Achieving Homeostasis

homeostasisHuman homeostasis is the process that maintains the stability of the human body’s internal environment in response to changes in external conditions. Your body has built-in sensors that constantly monitor body activities and attempt to correct imbalances when they occur. Getting out of balance can lead to serious consequences, including disease and a shorter lifespan. Your lifestyle and attitude has a great deal to do with maintaining balance in your body.

Here’s a short list of some of the main homeostatic processes in humans:

  • body temperature: Human body temperature is optimum at 98.6° F (37°C) for most people although variations of 1 degree up or down are normal. When it’s out of balance we shiver (too cold) or sweat (too hot)
  • cell counts and size: The natural life span of a red blood cell in your body is about 120 days. White blood cells lifetime varies. Low cell counts trigger anemia or other pathologies. Sometimes your body can catch up,other times, it needs help from outside forces (diet, medicine).
  • blood pH: pH is a measure how acidic or alkaline your blood is. Normal is about 7.4pH (water is 7).  When your blood pH is off, too much acid for example, acidosis can occur and your lungs and kidneys work hard to restore balance.
  • blood sugar: (glucose) Humans regulate blood sugar with natural insulin and glucagon. Insulin, secreted by the pancreas, transports glucose to the body’s cells. When insulin is deficient or cells become resistant to is, diabetes occurs.
  • water balance: Kidneys remove excess water and ions from the blood, which are expelled as urine.
  • oxygen: if oxygen content of the blood decreases, or carbon dioxide increases, blood flow is increased and depth of breathing increases.
  • sleep: normal rhythms in your body control the amount and depth of sleep you experience. If these rhythms are off, your body will slow down to preserve energy – diminishing physical and mental functions in order to do so.
  • personality traits and mood: hormones and other chemicals in the body regulate your mood.

As you age, your natural ability to achieve homeostasis decreases, opening your body up to complications related to slight or extreme imbalances in body systems. Many of these imbalances can be helped by changes in lifestyle, diet,activity level and sometimes assisted with supplements and medicine.

Your body is incredibly resilient – working hard all the time to maintain homeostasis. Monitoring your health, including diet, exercise, “vital signs (above”, overall feelings and moods are critical to a long and happy life.

Role of massage in homeostasis

Since massage has  effects on the circulatory, digestive, nervous, lymphatic and other systems, it leaves the body in a better position to maintain homeostasis.  Massage is also one way to combat stress – a major enemy of homeostasis in the body. Stress aggravates just about every body system and reducing stress, with massage or any other activity, will go a long way toward regaining balance.