Healthful Living


Chapter 29—The Brain and the Nervous System

The Physiology of the Nervous System

819. Each faculty of the mind and each muscle has its distinctive office, and all require to be exercised in order to become properly developed and retain healthful vigor.—Testimonies for the Church 3:77. HL 193.1

820. Every organ of the body was made to be servant of the mind.—Testimonies for the Church 3:136. HL 193.2

821. The brain is the capital of the body, the seat of all the nervous forces and of mental action. The nerves proceeding from the brain control the body. By the brain nerves, mental impressions are conveyed to all the nerves of the body as by telegraph wires; and they control the vital action of every part of the system. All the organs of motion are governed by the communications they receive from the brain.—Testimonies for the Church 3:69. HL 193.3

822. The senses ... are the avenues to the soul.—Testimonies for the Church 3:507. HL 193.4

823. The brain nerves which communicate with the entire system are the only medium through which Heaven can communicate with man, and affect his inmost life. Whatever disturbs the circulation of the electric currents in the nervous system, lessens the strength of the vital powers, and the result is a deadening of the sensibilities of the mind.—Testimonies for the Church 2:347. HL 193.5

824. Any part of the body that is not treated with consideration will telegraph its injury to the brain.—Christian Education, 125. HL 194.1

825. The nervous system, having been unduly excited, borrowed power for present use from its future resources of strength.—Testimonies for the Church 3:487. HL 194.2

826. Anything that hinders the active motion of the living machinery, affects the brain very directly.—Testimonies for the Church 2:370. HL 194.3

827. A calm, clear brain and steady nerve are dependent upon a well-balanced circulation of the blood.—The Health Reformer, November 1, 1871. HL 194.4

Examples of Nervous Control

828. When the minds of ministers, school-teachers, and students are continually excited by study, and the body is allowed to be inactive, the nerves of emotion are taxed, while the nerves of motion are inactive.—Testimonies for the Church 3:490. HL 194.5

829. Immediately after eating there is a strong draught upon the nervous energy.... Therefore, when the mind or body is taxed heavily after eating, the process of digestion is hindered. The vitality of the system, which is needed to carry on the work in one direction, is called away and set to work in another.—Testimonies for the Church 2:413. HL 194.6

830. The very food they place before their children is such as to irritate the tender coats of the stomach. This excitement is communicated, through the nerves, to the brain, and the result is that the animal passions are aroused, and control the moral powers. Reason is thus made a servant to the lower qualities of the mind.—Testimonies for the Church 4:140. HL 194.7


831. This drug poison, opium, gives temporary relief from pain, but does not remove the cause of pain. It only stupefies the brain, rendering it incapable of receiving impressions from the nerves. While the brain is thus insensible, the hearing, the taste, and the sight are affected. When the influence of opium wears off, and the mind arouses from its state of paralysis, the nerves, which have been cut off from communication with the brain, shriek out louder than ever ... because of the additional outrage the system has sustained in receiving this poison.—How to Live 3:56. HL 195.1