How to Relax (The VAGUS NERVE)

Sarah Galeano has her eyes closed and gently smiles while relaxing. Sage green background and gold circles and dots logo with Galeano Massage in white cursive letters.

If you’re feeling stressed out, you may be looking for a quick way to de-stress. Thankfully, relaxation can be achieved by stimulating the tenth cranial nerve, called: The Vagus Nerve.

There are multiple ways you can relax by stimulating the vagus nerve, including breathing exercises, humming, singing, massage, improving your microbiome, gargling, aromatherapy, acupuncture, exercise, laughing, and cryotherapy. Stimulating the vagus nerve will lead to a greater feeling of relaxation.

Stress is inevitable, but it doesn’t need to stick around, making you feel like a frazzled mess. Let’s get into how you can increase vagal tone so you can zen out in a snap!

What’s the Vagus Nerve and Why You Should Stimulate It

Many of us suffer from stress and anxiety every day. The demands of life seem to only increase and can feel suffocating. If there was anything you could do to feel more relaxed that was effective, quick, and free, would you do it? That’s a no-brainer! This is where vagus nerve stimulation comes in. We all have one, and we all can increase a low vagal tone to feel more relaxed, any time we want.

The vagus nerve is the tenth cranial nerve. Being the longest cranial nerve in the body, it runs from the brainstem down to the large intestine. It branches out into many of the organs in the body. It’s composed of 20% “efferent” fibers (sending information from the brain to the body) and 80% “afferent” fibers (sending information from the body to the brain).

The vagus nerve is the primary nerve that makes up the parasympathetic nervous system. The parasympathetic nervous system is the part of the nervous system that is responsible for relaxation and digestion. Since the vagus nerve primarily sends information from organs in the body to the brain, it creates a wonderful opportunity to employ various techniques on the body to achieve relaxation faster.

How to Stimulate the Vagus Nerve to Achieve Relaxation

If you are suffering from stress, then it means that your vagus nerve has a “low vagal tone.” This can result in anxiety, depression, insomnia, digestion, and cardiovascular problems. If you have a “high vagal tone,” then you are someone who feels happy, energized, and relaxed.

There are so many ways to stimulate your vagus nerve, but I want to share with you the ways I find the most interesting and effective.

How to stimulate the vagus nerve

Vagus Nerve Exercises:

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Look to the far right without moving your head
Sarah Galeano is looking to the left with her hands behind her head. She is wearing a white short-sleeved shirt with blue and pink stripes. White background with gold circles and dots logo with Galeano Massage in black cursive letters.
Look far to the left without turning your head


Sarah Galeano holding acupressure point Ying Tang/Third Eye. White background with gold circles and dots logo with Galeano Massage in black cursive letters.
Ying Tang/Third Eye Acupressure Point, located in between the eyebrows
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Locate the bottom of your sternum
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Measure four finger widths up from your sternum
Sarah Galeano is wearing a short-sleeved white cotton shirt with her hair in a side braid and ponytail. She is holding down the acupressure point CV-17 or Sea of Tranquility with her two fingers. Gold circles and dots logo with Galeano Massage in black cursive letters.
Acupressure Point CV-17 aka Sea of Tranquility

*You will know that you have the acupressure point when you feel an indent and sensitivity when you put pressure on the point.

Sarah Galeano's right ear, holding half of a white ear swab up to the middle cymba concha of the ear. Gold circles and dots logo with white cursive letters spelling Galeano Massage.
Rub circles with an ear swab in the middle part of the ear, called “cymba concha”

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Diffuse quality essential oils for better vagal tone

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Plant-based diet, including-vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, whole grains, fermented dairy, and moderate amounts of seafood and chicken

How Often Should You Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve?

Since we endure stress on a daily basis, it’s important to make stimulating your vagus nerve a daily practice, especially if you’re struggling with stress, anxiety, and depression. If doing the things listed above seems like they’re things you can only incorporate occasionally, don’t fret.

Living a balanced, well-rounded lifestyle can also stimulate the vagus nerve. Humming or singing a song, jumping into a cold body of water with friends like a pool, lake, or ocean, watching comedy and laughing, gargling water in your throat after brushing your teeth. These are all things you can do every day to increase your vagal tone.

Of course, doing self-massage or getting a professional massage is probably one of my favorite ways to stimulate the vagus nerve. Don’t stick to just one thing, either. Mix it up and incorporate and layer techniques together. I like to hold the YingTang acupressure point while doing box breathing and inhaling relaxing essential oils, all at the same time. Variety is the spice of life!

Stimulating the vagus nerve will help to improve your mental well-being and your overall feelings of stress. There are many ways to improve your mental and emotional well-being; one of my favorites is by using massage therapy!


The content in this article is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a trained qualified physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Galeano Massage nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, or supplements or those diagnosed with a medical illness should consult their physicians before implementing any of the self-care advice in this article.


I've been practicing Massage Therapy since 2014. I'm a health and wellness enthusiast. I'm always learning and experimenting with different techniques, recipes, and healing modalities. I believe that we need to approach health and wellness from a WHOLE-listic point of view and understand that it will constantly be changing and is never stagnant. We are all unique and what works for one person will not necessarily work for another person. As I grow, change, and experiment I will share what I have learned as it may help someone else in need.

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