Accessing the Healing Power of the Vagus Nerve by Stanley Rosenberg

sebbe

Jedi
FOTCM Member

I think it's just been published in French :

 

3DStudent

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thanks for the show, it was a good one. I realized that I am mostly in a dorsal vagal state. It's probably lockdown woes and whatever is in the air, and it's like being a hair trigger. The slightest thing sends me over the edge so there's no wiggle room to deal with things.

I'm not reading a book currently, just the forum, so I plan to get Rosenburg's book. I looked at my uvula and it points straight down, which I expected from memory.
 

Jones

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Thanks for the recommendation, AI. I'm reading the book at the moment and reference was made to an Abbot and Costello sketch in regards to "faulty neuroception".

There can be countless reasons for faulty neuroception. Our perception might be fined by anger, fear, jealousy, or apathy, or we might be locked into a traumatic memory. We may be fixated in a state of shock; we may be hungry and have low blood sugar; we may be tired, in physical pain, or suffering from an illness.

We might be feeling perfectly normal and then suddenly be triggered by something that reminds us of a traumatic event in our past - and react to this memory as if it were happening in present time. WE might not actually be threatened or endangered, but our nervous system may be stuck in the past, posed to fight or flee at the slightest trigger from the environment. A wonderful example of this is an Abbott and Costello sketch called "Slowly I Turned"

Faulty neuroception can even come from very positive experiences like falling in love and bonding with the partner. We sometimes hear that a person's judgement was impaired because they were "blinded by love," so that they failed to be aware of a possibly destructive situation.

Here's the video clip referred to.


While this is a bit of a slapstick ham up as would be expected from Abbott and Costello, it's a really good demonstration of how mechanical our reactions can be and what a powerful effect a disregulated vagus nerve can have on our perceptions and behaviours!

The clip also adds another idea - how our automatic reactions could be used by others either consciously or subconsciously to control our perception and behaviours.
 

Jones

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I've finished reading the book and have been implementing the exercises at least once a day for a week. I had been engaging in posture exercises for a while, but these simple exercises have released some tensions in my shoulders, back and neck that are helpful to maintaining better posture - also it seems as though I've become more sensitive to when I lapse into old habits, recognise it and correct faster, partly because poor posture seems more uncomfortable now. (Jordan Petersons rule 'stand up straight' - almost nailed :lol:)

In the forward of the book, Stephen Porges mentions a spondylolistheses that Stanley put back into position for him and that he uses a modified version of that to relieve pain and treat himself, so I have sent a message to the author requesting an elaboration on that technique that I'll share with body workers - in particular an massage/orthobionomy practitioner that I sometimes see who has also studied trigger point massage. I described the main exercises to her over the phone and talked her through them as she was applying them to herself. She quickly got to a yawn, felt things relaxing, agrees that it's a good self care technique and is buying the book. If the author responds to my request for elaboration of the spondylolisthesis technique I'll share that too.

The author also reminds that diaphragmatic breathing should expand the rib cage laterally and that can be detected by lateral movement in the last two ribs - I did have inflexibility there that I've corrected. Years ago in the EE thread I mentioned that it felt as though there was something under my diaphragm that felt like it needed massaging, and while I don't have either symptoms or diagnosis of hiatus hernia, I've added in the technique suggested for hiatus hernia to stretch my eosophagus and lower my stomach - that seems to help. It has taken about a week to get from a slight sigh on release to a hearty yawn.

My sleep hours are regulating again too, so that's a bonus.

All in all, a very helpful read and simple to add to a daily program for relaxation that can be put into practice in snatched moments.
 

Nienna

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Wow! Thank you, Jones, for your post. After reading it, I went back to the first post by AI and watched the video about the Basic Exercise. I did the exercise sitting while it was demonstrated and found that the uncomfortableness on the right side was gone. The left was still there, but not as much, but I didn't hold the position as long so was not surprised.

So with that amount of success from doing it sitting for only a short time, I decided to do the whole exercise. On the left side, I did yawn after about 30 seconds so stopped at that point. The right side I did for the entire 60 seconds. I can now rotate my neck to the right a lot further than I have been able to for a very long time; and the left side I can turn my head farther than before, before the restrictive feeling shows up. :wow: Who would've thought after such a small thing for so short a time that this would be possible?

Looks like I'm gonna be getting the book!

