Author Topic: Dive Reflex and Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Anxiety,Phobias and Inflammation  (Read 7594 times)

Offline thomas_seay

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Now this looks like a very cool experiment that I am interested in.  Maybe you, too.  Apparently Vagus Nerve Stimulation works really well for calming anxiety, phobias, fears, etc.  There is apparently a very simple way to carry this out (without using invasive techniques.  Basically you put a cold pack on your face and hold  your breath for a minute.  It also is touted as a good way to reduce inflammation.

Here is a link to how to perform the technique:
http://www.emoclear.com/thedivereflex.htm

Here is a link to Dr. Ayer's website (the webcache in any case, I am blocked from going to the site here at work):

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:an6vFUQghE8J:coolinginflammation.blogspot.com/2009/09/vagus-nerve-controls-gut-inflammation.html+vagal+nerve+stimulation+dive+reflex&cd=8&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&lr=lang_fr|lang_en&source=www.google.com

Offline Torvald

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Thomas, thanks for posting this!

I'd never heard of the diving reflex before. It sounds like it might solve the "brain-scramble" that I've posted about elsewhere.

One night when "brain-scramble" got especially bad, I tried putting my face against a ziploc bag filled with ice cubes for one minute. I had forgotten the part about holding my breath, but you basically have no choice. It did not induce the instant calm that a lot of people have reported elsewhere, but it may have induced some calm during the following hour.

The next time I experience strong brain-scramble, I'm going to try it again, but with a big bowl of ice water. A couple papers, such as "Mechanism of the Human Diving Response" (Gooden, 1994), report that the effect is much reduced when you use a plastic bag. Here's a video that shows some students directly immersing their faces in cold water and monitoring as their heart rates fall from about 120 bpm to 60 bpm. They report that the water felt comfortable and they did not have to struggle to hold their breath (unlike my experience with the ziploc bag).