Homeostasis and Your Health

Our bodies have a continual goal of being in a state of homeostasis. This is where our body, mind and spirit are most aligned in harmony for supporting optimal health and well-being. It is the sweet spot where things are working properly on their own and we feel good. The struggle comes in that homeostasis is constantly under threat from things like our environment, stress, diet, sleep and lifestyle. This delicate balance has response mechanisms that help rebalance and react to these conditions, but even they can encounter limits. This is where understanding homeostasis provides us a pathway to supporting this balance and helping our systems regain this position when there are challenges to it.


What is Homeostasis?

Envision a bar laid out on top of the point of a triangle. The balance point where that bar is level is where homeostasis is created. This process is our regulation control system of the body’s environment to ensure everything is performing as it should optimally. When something comes into our body’s environment it is a variable that can tip that balance to a negative that our body needs to respond on.

Imagine you are standing outside and get chilly. Our body gets the message and produces a response.

This in turn looks like the goosebumps we feel on our arms and the action to put on a jacket. Our homeostasis process is triggering all the responses inside the body to re-establish that balance across all our systems.


The body does all it can to negate the variable that’s been picked up in its environment and return the bar to this perfect position as quickly as possible. Homeostasis is a negative feedback loop structure. As variables in our body’s environment occur the change is detected by a receptor (goosebumps) that transmits the messages to the control center of our body (homeostasis). From here, we see information sent along the pathways to trigger the effector process to address the problem (cell response to warm body and putting on a sweater). The response feed to the control sensor tells it how big a problem it is and if more help is needed. The stimulus of the process works to negate the variable (the bar being rebalanced over the triangle).


There are physical, emotional and spirit homeostasis influences that occur in our body all the time. Our homeostasis state is a combination of all three of these pillars in our health. It is essential for our survival.


When Our Normal is Not in Homeostasis

The body is a complex organism capable of adapting to a number of situations. It is well equipped to respond to threats, protecting us from dangers and changing to fit in our environments. In all of this it strives to maintain that delicate balance point of homeostasis. It is entirely possible for instance, to change our diets completely and rebalance a homeostasis state based on that change. On a large and small scale, our bodies adapt and change with the experiences it encounters every day.


When we live in high stress situations, have an improper diet, poor lifestyle habits or prolonged chronic illness, our homeostasis also changes. This is where we can encounter a negative impact to homeostasis process that exhausts our systems and our body is not able to rebalance or regulate the changes to keep us going at full speed. The body will create some form of homeostasis, but in these types of situations that balance point may be askew. This is where we start to see the impact of this imbalance in how we feel physically, emotionally and in our spirit.


When I hear a client say they are always tired, including waking up tired, there are a number of reasons this could be happening. Are they going to bed at a consistent time each day? Do they sleep through the night? What is their diet like? Are they drinking enough water? All of these factors contribute to our quality of sleep, but at the core is that their homeostasis is also off balance because the body cannot regulate its sleep patterns. Addressing the contributing factors, those closest to this issue of fatigue, is where we begin to rebuild that balance.


How to Know if Your Homeostasis is Well

This answer comes down to how you feel. Do you consider yourself healthy? Are we carrying extra weight? Do we suffer from depression? How is our diet? Do we drink enough water every day?

All of these factors contribute to the state of our homeostasis. Being honest about our health and lifestyle is where we really understand how well we are doing. This is where working with a natural health practitioner can help you look at your health from the lenses of a whole picture.

If you take prescription or over the counter medication it can block your receptors of homeostasis so while you feel good it may not mean necessarily your homeostasis state is in balance. Medications often mimic the functions we need our body to do and overtime they may stop doing their job. Our bodies are very efficient in how they produce and use energy in this way. The risk is long term our bodies may need to restart functions they haven’t used in a while and this can add to our healing time overall.

How to Rebuild Homeostasis

Again, because our bodies were made to be adaptable, it is entirely possible to re-establish a positive homeostasis state. Doing so, presents health improvements not only in our physical body but emotionally and in our spirit as well.


