Vagus Nerve Acupuncture for Dysautonomia / POTS Relief
The Vagus nerve point is one of the most potent acupuncture points to use when treating people who have the challenge of managing dysautonomia and is therefore included in our acupuncture POTS protocol. The Vagus nerve is the longest, cranial “wandering” nerve that covers the heart and innervates most major organs, impacting the cardiovascular, endocrine, immune, respiratory, and digestive systems. The Vagus nerve also impacts the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.
In the case of dysautonomia, a few of the major complications are gastroparesis accompanied by intense pain and vomiting, bradycardia, syncope or fainting, and inability to sweat. Gastroparesis is the result of underactive vagus nerve activity, with delayed gastric emptying and inhibited peristalsis – or the inability to digest food and its’ nutrients, necessary to live. At the same time, an overactive vagus nerve can cause an abnormally low heart rate and fainting, or vasovagal syncope due to a sudden drop in cardiac output.
Whether the vagus nerve is hypo or hyper aroused, both in the case of dysautonomia, treating the vagus nerve acupuncture point encourages the body toward homeostasis and efficient function. Since the body has a natural tendency toward maintaining homeostasis and optimal functioning for survival, vagal nerve stimulation, via acupuncture, communicates the appropriate need for increasing or subduing vagal nerve function.
The Benefits of Acupuncture
Acupuncture, in particular, reminds the body how to heal itself. Acupuncture is clinical medicine that treats illness, disease, pain and inflammation and it encourages the maintenance of our homeostasis or balance. For example, the same acupoint can be treated for either high or low blood pressure and the body will adjust accordingly to establish that happy 120/80 range. Same with a fever or a hot flash – treating a certain acupuncture point can drop body temperature in order to recuperate our perfect 98.6-degree F.
Summary About the Vagus Nerve
Acupuncture can help to establish proper Vagal tone, which seems imperative when managing dysautonomia, POTS, and many of the debilitating side effects of the disease. People with dysautonomia have common symptoms from the disease, yet, are also navigating very individual complications. The beauty of acupuncture is that it is a catalyst for the body to do what it needs to do, according to each individual’s necessary health requirements. Including the Vagus nerve acupuncture point in a patient’s customized acupuncture treatment plan, should be of serious consideration – for the benefit of a person’s quality of life… Isn’t that the Point?:)
Sarah Newman Kalb, Acupuncture physician, MAOM @ Vitality Acupuncture LLC in Gulf Breeze, FL