Accessing the Healing Power of the Vagus Nerve: Self-Help Exercises for Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, and Autism

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This practical guide to understanding the cranial nerves as the key to our psychological and physical well-being builds on Stephen Porges’s Polyvagal Theory—one of the most important recent developments in human neurobiology. Drawing on more than thirty years of experience as a craniosacral therapist and Rolfer, Stanley Rosenberg explores the crucial role that the vagus nerve plays in determining our psychological and emotional states and explains that a myriad of common psychological and physical symptoms—from anxiety and depression to migraines and back pain—indicates a lack of proper functioning in the vagus nerve.Through a series of easy self-help exercises, the book illustrates the simple ways we can regulate the vagus nerve in order to initiate deep relaxation, improve sleep, and recover from injury and trauma. Additionally, by exploring the link between a well-regulated vagus nerve and social functioning, Rosenberg’s findings and methods offer new hope that by improving social behavior it is possible to alleviate some of the symptoms at the core of many cases of autism spectrum disorders. Useful for psychotherapists, doctors, bodyworkers, and caregivers, as well as anyone who experiences the symptoms of chronic stress and depression, this book shows how we can optimize autonomic functioning in ourselves and others, and bring the body into the state of safety that activates its innate capacity to heal.

102 reviews for Accessing the Healing Power of the Vagus Nerve: Self-Help Exercises for Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, and Autism

  1. PTdoctor

    I bought this book as I am on a quest to help my son with Aspergers.

    This author does an excellent job of describing the Polyvagal Theory for manual therapists. If you are not a manual therapist, you may still see some benefit from reading this book. The author describes the polyvagal theory thoroughly and explains some ways of improving your autonomic state from stress or dorsal vagal to social engagement.

    I came across this book title while searching for info on Dr. Porges and the Polyvagal Theory. I am a doctor of physical therapy and own a physical therapy practice called Muscle IQ. I have been in practice for over twenty years and use manual therapy techniques during every patient visit. So, I was able to quickly implement his recommended techniques. The Basic Exercise is one he thought up one night before addressing a group that was not licensed to touch clients. It is similar to the muscle energy technique I use for relocating the Atlas, so he does have good insight regarding manual therapy.

    The author Mr. Rosenberg is a highly skilled and experienced massage therapist that started a “school” to teach other massage therapists in Denmark some osteopathic techniques. I did love his focus on using manual therapy to make changes in a person’s physiological state as using an anatomical perspective is obviously a perfect match for me as a manual therapist.

    In the book he introduced me to the potential of the esophagus tightening up being a cause of the sensation of tightening in the chest that we might call anxiety. Using the technique he described in the book for this condition helped a patient of mine with COPD reduce some of his symptoms. But it was not a cure like the case he mentions in the book.

    I have been trying his method to turn the Vagus Nerve on with most all of my patients (and with my son). After following his precise instructions to perform the Basic Exercise (over the last 4 weeks) I have to say that I am disappointed in the results. I have not seen a big change in the uvula lift in most all of my patients (maybe I didn’t get them to yawn enough times).

    I am skeptical regarding the validity Mr. Rosenberg’s assumptions. In physical therapy school we learned that some tests are what my professor called subjectively objective. This means that even though the test seems to qualify as objective, there is a good probability of the introduction of experimenter bias.

    I have to admit that this is one of the difficulties inherent to manual therapy. Especially in craniosacral therapy where ESP (yes, extra-sensory perception) is professed to be the way many practitioners determine whether a patient has positive results. So, I applaud Mr. Rosenberg’s attempt to use different measurements of palpating asymmetry, observation of the uvula lift, and palpation of tension in soft tissues. But again, experimenter bias is easily introduced in these subjectively objective measures.

    What’s more, how do we know that being able to lift the uvula demonstrates validity (of being in a social engagement state)? Validity in data collection means that your findings truly represent the phenomenon you are claiming to measure.

    Validity in what the author suggests in the book would be the following: If an individual passes the uvula test, then he/she should not have any of the chronic problems the author lists (e.g., my son’s autism is therefore cured) because the ventral vagus is active.

    Furthermore, how do we know what Stanley Rosenberg means when he repeatedly states that the client improved after performing the Basic Exercise? He does not quantify the improvement beyond his observation of change. Can the vagus nerve test be quantified? Can the uvula lift be graded like other muscle tests: 0 to 5 out of 5)?

    Another issue that should be addressed is yawning (one of the steps in the Basic Exercise that is repeated). Yawning causes the uvula to lift and retract until it almost disappears. So, is that just a warm up exercise that makes it easier to perform the uvula lift during the retest?

