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  • Writer's pictureEduardo Picasso

Osteopathy and the vagus nerve (Part 2)



As we discussed in the previous post, the vagus or pneumogastric nerve has multiple functions. This nerve is born 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 , the pancreas and liver, and other viscera, such as the kidneys and intestines. There are two vagus nerves, one on the right and one on the left (at the back of the head, nape area, one on each side). Having a high vagal tone allows the parasympathetic autonomic nervous system to function normally (part of the nervous system that is involuntary, automatic, allowing us to relax, “repair”, digest, etc.). It is directly related to health, mental well-being and resistance to stress. A normal functioning of the vagus nerve will allow us to relax faster after a stressful situation. It was observed in several studies that people with a high vagal tone have more harmonious and close relationships, since vagal stimulation causes the release of oxytocin (a hormone called "connection or love molecule" - for this reason, socializing improves the functioning of the vagus nerve -). This is a positive feedback process: if we relate (in a harmonious way) we tend to generate more oxytocin, and this in turn stimulates the vagus nerve; and the stimulated vagus nerve generates oxytocin and makes us want to socialize. The occipital and temporal bones together form the posterior laceration hole, an area of ​​the skull through which the vagus nerve exits, going to the neck and then continuing its journey to the thorax and abdomen. By freeing these bones with cranial osteopathy techniques, we allow the nerve to flow freely, improving its function.

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