Updated: Nov 29, 2021
A potent biological fact: Humming activates the vagus nerve, enhancing vibrant physical health and calm mental happiness. Say again? What is this vagus nerve? And how can activating it (through an action as basic as humming, no less!) benefit us? This sounds waaaay too simplistic to be of value.
Let’s unpack this assertion a bit. We humans have two nervous system “settings”, the sympathetic and parasympathetic responses.
The turbulent tempo of modern life tends to heighten and sustain the arousal responses of our sympathetic nervous system, those fight/flight/freeze survival options that kick in whenever we feel threatened or stressed. The sympathetic nervous system is designed for short-term activation, which, ideally, is quickly followed by return to calm equilibrium. However, for many of us, this state of stressful arousal has become a chronic, habitual response to countless daily stress triggers, leading to unpleasant and damaging longterm consequences such as fatigue, irritability, insomnia, emotional turmoil, and physical dis-ease.
Our parasympathetic nervous system is our calm,“it’s all okay, time to rest and digest” nervous system mode that promotes health and well-being. The central component of the parasympathetic nervous system is the vagus nerve. It’s the longest nerve highway in the body, rambling in countless tiny pathways from the base of the lungs, through the torso and neck, up into the jaws, cheeks, mouth and nose, rising through the centre of the forehead into the brain. Activating the vagus nerve through humming (and yes, there are other options, but none as simple and accessible at all times as humming) opens a physiological and energetic portal that allows us to destress and experience improved health and happiness, here and now.
Hmmmmmm . . . In Sound Belonging, and Wholeness programs, the “humble hum” is explored and celebrated. Click on this video, and hum along!