Anxiety and stress wreak havoc on our bodies. And once we’re tense, it can be hard to unwind. Fortunately, taking the time to care for yourself and your body can help undo the effects of stress. So we’ll show you how to massage the vagus nerve and relieve neck pain yourself, relaxing your entire body and soothing your aches!
Getting rid of unwanted tension is imperative to mind and body wellness. Left unchecked, stress can even affect our behavior, making us touchy, sensitive, and angry. Anyone would be if they were getting headaches, upset stomachs, and generally feeling overwhelmed!
Unhealthy coping mechanisms often just compound the problem, and many people shy away from using pharmaceuticals due to their unwanted side effects. That makes it even more important to focus inward - relaxing your mind and healing your body go hand-in-hand.
Massaging neck pain away yourself doesn’t just feel good. It actually stimulates the Vagus Nerve, or the “wandering nerve.” It spans your entire body, and it’s the main component of the parasympathetic nervous system. Recent studies have even linked more intentional Vagus Nerve stimulation and health to the Brain-Gut Axis in mood and anxiety disorders.
Pain is distracting, irritating, and both a cause and end result of stress
What is the vagus nerve?
The vagus nerve is the main part of your parasympathetic nervous system, which means that it is connected to the system in your body that controls involuntary body functions. The vagus nerve is responsible for regulating several internal body organs and reflex functions, which is why it is directly related to stress and emotions.
Knowing this is key, because if we learn how to massage the vagus nerve, we can have a direct effect on how stress navigates through our body.
How to stimulate the Vagus Nerve
It’s easy and effective to massage neck pain yourself! All it takes is a little time and care. Here’s how to massage the vagus nerve.
Step 1. Warm a soothing oil between your hands
In order to effectively learn how to massage the vagus nerve and relieve neck pain, you’ll need some oil or serum. This works as a buffer between your hands and your skin, reducing friction and helping you work away knots without irritating your skin.L’Beauxtique’s Evening Body Serum helps tremendously with this step. Its luxurious aroma and essential oils gently remind you to relax the mind and rest the body. Since it’s made with premium ingredients, it hydrates and smooths your skin.
Take your oil of choice and apply a few drops to your palm, then roll it between your hands to warm it. This helps with pain!
Step 2. Intentionally relax
Working away tension is easier if you mindfully relax your muscles. Roll your neck a few times and shake your shoulders to loosen up!
Focus on the scent of the oil, the warmth in the room, and the anticipation of being pain-free.
Step 3. Try these vagus nerve exercises
While laying down, start at your clavicle and massage upwards towards one side of your neck at a time.
Apply gentle pressure and go slowly with the pads of your fingers or the heel of your palm, feeling every little movement. Using one hand after the other in a rolling motion, smooth out tension on the sides of your neck.
This step in particular massages your Vagus Nerve, and you’ll feel the effects immediately.
In ever-widening circles, massage behind your ears and below your earlobes.
Use the same amount of pressure as before - enough to feel your muscles, not enough to hurt. Slowly use the pads of your fingers to massage your neck behind your ears in circles.
Pay special attention to any spot that creates a little “twinge” - it’ll feel almost like electricity, or like it’s about to tickle. This is tension releasing!
Don’t overdo it - you don’t want to bruise. But don’t shy away from using a little pressure!
Lock your fingers together and massage behind your neck.
When your fingers are interlocked, they help your palms create a little more pressure.
Roll your palms in wide ovals on each side of your neck, where the muscles are. Go slowly, pressing and releasing as you go up and down your neck.
You’ll feel the tension release as you go, and the warm oils will melt pain away. You can use your fingers and thumb to move down onto the tops of your back, between your shoulders and neck, too.
Now that you know how to massage the vagus nerve and relieve neck pain, you’ll experience a more relaxed life
The first time you use these steps to massage away pain, you’ll feel a world of difference.
Massages make you feel better immediately, and the more frequently you ease away tension in your upper back and neck, the less stress you carry. This can lead to fewer headaches, less bodily tension, and even a reduction in stress-related behavioral changes.
Living mindfully doesn’t begin and end with physical massage, though. It’s important to take the time for yourself and begin to live mindfully in the little moments.
You deserve to feel good all the time, and self-care pampering sessions can make a world of difference. We wrote a little bit about how to take more time for self-care here. Lighting candles, hydrating your skin, and focusing on mindfulness can help you build up to a holistic change.
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