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What Nerve! Our Nervous System

July 30, 2014

There is so much involved in our Nervous System.  Just think, it has contact with every muscle, organ and gland- it is our communication system- and it is amazing!

The Nervous System is made up of 2 main parts; Central (CNS) and Peripheral (PNS).

The Central Nervous System (CNS) is like Command Central, controlling all the body’s functions. It is made up of the brain and spinal cord. Broken down, we have the forebrain, the midbrain and the hindbrain. Following are some of the components of these areas that are responsible for functioning:

 

  • cerebellum – resides in the hindbrain and controls respiration, heart rate and movement.
  • cerebral cortex – responsible for processing information. memory, attention, perception, thought, language and consciousness. The cerebral cortex has two main areas, the sensory area and the motor area.
  • motor cortex – part of the cerebral cortex that plans, controls and executes voluntary motor functions.
  • sensory cortex – responsible for receiviing and processing information from the senses.
  • cerebrum – resides in the forebrain and is considered the largest part of the brain responsible for intelligence, initiates motor function, controls emotions, processes thought, and holds memory.
  • hypothalamus – resides in the midbrain and regulates sleep, awake, adrenaline, and emotional levels. It also controls hormonal secretions from pituitary glands responsible for influencing eating, drinking, growth and sexual functioning.
  • hippocampus – induces long-term memory and instantaneous retrieval
  • basal ganglia – initiates and integrates movement
  • medulla – regulates blood pressure and breathing
  • occipital lobe – processes vision.
  • association cortex – controls thought process and memories
  • speech centers – provides ability to speak and to understand what is being said
  • angular gyrus – responsible for ability to read and write

The Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) is outside the brain & spinal cord, consisting of the all the nerves and ganglia (groups of nerve cells). It is like our communication wiring, connecting the CNS to all the organs, blood vessels, muscles and glands. Sensory cells of the PNS  pick up information and travel the nerve highway to the CNS which interprets the data and sends the command back through the motor nerve cells of the PNS to have the body respond appropriately. Here is a breakdown of the Peripheral Nervous Systems components:

  • sensory-somatic nervous system – connects the brain with the external environment. Monitors and regulates voluntary conditions in the external environment, such as keeping the body in touch with its surroundings through the senses such as touch, smell, taste, hearing and sight.
  • autonomic nervous system (ANS) – connects the brain with internal organs and glands. Monitors and regulates involuntary conditions in internal body functions, including digestion, heart function, blood flow, and gland activity.
  • parasympathetic nervous system – responsible for internal organ and gland regulation (salivation, tears, urination, digestion, and defecation). The parasympathetic nervous system consists of the nerves or glands of the eye, nasal cavity, face, ear, esophagus, pancreas, kidneys, liver, gall bladder, and stomach.
  • sympathetic nervous system – responsible for the reaction to stress, known as the fight-or-flight response. This system accelerates heart rate, dilates bronchial passages, decreases movement of large intestine, constricts blood vessels, increases esophagus peristalsis, causes dilation of the pupils, signals goose bumps, regulates perspiration levels, and raises blood pressure, to name a few. The sympathetic nervous system carries hot, cold and pain sensations.
  • enteric nervous system – secretes enzymes such as acetylcholine (transmits information between two nerve cells), dopamine (transmits adrenalin controlling emotional response such as pleasure and pain) and serotonin (transmits mood, sexual desire, appetite, sleep, memory, social behavior and temperature regulation). The enteric nervous system influences the digestion process, secreting enzymes, monitoring pressure, detecting nutrients, measuring acids and salts and progressing digestion. It also impacts sexual performance.

As listed in my newsletter, assists the Nervous System in many ways:

        

  • lowering blood pressure
  • constricting pupils
  • stimulating blood flow
  • regulating digestion
  • reducing inflammation
  • enhancing release of endorphins
  • regulating mood
  • influencing dopamine to control movement and elicit emotional responses such as pleasure and pain
  • stimulating the senses (touch, hear, smell, see, and feel)
  • assisting digestive movement and secretions
  • assisting body functioning, such as respiration, perspiration, and body temperature
  • decreasing heart rate

Here’s to Your Health- get a MASSAGE!!

 

 

 

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