How to Yawn #16
Let’s talk common horse sense.
Andrew Ferguson Fraser (The Behaviour and Welfare of the Horse, 2010) wrote …
“This stretching phenomenon is termed pandiculation in human medicine. This stationary activity is vital to a foal’s growth and joint correctness. It has as much effect on tendons, bones and joints as on muscles in the course of performance. An orthopaedic role for this is obvious. It is needed for self-development in the young animal, even more than in the adult. In fast-developing foals it is essential.”
According to the same source …
“Foals that are most healthy perform pandiculation most often, about 50 times per day. Stressed or sick foals do not pandiculate vigorously or frequently, if at all. It is therefore a clear sign of good health and its absence a sign of illness. It is a positive signal of equine neonatal well-being.”
In an earlier book (1992), Andrew Ferguson Fraser calls pandiculation “holistic stretching.”
He refers to yawning as “an isolated component of pandiculation.”
Horses need “space” to pandiculate.
Andrew Ferguson Fraser (The Behaviour of the Horse, 1992) wrote …
“The body-based (somatic) character of pandiculation emphasizes the need for primary space for basic kinetic output and for general comfort.”
Humans, like horses, are healthiest in “wide open spaces.”
Anthony Anholt (Anti Aging Secrets of the Animals, 2014) wrote …
“When we move throughout the day our muscles are continually contracting and releasing which is why they at least stay somewhat loose. However, when we sleep we don’t move that much and our muscles only contract, hence the stiffness. This is true of all vertebrate animals, not just human beings. This is why all animals appear to stretch when they first wake up. If you have a cat or dog you have likely observed this first hand. What will likely surprise you though is that these animals are not stretching at all in the way that we understand it, they are pandiculating.”
According to the same source …
“What it [a cat doing what is often called a cat stretch] is really doing is contracting its back muscles in order to form an arch. Any ‘stretch’ it gets along its stomach is completely incidental. When it releases this forced contraction the back muscles loosen and become limber. The brain also releases powerful chemicals to relax the muscles that have just contracted. This process is called pandiculation. During a pandiculation the muscles are contracted and then relaxed, which allows the brain to reset them.”
Pandiculation helps eliminate nitric oxide.
But isn’t nitric oxide one of the “good guys”?
Yes, No, Maybe.
Remember what Robin Williams said about Viagra, a popular form of nitric oxide …
“Viagra is NOT your friend. Are you coming? No, I’m dying!”
Mark A.W. Andrews (“Why do we yawn when we are tired? And why does it seem to be contagious?,” Scientific American, Aug. 12, 2002) wrote …
“It does appear that the PVN of the hypothalamus is, among other things, the ‘yawning center’ of the brain. It contains a number of chemical messengers that can induce yawns, including dopamine, glycine, oxytocin and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH, for one, surges at night and prior to awakening, and induces yawning and stretching behavior in humans. The process of yawning also appears to require production of nitric oxide by specific neurons in the PVN. Once stimulated, the cells of the PVN activate cells of the brain stem and/or hippocampus, causing yawning to occur. Yawning likewise appears to have a feedback component: if you stifle or prevent a yawn, the process is somewhat unsatisfying. The stretching of jaw and face muscles seems to be necessary for a yawn to be satisfying.”
A “satisfying” yawn is “holistic stretching” and “intensified breathing.”
Recent research gives little credit to “Breathing Central” — the Mouth of God.
(To Be Continued)