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The autonomic nervous system
What are the tasks of the autonomic nervous system?
The autonomic nervous system controls and regulates all our organs and organ systems that we cannot influence at will.
For example, the autonomic nervous system controls the heartbeat, breathing, digestive system, immune system, etc., without us having to do anything.
The autonomic nervous system consists of two main nerves, the sympathetic, also called the stress or tension nerve, and the parasympathetic, also called the vagus, relaxation or rest nerve.
The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for organ regulation during physical exertion. In the process, energy is consumed because the body is set to perform.
The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for organ regulation during physical rest. Energy is built up, regenerative processes are initiated and self-healing powers are activated.
Why can an imbalance occur in the autonomic nervous system?
The autonomic nervous system is designed, among other things, to prepare our bodies for fight or flight.
A popular example of this is the saber-toothed tiger that existed on earth a few thousand years ago.
When we encountered the saber-toothed tiger back then, we had to flee to survive. So in this situation, the sympathetic nervous system had to increase its activity. The sympathetic nervous system caused the heart to beat faster, blood pressure to increase, muscle tension to build up, sugar to be released, pupils to dilate, and so on. All this was necessary to be able to perform and to be able to run away or attack.
Today, however, there is one crucial difference from back then. At that time, there were dangerous situations in which we had to flee or attack and the energy provided was needed. Today, however, we are hardly exposed to dangers from which we would have to flee. However, the autonomic nervous system reacts in stressful situations in a similar way to an attack by a saber-toothed tiger. The sympathetic nervous system increases its activity and the parasympathetic nervous system restricts its function. To be clear about the effects of permanently increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system, one can ask the question:
To be clear about the effects of permanently increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system, one can ask the question:
What does the body need in a fight and flight situation?
- increased blood pressure to supply all muscles with oxygen
- a faster heartbeat to supply blood to all vessels
- more sugar so that the muscles get energy
- Increased muscle tension to be able to run or fight
- Increasing the clotting ability of the blood in order not to bleed to death in case of injury
- Restriction of the digestive system
- Limitation of the immune system
- Restriction of the sexual organs
- the brain activity is reduced, because we have to act reflexively without thinking too much
What diseases can develop from a permanent regulatory disorder in the autonomic nervous system?
- Heart failure
- Circulatory disorders
- Digestive problems
- frequent infections
- unfulfilled desire to have children or erectile dysfunction
- Concentration problems, forgetfulness
What role does the vagus play in this?
The vagus (parasympathetic, relaxation nerve) plays a very crucial role.
Important recovery, regeneration and reconstruction processes do not take place sufficiently if the vagus is too weak.
The permanent overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system can thus not be compensated sufficiently and new energies are built up only insufficiently.
A too weak vagus inevitably leads to organic diseases sooner or later.
What are some ways to strengthen the vagus?
The simplest way is to breathe with a special breathing beat. It has been proven that this is a fast and effective therapy for a gentle and careful strengthening of the autonomic nervous system and especially the vagus.
You too can use the Vagusvit® breathing trainer to measurably improve your vagus activity!
How do I know that my vagus is no longer regulating adequately?
With the VNS analysis, which measures the autonomic nervous system via heart rate variability, a fast, painless and scientifically recognized method is available. Consult your therapist for advice on this.