The vagus nerve, also known as the “wandering nerve,” is the longest cranial nerve in the body, running from the brainstem to various organs, including the heart, lungs, and digestive tract. It is an essential part of the parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for the body’s rest and digest response.
Singing has been found to have a huge effect on the vagus nerve, leading to loads of health benefits beyond simply making music. Let’s explore how singing can help your overall health and why the Vargas nerve is just so bloody important.
Vagal Tone and Singing
Vagal tone refers to the activity of the vagus nerve and its ability to regulate bodily functions. Higher vagal tone is associated with better overall health and increased resilience to stress. Singing, can enhance vagal tone. The controlled breathing involved in singing stimulates the vagus nerve, promoting relaxation and stress reduction.
TOP TIP: Feeling tired and stressed? Singing can actually help to make you feel calmer. So just hop to it, even when you don’t want to.
Social Bonding and Connection
Singing in groups, such as choirs or even at jam sessions, fosters a sense of connectedness. This collective singing experience stimulates the vagus nerve, promoting feelings of trust and cooperation. We believe that this effect is an evolutionary trait that helped early human communities strengthen social ties and mutual support.
TOP TIP: Try joining a local choir or grab some friends to sing with. The joint singing, has also been shown to improve heart health. (Not too shabby!)
The vagus nerve plays a vital role in digestive function, promoting efficient digestion and nutrient absorption. Because singing activates the Vagus nerve (duh, Zoe we just learned that) and controlled breathing techniques, massages the vagus nerve and stimulates the digestive organs, potentially aiding digestion.
Singing requires coordination between the brain, vocal folds, and respiratory system. This intricate coordination exercises the vagus nerve and has been shown to lead to improved mind-body connection. Strengthening this connection has been shown to have positive effects on overall physical and mental health.
To sum it all up, the vagus nerve is a crucial conductor in the symphony of our bodies, influencing various bodily functions and overall well-being. Singing, with its rhythmic breathing and emotional expression, has a powerful impact on the old vagus nerve. From reducing stress and promoting heart health to enhancing emotional regulation and fostering social bonding, the positive effects of singing on the vagus nerve are abundant.