What is the vagus nerve & why is it important?
In this podcast (episode #469) and blog, I talk to Stefan Chmelik, integrated healthcare expert, physician, inventor of the state-of-the-art sensory device Sensate, founder of BioSelf Technology and New Medicine Group, and a mindfulness mentor and clinical expert in the use of sound technology, about the relationship between our mental health and the vagus nerve, how we can tone our vagus nerve to promote emotional resilience, the science behind vibrations, and so much more!
Stefan’s work is centered around integrated and holistic ways of treatment for the complex mental and physical issues people face. He is passionate about incorporating the best of traditional practices like meditation, sound and breath work with new advances in technology and medicine, which is why he founded Sensate, a company that has created a unique device designed to use the natural power of sonic resonance to calm the brain and body’s nervous system through the vagus nerve.
The vagus nerve plays an important role in how we manage stress and build up our mental resilience. As an integral part of our nervous system and stress response, it can help us feel calmer and think more clearly in challenging situations.
How? This cranial nerve allows the main organs of the body to communicate. As such, it is responsible for the way your body reacts to stress, regulating our sympathetic and parasympathetic responses. The sympathetic nervous system drives the "fight or flight" response in stressful situations, while the parasympathetic nervous system manages our “rest and digest” state, so the vagus really plays an important role in how we handle life’s many challenges. As Stephen Porges of the Kinsey Institute describes it, “Think of the vagus nerve as the brake pedal that helps the body and mind slow down in order to counter the harmful effects of a chronic and unmanaged stress response.”
Sensate's novel patented technology, paired with the sessions in the Sensate companion app, sends infrasonic waves through the chest to reach the vagus nerve that sits deep in the core of our nervous system. The device emits infrasonic sound waves that are synchronized with the soundscapes in the app to provide deep relaxation in 10 to 30 minute sessions.
Like how a cat purrs to make itself feel good and heal itself, these vibrations and low frequency sounds have a powerful affect on our body. By speaking to our body's command center, Sensate is designed to help us control how we choose to respond to all the positive and negative things that we experience each day, which, in turn, helps to re-set our sleep schedules, soothe stress and anxiety, decrease inflammation, and improve mood by tapping into the phenomenon of vibrations and sound through our bone conduction. Our chest resonates the sounds from the device, sending out a frequency that signals the vagus nerve to relax. This comforting hum helps us tap into our ancient instincts of safety and relaxation and manage our stress response.
As a tool in my mental health toolkit, Sensate has been a true game changer! I personally use it daily for 10 minutes before I start my mind management routine. I have felt that it helps support my:
- Heart rate variability
- Sleeping habits
- Stress management
- Mental and emotional resilience
I also love that Sensate not only works towards releasing stress and anxieties in the present moment, but it also increases stress resilience over time. Why is this so important? Stress resilience is our body’s ability to recognize a challenging situation and choose a positive way to respond to it. As I have mentioned many times before, the more we learn how to manage our stress response, the more it acts like an “insurance policy” for the mind, brain and body. Building up our stress resilience enables us to better handle challenging situations in the future by helping us return to a state of equilibrium faster.
If you are struggling with stress and anxiety, Sensate is here to help you. You can save 10% off your Sensate order with my code DRLEAF. Just head to the website and enter the code at checkout to start feeling less overwhelmed today!
For more on stress resilience and the vagus nerve, listen to my podcast with Stefan (episode #469) and check out Sensate’s amazing device. If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!).
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2:50 Stefan’s incredible journey
4:30 The importance of an integrated & holistic approach to healthcare
7:13 The science behind vibrations & sounds
12:00, 15:32 The relationship between the vagus nerve, sound & our mental health
23:00 How to use sounds & vibrations to tone the vagus nerve & build stress resilience
32:00 Harnessing modern technology & traditional practices for healing
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