In the human body the nervous system is composed of the central nervous system, the cranial nerves, and the peripheral nerves. The brain and spinal cord together form the central nervous system. The cranial nerves connect the brain to the head. The four groups of nerves that branch from the cervical, thoracic, lumbar and sacral regions of the spinal cord are called the peripheral nerves. This is the network of nerves that connect at different levels of the spinal cord and control both conscious and unconscious activities. It is through the spinal cord that information flows from these nerves to the brain and back again.
The autonomic part of the nervous system stimulates and controls functions which are not under conscious control and do not involve higher mental processes like thinking. The autonomic nervous system is composed of two opposing divisions: the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which are usually in action at different times. The parasympathetic division of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) usually has an opposing effect to the sympathetic division. It operates mainly in quiet, non-stressful conditions and its activity predominates during sleep. The parasympathetic nerves arise in the brain stem and the lower spinal cord and their axons are very long. The ganglia, where synapses are formed, are very near the target organs. This means that the parasympathetic nerves usually affect one organ only1.
The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) works with the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) to control certain functions of the heart, lungs, intestines and pancreas, salivary glands, bladder and genitalia. in general, the actions of the PNS oppose those of the SNS. Whereas the sympathetic nerves dominate in stressful situations by releasing the chemical adrenalin into the body, the parasympathetic nerves act in an opposite manner by being dominant in relaxing and resting situations. This helps to maintain energy conservation in the body.
Both the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems function automatically so that consciously we are not aware of their actions and have no voluntary control over them.
The substance that relays information in the PNS is acetylcholine (ACh), which acts on very small, specialized areas of the cells of the target tissues called receptors. Many drugs act on the PNS, either by mimicking the actions of ACh or by opposing them. ACh acts to slow the heart rate, increase intestinal and gland activity and relax sphincter muscles.
The autonomic nervous system, which includes the PNS and SNS and the subtle energy system, is at the very least several million years old. The SNS is designed to deliver a package of energy and chemicals to give an added boost to the body when either fighting or running. in some cases, the SNS has been known to give short-term superhuman strength. Once the danger has passed, the PNS must work to bring the body back to a normal rested state.The
Central Nervous System and Body Energy
Since the nervous system is constantly at work and is arranged in networks of ganglia (see images), which are strung up and down each side of the spine, it can be seen as the major source of energy in the body.
All experiences are first recorded in the physical body via the nervous system. Nerves are extremely important whether a person is dealing with physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual energies. From the 1st and 2″“ chakras where physical energies are experienced, through the 3’“ and 4*“ chakras where emotional energies are experienced, to the 5″‘ and 6″‘ chakras where psychological energies are experienced and the 7”‘ (and up) chakras where spiritual energies are experienced, the spinal energy travels through the whole body and beyond. Because of this, it is not difficult to see how healing techniques applied along the sides of the spine will affect the whole of the body and the brain (see images).
By Christina L. Ross, RPPip, 5/30/03
1 Taken from The Human Body, by Dorling Kindersley Ltd., 1st Edition, copyright 2001; London.
2 Taken from Healing with Chakra Energy, by Lilla Bek and Philippa Pullar, p. 51, copyright 1995.