Cranial Nerves - Vagus Nerve - Digestion - Atlas Profilax | ProHealth Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS and Lyme Disease Forums

Cranial Nerves - Vagus Nerve - Digestion - Atlas Profilax

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Hi All,

Cautionary Note: This is a fairly long post.

Last summer, I received an Atlas Profilax treatment and posted fairly extensively about my experience on a thread entitled Atlas Profilax Worked / is Working Very Well for Me. Real briefly, Atlas Profilax is a one-time treatment that permanantly aligns the uppermost vertabra called the Atlas.

One area that I haven't posted on is how I have come to believe this treatment released a lot of compression on my vagus nerve, and perhaps other cranial nerves as well. There's a bit of a story to this, so if you'll bear with me...

I noticed in the days immediately after getting my treatment that I was feeling unusually hungry. And when I did eat, it felt like I was really "wolfing" down my food. In a way, it almost felt sort of primal.

A couple weeks later, Heartprints posted on my above thread and mentioned how she had gotten extremely hungry afterwards. In her words, "I got extremely hungry after and food tasted better than ever. Been pigging out all day."

I eventually did some research on cranial nerves, and discovered there are 12 cranial nerves that descend down from the brain stem through the first cervical vertebra (the Atlas). All of these nerves have numerous functions, but the functions of the vagus nerve caught my attention.

It described how the vagus is the longest of the cranial nerves, traveling downward from the brainstem all the way to the throat, heart, and digestive areas. So it's degree of functionality has a direct impact on all of the organs involved. It described the function of the vagus nerve in the GI tract as having an "innervating" effect, meaning, giving energy to.

So I seemed to have found the answer to the mysterious hunger that both Heartprints and I experienced. But as the weeks and months went by, I noticed more subtle and not so subtle improvements as a result.

Because my digestion was now considerably improved, I was blowing my nose way less and coughing up much less amounts of phlegm. And as my digestion improved, so also did my immune system function. I'm not an expert in this area, but it has long been my understanding that the GI tract is a major portion of our immune system.

I have long dealt with what I have considered to be viral overload symptoms, and was happy to discover that these symptoms improved by approximately 75%. What I feel I've learned from my experience is the following:

Structural problems, especially if it involves the vagus nerve, can cause digestive problems. These in turn can cause absorption problems, create nutritional deficiencies and eventually a degree of immune system dysfunction. This all together I feel can create a vulnerability to all kinds of pathogens...some of which may be responsible or partly responsible for some of the symptoms of ME/CFS and/or FM.

I feel some of this information may relevant to readers here who have done, are doing, or are considering doing anti-viral or anti-biotic treatment for various pathogenic conditions. My understandng is that these treatments are not expected to fully eradicate any infection that may be present in the body, but to reduce the pathogenic load. That in the end, our bodies' own immune system must land the knock out punch.

I'm not an expert on this so I would gladly stand corrected if somebody feels this is not the case. But it would seem that the more we can do to support our digestion and immune system function, including removing associated structural blockages, the greater the likelihood of success for those doing the anti-viral and antibiotic treatments.

Another thing I feel is important to note is that the vagus nerve is also responsible for heart rate and stroke volume. This may be of particular interest to those who are interested in impedance cardiography tests which evaluate heart function and stroke volume.

The following website:

has a diagram of the 12 cranial nerves and lists some of the functions of each. Any of these many functions can become impaired by a compressed or compromised cranial nerve. Other factors such as Lyme disease, etc. can also have major effects on the cranial nerves. Tansy seems to have good knowledge on some of these factors.

There's actually much more I could get into on this subject, but it's late and I'm wearing out. My hope is that this will serve as a catalyst for others to delve into the somewhat fascinating area of cranial nerves and how their functionality can affect our health in numerous ways.

Tansy posted on another thread the 12 cranial nerves and some of the functions associated with each. I pasted this information below for your reference.

