Autonomic Nervous System

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) is working in an involuntary (autonomous) manner in our bodies, providing adaptation to changes in the external and internal environment; heart, lungs, veins, intestines, reproductive organs, such as the vital system controlling. The autonomic nervous system consists mainly of two parts:

1- The sympathetic nervous system that causes “fight or flight” mode on in the presence of situations such as danger, attack, panic, etc. ,
2- The Parasympathetic nervous system which is called “rest and digest” which calms the body, provides growth and development, reduces stress, has more internal characteristics.

Stress factors lead to cause increased activity in the sympathetic nervous system. In this case, the sympathetic system creates a common response in the body and can significantly suppress the parasympathetic system. This disruption of the body’s coherence also brings with it long-term discomforts associated with autonomic dysfunction (a disorder of ANS activity).

Stress and Effects

Stress can be defined as physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. The body shows some reactions to be able to adapt to this situation.  The encounter of stress within the body causes stimulation of the hypothalamo-hypophyseal system and the autonomic sympathetic system. So, epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and cortisol hormones begin to be secreted.  In the long term, this situation may cause chronic pains, head-aches, depression, anxiety, sleep-disorders, gastrointestinal problems, cardiac problems, and etc.

Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)

Vagus nerve is the most important member of the parasympathetic nervous system, a branch of the autonomic nervous system. Electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve increases parasympathetic activity. Thus, the disorder in the autonomic nervous system can be balanced, the increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system can be controlled. As a result, stress-related diseases can be treated and eliminated.