The Working of the Heart and Blood
The heart, blood, and blood vessels are all part of the system known as the cardiovascular or circulatory system. The heart is a muscle that works constantly, 24 hours a day, beating 60 to 80 times a minute, pumping all the blood in your body through one full cycle, once every minute! Blood circulates through your body carrying oxygen and nutrients through a system of blood vessels. A healthy heart can grow even stronger and healthier through exercise.
The heart has four chambers known as the right and left atrium and the right and left ventricle. Blood travels through the body's veins and enters the right atrium. From there it is pumped into the right ventricle, and then into the lungs for oxygenation and removal of carbon dioxide and other wastes. The oxygenated blood then returns to the left atrium and passes down into the left ventricle. The left ventricle pumps the blood out to the rest of the body through arteries where it eventually reaches tiny branches called capillaries. From there the deoxygenated blood makes a return cycle through the veins and back to the heart. Valves in the heart stop the blood from flowing the wrong way.
Blood pressure is what forces the nutrients and oxygen into the cells of the body, which is why balanced blood pressure is important to good health. By maintaining a good level of pressure the body keeps the blood vessels and heart healthy. Exercise, nutrition, and reduction of stress are all holistic ways to keep the heart functioning at its best. Massage is very effective in supporting the circulatory system, because it encourages the removal of waste and keeps oxygen moving through the body.