What Exactly is the Vagus Nerve?
The Vagus Nerve is the longest and most complex cranial nerve in the body. Its name, derived from Latin, means “wandering,” and rightly so. As the 10th cranial nerve, this vagabond extends from the brain stem down to the trachea, larynx, heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, spleen, pancreas and intestines. Yes, it touches just about everything! The Vagus Nerve controls your inner nerve center—the parasympathetic nervous system, which is part of the autonomic nervous system. Think of it as your “rest and digest” mode. It’s the opposite of the sympathetic nervous system, or the state of “fight or flight” which pumps out adrenaline when you’re feeling super stressed.