The Nervous System

     Most of us have heard the term homeostasis, but do you know what it means?  It is an important idea.  It basically means unchanging.  Homeostasis is a state of body equilibrium or a stable internal environment of the body.

The body is in an ever-changing state, but health requires that certain limits are always maintained.  Homeostasis is a term used to describe the body’s constant goal of internal balance and stability.  Our internal intelligence uses many systems, mainly the nervous and endocrine systems, to check out any given situation.  Think of this feedback as controlling the switches that are used to control body temperature, metabolism, hormones and basically all biochemical reactions and functions.

It is important to understand that homeostasis is our body’s way of always trying to be its best in any given situation.  If you go outside on a cold night the body automatically turns on processes to keep us as warm as possible inside.  If we begin to develop an infection, our body automatically turns on processes like fever, fatigue, and increased antibody production to bring your body back to health (non-infection) as quickly and as efficiently as possible.  If we understand the idea of homeostasis, we can better understand and support our body.

The Nervous System

We all know that in order to have a good relationship, partnership, marriage, friendship or team there has to be open lines of communication.  Anyone who has been on a committee or a sports team knows how important it is to communicate correctly and efficiently in order to accomplish your task.  You have to be able to verbalize your thoughts and needs so that others will understand you, and you have to be able to understand the needs and feelings of others.  It is the same with your body.  Your nervous system is your master control and communication center.  It is constantly controlling and reading everything that goes on in the body, including every stimuli or irritant the body comes in contact with.  It then begins the response needed for that particular situation.

How does our nervous system work?

1.  The central nervous system is made up of the brain and the spinal cord.  The brain is considered the command center of the nervous system.  Information flows through the spinal cord to peripheral nerves.  The brain receives and interprets thousands of signals every second.  Sensory information is interpreted and instructions are given based on past experience, current conditions and what needs to be done at each moment.

2.  The peripheral nervous system is made up of spinal nerves that carry information to and from the spinal cord, and cranial nerves that carry information to and from the brain.  These are the communication lines that link all areas of the body to the central nervous system.  They then carry the commands from the central nervous system to the correct glands or muscles to begin action.  The nervous system is constantly responding to any and all stimuli or irritants, both from within the body and from our external environment.

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