Thanks again to you, Jones, and to Approaching Infinity for the book rundown. :flowers:
 

Ollie

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Thankyou Approaching Infinity for recommending this book. It is an excellent self-help book. It helped explain a lot of what I have been experiencing, and what I can do about it.

I liked the fact that Rosenburg took the relevant parts of various therapies (Biomechanical Craniosacral therapy, Neurofascial Release technique, Rolfing (with a soft touch), Shiastsu massage, and Tai chi, to name just a few) and melded them into a coherent creative body therapy that he both practices and teaches. His approach crosses many disciplines, and is an approach more consistent with that of a traditional healer. The system he has developed allows for body manipulations that allow the body to retune the nervous system for improved mental health, social behaviour, and physiological homoestasis. And, his system allows for the unlocking of chronic disorders. He works with the 12 cranial nerves, not just the vagal nerves. It is from his discovery of the Polyvagal Theory that he redeveloped his understanding of hands-on healing. In his practice, as has already been mentioned, he tests his clients, both before and after therapy, for a state of social engagement. Usually it is lacking before, and is present afterwards: it is his test for a successful intervention, one that can be demonstrated to clients. Not only does he give interventions he shows his clients how to do it themselves (as is shown in Part 2 of the book).

I didn’t find the repetitive mentioning of Poly Vagal theory annoying; I liked the way he interweaved it, and explained its working, in various cases studies, and the types of problems encountered in his practice. The psychosomatic approach to solving issues is well known, he proposes that also the dysfunction of the body (particularly that of muscles) affect the psyche, and the emotions: a somatopsychological approach.

Social anxiety is a problem for me, a lack of social engagement, which is a defensive state of contraction, and is due to cranial nerve disfunction, it can be overcome. His hydra, the many forms of disfunction, showed some things that I was already aware of, whilst highlighting some new dysfunctions arising from the cranial nerves, and body postures. Arthritis, difficulty in remembering, general stiffness of neck, shoulders, and pelvis, and skin problems – all of which were put down to old age. However, they are not! They can be rectified, and the means are provided in this book (Part 2). The major hydra for me is what he calls Forward Head Posture, something just put down to old age. This hydra affects the chest, lungs (breathing difficulties) and heart, dizziness (due to restricted blood flow to the head), general fatigue and low levels of energy, and muscle problems, not necessarily tight, but the opposite, flaccid. All of which I can relate to, to a degree. A recent, unaccustomed activity, led to a realisation of how poor my back, especially lower back, posture was, and my inability to sit upright comfortably without support. All of these problems are due a lifetime of poor posture, especially sitting. Part 2 of the book shows me how to rectify the problems.

I have done the basic exercise 1, and noticed a positive result. I am about to progress to the next relevant exercise.

A recommended read for all. I cannot praise the book high enough.
 

RedFox

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I have yet to read the book yet, but it is on order.
Wanted to add a few points that I'm predicting may be useful here.
I've been looking at the freeze response and autonomic dis-regulation, and how it can manifest in avoidance behaviors (for example avoiding all behaviors/interactions/actions that cause stress, that trip the shutdown/freeze response in the nervous system) and well as thoughts and feelings of being stuck and/or overwhelmed and/or powerless. A reoccurring theme of many people on the forum is that of feeling stuck.

I found these exercises by Peter Levine that seem to do similar things as the basic exercise:

Combining the first exercise with these seems to have good results, and can allow people to redress any avoidant behaviors.
Additionally if you find these or EE doesn't work, or works but doesn't stick no matter how many times you practice them, the issue may be physiological and can probably be addressed with this thread: Thiamine (Vitamin B1) - A common deficiency in disorders of energy metabolism, cardiovascular and nervous system dysfunction
I've found that since correcting the physiological issues myself that vagus nerve training, and correcting dis-regulation has been sticking more.
 

3DStudent

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I have yet to read the book yet, but it is on order.
Wanted to add a few points that I'm predicting may be useful here.
Thanks, I'll have to take a look. I just finished the book the other week. I haven't really done much of the exercises, and need to go through them and see what the indications for each are. I'm another of those disconnected and feeling stuck. I've been meaning to write a post about feeling stuck, and it would seem primary because you can't do much before you clear the logjam, and that includes difficulty with posting.
 

