The Thread of the Tapestry
The brain and the spinal column are the central nervous system (CNS). This control center unscrambles all the messages that arrive via the peripheral nervous system (PNS). Any changes within or on the surface of the body are reported by the peripheral system. Once the CNS has responded, the peripheral system carries the response back to the body.
In essence the nervous system weaves throughout the body, creating balance and harmony. The nervous system brings the body to order, connecting the functions of each system and allowing the complex working of the body to operate efficiently. The two cells of the nervous system are neuroglia and neurons. Neuroglia cells support the neurons, while the neurons deal with the special functions of the nervous system. Nerve cells communicate among themselves and to muscle and gland cells.
The special functions of the nervous system consist of sensing, thinking, remembering, controlling muscle activity, and regulating glandular secretions. Some neurons are tiny while others seem endless. Motor neurons that wiggle the toes extend from the spinal cord to the feet, while sensory neurons can extend from under the foot to the brain.
The neuroglia cells are those cells within the nervous tissue that support and protect the nervous system. The neuroglia cells make up half of the CNS and can multiply, unlike neurons. There are six types of neuroglia cells, four in the central nervous system and two in the PNS.
Astrocytes assist in metabolism, balance potassium, help in brain development, and help with the blood-brain barrier.
Oligodendrocytes produce the myelin sheath.
Microglia protect the CNS from disease by destroying germs and clearing out dead cells.
Ependymal cells line the cavities in the brain and spinal cord and form cerebrospinal fluid.
Schwann cells produce myelin sheaths around peripheral neurons.
Satellite cells support clusters of neurons in the peripheral nervous system.
The Myelin Sheath
The myelin sheath covers most cells, providing insulation and assisting in impulse conduction. The sheath shields the electricity so that the nerve can send the impulse quickly. Cells that do not have the sheath conduct impulses slowly.
Myelin increases as we mature, increasing the ability of the nerve to conduct impulses quickly. Destruction of the sheaths on the neurons can lead to multiple sclerosis. As the myelin sheath is destroyed, the nerve impulses are weakened, causing systemic weakening with progressive loss of function.
What if a nerve is out of place?
The vertebrae that cover the spinal cord and house the nerves can move, becoming dislocated. A subluxation results, affecting the nerves coming from the particular vertebra. A chiropractor adjusts subluxations. A reflexologist supports and integrates the work the chiropractor does.
The Spinal Nerves
The spinal nerves are part of the peripheral nervous system. These nerves connect the central nervous system to muscles, glands, and other structures. The nerves are divided by vertebral structure. Nerves coming from a vertebra affect certain parts of the body.
The nerves not only affect the surface areas and structures but the function of the internal organs as well.
The cervical nerves affect:
C1: The deep muscles of the head, the brain, the pituitary, and the inner ear
C2: Eyes, sinuses, tongue, and skin of the scalp
C3: Facial muscles, outer ear, teeth
C4: Nose, mouth, lips
C5: Vocal cords, pharynx, rhomboid muscles
C6: Neck muscles, shoulders
C7: Thyroid gland, biceps, pectoral muscles
C8: Palm and fingers
The thoracic nerves affect:
T1: Arms and hands
T3: Lungs, bronchials
T7: Pancreas, duodenum
T9: Adrenal glands
T12: Small intestines
The lumbar nerves affect:
L1: Large intestines
L2: Appendix and thigh
L3: Bladder and hamstring muscle
L4: Lower back muscles and prostate
L5: Thigh muscles
The sacrum nerves affect:
S1: Upper leg
S2: Inner thigh muscle
S3: Buttock and hip
S4: Reproductive organs
The nervous system is key to the operation of the body. Reflexology works closely with the nervous system, through the actual nerves in the feet as well as the reflections of the body found on the feet.