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TikTok doctor shares bizarre ‘throat’ tip for instant stress relief

Singing, humming and chanting have long been part of meditative practice for good reason: It actually works.

A doctor on TikTok is going viral for sharing tips on how anyone can reduce their feelings of stress simply by singing, humming, chanting and even gargling.

The relaxing effects stem from the vagus nerve, said Dr. Karan Rajan, a surgeon and lecturer at the University of Sunderland in England, who shared these tips with his 4.3 million followers on TikTok, Jam Press reported on Thursday.

“Try this now to instantly calm down and improve your resilience to stress,” he advised in a recent clip with over 211,000 views.

“Try humming for 10 seconds, gargling some water in your throat or just singing,” Rajan continued.

“When you do any of these, you’re activating the muscles at the back of the throat and the vocal cords at the back of your throat, which are connected to the vagus nerve. Vagal tone increases which allows you to access a parasympathetic state more easily, making you feel relaxed,” the doctor explained.

Many of Dr. Karan Rajan’s followers on TikTok commented that they’d already experienced the relaxing benefits of activating their vagus nerve.
Jam Press Vid/@dr.karanr

The move also helps your heart rate modulate more smoothly, he added. “A high heart rate variability means your body is more capable of adapting to stressful situations.”

Some followers realized they’d been doing this instinctively. “So that’s why singing helps me relax,” said one. Added another, “I have done this my whole life to calm myself without knowing why.”

One viewer reveled, “Is this why people hum when they meditate omg?”

The left and right vagus nerves stretch from the ear down either side of the neck and throughout the body. Together, they comprise 75% of the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls unconscious body functions that carry on in the background, such as digestion, heart rate, metabolization, immune responses and — most obviously — breathing.

While we can’t control these mechanisms directly, it is possible to physiologically trigger more healthful outcomes, such as through therapeutic vagus nerve stimulation, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

This exercise not only brings immediate stress-reducing benefits, but also helps keep the nerve in shape as we age — as vagal dysfunction can increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, depression and anxiety.