Hello lovely people. Amy here and I’m guessing you’ve now realized that we’re talking about other aspects of health besides physical therapy and movement. We’re trying to mix things up for you and broaden your resources! Gigi shared about Gut and Brain also, then Mallory shared about having Happy Hormones and last week Emily discussed the importance of protein, especially for women for maintaining muscle and overall fitness.
The purpose of this Wellness Wednesday is to help you recognize some important connections between your gut and brain, the role of your vagus nerve and how that may impact delivery and some resources for you to look into if you want to.
I don’t want to get TOO nerdy or technical on you guys but there is an entire pathway going between your gut and brain that communicates emotional and cognitive functions of the brain with your digestive system. There are some truly great reasons for the phrase “trust your gut” or something being known as “gut wrenching.”
Let’s look at some numbers.
- We have over 100 billion neurons in our brains.
- We have over 500 million neurons in our guts.
- There are tens of trillions of microorganisms in your gut microbiome.
Bottom line – there is a LOT going on here. Our microbiome is unique to each one of us. We acquire much of these bacteria as infants when we pass through the birth canal during delivery, but other factors, such as antibiotic use or birth by Cesarean section, can influence bacterial levels. That’s why we often discuss vaginal swabbing or seeding with clients during pregnancy.
Definition from ACOG – Vaginal seeding refers to the practice of inoculating a cotton gauze or cotton swab with vaginal fluids to transfer the vaginal flora to the mouth, nose, or skin of a newborn infant. The procedure is most often performed in conjunction with cesarean delivery. The purposed is to give infants that initial gut flora from the mother that they would’ve gotten naturally with a vaginal birth – that’s truly when the foundation of our gut microbiome takes place
The Vagus nerve is one of the biggest nerves connecting the gut and brain. This plays a major role in the regulation between Fight, Flight, Freeze and Fawn (our Sympathetic nervous system) and calming back down into a relaxed state of homeostasis (the Parasympathetic nervous system). There is significant research to prove that there is a link between stress, reduced vagus nerve function and bowel dysfunction such as IBS, Crohn’s disease and more. Below I share 2 techniques to help relax your body, down regulate your nervous system, and relax the vagus nerve. And don’t forget – Deep Belly Breathing is always a great start!
In this video I discuss a technique called Hum and Swallow that helps to sync your cranial nerves and calm the Vagus nerve specifically, which then has the benefit of positively impacting your body in all the ways shown above. This can also be done prior to sleeping for a more relaxed sleep!
The psoas and vagus nerve also have a close connection. That would take a whole other post, but for now, here is a link to an article that very much shares our philosophy on why I ever opened a yoga studio and the relationship between the vagus nerve and psoas muscle. Using the ball in your belly is a very gentle way to cue the body to ease tension throughout the abdomen and around the psoas muscle.
Try these out and let us know what you noticed. We LOVE hearing from you and read every email you send back to us!
These emails are meant to be educational and instructional. They are not able to diagnose or treat a specific issue and are definitely not a substitute for a professional evaluation.