Laurs

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
Also finished the book and got a lot out of it. Thank you very much @Approaching Infinity for recommending it. I had some persistent neck pain on both sides recently that did not subside no matter what i did. I did the basic exercise and the special neck exercise for two consecutive days and it cleared up for about 90%. Amazing result!
I also found that Rosenberg explains everything in easy to understand concepts, including the process of diaphragmatic breathing, as mentioned by @Jones, very interesting and as opposed to other ways of breathing that are paired with emotional states. His explanation helped me a lot, especially with the Beatha breathing portion of EE, as apparently i had a tendency to not always breathe in the correct way. Problem solved as well! For what it's worth, just in case this would be of use to someone, I include here a fragment from the online pdf file p.116-117 (bought the Kindle version but somehow could not get this section to copy/paste):

Good diaphragmatic breathing is an important element of social engagement. Every person I have observed in my clinic who is in a state of stress or dorsal vagal activity has a disturbed breathing pattern.

Normal breathing should involve up-and-down-movement of the diaphragm. In order to evaluate whether this is happening, I place my hands lightly on the sides of the chest at the level of the last two ribs. If there is diaphragmatic breathing, I can detect a lateral movement of the lower two ribs on both sides.

When we cannot inhale with a normal lowering of the respiratory diaphragm, we find alternative ways to make space for the expanding lungs. One very common way is to lift the shoulders and upper ribs. This is called high costal breathing (costal refers to ribs). This breathing pattern is associated with the emotions of fear, anxiety and panic.

Another common pattern in non-diaphragmatic breathing is to inhale using the abdominal muscles. Sometimes, when we are typically short of breath, the belly is distended, soft and flabby. The belly muscles are too soft, and when they go slack the intestines descend, pulling the lungs down. Sometimes people call this "belly breathing" and interpret it as a good sign because they can see that the breath is going down into the abdomen. However, it does not actively involve tightening the respiratory diaphragm. People breathing this way often hold their stomach muscles tight on the inbreath. The muscles of their abdomen feel hard. This breathing pattern is associated with anger.

Ideally, the abdomen and chest expand and contract rhythmically, at the same time. The lower two ribs move to the sides, down and back with expansion. The next five ribs up swing out to the sides; this lateral movement is likened to that of a "bucket handle". The next group of ribs above those lifts straight upward, along with the sternum, in a movement described as the "pump handle".

 

Korzik18

Jedi
FOTCM Member
@Laurs Thank you so much for sharing this book you bought yourself! I really wanted to read it, because it seems to me that I am not breathing correctly with the diaphragm and perhaps I am not doing the exercises correctly. I have never felt like yawning or swallowing during Rosenberg's exercises.
I wanted more theory. Now I can translate information and better understand this topic.
I am ashamed :-[that I didn’t think to buy it myself in the PDF version. Usually I either bought a translated paper book or downloaded a pirated version. But this book has not yet been translated into Russian. I have not found it in any form.
Thank you again!:flowers:
 

zoidbergh77

The Force is Strong With This One
Thank you for making us aware of this book AI, will order it right away. Reading through the responses in this thread, it seems to be very useful. Since I have problems with pain in the neck and upper back periodically I am sure I can benefit from it and am looking forward to try it out and see how it goes when I include it in doing EE.
I wanted more theory. Now I can translate information and better understand this topic.
same here, I haven´t really looked into the "technical" aspect of it except for the explanations given in the context of EE, so I guess it´s time to change that.
 

Keit

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FOTCM Member
But probably the most important exercise is what he calls the "basic exercise." It's very simple and has the effect of activating the ventral vagus and aligning the atlas and axis vertebrae. Here's a video demonstration:

Here's a short video where Dr. Andrew Huberman describes how combining this exercise with bringing up past traumatic events or adverse events can assist with "unlearning". It is basically part of eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) psychotherapy, when it puts a person in a state of heightened alertness, and facilitates brain plasticity while quieting or suppressing the amigdala.

I actually tried doing it couple of times already during the Beatha portion of EE. I was lying down, holding the hands up like in the exercise, doing the bioenergetic breathing, and moving the eyes laterally from side to side, and then holding them on one side and bringing up various events from the past. Talking about multitasking 😅. Don't know if it had any effect yet. Perhaps better to test it without the Beatha breathing.

 
Hi Keit,

I do the same thing. I only move my eyes from left to right and right to left without raising my arms behind my head. When I move my eyes, there is a lot of feeling that comes to the surface. It's not pleasant but it's subjective. I welcome these sensations as objectively as possible. I want to fly like an eagle.

Marc.
 
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