The Structure of the Body

The anatomical structure of the body is the organization of the body and the relationship between the levels of this organization. The very essence begins with the chemical roots of life. Chemicals combine to form the cellular level — the cells that form the structure of all living organisms. Although cells share a common structural bond, they perform different specialized tasks as well. Each cell is styled to perform life processes. Cells are minireplications of the body and operate as such. Each cell metabolizes, breathes, reproduces, and excretes.

Metabolism is the interaction of all the chemicals that pass through a cell. One aspect of this process is catabolism, which is the action of releasing energy, the food needed to sustain life. Another aspect of metabolism is anabolism, which converts the food into structural and functional compounds. Metabolism is continuous. Food is taken in and then used in whatever part of the cell structure it is needed. After the food is processed, the waste is eliminated and the process begins again.

The Tissue

Cell groups that have the same structure and function become tissue. The human body has four major types of tissue. The categories are epithelial, connective, muscle, and nervous tissue. Each of these groups performs a particular function. Epithelial tissue covers the body and lines the organs. Connective tissue basically provides support and protection to the body. Muscle tissue allows movement. Nervous tissue is the major component of the nervous system, which has the ability to receive and send signals as well as organize the body's activities.

The Organs

The next level of structural organization is formed when tissues group together to become organs. Organs are structures with specific functions. As the organs group together in related function, they form systems. Finally, body systems work in concert to produce a complete living entity, an organism. The cycle from cell to organism is a total experience.

The anatomical regions that contain the internal organs are known as body cavities. Knowledge of these areas is helpful in explaining the position of many of the reflexes. There are two main cavities. One is the cavity found in the back of the body and the other is found in the front.

The back region is divided into two parts — one holds the brain and the other the spinal cord. The front cavity is also two parts — the chest region and the abdominopelvic region. The two divisions of the frontal cavity contain all the major organs of the body. These divisions help us to picture the body superimposed over the foot as we locate the reflexes associated with these areas.

Essential

As you walk, you are affecting your entire body. Every feeling — good, bad, or indifferent — emanates from the feet. The way you walk dictates how the entire body functions. Proper gait allows for good posture and pain-free existence. Many aches and pains in the body can be directly related to the feet.

Homeostasis

Homeostasis is the state of equilibrium that attains and maintains balance among all the systems, allowing the body to function at its best. Many factors can interfere with the exact state of balance essential for good health.

For instance, stress upsets the delicate balance maintained within the internal environment. The stimulus of stress may come from external pressures such as heat, cold, lack of oxygen, or noise. Internal stimuli like high blood pressure, chronic pain, unpleasant thoughts, or an imbalance of chemicals can interrupt the harmony of homeostasis. Reflexology works to restore this balance.

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