Regarding Atlas Profilax: I believe this treatment to be one of the best starting points for addressing some of our health issues. Besides being able to possibly address a degree of immune system dysfunction as mentioned above, other reasons include:

1) Relatively inexpensive ($200-$250)
2) One-time procedure so one-time only expense
3) Has the potential to produce significant improvements
4) Can enhance the effectiveness of many other therapies

Regards to all,


P.S. I think it's possible that the Atlas Profilax treatment also reduced pressure on some of my other nerves that are associated with swallowing.


Twelve pairs of nerves, which branch out from the lower surface of the brain extend around the body, are each associated with a different brain function. At any stage of disseminated Lyme disease, any of these nerves may lose their ability to conduct electrical impulses properly, leading to cranial nerve palsy, commonly called paralysis in areas controlled by that pair of nerves. Cranial nerve palsy is the second most common Lyme neurological condition.

Here is what may go wrong with the twelve pairs of cranial nerves.

I. OLFACTORY: There may be loss of smell, or smells may be overly intense or noxious.

II. OPTIC: Partial or total loss of vision may occur.

III. OCULOMOTOR: The eyelids may droop, the eyeball may deviate outwards, or the pupils may become dilated. Some patients with a malfunctioning oculomotor nerve may squint involuntarily or see double images.

IV. TROCHLEAR: The eyeball may rotate upwards, and outwards or double vision may occur when looking down.

V. TRIGEMINAL: Pain or numbness in parts of the face, scalp, forehead, temple, jaw, eye or teeth has been reported. The muscles used for eating may become paralyzed or dysfunctional, making it difficult to chew, and the jaw may deviate toward the paralyzed side.

VI. ABDUCENS: The eye may deviate outwards, and excessive squinting or double vision may occur.

VII. FACIAL: The improper functioning of these nerves can result in Bell's Palsy on one or both sides of the face. Characteristic problems include facial numbness or pain and paralysis of the muscles, sometimes leading to difficulties in chewing or a tendency to dribble food. Patients are unable to wrinkle their foreheads, the lines on the forehead and nose may become abnormally smooth, and the eye droops. An inability to make tears has also been reported. In addition, the jaw deviates to the paralyzed side, and hearing loss can occur on the affected side. Tooth, ear, and jaw pain has been reported. Disruptions of the mucous membrane in the front two-thirds of the tongue result in loss of taste.

VIII. VESTIBULOCOCHLEAR: Hearing disturbances such as ringing in the ear or full or partial hearing loss may occur. Equilibrium disturbances such as dizziness, vomiting, or reeling are also associated with nerve dysfunction.

IX. GLOSSOPHARYNGEAL: Problems can occur with the mucous membranes in the back one-third of the tongue, leading to abnormal taste sensations, such as excessive sourness or bitterness, in that region. Improper functioning may also result in difficulty swallowing and paralysis of the glottis, a piece of tissue that ordinarily prevents you from inhaling food into your lungs or swallowing air.

X. VAGUS: Dysfunction of the muscles in the throat, shoulders, and back may create difficulty in swallowing or talking. Drooping shoulders and an inability to rotate the head away from the dysfunctional side may also occur. Malfunctions within other branches of this nerve may cause heart problems (including palpitations and a rapid pulse); breathing difficulties (including slow respiration and a sense of suffocation); a persistent cough; paralysis of the glottis; vocal cord spasms or paralysis (possibly resulting in an unusually deep voice, hoarseness, or a weak voice); and gastrointestinal disturbances (typically, constant vomiting). These nerves also affect the liver, spleen, kidney, thyroid, testes or ovaries.

XI. SPINAL ACCESSORY: This nerve pair can be associated with disrupted function or paralysis of the upper back and neck. Back spasms and the inability to tilt the head to the shoulder or to rotate the head in either direction can also occur.

XII. HYPOGLOSSAL: One side of the tongue may be partially or fully paralyzed, and the tongue or larynx may deviate toward the paralyzed side, with a resulting slowed articulation, thick speech, and difficulty swallowing.

Other nerve-related symptoms that can occur at any time during the course of Lyme disease include:

Diminished reflexes.

Sharp, shooting pains that radiate down the arms, legs or back.

Areas of numbness, tingling, prickling or heightened sensitivity.

