Diaphragm Release and Vagus Nerve Activation
The vagus nerve passes through the diaphragm...gentle prolonged fascial release of the simplest form, subject supine, fully covered by draping, arms by sides, therapist's open palm resting with constant steady pressure on the diaphragm to release subcutaneous fascia, clearing unidirectional binding, and a deeper penetrating effect stimulates the vagus nerve ultimately taking the subject into a deep para-sympathetic state. The process can be accelerated by fascial stacking technique. Treating it as a relaxation exercise, voice guided instruction...steady, slow, allow space between each suggestion...directing the subject to let their lips and teeth and part slightly, relax the jaw, breath through the nose into the abdomen, soften the eyes. Once the subcutaneous binding releases, you will note the client's respiration slows, softens and becomes effortless. They drop into a deep meditative state. They may experience visions of colour in their third eye and/or sensations of floating or sinking into the table. This will usually occur within two to five minutes. It can be deeply moving and initiate cathartic emotional release. The duration of the hold is guided by the therapist's intuition. Occasionally the process does not induce the subject to achieve a meditative state. Subjects having the most difficulty are young women unable to let go and get out of their head...it is as though their minds are totally wired and thoughts whirl endlessly...I suspect my Chinese doctor would diagnose excessive heart fire and/or deficient kidney yin energy.
There is an energetic aspect to this treatment. Chakras have complimentary pairs...treating one helps the other. Hence, this diaphragm release and vagus nerve activation technique does benefit higher level chakra areas of the body. My knowledge of this is limited. In my experience, people do report a relaxation and loosening in the neck.
I do not do this process often. When first beginning to use it, going to that part of the body and performing this act was strange and awkward. It can be invasive for some subjects. It did take me a long time to get comfortable with it. Turning it into an outright relaxation exercise with instruction for the subject helps. I do not really know what I say to get permission to do this...I will generally seek it but sometimes not...it is not a formal process with signatures on paper. I am now confident and experienced with the process, and have plenty of words to get there so it goes smoothly. Usually performed at the end of a session but on rare occasions at the beginning where it is evident relaxation is important to the treatment and high stress levels are interfering. When I have hammered an individual with a heavy sports massage and they are going to feel like they were hit by a truck, this process removes that impact, clears/elevates energetically and makes them feel light. Also employed when there are high degrees of tension in neck and throat.
After performing the diaphragm release, there is the option to progress to the sacrum using the same fascial release technique. This can take the subject to an even deeper state. Individuals who do not respond to a diaphragm release will generally overcome the barrier of their hyperactive mental state and go para-sympathetic. Reflexolgy through the heel or direct technique on the sacrum is like a keyway into the spine and brain.