    He also claims to be able to tell whether someone has low or high heart rate variability by palpating a pulse while observing breathing and breath out. This may be true (or not) but how does he quantify the change. He has a training school so why has he not employed proper equipment to do data collection and publish it.

    I am on a quest to find help for my son with autism. The book title includes the word “Autism” but then he transitions to telling about a case study of an autistic client who received more than what is offered in the book. He has an example on YouTube of a student of his (in his two year program) who used craniosacral therapy (taught in the book) on his autistic brother. In a video on YouTube the bother states (contrary to what is in the book) that the main benefits and the cure came after multiple treatments by Mr. Rosenberg.

    So, there may be a conflict of interest with his claims of cures.

    I am highly skeptical regarding the validity Mr. Rosenberg’s assumptions. It is well know that there are experimenter biases in regards to comparing the before and after measurements with observation and palpation. Because of this practitioners and massage therapists are convinced that they always get positive results.

    I have found that it is common for manual therapy gurus who teach their methods to over-state the effects of their techniques. “All will be cured with my technique in one visit.” It is sometimes called “cherry picking” as one guru recommended that we charge a lot for two or three visits with the marketing ploy that the novel method we were using was better than any other.

    My conclusion is that much more is needed (than what the author describes in this book, specifically the Basic Exercise) to “pump up” vagal tone. And, the autism spectrum is more complicated than just poor blood flow to the brain stem. I have found other methods that are helping to down regulate my sons “mobilize with fear” state. I think a combination of a variety of stimuli for the vagus nerve (Rezzimax tuning device for example provided greater observable changes in uvula lift), self-talk therapy (especially with guided imagery), manual therapy in the cranial field, diet changes (keto is helpful, search “keto Dr. Berg” in YouTube or avoiding toxic food and MSG, search Katherine Reid, yoga breathing (specifically Breathwalk–which is synchronizing steps with segmented breaths of 4 sniffs and 4 puffs), kundalini breath of fire, therapist or parent using a prosodic voice, creating safe environments, EFT meridian tapping, and smile rehab exercises. In other words, more work than most people will be willing to do on their own (especially those who are trapped in a defense states of fear).

    I hope this review helps those who are also on a similar quest to help those we love to live a happy, peaceful, untroubled life.

    Helpful? 1268 0
  2. Mike O’Donnell

    Healing. Such important information and practices.

    An important book for understanding overall health and wellness. I have struggled with anxiety and depression most of my life. I was recently diagnosed with OCD, and I have been doing a tremendous amount of research over the last three years. Most of the research I have done has uncovered more and more the importance of the vagus nerve. I had never heard of it before three years ago, when I had a serious of debilitating panic attacks and suffered from panic disorder. The understanding that this book provides is revolutionary and so important. Our understanding of medicine in the West has overlooked this crucial part of the Body. So much can he effectively healed and treated with an awareness of the vagus nerve and it’s functions. I am so grateful for this book.

    Helpful? 202 0
  3. Frances Southwick

    so they can understand neuroanatomy a bit better. I also have been helping patients experience The ...

    I am a physician and have been recommending this book to students and patients, so they can understand neuroanatomy a bit better. I also have been helping patients experience The Basic Exercise, clearly delineated in the book, and helping about 50% of the time with patients’ anxiety. Pretty great! Thank you, Stanley.

    Helpful? 177 0
  4. Barbara Collier

    A must for anyone working with bodies

    Fantastic book!!! Really great exercises in the back. I am a psychotherapist who works somatically with my clients. I have taught each of my clients the exercises and they have all (literally) had relief from it. So wonderful!!!! Supports a regulated nervous system.

    Helpful? 160 0
  5. ReaderForLifeAndLoveandPeace

    Helped regain some flexibility

    Book was quite dense for a layperson but after the initial explanatory section, I skipped to the places I needed to read. Within a few minutes of the exercises, my neck and shoulders felt more freed up than they have in years. Will have to continue the practice, hoping for more lasting results.

    Helpful? 160 0
  6. Rudy

    Simple and effective techniques.

    I now use “The Basic Exercise” several times a day with very apparent positive effects to reduce overall tension. Other exercises described in the book are helpful as well. Highly recommended.

    Helpful? 160 0
  7. inlori Customer


    I’ve been having some vagus nerve issues recently & after countless doctors, reading online, could not find much on our vagus nerve in terms of healing – this book was so amazing & full of best practices, it was EXACTLY what I was looking for. This book also helped me realize issues in interpersonal relationships & why I’ve had issues with certain people based on our own damaged nervous system.

