intestine. Its good tone allows us to remain calm, decreases our heart rate, respiratory rate, and generates deeper breathing (we oxygenate better). It presents an enormous range of functions, communicating impulses to each one of the organs of our body. The treatment of the posterior laceration hole is very common during osteopathy sessions, favoring the regulation of the parasympathetic nervous system, and allowing the processes of digestion, rest and repair of the body (among others) to occur in the most balanced way possible. In addition to osteopathic treatment, there are various tools to favor the tone of the vagus nerve: Singing, meditating, Yoga, Acupuncture, Massages, Reflexology, socializing, etc. (This will be developed in a later article).


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