The human nervous system principally divides into central and peripheral parts. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. It performs an array of functions, from processing information to generating reflexes to higher cognitive functioning. The peripheral system connects the central nervous system with both outer and inner environments; it is further divided into sensory and motor functions. Sensory functions, including taste, touch, sight, and so on, translate into awareness the various forms of environmental energies that affect the body, while motor functions pertain to body movements such as intentionally turning the pages of a book.5
Another aspect is the autonomic system which is the watchdog of all internal neural functions. This divides further into the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. These work together; for example, the sympatheticsystem tightens the gastrointestinal sphincters and the parasympathetic system loosens them.
Communication within the nervous system is performed by cells called neurons. This communication is studied in terms of electrical energy—“action potential” and “states of excitation,” for instance—that describe the movement of electrical signals and information along the same neural pathways that convey chemicals. As neurons and groups of neurons connect, they form pathways and cobweb-like networks that process innumerable bits of information that result in the perceptions and biological conditions of the body.6
There are also other energetic systems of the physical body. For example, stemming from the work of physician Robert Becker, author of The Body Electric, James Oschman has described a perineural system consisting of the connective tissue, or extracellular matrix, surrounding the nervous system.7 Controlling the repair of injury, this matrix also acts in a greater capacity with nonlinear properties whereby communication and resulting effects proceed rapidly throughout the whole of the body, while the nervous system is linear with information directed along specific pathways.
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