    Helpful? 138 0
  8. A reviewer

    Highly recommended

    I learned an enormous amount from this book. It’s well written, and the theory is grounded in a very practical way. The exercises, all of which you can do yourself, have been eye opening and of great value to me. I recommend this book wholeheartedly.

    Helpful? 117 0
  9. Ruth

    Poorly organized and edited; valuable information

    It’s rare, but I’m giving this book both one star and five stars.

    The information Mr. Rosenberg provides here about the social cranial nerves and their function is extremely illuminating. The exercises are, for the most part, quick, quite easy to learn and perform, and effective. 5 stars.

    2 stars for it’s repetition, extraneous information, and wandering style. It even states on page 20 that the trapezius attaches to the mastoid bone and the SCMs, to the occipital. (It’s the other way ‘round). I’m on my seventh tour through the book in an effort to internalize a good structure to the information, and it shouldn’t take that many tries to do so.

    On the whole —definitely buy this book for the way it will help you and those you work with. Just expect to spend a lot of time extracting the help from the wandering style.

    Helpful? 71 0
  10. Jennifer Bugg

    Both theory and exercises

    I’m a neuropsychologist specializing in trauma and anxiety for 20 years, and I have continuing education in Porges’ work on polyvagal theory. This book gives exercises for calming the vagus nerve, primarily through release of occipital muscle tension. The book is in large print (which i did not like), but gives fairly good descriptions of the exercises; I would follow it up by watching videos for good technique, however, because these exercises show only one singular black and white photograph (of one male model)… not enough to truly give you an adequate grasp of the proper movement technique. I’ve been doing diaphragmatic breathing and progressive muscle relaxation for years with clients as a psychologist, so I do feel these exercises contribute to the basket of tools for clients. (I myself had a 30% decrease in migraine pain after using the salamander). The exercises, however, comprise only about 18% of the book’s text. The rest is a general explanation of cranial nerves, poly vagal theory, and summary of the use of movement as a form of treatment. If you already know polyvagal theory or are already a movement therapist, you’ll not benefit from much of the book except as a resource. I hope there will be a rewrite/new edition. In that edition, I hope that they create a detailed, IN COLOR, photographs and instructions with multiple perspectives (not just straight on). I’m glad to have the book on my shelf, if for no other reason than it will justify treatments to clients who may be hypervigilant and fearful of letting go of tension, or who may benefit from seeing that this is real science in black and white.

    Helpful? 64 0
  11. Hayley

    Interesting, good book for practitioners

    This was an interesting book, good pictures and instructions to carry out some of the vagus nerve exercises. Personally I found the videos on You Tube from Sukie Baxter in which she shows you how to do some vagus nerve exercises very informative and easier to follow. I think the book is better suited to practitioners.

    Helpful? 41 0
  12. Mariel Saville

    Worth buying for overall info but not easy to find solutions quickly

    This is not a quick and easy read for someone who doesn’t have the time or energy (which is usually the case if you are hyper-stressed or unwell) to wade through a load of theory about the cranial nerves, sympathetic, the parasympathic nervous system … and so on. It appears to have been written for health practitioners rather than as a ‘What to do guide’ for the general public. Hence, if you want a simple what to do solution for your specific set of stressed related symptoms, you may as well skip reading most of the book and go straight to the exercise examples at the back of the book and practice those without bothering to understand all the theory. The exercises should help to reduce some of the tension in your body so that your mind and body can start to rebalance enough for you to receive some relief from your symptoms. Then when you start to feel better you may have some energy or inclination to start wading through the earlier parts of the book to understand the theory. Meanwhile, whilst the exercise section is useful, it could have been laid out better for the general public with some easy to read bullet point info about the cranial nerve problems and symptoms they are good for. As it is, it’s not easy to see which exercises might be better to focus on for your own specific set of symptoms or how often to practice them. Maybe try them all out at a pace that feels right for you and see which ones seem to benefit you the most.

    Helpful? 37 0
  13. Alison

    Excellent Book With Some Unfortunate Quirks

    This is an excellent book for practitioners who work with clients with trauma. I wish I’d found it years ago.
    However, the design of the book is not great. All illustrations are in the back of the book in an appendix which makes viewing them as you read about them a cumbersome process. Why not just insert them in near the descriptive text?? Also, and this is a big problem for anyone who does not have knowledge of anatomy (and frustrating for me, who does) – the descriptions of many anatomical structures mention that they are specific colors in the illustrations, HOWEVER, the illustrations are black and white! What the heck?! One last thing- the copy I received is in very large print, like for a visually impaired person, though I did not request this. No big deal, just strange. Otherwise, highly recommended.

    Helpful? 32 0
  14. BACpt

    Awesome book for all!