Poor muscle coordination, muscle weakness or paralysis, involuntary muscle twitching, progressive muscle weakness, and movement disorders, including abnormal movements of the arms and legs and gait problems.
[This Message was Edited on 02/03/2008]


I actually have to go to the chiropractor once a week or so to get my neck adjusted or my vagus nerve causes problems. I haven't ever thought about the Atlas procedure but I'll certainly look into it. Sure would be a find if someone down here does it!

But thanks for the reminder about the vagus nerve. One of my problems here lately is an elevated heart rate and pounding heart after just a little bit of exercise. And looking up the vagus nerve and how adrenaline is involved and how the vagus nerve slows heart rhythm using acetylcholine made me realize I probably shouldn't have stopped the phosphatidyl choline I was taking. Not to mention I'm late for an adjustment. If the Atlas procedure could make it possible for me not to go to the chiropractor once a week, that would be a plus.

I just found all the precursors for acetylcholine, I already have most of them. Acetylcholine is one of the most important neurotransmitters. It is vital for memory and muscle movement. The ingredients DMAE, phosphatidylcholine, L-pyroglutamic acid, vitamin B-5 and choline are precursors to acetylcholine. DMAE is particularly important because it crosses the protective blood-brain barrier more easily than the others. DMAE also enhances mental concentration. I definitely need to look into this some more.




New Member
I experienced some vagal nerve damage as a result of a cervical fusion. For those not familiar, they cut through the front of your neck and push the esophagus to the side to access the spine. I had experienced a delay in surgery that caused some damage as well. I know that it is definitely the vagus nerve from the symptoms I immediately displayed post op. I had trouble swallowing that has lingered after some 8 years now and at times I can be talking and it is as if the wind is just cut off. I am speaking but nothing comes out. I also have a much hoarser voice now. I had episodic choking spells, even in the absence of eating or drinking and a persistent cough has appeared. I had none of these symptoms prior to the cervical fusion.

I also had a rapid degeneration of IBS symptoms and have acquired a cardiac problem as well, some passing out and syncope. Indeed the vagus nerve is one of the most important as it regulates so many bodily processes. For those not familiar, it is the nerve affected by bearing down when having a BM, so it is not unusual for a heart attack to occur in heart patients while having a BM (many are on stool softeners just for this purpose). Do a search for the vagus nerve or look into neurology, it makes great reading.
[This Message was Edited on 02/03/2008]


Hi Wayne,

I do not remember feeling super hungry right after my Atlas Profilax treatment.

Six months later, I have noticed that my "nothing or everything" approach to eating has leveled out a little bit and I am not experiencing as much disparity in my appetite.

However, my digestive problems are still awful. Gastrointestinal discord remains as one of my worst symptoms.




New Member
are all implicated in m.e.. i found rereading some of the older descriptions of m.e. far more informative with regard to these and understanding why we should address any mechanical problems that make matters worse.

the start of my illness was a good example of this.

the vagal nerve plays a significant role in the sx some of us experience; i've had sx and anormalities identified related to these as well. the list wayne has posted above was written by a llmd, cranial neuritis/opathies occur in lyme too. my llmd and me/cfs specialist recognised this too; he even spoke about chiari type 2.

other tx for my cervical spine were a disaster; the first chiro i saw thankfully accepted this. i've been given forced movements of the cervical spine by pts too; when things went wrong most told me to keep going - wrong!

john richardson describes the "soft" brainstem in m.e.; thats why whiplash, lumbar punctures etc can cause some of us so many additional problems. this is why i insisted my anaesthetist keep my neck neutral throughout surgery; he was happy to oblige and i could tell the difference this time.


Hi All,

Several of my friends have received an Atlas Profilax treatment since I got mine done last July 9th (2007). Occasionally when I see them, I will ask if they’ve noticed any more improvements.

A good friend mentioned to me yesterday (in a somewhat hushed voice, since there were other people around) that things were much better for her when she visited the ladie’s room.

I think her experience ties in with this thread. It’s the vagus nerve that extends all the way through the torso and ends up in the colon, giving energy to all internal functions along the way. According to the literature I’ve browsed, proper vagus nerve function appears to be a significant factor in properly functioning peristalsis.

