As previously stated, the Autonomic Nervous System(ANS) regulates all the basic body functions. It is comprised of the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches. They control opposite physical and emotional states; in a way they are like opposite sides of the same coin.
The parasympathetic system(PNS):
- stimulates flow of saliva
- slows the heartbeat
- stimulates peristalsis(wave-like muscle contractions that move food to digestive tract) & secretion
- stimulates release of bile
- contracts the bladder
- inhibits flow of saliva
- accelerates heartbeat
- inhibits peristalsis & secretion
- conversion of glycogen to glucose
- secretion of adrenaline
- inhibits bladder contraction
The PNS helps us to relax-regenerate and let go after stress. The SNS readies us for action; it regulates arousal. In a healthy, regulated system, there is a flow between the two branches, called a pendulation in SE. The body is relaxed, yet alert.