    I loved this book. As a physical therapist, I see myself using the Basic Exercise with all of my clients to create an environment of healing for bodies to better receive the other work I do. As a human being who has experienced migraines from youth, I’m even more amazed!!! Mine are due to upper cervical issues. I have been doing the exercises daily since reading the book about six weeks ago, and was able to intercept a few, which I could relieve by mid-morning, and now I have been migraine-free for almost a month. I was getting 3-4/week and requiring ibuprofen to relieve – they used to come on with waking in the morning, and increase in intensity throughout the day. I found the book easy to understand as a health care professional. The author writes the book for everyone, no degree needed. There are a few parts that might be a little challenging for someone without a neuroanatomy background, but the case studies which the author shares really help to pull it together. I highly recommend this book to anyone experiencing any chronic illness – it certainly won’t make matters worse. And maybe it can even help.

    Helpful? 30 0
  15. inlori Customer

    The exercises in this book were very effective for me...

    This book, while I felt it was somewhat wandering and probably too technical for the average person who needs it, has exercises in it that I feel were transformational for me. . I have chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, insomnia and dysautonomia and all it’s complications. The breakthrough for me came when I moved beyond the basic exercise to the salamander exercises and the trapezius exercises. The intense pain and tension I had in my head, neck shoulders and arms was gone almost instantly. The relief was palpable. I felt noticeably relaxed and even my breathing changed. The next day I woke up and realized that it was the first time I had slept through the night in months, maybe years. My doctor recommended this book and I’m sorry it took me so long to get to all the exercises.

    Helpful? 26 0
  16. Aimee K.


    I had pretty much immediate relief from PTSD symptoms after doing the “basic exercise” in this book. I’m so thankful I found this book it has helped me tremendously.

    Helpful? 21 0
  17. Juan

    Has changed my life!!!

    This book has changed my life after years of anxiety I feel that I have finally been able to relax. I do this exercises daily. I extremely recommend it.

    Helpful? 20 0
  18. inlori Customer

    good information - and it did prompt me to read ...

    the author seems rather stuck on himself,.. good information – and it did prompt me to read the ACTUAL poly vagal theory

    Helpful? 20 0
  19. Chuck H

    Cutting my edge information on the central nervous system

    Being a Reiki master and a traumatic whiplash sufferer since 2002, I am constantly seeking new information on the promotion of my well being and that of my clients. This new (to me) information will surely help me to help them.

    Helpful? 20 0
  20. Jammer

    Must-read for any parent with a child struggling with anxiety or trauma or autism

    Stanley Rosenberg is a genius, and through this amazing book he has gifted the world with the results of his years of experience working with clients, trying out different things, and then testing them to see what changes occurred and if they “stuck.” Understanding cranial nerves (especially the Polyvagal nerve) may seem like too much for many people but this is well worth delving into, or simply skip to the exercises in the back and give them a try. Rosenberg has developed simple and quick techniques to regulate the nervous system, improve posture, reduce migraines, reshape infant skulls with plagiocephaly, and more. If only there were more Stanley Rosenbergs in the world…

    Helpful? 14 0
  21. inlori Customer

    Changed my life

    This is probably the most important book on health that I have ever read, and I have read PLENTY. The information is not easy (I will be re-reading it), but does explain why some of us have issues with life and with others. The exercises are simple and easy to do. The hiatal hernia one stopped an issue immediately, to my great relief. Hiatal hernias have put me in a tailspin both physically and mentally, so you can imagine my relief.

    Helpful? 13 0
  22. Lennie


    Very interesting and easy to read.

    Helpful? 13 0
  23. Open Mind

    If you like self healing...

    Worth it for the healing exercises alone. I cut to the chase into section 2 and found immediate, lasting relief.

    Helpful? 12 0
  24. D LaPlante

    Wow, what great information, first the learning about the role of the venue nerve and how it impacts is and then how to get it back in alignment.

    This is incredibly enlightening, it’s written in simple to understand language. The exercises work incredibly well. I have have already tried on myself and then on clients who have ADHD and Asperger’s, they reported feeling calm for first time in a long time. I highly recommend this as a must for other mental health professionals. I am a marriage and Family Therapist who was searching for something to teach my clients so they could help themselves and finally found something that works.

    Helpful? 10 0
  25. Rural ID.nurse

    Not the answer, but a great step forward

    Working past all the redundancy, there are some basic concepts and an understanding of the polyvagul theory that are nicely presented. Although I can say in a subtle way, I feel a bit better after doing his basic exercise, there has been no dramatic improvement as he suggests occurs with so many people. Sadly, going on my and other’s experiences, it isn’t the answer to stimulating the ventral vagus nerve as promoted, it is a step forward in the right direction though. Polyvagul theory is a tremendous step forward in understand the body’s nervous system and people like the author will hopefully continue to work to improve the best use of this theory.

