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Dr. Arielle Schartz’s Blog on Mind-Body Therapies

Mind-Body Therapies for Vagus Nerve Disorders

by Dr. Arielle Schwartz

“Mind-body therapies regulate the vagus nerve and increase your resilience through “safe mobilization and safe immobilization” (Sullivan et al., 2018). This involves initially developing your capacity to feel peaceful, calm, and connected. Once you have a solid foundation of being able to access your social nervous system you can slowly build your tolerance for distressing physiological activation. This is accomplished by blending social engagement with both mobilization and immobilization until you can re-establish a sense of safety with those nervous system states. Over time, you increase your capacity to move in and out of different nervous system states.

Mind-body therapies and somatic psychology invite you to simultaneously attend to your body sensations, breath, emotional experience, and your thoughts. Additionally, you focus on sensing your external environment which will help you recognize that you are safe here and now. Some practices involve mindful use of movement (e.g. yoga postures, tai chi, walking meditation) and others, mindful use of stillness (seated meditation, relaxation, yoga nidra).”