I got a geeky science vlog for you today: the polyvagal theory, explained.
I’ve wanted to write about this for a while. I’ve even debated turning this into a long form article, but to be blunt, the information is pretty cut and dry, granted you get the basics correct and don’t leave out sub-branches of the vagus nerve!!, which makes ALL the difference in the world when it comes to healing trauma.
You’ll see what I mean when you get into this special vlog.
I looked up the definition of ‘theory’ before I recorded this vlog because the term ‘theory’ sounds as if it is isn’t fact, but more so, an idea, and this is simply NOT true when it comes to the work Dr. Stephen Porges ‘stumbled’ across and has devoted his scientific career to.
According to the Merriam Webster online dictionary, a theory can be defined as:
- A plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena
- The general or abstract principles of a body of fact, a science, or an art
- The analysis of a set of facts in their relation to one another
Why I am taking a little time schooling you on the definitions of the word ‘theory’?
Because there are certain things around healing trauma and nervous system health that are factual and this is one of them.
Which means that if you’re someone who wants to see the paradigm change when it comes to healing trauma and human potential, then you’ll be happy to know the polyvagal theory backs many pieces of research related to the new traumatology and healing at the neurophysiology (nervous system) level.
In case you are interested, here are two studies that connect to the polyvagal theory are. One is the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, which shows the staggering connections between unresolved early trauma early and the onset of adult chronic illness, both mental and physical (I’ve talked about this study here, and it is still ongoing). Another is Dr. Michael Meaney’s work with rat pups that demonstrates the importance of nurturing the nervous system early in life so that good life ensues.
I hope you take some time to watch me breakdown this theory and the intricacies of your wandering vagus nerve so you can become truly trauma-informed.