    Helpful? 9 0
  26. B. Johnston

    The exercises in this book are fantastic. I'm doing them daily and am noticing improvement ...

    The exercises in this book are fantastic. I’m doing them daily and am noticing improvement in a variety of symptoms, including reduced anxiety levels and increased ease of social interaction.

    Helpful? 9 0
  27. inlori Customer

    Super interesting

    I am a hands on therapist..and this book charged my whole approach to helping people..a must for all that are helping someone..

    Helpful? 7 0
  28. Christina Smith

    Not a book, this is the paper with holes for a binder.

    I must have misunderstood when I purchased, my bad. But I’m a little disappointed that I paid $120 for a “book” for school and it’s not even a book. Its the pages from the book that have been hole punched and you have to put them in a binder…………………… I’d pay more for the real book but didn’t see it on inlori. It’s not bad but if I’m going to pay that much it better be hard cover. Just saying. Again I didn’t get what the loose leaf meant, I thought maybe there was something else included. Just wanted to let future buyers know, have a binder ready if you buy this “book”.

    Helpful? 7 0
  29. Philip W.

    Five Stars

    Lots to learn! Fascinating. It opens a new horizon in therapy, especially of Trauma Disorders.

    Helpful? 7 0
  30. Mestermin

    10% solution and 90% fluff

    The meat and potatoes are at the end of the book and you have to wade through a lot of “filler” to get there. After multiple attempts, the solution that the book suggests didn’t work for me (though, your mileage may vary). I wasn’t really impressed with the book.

    Helpful? 6 0
  31. Sylvia Hawley

    So Easy to Use Basic Exercise to Lift out of Stress Anxiety Depression

    I too am very grateful to Stanley Rosenberg for sharing these gifts of a lifelong work in healing, coming to fruition with a more refined understanding of the vagus nerve and how to help oneself and others.

    For anyone whose child suffers anywhere on the autism spectrum, this seems the most natural, easy, loving, accessible, gentle and effective approach.

    So I too offer my thanks to the author. It is timely too for we’ve all been vulnerable to stresses, discouragements and fears and these ease with the basic exercise. It is just so empowering to have it to use on self and show to others for stress / anxiety depression. And for many other things that I’m not just now having to deal with myself.

    Helpful? 6 0
  32. Kimberly

    Good summary of polyvagal theory, not a quick fix for your stress

    I have mixed feelings on this book. If you’ve read the original book on polyvagal theory this will likely be just a summary. That being said if you’re short on time or attention then this is a great summary of the theory. The theory I find really interesting, but the “treatment” methods described at the end are probably useless. I’ve suffered from severe anxiety disorder, stress, and depression to the point where I’m now dealing with some disturbing sleep disruption, but the indicators and methods of treatment here did nothing for me. Not that I expected them to though.

    Helpful? 6 0
  33. LC

    A Gamechanger

    This book is life changing! If you are stressed, get this book. If you have anxiety, get this book. If you’ve got lots of symptoms and the docs don’t have anything for you but drugs, get this book!

    Helpful? 5 0
  34. ShopperMJ

    Read it!!

    This is an amazing book explaining a complex theory and real life application to help reset a person’s system. I am using this with my son who has high anxiety and trying on myself as well. I hope Dr. Rosenberg writes more books!

    Helpful? 5 0
  35. Tessy123

    I didn't realize it was a large print book

    Had I zoomed into the image of the book, I would have seen it was printed in large print. I did not see that in the description. The book is very thick and heavy and the words are enlarged for those with visual impairments. So, disappointed with it as it is cumbersome to hold and read. Would have preferred a version in its normal format.

    Helpful? 4 0
  36. mlanely


    I found this book and the exercises extremely helpful. Not only is the author gifted, the book is well referenced. Perspective-shifting work.

    Helpful? 4 0
  37. Mr. & Mrs. E

    Received a used copy

    The book seems good so far but it appear to be used, not new. There are scratches and damage all over the cover. Not a huge issue but I ordered and was expecting a new book.

    Helpful? 4 0
  38. Vero

    LARGE PRINT Alert!!!

    Didn’t realize this was in large print…I’m sure the material is excellent (haven’t started the book yet -s till shocked over the large print 🙂

    Helpful? 4 0
  39. Kristen Allott

    Doable solutions for complex problems

    When a person has a structural cause to a misfiring of their Vegus Nerve, all sorts of health problems arise. This book has solutions found no where else in health care. If you have tried, everything. Try this book. I share it with clients all the time. When it works, it is a miracle.

