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Understanding How Your Body Functions

Updated on August 18, 2013

System Mechanics

In order to learn and understand anything in this world, one must first learn that everything is encapsulated within a system of some sort. Therefore, in order to understand a thing, one must first begin by learning some of the language and terminology spoken within that system.

Most of the language and terminology medically speaking, is in Latin and Greek, so learning some info on how these words are formulated will greatly help your understanding of what your doctor says or writes concerning your health and wellbeing.

Today, we'll start with the body, and define and learn a few basics about it so that in later articles in this series, when I reference certain medical information, you, the reader will have some idea of what it is I'm referring to.


First of all, we must start with anatomy. This is the study of the structures of the human body and their positional relationship to one another; for instance, the hip bone is connected to the leg bone and so forth.

Gross anatomy is the study of larger body structures like the bones, muscles, organs, blood vessels, nerves and so on. Microscopic anatomy is the study of the smaller body structures that are not visibly seen, and must be seen through a microscope; such as the cells, and tissues, which make up the larger structures.

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Physiology on the other hand, is the study of how these structures of the body function in normal body processes, as in dynamic movement. Basically, what do they do, and why and how do they do it.

How the body works is its physiology. How it moves is its dynamic. Physiology tends to focus on the cellular, so the body’s function as a whole depends on what cells do, and cellular function depends on the information inside the cell. This is very important as to the reasons so many are sick and fighting off diseases like cancer etc.

Structure & Function

Anatomy and physiology go hand in hand. Structure is determined by function and function is carried out through structure. For example, water in a pool doesn’t just flow. Water doesn’t just move itself. Something is needed to push it or move it along.

With bodies of water the movement comes from the wind. In the pool the water will not flow without the pump. Likewise, in the body, the blood will not flow without the pump - the heart. The function of the blood is carried out through the structure of the heart. If the heart stops working, no blood is pumped to the other vital organs, and the body dies.

Another example of how anatomy and physiology are intertwined could be found in the theatre. The stage, props, and characters make up the anatomy. How these related one to another is the physiology.

Our bodies are constantly in a state of movement or flux, adjusting to the conditions to bring about balance. Our eyes are adjusting to the light, and our nerves are monitoring both the internal and external environment. Our bodies are amazing structures.

The philosopher Plato once noted that the “acquiring of knowledge is just a form of recollection.” Learning anatomy and physiology is really becoming aware of who you are already.


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    • Etherealenigma profile image

      Sandra M. Urquhart 5 years ago from Florida

      Yes, I agree. If only we could weed them out in every industry-what would that do for better consumerism? Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image

      cave76 5 years ago

      I agree--- most people haven't a clue about their body's anatomy or physiology. Too bad----- it's fascinating.

      And I also agree that most people don't do the research needed to help themselves. Sometimes because the 'big words' puzzle them.

      Then there are some who don't 'believe' in science.

      I use some supplements and I also 'use' Western' medicine. The biggest problem with supplements or 'natural' products is because there has been very few valid studies about them.

      The German ECommission Monographs are an exception though, but not all botanicals etc are there----- for probably a good reason.

      When the botanical and supplement industry can weed out the companies or sites on the Internet that are only out for the money and then people can buy with more confidence.

    • Etherealenigma profile image

      Sandra M. Urquhart 6 years ago from Florida

      Thank you. I find that so many people have absolutely no idea about their own bodies, nor what's going on with it. This is why they are so quick to put complete faith in their doctors. Plus, they are too lazy to do the research. I don't believe in Western medicine, because they seem to serve themselves above their patients, and thus, I feel their recommendations are based on what it will make versus what would really be helpful to their patients.

      There are treatments out there that are not that expensive, and could eliminate a lot of physical ailments, but aren't recommended, because the doctors don't want to lose their business. This says to me that my life is only worth their profit levels, and nothing more. This is why I prefer Eastern medicine and natural means as much as possible, because Western only focuses on cutting out what they can't figure out how to treat.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      Indeed, learning anatomy and physiology can make one more aware of the various parts and systems that make us. Interesting hub.