The Vagus Nerve

Feeling safe is a result of multiple factors that include personal experiences, external environment and how we internally process information from our surroundings. In order to engage with others for social connection and learning, we first need to feel safe.   

The science of feeling safe has been studied over several years by scientist Dr .Stephen Porges. His body of work, referred to as Polyvagal Theory, focuses on what is happening in the body and nervous system at every moment and how our sense of safety, danger or threat can impact our behaviour in an unconscious way.

The brain is constantly taking in information from the environment from our senses and assessing if we are ‘safe’ or in ‘danger’. The information or ‘cues’ gathered from what we see, hear, smell, feel, taste or experience – is processed by the Vagus Nerve. The vagus nerve is largest cranial nerve in the body, extending from the brainstem to the colon, and is also integral to the Gut-Brain Connection which impacts digestion and mood. In terms of polyvagal theory, it is the control center for assessing environmental cues and how the body reacts automatically.

We now understand some of the challenges that can occur for people due to influences such as: genetic makeup, life experiences, trauma, ADHD, autism and PTSD. In these cases, the nervous system can misinterpret cues from others and the environment, seeing danger when there is none present. Polyvagal theory provides a framework for non invasive ways to help support people to regain feelings of safety and connection, leading to better social engagement, attention, learning and behaviour.

The Sacred Nest uses this knowledge to provide a safe, calming sensory space for all visitors. In this space, we provide a range of programs and services that help to stimulate the vagus nerve and train the nervous system to be more aware, regulated and resilient. This enables more feelings of safety to  more effectively respond to life’s challenges. Each of the Polyvagal Programs listed below use a different approach to enhance vagal tone and increase calm. Click on each program to explore which one best suits you, or Contact us now.

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people who are the Traditional Custodians of the Land on which The Sacred Nest now stands, and pay respect to the Elders both past and present of the Kulin Nation.