    Helpful? 4 0
  40. mlf67

    Valuable Info But Poorly Written

    Just so poorly written it is almost unreadable. Repetitive and not well-organized–such a slog. Such a shame, as there is some valuable information in here. Only on page 50 but the ideas are important, so I will press on, hoping to glean what I need!

    Helpful? 4 0
  41. Frequent

    Good info. Very repetitive

    I swear some authors get paid by the word.

    Helpful? 4 0
  42. FJV


    I have a friend who does Cranialsacral work and he read this, gave me a treatment according to the book and I am amazed at the quick healing that has happened, Our doctor recommended it and we are happy to have the information and I will continue to do the self treatments and have dr. treatments also. A great buy with solid information.

    Helpful? 4 0
  43. SMB1

    so helpful!

    This book has helped me to understand the healing that can result from a properly-functional vagal nerve and autonomic nervous system. The author, so qualified in so many ways, explains everything so clearly and optimistically. He provides clearly-drawn pictures and excellent, easy-to-do exercises.

    Helpful? 4 0
  44. xyz

    Life-changing, fascinating read.

    Well-written, densely informative but accessible. I had more ‘aha!’ moments than I can count, and I’m now looking at behaviors on every scale (individual to international) in a new way. You don’t *have* to plow through the neuroscience to understand and use the exercises (which in 4 days of doing them have already made a difference in my family’s day-to-day interactions) but it’s a fun, fascinating read.

    Helpful? 4 0
  45. Swooping Eagle

    Healing yourself

    Illuminating presentation on the postural dysfunction leading to withdraw of social engagement and the joys of daily life. Clear step by step direction coupled with explanations and illustrations empower anyone to employ self-help.

    Helpful? 4 0
  46. susan


    Good book. Important topic.

    Helpful? 4 0
  47. Michael M

    Great book but wondering about the basic exercise

    This was a fantastic book and I love the simplicity of the attached exercises. However, I’m having an issue where some people I’ve introduced the basic exercise to don’t get the “sign” that their nervous system has relaxed (sigh, swallow or yawn) even though minutes have gone by. Has this happened to anyone else? Would love to compare experiences.

    Helpful? 3 0
  48. Sb

    Was nervous after reading other reviews

    But book is in good condition and learning a lot about the vagus nerve. I do massages and exercises at least 1 time a day.

    Helpful? 3 0
  49. A. Winslow

    Needs a different reader

    I’m not rating the content of the book just yet, but the audiobook needs a different reader. Many, many words and a name are mispronounced to the point if distraction. It’s a book with a lot of medical terms and a French guy’s name, but Derek Botten’s pronunciations miss the mark. Ive never stopped an audiobook in the middle for this reason before until now. Disappointing. Examples of words he has mispronounced: esophageal with a hard G, thoracic as “thoractic,” integral as “intregal,” “hiatal” is sometimes “hi-uh-tel”, chyme with a soft ch sound instead of a “k” sound…and the poor French person’s name….I have no idea what he’s trying to say. I think perhaps “Alain” might be the first name—but only because of the he/him pronouns (without that, I could have sworn he was trying to say Élaine) and the last name, I have no clue because he’s pronouncing an H in the middle, and the French don’t pronounce those. Update: I managed to find the name via Google, and it’s Alain Gehin. Whether in English or French, the “h” in this name is silent. It’s unfortunate the reader did not take the time to look up so many pronunciations.

    Helpful? 3 0
  50. Little Filly


    This book has become a reference book for me. The author through his own experience, training and teaching has discovered some very deep truths about the Vagus nerve and how understanding this nerve can heal you from lifetimes of pain and suffering. I call the Vagus nerve the God nerve…what reveals itself as a result of your personal exploration becomes a dance with the Divine. Educate yourself and thrive.

    Helpful? 3 0
  51. Dano

    This book is a must-have

    If you are any type of body worker, love helping humans, discovering more about the body or especially dealing with personal injury, this book will open your eyes to new discoveries. Loved it and regularly reference it as it has tons of info and exercises with pictures and descriptions.

    Helpful? 3 0
  52. Justin

    Much need information

    I am a trauma-focused counselor and the Polyvagal theory has shaped a lot of my work recently. This book has been extremely informative and applicable to the work I do. It has certainly enhanced the work I am been practicing on a daily basis.

    Helpful? 3 0
  53. ArielHaubner

    Great Information

    My Therapist recommended this and it has a great, dense resource with lots of exercises to help you work through challenges. There is a lot of great info here!

    Helpful? 3 0
  54. Zitrone

    Interesting read but....

