The vagus nerve earned the nickname "wandering nerve" due to its numerous branches that emanate from two thick stems rooted in the cerebellum and brainstem, extending down to the abdominal region where it interacts with the heart and major organs along the way.
In 1921, Otto Loewi, a German physiologist, made an important discovery by demonstrating that stimulating the vagus nerve caused a decrease in heart rate. He named the substance responsible for this effect Vagusstoff (German for "Vagus Substance"). This substance was later identified as acetylcholine and became the first neurotransmitter ever identified by scientists.
The vagus nerve serves as a crucial element of the parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the "rest-and-digest" functions of the body. A higher index of vagal tone is associated with improved physical and psychological well-being. Conversely, a low vagal tone index is linked to inflammation, depression, negative moods, feelings of loneliness, heart attacks, and strokes.
Chiropractic adjustments stimulate the vagus nerve, enabling your body to engage in the necessary healing processes it requires.