Updated: Jun 28, 2022
From Pascal Grolaux, BSc, DO, MOst.
There is a bi-directional connection between the autonomic nervous system and the immune system. But there is as well bi-directional communication with the brain, the heart, and GIT, although there are way more brain-body visceral-brain axis. This modulation is processed in the periphery and in the brain along the central autonomic network under powerful inhibitory processes to allow a stability in our body, the internal milieu heterostasis.
The vagus nerve, the main component of the parasympathetic, as well as the sympathetic nervous system interact together to modulate our immune system through complex central and peripheral neuroendocrine-immune reflexes.
The vagus nerve when stimulated is immune-suppressive as it was demonstrated that it triggers neuro-immune actions on the organs of the reticule-endothelial system.
The vagus nerve indeed activates different cholinergic anti-inflammatory reflexes, that will be reviewed in the course "The Neurovisceral Integrative Model and its Application in Osteopathy" in Relation to the Vagus Nerve, visceral brain axis, and Heart Rate Variability". The osteopathic treatment can play a crucial role in the balance action on the neuroendocrine-immune system, via specific actions on the osteopathic centers, including a wide range of techniques that can be safely used in the treatment of auto-immune diseases, depression included. The use of the HRV analysis will be demonstrated to illustrate the psycho-physiological actions of this system, specifically by the modulation of the sympathy-vagal balance. In other words, it will showed how an osteopathic treatment can modulate psychological and general physiological processes.
Researches conducted by early American osteopaths already demonstrated the beneficial effects of osteopathic manipulative treatment in the hispanic flu in the 1918's.
This complex and important subject, for instance in the context of the Covid pandemic, but also in the context of the osteopathic management of auto-immune diseases will be covered in details in course "The Neurovisceral Integrative Model and its Application in Osteopathy". For more details, please read the course description in the courses section.