    It is an interesting read on the vagus nerve which seems to be responsible in large parts for our physical and mental wellbeing. I did not like the exercises though. They feel forceful, made me nauseous, and I believe there is better and more gentle ways to tone the vagus nerve.

    Helpful? 3 0
  55. inlori Customer

    Five Stars

    This book is fascinating. I can’t wait to try out the techniques with some of my clients.

    Helpful? 3 0
  56. Jackie Barton

    Good practice to improve overall health and resilience

    Bought book for use in therapy practice. I expect this to be a great resources. Weird thing is that pages 109-140 are upside down and backwards, meaning, it goes to page 108, then there is an upside down 140 and it goes backward to 109 before righting again at page 141.
    Important to know that a basic understanding of physiology or biology may be helpful and this may be a bit clinical for the average reader. It is well written, with sentences that are not terribly difficult to follow, but some concepts may be easier to grasp if one has a basic college-level education in some basic biology/physiology concepts. Book contains multiple exercises to “tone” or strengthen the vagus nerve, with photos and illustrations, and has them listed for specific disorders. Stephen Porges is credited with coming up with Polyvagal theory.

    Helpful? 2 0
  57. The Heath

    Good and Interesting Info

    Detailed but accessible information. Fascinating to learn the many things the vagus nerve affects. Self-help section of great use.

    Helpful? 2 0
  58. Maximilian Smith

    Great book, but print quality is amateur

    The material in the book is great, my only issue with the product is that the quality of this print is about a half step above that of a college reader published at a Kinko’s. For $30 I was expecting a physical book with a little more quality. But it’s readable and the material within is fantastic.

    Helpful? 2 0
  59. JEB

    Interesting but short

    Interesting but short. Expected more research documentation.

    Helpful? 2 0
  60. Liz

    Healing and easy to follow!

    Following the simple instructions helps my breathing, gets rid of headaches and I’m just getting started!

    Helpful? 2 0
  61. NeonR

    Good info on cranial nerves and exercises

    Good in depth info on cranial nerves
    Nice exercises, the Basic Exercise seems to be useful
    Very repetitive – needs a good editor.
    Par 2 is tiny compared to part 1
    Extreme efficacy of exercises seems questionable.
    Overall a decent intro to cavalier exercises. Would like to have seen some info on cold water therapy.

    Helpful? 2 0
  62. Gibbskeg

    Gastroparesis issues give it a read

    Just bought looks intense (think medical journal) excited to read. I have Gastroparesis and my vagus nerve is not working well seems to have lots of tips so far on not only what your nerve does what it effects.

    Helpful? 2 0
  63. Anony

    Some good information

    I would recommend this book for anyone interested in learning more about the Autonomic nervous system and other cranial nerves.

    Helpful? 2 0
  64. simone

    Very important book

    It tells you all the things doctors will not discuss, however, because of it and later research the brain studies have finally moved into the foreground. Seems like regular “mediciners” are beginning to listen.

    Helpful? 2 0
  65. CW

    excellent self help for trauma

    great book with simple exercises at the end that everyone should know and especially people with history of trauma.

    Helpful? 2 0
  66. DAD

    great content

    Loved the book
    Great insights into forward head posture and the compromise that it causes in the brain and spinal cord.

    Helpful? 0 0
  67. Aubrey Richardson

    interesting material but hard to read

    The material presented is fascinating, but the format and writing is more like a textbook. It can be dry and confusing at times. But, the material itself is eye opening and I love the exercises. I wish it came with more descriptive pictures or links to YouTube

    Helpful? 0 0
  68. Juliet

    Loose leaf pages

    The paper quality and printing color is good and I was grateful to be able to purchase this resource to supplement my online course. It was definitely pricey for an unbound book, though. Perhaps part of the cost is the access it entitles you to the online resource. However, that was already provided with my online class so that part of the purchase was a waste, but I couldn’t find any way to purchase the paper book only. I am grateful to have it, but wish the publisher provided an option for either purchasing just a bound book (first choice) or just loose leaf pages without the online access (second choice).

    Helpful? 0 0
  69. EccentricJaz

    Just as expected and love it

    Great book so far, and the process to buy it went very well. Got the book on time and intact.

    Helpful? 0 0
  70. inlori Customer

    A great book brand new at good price.

    A great book brand new at good price.

    Helpful? 0 0
  71. Weihua Li

    No a real book

    I didn’t realize it’s not a real book, but simply pages with three holes punched. No other choices were found so I had to stick to it.

    Helpful? 0 0
  72. steve

    Great book

    Good info

    Helpful? 0 0
  73. Sister Kaite


    Most doctors do not understand about this nor do they use it. This would be better for doctors to start using, than many of the things doctors use.

