Health Benefits of Nerve Stimulation by Nisha Manikantanby Opinion Express April 23, 2018 0 comments
An Ayurveda expert, Nisha Manikantan says, nerve stimulation has several health benefits.
Want a more well-balanced mind and a body free of stress and anxiety? Raise your vagal tone. Vagal tone refers to the activity of the vagus nerve, a critical cranial nerve responsible for the mind-body connection.
What is the vagus nerve?
The vagus nerve arises from the brain and reaches important organs in the body — the brain, gut, heart, liver, pancreas, kidney, spleen, lungs, reproductive organs and the tongue. It controls all involuntary body processes like digestion and heartbeat, breathing, circulation.
If your vagal tone is low you’re likely to face problems like digestive disorders, inflammatory conditions, obesity, anxiety, depression, fatigue, sleep dysfunction, migraines, B12 deficiency, OCD, autism and ADHD
An optimal vagal tone ensures — digestive health, healthy sleep, improved learning and memory, normalised weight, keeps inflammation in check, relieves stress-induced conditions and blood sugar balance.
Here is a dynamic exploratory routine to stimulate this vital nerve in your body:
Start your day with meditation
Pancha kosha or five sheathed meditation takes you layer by layer through the five levels of existence — the physical environment, physical body, thoughts, feelings and the self — all of them are connected through the one most powerful tool — breath. You can simply listen and follow online instructions. Meditation should ideally be done before meal and in comfortable clothing. In meditation, each step is followed by deep in-breaths and out-breaths. In this meditation, take a mindful pause of about 30 seconds to a minute between each step. The online guided meditations are timed and all you need to do is sit with eyes closed.
Sit comfortably with eyes closed and spine erect
Take slow deep breaths
Observe the sounds around you (traffic or chirping birds, or any other sounds you may hear). Accept the noise and be in harmony with the environment around you.
Breathe deeply for a minute.
Become aware of your physical body — the different parts of your body, starting from feet to the head. Take a deep breath.
Become aware of the thoughts running in your mind, be they good or bad. Without judging or trying to get rid of them, just observe them. Continue breathing deeply.
Become aware of your feelings.
Take few deep breaths.
Become aware of your feelings. After a pause for about 30 seconds, become aware of your thoughts.
Gradually take your time to open your eyes. Be in no hurry to come out of the meditation.
Always follow up meditation with pranayama, as the former releases a lot of toxins and breathing exercises help them to exit the system.
Nadi Shodhan Pranayam
Studies have shown that ancient Indian breathing exercises can raise the vagal tone. Nadi Shodhan Pranayam will instantly relieve you of stress. Practise this technique any time during the day, when you feel stressed.
Sit comfortably with your spine erect and shoulders relaxed.
Place your left hand on the left knee, palms open to the sky.
Place the tip of the index finger and middle finger of the right hand in between the eyebrows, the ring finger and little finger near the left nostril and thumb near the right nostril.
Press your thumb on the right nostril and breathe out gently through the left nostril.
Now breathe from the left nostril and press the left nostril gently with the ring finger. Removing the right thumb from the right nostril, breathe out from the right.
Breathe in from the right nostril and exhale from the left. This is one round of Nadi Shodhan Pranayam. Continue inhaling and exhaling from alternate nostrils.
Complete nine rounds of alternate breathing through both nostrils. After every exhalation, breathe in from the same nostril from which you exhale.
Yummy in your tummy (and a happy vagus nerve)
Eat potassium-rich food. Here is a delicious potassium rich food recipe of Ragada Pattice. The pride of Mumbai’s street food offers potassium in each mouthful
200 gm Dry white peas
1 tsp Oil
2 pinch Mustard seeds
1 pinch Asafoetida
¼ tsp Turmeric
250 gm Potatoes
1 pinch Green chilli paste
1 pinch Ginger paste
Rock salt as per taste
Soak the peas for eight hours.
Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard seeds. Once they splutter, add asafoetida, turmeric, green chilli and ginger paste.
Add peas, salt and cook for eight minutes.
Once the peas get cooked, turn off the gas and garnish ragada with coriander leaves.
Wash potatoes and slice them into two pieces and steam for 20 minutes.
Peel and grate the potatoes. Add chilli, ginger paste, rock salt and mix well.
Roll it into palm and press to make round flat cutlets.
In a pan, roast the cutlet until it turns brown.
Serve the cutlets with ragada, tamarind and green chutney. Garnish with tomatoes and coriander leaves.
Some facial yoga to end your day
Try these for immediate relief from stress at the end of a long day.
Pinch your eyebrows five-six times using your thumb and index finger.
Roll your eyes five-six times clockwise and then anti-clockwise.
Squeeze your eyes tight and then open them wide. Repeat this for 10-15 times.
Hold your ears and move them clockwise and anti-clockwise.
Move three fingers from the jawline to chin and massage your cheeks. You could keep your mouth open as you do this.
Open and close your jaw eight-10 times.
Open your mouth and move your jaw side-to-side 8-10 times.
Breathe intake your head back and breathe out while touching your chin to chest.
Chanting for a happy mind
A study published in the Scientific American found that memorising ancient Sanskrit mantras increases the size of the regions of the brain associated with cognitive function. A recent study at BITS Hyderabad, showed that people who chant/listen to chants became more cheerful and calmer. Chant or listen to om namah shivaya for 10 minutes and see the difference. Our experts recommend it as a daily practice for six days.
(The Challenge is designed by Nisha Manikantan, an Ayurveda Expert and Director, Sri Sri Ayurveda, with inputs from Kaushani Desai, Ayurvedic cooking expert, Mayur Kartik, senior Yoga instructor at Sri Sri School of Yoga.)
Writer: Nischai Vats
Courtesy: The Pioneer