It is usually best to start with the foundations of health. The good news is most of these are low-cost and low-impact to our daily lives. Working with a natural health practitioner can help support and coach you through making these changes. The foundations of health mean we are focusing on basic things like improving our sleep, hydration, diet, movement and mindset. While these are not quick changes necessarily they do support healing and rebuilding our body’s ability to self-regulate through homeostasis.


One big factor in homeostasis health is managing stress. We all have stress and it unfortunately does not go away often on its own. Stress puts our body in the fight or flight response actions that keep homeostasis from resetting. It truly is necessary to find the strategies that work in each of our lives for managing an appropriate level of stress. Avoiding it unfortunately also doesn’t work long term. The impact of stress is felt throughout our body and can have severe impacts to our health state.


Digestion and Homeostasis

Our digestive system is directly aligned to our homeostasis state. It is through our digestion that we process food into the energy our body needs to get through each day. If our digestive system is not working well, or has problems, it impacts our other body systems quickly by triggering the homeostasis processes to respond. For example, it is very common that our skin reflects what is going on in our digestion. So if we are regularly experiencing heartburn it can show up as acne, rashes, dryness and more.


Healing our digestive system is at the heart of many building foundational good health. These changes include slowing down when we eat, improving what we eat and supporting the digestive system as naturally as possible.


The biggest change that cost nothing to improve our digestion is by chewing slowly. Americans are known for their fast food and quick meals. We have busy lives that do not always align with having leisurely homecooked meals. We also do not eat a great deal of raw foods, such as fruits and vegetables. All of this means, our digestive systems do a lot of extra work to process all that we are not upfront helping it do well.


Most people would benefit from using a probiotic and digestive enzyme supplement to help improve digestive processes. Using these as tools while we make changes in how we eat is the key to rebuilding leaky gut and digestive problems like heartburn. Additionally, these tools help us digest foods properly to ensure they are broken down into what we need and get to our cells.


Where digestion and homeostasis work together is when our cells are receiving nutrients and our body, through homeostasis, is not responding for calls for help. If our digestion is serving our cells it means there is not need for homeostasis interruption to deal with upset tummies, digestive discomforts and things like bloating.


Endocrine System and Homeostasis

The endocrine system is where our hormones and emotions are managed. This system is responsible for interacting with our nervous system, digestion and all the functions where we feel hormonal shifts and emotional changes. Many people develop endocrine system issues such as adrenal fatigue that go undiagnosed and treated.


Stress is a main factor impacting endocrine health and function. If our hormones are not properly regulated there can be further impacts to our reproductive system, digestion, immune system and thyroid function. It is here we see many thyroid issues arise for people too. The main treatment of thyroid malfunction is a hormonal replacement medication. That medication does not treat the root cause however and can lead to other health concerns.


Where the endocrine system and homeostasis work together is in response to our flight or fight stress triggers. Stress has a direct impact to the balance of our homeostasis. This is why taking time to rest, exercise, and release stress is so vital. Here we are looking at gentle exercises especially if our systems are already exhausted.


Using methods like meditation, yoga, and massage therapies can help us find that re-balancing of homeostasis. In particular I like the doTERRA AromaTouch service that through the use of their essential oils to the spine in an orchestrated gentle massage like touch it can bring about a homeostasis balance.


Cardiovascular and Homeostasis

Like the other 2 body systems I’ve discussed, the cardiovascular system also has a direct tie to homeostasis. Regulating our blood pressure, ensuring cholesterol is doing a good job repairing things and not just piling up is not easy feat given our lifestyles. Maintaining good cardiovascular health is important and that is best seen through our homeostasis.


Here too we can see the direct impacts of poor lifestyle, diet and stress that hurt our health long term. Preventing cardiovascular problems is much easier than fixing them when they occur. Using our indicators of homeostasis is where we can directly leverage improvements to our cardiovascular health. This is done through small changes in our lifestyle that work to improve our sleep, hydration, diet, and stress levels.


How to work with me

For help improving your homeostasis, it is important to work with a natural health practitioner you trust. They will work with you to develop a plan that is right for you and lets you decide how fast or slow you want to go. They will also help you build the foundations for lifestyle that work within your life and budget.

To work with me, schedule a consultation at dragonspitapothecary.com/book-online

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