FX Medicine

Home of integrative and complementary medicine

Harnessing the Vagus Nerve with Emrys Goldsworthy

FXMedicine's picture

Harnessing the Vagus Nerve

Headaches, atrial fibrillation, epilepsy, anxiety and depression? While these conditions may seem unrelated they may all benefit from a potential treatment involving gargling and the vagus nerve.

The vagus nerve is a major neuronal pathway of the parasympathetic nervous system, our rest-and-digest system. Known as the “wandering nerve” because it branches all throughout the body the vagus nerve has far-reaching effects which include involvement in swallowing, speech, heart rate, respiratory control, gastric secretion and intestinal motility.

In this episode Andrew speaks to Emrys Goldsworthy, a Senior Lecturer and Musculoskeletal Therapist, about the use of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) to improve health and wellbeing. As an expert in VNS, Emrys takes us through the research behind this therapy and shares with us some techniques for harnessing the vagus nerve.


Covered in this episode

[01:04] Introducing Emrys Goldsworthy
[02:04] Introducing today's topic - working with the vagus nerve
[02:30] Emry's background
[03:02] Exploring the nervous system more deeply
[03:47] Vagus nerve and the gut-brain axis
[05:26] Historical medical interventions with vagus nerve
[06:52] Current methods of vagus nerve stimulation
[11:44] The actions of the vagus nerve
[13:32] Vagus Nerve: anti-inflammatory activity
[15:42] Are these effects measurable?
[16:52] Comprehensive discussion of the evidence
[31:40] Is there a way to assess low vagal tone
[38:18] At home techniques for the vagus nerve
[42:16] Research portfolio in this area
[45:43] What other areas can vagal stimulation benefit?
[50:20] Any issues to be aware of with therapy?
[52:33] Home treatment devices
[54:14] The future of therapy
[56:36] Where can practitioners get training
[1:01:04] Final thanks & conclusion

Additional Resources

Athletica Physical Health
Vagus Nerve Resources & Research
Education & Further Training
Self Care Resources from Emrys


The information provided on FX Medicine is for educational and informational purposes only. The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional advice or care. Please seek the advice of a qualified health care professional in the event something you have read here raises questions or concerns regarding your health.


Share this post: 


FXMedicine's picture
FX Medicine Podcast
FX Medicine is at the forefront of ensuring functional and integrative medicine gains the recognition it deserves and ultimately establishes itself as an integral part of standard medical practice. Hosted by Andrew Whitfield-Cook, our podcasts are designed to promote research and evidence-based therapeutic practises, acting as a progressive force for change and improvement in patient health and wellbeing.