What is the vagus nerve and how does it relate to autism?
Our bodies have two branches of the autonomic nervous system that work in conjunction with one another:
- Sympathetic Nervous System: Prepares the body for fight or flight.
- Parasympathetic Nervous System: Returns the body to a calm state (“rest and digest”).
The vagus nerve is the main activator of the parasympathetic nervous system. Properly stimulating and toning the vagus nerve can calm our children.
The Vagus Nerve Can Fight Stress
Vagus nerve is in control of a lot of things. It runs from the brain down to our abdomen and sends messages to all different parts of our body along the way including our lungs, heart, and GI tract. It receives messages from these parts and systems as well.
The vagus nerve has the power to calm all of these systems in our children’s bodies. If other parts of their bodies are calm you’ll see a calmer more regulated child.
Stimulating the vagus nerve can be really useful for a number of medical conditions including seizures. But it can also help improve common troublesome autistic characteristics such as:
- Bowel and bladder problems
- Agitation and anxiety
- Facial expressions
- Aggressive behaviors
- Poor disposition
- Poor sleep
- Poor digestion
So how can you stimulate your child’s vagus nerve and see these positive results? My next video will provide you with exercises you can do at home to help tone and improve the function of your child’s vagus nerve.
Be gentle with yourself. You’re doing a great job.
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