Digestion and the Whole Body

Just as our machines need electricity to operate, so do our internal organs and cells require electrical impulse to function and operate as well. The degree to which our nervous system is balanced and well functioning – or not – is the degree to which we are healthy and able to function at maximum capacity in the world.

Many healing arts such as acupuncture, yoga postures, meditation, chiropractic, breathing techniques, biofeedback, hypnosis, EMDR and other healing modalities attempt to restore balance to the nervous system as the pathway to improving internal and external bodily function. These methods address the cause of the presenting condition and not just treat the pain or symptom of the bodily malfunction.

Looking more closely at the digestive system and its intimate relationship with the immune system and the nervous system, we can easily follow the pathway of how brain function and the nervous system can create a “whole body”, systemic cascade of bodily reactions which overtime lead to chronic illness and disease.

Our nervous systems are impacted by stressors; however stress is not limited to just emotional stress as many believe. Stress includes poor nutrition, inadequate sleep, infection, excess exertion, surgery, trauma and reproduction.When our stresses or anxiety cause our brain to send biochemical messages to our cranial nerves, our digestive systems can be functionally affected. The anxiety and stress decrease our digestive and immune system functions.

A written medical schematic would look like this:

Stressor = a brain/ limbic system response and/or increased stress/adrenal cortisol secretion = decreased digestive function through sympathetic cranial nerves (vagus nerve) and decreased immune (bone marrow) function.

The effect of a stressor on the body in the short term can be readily overcome by a healthy, adaptive nervous system. It is the longer term stress, the chronic ongoing conditions and issues that place wear and tear on our nervous systems and organs and it is this friction or wear and tear leads to chronic illness.

By understanding the intimate dance of our body’s organs and systems and how to maintain a balanced, healthy nervous system we can avoid illness and chronic disease, live long, productive and disease free lives!

With all good wishes,

© by NIWH 2010 all rights reserved