Homeostasis is the process by which the body maintains balance. Our machines are highly regulated organisms and homeostasis helps to maintain the proper function of all the different processes such as temperature control, blood pressure, PH balance, breathing etc.
Our central nervous system (CNS) controls homeostasis by sensing changes in the body’s internal environment. On a simple level if I go to touch an oven a whole host of nerve receptors are monitoring the changes in external environment and relaying them to the CNS in order to make any necessary adaptations.
The peripheral nervous system is composed of all of the nerves that flow out of the spinal cord to innervate the body. The sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous systems are divisions within the peripheral nervous system that sometimes work together and sometimes they work apart but they are always working to maintain homeostasis or balance within our bodies.
The sympathetic nervous system is often related to our “flight-or-fight” response while the parasympathetic is connected to relaxation. These two systems perform the dance of homeostasis, sometimes soloing, but very often working in concert to keep our body humming along without our even knowing it.
The problems I see in the people I work with usually deal with an imbalance in the nervous system that leaving people stuck in the sympathetic or flight or fight nervous system. This can manifest in a host of physical and emotional ways leading the body down the golden road to dysfunction.
While we might not consciously know that homeostasis is taking place within our bodies all the time, but there are many things we can do to influence the quality of balance that our body maintains.