An Overview of the Nervous System

When working with sound healing (or any type of vibrational healing) it is important to understand the relationship between the body and the head, spinal column and nervous system.  The nervous system can be seen as the communications network of the body and has two main functions: (1) to induce movement, and (2) to interact with the endocrine system to maintain balance and harmony between the body and its environment (homeostasis).  We can see how these two systems work together.  The endocrine system secretes hormones into the bloodstream in order to regulate certain activities of the body.  Some of these hormones can stimulate or inhibit nerve impulses and some can be stimulated or inhibited by the nervous system.  In other words, the nervous system senses how you are relating to the immediate environment and causes adjustments to be made in order to maintain equilibrium.

The Central Nervous & The Peripheral Nervous System

The two main parts of the nervous system are the Central Nervous System ("CNS") and the Peripheral Nervous System ("PNS").  The CNS consists of the brain and the spinal cord and interprets all incoming and outgoing sensations and impulses.  The PNS consists of neurons that connect the brain and spinal cord to the glands, muscles and sensory receptors.  The PNS is further divided into the afferent and efferent systems.  The afferent system delivers messages from the outside of the body to the CNS through the sensory neurons.  The efferent system is made up of specialized cells called motor neurons which deliver messages from the CNS to all of the glands and muscles.  The efferent system is further subdivided into the somatic nervous system and the autonomic nervous system.

The Somatic Nervous System: The somatic nervous system transmits from the CNS to skeletal muscles and is considered to transmit voluntary acts.

The Autonomic Nervous System: The automatic nervous system is considered to be involuntary because it sends impulses from the CNS to the smooth muscle tissue, cardiac muscle tissue and the glands - all of which function by themselves.  The autonomic nervous system consists of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.

The Parasympathetic Nervous System:  The Parasympathetic Nervous System functions when the body is resting and rejuvenating its lost energy supply -- during digestion and absorption, when the body is breaking down its fuel for energy.

The Sympathetic Nervous System:  The Sympathetic Nervous System reacts when the body must put out energy as during a flight-or-fight situation.

There are 31 pairs of nerves that extend from the spinal column to the peripheral nervous system.

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