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Nervous System

The nervous system is a complex system that receives and interprets sensory impulses and initiates the body’s response through muscles and glands. Sensory impulses are received internally from other organs, or externally through touch, smell, taste, hearing or sight. These impulses are sent from internal and external sources to the brain; then the brain sends the body’s reaction back to the organs, glands, and muscles. The nervous system controls both the hormonal glands and the nerve network.


The body’s nervous system is comprised of two parts: the central nervous system (CNS) and the peripheral nervous system (PNS).

The Central Nervous System (CNS)


The central nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord and is considered the body’s processing command center for the nervous system to control all body functions. The CNS receives and interprets sensory impulses, then initiates a response through the body’s muscles and glands. The brain has three basic units: the forebrain, the midbrain and the hindbrain.


The Peripheral Nervous System (PNS)


The peripheral nervous system resides outside of the brain and spinal column and consists of nerves and ganglia (groups of nerve cells) that connect the central nervous system to organs, muscles, blood vessels and glands. The peripheral nervous system has two main components: the sensory nervous cells and the motor nervous cells. The sensory nervous cells sense environmental conditions from the environment outside of the human body and delivers that information back to the CNS. After the CNS interprets the data, it reacts through the PNS’ motor nervous cells by carrying information to organs, muscles and glands to respond appropriately to the situations.

Massage assists the nervous system in the following ways:

  • decreasing heart rate

  • 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

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