The Autonomic nervous system is that part of the brain and nervous system that carries on the functions of the body that we have very little or no conscious control over. The autonomic nervous system controls such activities as our heartbeat, respiration and digestion.
The autonomic nervous system regulates the basic life sustaining functions of the body such as the turning on and off of glands and organs, maintaining the acid/alkaline balance of the blood, saliva, and urine, digestion of food, balancing glandular functions, turning the cells on and off, and stimulating and retarding the body and its parts. The autonomic nervous system is the master regulator of metabolism. It determines how efficiently and effectively the body uses food, water and air.
The Autonomic Nervous System Consists of Two Divisions
The autonomic nervous system consists of two divisions. One division is called the sympathetic nervous system and the other division is called the parasympathetic nervous system. Each of these two divisions sends messages in the form of electric current to the different parts of the body. There is a nerve from each of the divisions to each part of the body.
The Sympathetic Nervous System
The sympathetic nervous system sends messages that in general accelerate or speed up our activities.
The Parasympathetic Nervous System
The parasympathetic nervous system sends messages that in general retard or slow down our activities.