    Helpful? 0 0
  74. CapRising75

    Super Fast and in Perfect Condition

    Wow, I don’t think I’ve had a book arrive so quickly! I am very excited about reading this book. It’s perfect. thank you!

    Helpful? 0 0
  75. Linda Savage

    Interesting and informative

    Written so a layman can understand. Brand new information for me! Gives the why and the how, explained in simple terms yet not condescending.
    Good research to back up what he was saying.
    Well worth the read.

    Helpful? 0 0
  76. SMF

    Why aren’t Drs looking here first? Vagus Nerve! Who knew?

    Very well written. Hard to put this book down. I’m half way through and hope I am on to a cure for my issues.

    Helpful? 0 0

    It's for my college studies

    Now I know stuff about stuff

    Helpful? 0 0
  78. Twofeatherzs

    Will open your eyes

    Very informative

    Helpful? 0 0
  79. Denise

    DSM-5 in context and simplified

    This text simplifies the DSM-5.

    Helpful? 0 0
  80. INGE

    Helpful Exercises

    I have learned much about the nervous system by reading this book, and especially the vagus nerve. I plan to do the exercises in Part 2.

    Helpful? 0 0
  81. Rockwell

    Practical support for vague nerve issues

    Great information and exercises. Trying to absorb the technical bacground information and very excited to get to the exercises. My physical therapist has recommended some of them and they’ve been very helpful.

    Helpful? 0 0
  82. Falonsc

    This is a great book!

    Love this book! Super interesting, I couldn’t put it down!

    Helpful? 0 0
  83. lita


    This is one of the most informative books ever! If you are at all interested in your health, it is a must read.

    Helpful? 0 0
  84. Lovenergy

    The Basic Exercise and more

    I have recommended this book to many clients and have taught the Basic Exercise to all my clients, friends, and family. The Basic Exercise is a simple and effective way to help calm one’s ANS.

    Helpful? 0 0
  85. Yael Calhoun

    Wonderful addition to your library!

    If you want to understand how to help people heal, yourself including, with both clear scientific information and practical exercises, this book serves as a strong guide. I teach professional development to clinicians and other health care providers, in addition to working with veterans, refugees, and inmates. This book will inspire anyone’s work!

    Helpful? 0 0
  86. KHH10

    Just what it said it was.

    I received the text book on time and got to work.

    Helpful? 0 0
  87. William


    Great read

    Helpful? 0 0
  88. vincent duff

    We ALL have some PTSD.We ALL need this.

    I started the exercises before I even had read to that part –Still do me e every day. Life-changing for me….my BEST self ( Not easy,for sure, but SO MUCH easier.)Do it in schools….fewer shootings,do it in prisons..less nonsense…SO much continues to heal , but ya gotta DO it long term,,,,Even autism!!

    Helpful? 0 0
  89. Brook

    I wanna know more

    Can’t put it down

    Helpful? 0 0
  90. j s


    Made sence to me. Technical for the layman.

    Helpful? 0 0
  91. Poor College Students

    Great textbook

    Its actually a great text book. Easy to understand and we’ll orginaized

    Helpful? 0 0
  92. Nenci Bates

    Super informative

    Great book for gaining body awareness and education!

    Helpful? 0 0
  93. Pva

    Veritable useful exercises

    Very cool book. The exercises are easy to follow and specific it may not fix the things it claims but would be very useful for people nervous system (physiological & other) issues with neck and upper Cervical issues.

    Helpful? 0 0
  94. Raul M.

    Access is good.

    It makes a very nice gift for someone in the health profession. And I found out some things good for me described in the book.

    Helpful? 0 0
  95. sagaciousbee

    Good book.

    Great research behind this theory.

    Helpful? 0 0
  96. Lillian Rivera


    Information completely new and that makes a lot of sense; explains a lot. Now to do exercises and to see if I find a therapist that can help. Tons of pain in neck and trapezoid.

    Helpful? 0 0
  97. EMOH

    Very useful information

    Love this, theory and practical application!

    Helpful? 0 0
  98. Lois Gee

    excellent book

    very informative. some of the exercises were very helpful

    Helpful? 0 0
  99. Sonja

    Fast service

    It is OK

    Helpful? 0 0
  100. Crystal Burgess

    Gave as a gift

    Gave as a gift

    Helpful? 0 0
  101. Kitty Goldsun

    Nice book

    Looks like an interesting book with bunch of pictures, I am still researching it.

    Helpful? 0 0
  102. Mrs Marilyn F Harris

    Three Stars

    Interesting book but haven’t read much so far

    Helpful? 0 0
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