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How vagus nerve activation with breathwork benefits the nervous system and overall health

Stress, respiratory illnesses, gut issues and the like appear as inevitably deep-rooted parts of modern society as we continue to face the challenge of maintaining a work-life balance. We're used to shallow, dysfunctional breathing and sleep problems such as insomnia and sleep disorders are on the rise. Mental health services since the pandemic have been in higher demand.


As an Osteopath, I was taught to look at the patient as a whole and to address the root cause of musculoskeletal pain. Patients' mental health is also considered as a holistic practice. The World Health Organisation (WHO) definition of health encompasses mento-emotional factors and not merely the absence of disease. The mind-body connection is being looked at in greater detail by scientists and has been discussed by doctors in the past, such as Gabor Mate. For example, the gut is known as the second brain, and research suggests gut microbiome imbalances may be a cause for depression.


Therefore as a part of holistic care, identifying the root cause of physical ailments AS WELL AS mental illness, stress etc., is key for optimal wellness.


The vagus nerve plays a significant role in our overall health yet it is widely overlooked. The vagus nerve starts in the brain and end at the stomach. The vagus nerve has a role in, for example:


1) Regulating digestion

2) Preventing stress

3) Improving mood

4) Supporting immunity

5) Optimising cardiovascular health....and more


It's great news that simply with a few practices, you are able to enjoy improved wellness by bringing balance back to your vagus nerve, nurturing your nervous system.


How do I activate my vagus nerve?


There are a few ways to activate your vagus nerve. Breathwork is one of the most powerful ways to do this using diaphragmatic breathwork, which is also the most effective way to breathe (functional breathing).

Vagus nerve activation via breathwork relaxes the sympathetic nervous system (our fright, fight or flight response), and activates the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). Therefore, diaphragmatic breathwork can boost clarity and calmness in your life, promote greater resilience and better overall health .


As an Osteopath, sports massage practitioner and fitness coach based in Surbiton, I have often talked to Osteopathy patients (especially active/athletic ones) and fitness clients about the benefits of functional breathing on their physical health, during pregnancy and labour, enhanced lactic acid breakdown, improving their core/ lumbopelvic stability and more.


I've encouraged many Osteopathy patients, rehabilitation patients and fitness clients to incorporate functional breathing during exercise and in my yogalates classes, our stretching, vinyasa yoga and mindfulness at the end utilises functional breathing.

At my past mindfulness events, I have taught Pranayama breathwork to aid the management of stress, anxiety and aid navigating the challenges of life. My father is a yoga teacher. He taught me Pranayama breathwork, which has been around in India for five centuries- again, it strongly emphasises functional breathing.


With my background in anatomy and experience teaching functional breathwork as an Osteopath, I decided to further enhance my knowledge and train as a rebirthing breathwork coach. This type of breathing is also functional and mimics the breathing pattern we were born with, aiming to taking you back to a "reborn" state. At birth, we also breathed slower, longer and deeper breaths- functionally. With age, experience and more responsibility, life's stressors moves us into a state of dysfunctional breathing which uses shallow, short and quick breaths, often mirroring an overactivated sympathetic nervous system.


I already offer 1:1 breathwork and have hosted mindfulness events. Keep your eyes peeled for my rebirthing breathwork class soon!


Please get in touch for more information about breathwork, or to let me know if you're interested in joining the class- class sizes will be capped to promote a relaxing environment. Watch this space!


With love,

Krish Registered Osteopath BSc. Qualified Fitness Coach & Sports massage practitioner My OsteoPATH to Wellness

Berrylands, Surbiton


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