How To Self Massage the Vagus Nerve

Not many people know about the vagus nerve, yet it is integral to our physical and mental health. When massaged, this nerve that starts and the brain stem and is intertwined with all of our major organs is stimulated and activated which can lead to incredible health benefits.

    What is the Vagus Nerve?

    The vagus nerve is one of the most important nerves in the body. It travels from the brainstem and communicates to major organs like the heart, gut and lungs. When blocked or damaged it can have adverse effects on the body and mind, with problems ranging from; digestive issues, anxiety, depression, auto-immune disease and chronic pain. Luckily, there are a few things we can do to help massage and activate the vagus nerve.

    Benefits of Vagus Nerve Massage 

    Vagus nerve massages target areas in close proximity to the vagus nerve to promote stimulation and increase vagal tone. These techniques have scientific benefits but also date back to ancient holistic practice and Ayurvedic tradition.

    By massaging these pressure points the vagus nerve sees a reduction in heightened activity. This stimulation can help to lower blood pressure, reduce stress, bloating, headaches and pain from TMJ, overcome anxiety and depression, improve mood and for the spiritual readers, awaken kundalini energy.

    How to Massage the Vagus Nerve

    Vagus Nerve Stomach Massage

    Massage 1

    1. Lie down flat on the floor
    2. Place the fingertips of one hand below your sternum or breastbone
    3. Massage with downward strokes moving your hands down toward your abdomen
    4. Alternate between each hand repeating the movement, like you're peddling a bike 
    5. Repeat for a few minutes

    Massage 2

    1. Lie down flat on the floor 
    2. Find the side of your abdomen
    3. Use your fingertips to make small circular massaging motions, working your way inward and then downwards toward your lower abdomen 
    4. Repeat this motion for a few minutes and increase pressure when comfortable

    Vagus Nerve Neck Massage

    1. Identify the SEM (Sternocleidomastoid) in your neck (shown in image below) 
    2. Pinch firmly along the SEM line
    3. Start from the lower SEM and work your way to below the jawline
    4. You may feel tension in certain places that you’d like to continue to massage
    5. You can also pull the SEM gently away from the skin 
    6. Repeat on both sides 

    Vagus Nerve Ear Massage

    Massage 1

    1. Find this pressure point in the hollow right above the ridge above your ear canal (shown in above image) 
    2. Make gentle circles in this pressure point
    3. Try to move the skin of your ear around in circles
    4. Do no press too hard
    5. You may notice changes in your breathing, a yawn, a swallow or general calmness
    6. Repeat on both ears 

    Massage 2

    1. Find the back of your ear canal (shown in image above) and press towards the back of your head
    2. Make gentle circles and massage this area
    3. Repeat on both sides

    Massage 3

    1. Lightly grab the side of your ear and pull gently away from the skull
    2. Stretch your ear down and away from your skull 
    3. Stretch your ear up and away from your skull 
    4. Repeat on both sides 
    5. Note: This can be relieving for people with TMJ or tension heads

    Note: You may want to use essential oils or moisturiser to facilitate the comfort of these massage techniques. 

    Final Thoughts

    If you’re looking for ways to improve your health, adding daily vagus nerve massage to your self-care routine may be a good place to start. Stimulating the vagus nerve has been shown to have many benefits, so why not give it a try? Stomach, neck and ear massages are three easy ways to get started. Other techniques to help heal the vagus nerve include breathwork and listening to sound frequencies. If you find that this type of massage is beneficial for you, don’t hesitate to explore other areas of the body that can be massaged in order to stimulate the vagus nerve.

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    Author Bio

    I went into the field of neuroscience not realising the profound connection between science, spirituality and ancient tradition. I share some fascinating connections between science and spirituality that will hopefully shift your perspective on what it means to be spiritual.