For perspective, my friend does not have ME/CFS or FM. She even said that she had relatively good bowel function before AP; it’s just much better now. The point being is that varying degrees of vagus nerve dysfunction does not necessarily mean a person will develop ME/CFS or FM. Also, someone being free of any type of vagus nerve disruption can develop ME/CFS or FM.

I do believe however, that vagus nerve disruption can compound many of the health problems we with ME/CFS or FM have. So from my perspective, if in some cases this disruption can be somewhat alleviated by Atlas Profilax, it would be a good thing to consider for overall well being.

Hi Jam338,

RE: “Did it (Atlas Profilax treatment) resolve all of your symptoms?”

*** It didn’t resolve all my symptoms, but did improve almost all of them. I’m feeling that my vagus nerve became significantly impacted when I had a severe whiplash injury at age 15. I tend to take the perspective that my vagus nerve has sustained a major and long lasting bruise. Now that the pressure is released, this bruise is now having a chance to heal. And only time will tell just how much improvement is possible.

Hi Carron,

RE: “However, my digestive problems are still awful. Gastrointestinal discord remains as one of my worst symptoms.”

*** As much improvement as I’ve had, I feel my digestive system is still quite fragile. Eating usually causes an element of stress on my body, and I try to help my digestion in whatever way I can. One of the most beneficial things I do for myself is to put two hot water bottles on my GI tract after I get done eating and rest for 30 minutes or so. It really seems to help my body accept food into my system. I’m still waiting to see if this coming spring will improve things in a variety of ways.

I'm planning to do a post here sometime soon listing many of my health symptoms and how much I feel they have improved since Atlas Profilax. As I indicated above, Atlas Profilax did not bring any type of complete healing for me, but I have to say my life is far more comfortable since having it done.

Regards to all,


P.S. Thanks Tansy for all your feedback
[This Message was Edited on 02/12/2008]
Hi Jam338, Hi All,

I put together a quick list below of what I feel are some of my symptom improvements since having my Atlas Profilax treatment last July 9th.

Wanted to mention that these improvements have not prevented me from going into down cycles where I don't feel as improved. And I'm also processing how these symptom changes vary over an entire year when I go through various seasonal cycles as well.

Another thing I keep in mind for myself as that some of the difficult times I continue to experience could very well be my neurological system continuing to try to shut down as much as much as possible so it can continue with the task of healing itself. I feel this post-Atlas Profilax healing process is far from over.

Regards, Wayne


Symptom Improvements since Atlas Profilax Treatment 7-9-07

Primarily Neurological Symptom Improvements

Sensory Overload - 25-50%

Excessive Neuronal Firing - 25-50% (I feel Perque B-12 is very good for this also)

Anxiety – 25-50% (Didn’t even fully realize my levels of anxiety until they lessened significantly)

Vertigo / Neurally Mediated Hypotension – 25-50%

Environmental Illness (EI) / Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) – 25-35%

Cognitive Function / Ability to take make mental notes – 25-35%

Ability to Organize - 15-20%

TMJ (Moderate to begin with) - 20%-25%

Ability to relax – 25-35%

Severe adrenal exhaustion / dysfunction (which I’m fairly certain is neurological in origin) – approx. 25%

Sense of Balance – 25-50%

Sleep – approx. 15-20%

Primarily Physical Symptom Improvements

Physical / muscle strength – 25-30%

Viral overload symptoms – 50-75%

Digestion – 50%+

Generalized Pain and Headache reduction - 25-50%

Detoxification Capabilities – 25-50%

Postural Corrections, from my neck, down my entire spine to my hips, knees and even feet – I can’t even put a percentage on this – A growing sense of wholeness seems to pervade my entire postural structure. My chest cavity seems to have risen. When I walk these days, I feel like I’m almost gliding.

Overall energy level – approx. 10-25%

I feel taller and I am taller by 1/4"-1/2"

Spiritual/Energetic Improvements of Note

Overall Sense of Well Being – 25-50% (I especially notice this when I’m walking)

Greater sense of patience

Greater sense of rhythm

Feel less dense, a greater sense of fluidity[This Message was Edited on 07/23/2009]