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Natural Awakenings Tucson

The Vagus Nerve in Therapeutic Practice

Jan 31, 2024 11:00AM ● By Ann Baldwin, PhD
What is your book about?
The vagus nerve is a key communication pathway between the mind and the body. The heart, gut and other organs use it to inform the brain of their status; the brain uses it to calm and rebalance the organs, like an antidote to the fight-or-flight response. It also helps digestion, improves immune function and releases acetylcholine, an anti-inflammatory agent. But, when you become too stressed, it can’t do its job properly. That’s why we need techniques to help it work better. This book describes those techniques. Some you can do on your own, and others use therapies such as biofeedback, massage and aromatherapy, or group activities such as laughter yoga, singing and chanting. This book is for people who want help with managing stress and for therapists who want additional ways to provide that help by including vagus stimulation.

Why did you write this book?
This book was inspired by students at the University of Arizona who took my course, Physiology of Mind-Body Interactions. One student said, “As a class we navigated through the beginning of COVID in Spring of 2020. We all made good use of the breathing techniques you taught during that confusing time. I will always use these techniques to activate my vagus nerve, especially as I go through dental school these next few years.” The students’ enthusiasm and positive feedback made it clear to me that there is a place for these techniques in most people’s lives at this time.

What makes this book unique? 
For each therapy, a personal case study is included that illustrates in real life how each person improved and how this was linked to the vagus nerve. The case studies are contributed by therapists mostly practicing in the Tucson area and known to me personally. Some history, poetry and personal experiences are also included throughout the book for added interest.
Tell us a little about yourself.

I am the Director of Mind-Body-Science and professor of physiology (retired) from University of Arizona, as well as a Reiki Master. My degrees are BSc in Physics, University of Bristol UK, MSc in Radiation Physics and PhD in Physiology, University of London, UK. I focus on reducing the damaging effects of stress using biofeedback, reiki, trauma release exercises and equine assisted learning. I have published over 130 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and another book, Reiki in Clinical Practice. A Science Based Guide. In my spare time, I ride my horse and am a horse handler for Therapeutic Riding of Tucson.

Connect at 520-991-9458, [email protected] or To purchase the book, visit us

Ann L Baldwin PhD

Mind-Body-Science - 4427 East 5th St, Tucson, AZ

HEALTH and WELLNESS; EQUINE ASSISTED LEARNING; HEARTMATH: Dr. Ann Baldwin, physiologist, certified HeartMath trainer and Reiki master, offers biofeedback and Reiki to relieve pain, anxiet... Read More »