Professor Stephen W. PORGES

Vagal Nerve Stimulation Through the Lens of the Polyvagal Theory

Vagal nerve stimulation, through the lens of the Polyvagal Theory, highlights three key aspects. Firstly, it emphasizes the link between the ventral vagal complex's functions and symptom relief through stimulation, benefiting mental and physical well-being. Secondly, it focuses stimulation on specific afferent pathways that communicate with brainstem regions regulating somatomotor and special visceral efferent pathways from the ventral vagal complex. Thirdly, it acknowledges the impact of trauma and chronic stress on autonomic function, disrupting the adaptive role of the ventral vagal complex in managing threats and optimizing health. As our understanding of vagal pathways improves, stimulation methods and targets are expected to evolve, potentially resulting in vagal neuromodulators serving as neural exercises for a resilient autonomic nervous system, without requiring chronic usage.

About professor

Stephen W. PORGES