Part 1: Has Your “Paint Job” Lost Its Luster & Shine?
The Integumentary System
Comparing the human body to a machine is like comparing G-d to the internet in that no matter how sophisticated and complicated a machine or the world-wide web may become, these man-made inventions will always fall short of the real thing. Utilizing analogies and metaphors allows us to understand a new and less familiar concept by relating it to a subject with which we are already familiar, however, it would be an oversimplification to say that any single organ in the human body has only one function—the liver alone, for instance, performs over 500 crucial functions!
So with that disclaimer being made, I am about to share with you what I believe to be a novel concept about the body—a concept that I hope will bring a new understanding to my readers about not only the anatomy and physiology of the Human Machine—but also about how the automobile works. Pay attention, ladies, and you will be able to “wow” the men in your life with this new-found knowledge! Over the next several months, I will be sharing excerpts from the new eBook that I am writing called Under the Hood. My desire is to provide a relevant analogy between the human body and the automobile that will speak to both men and women who read my blog. And if it does in fact “speak to you,” I hope you will order a copy of my complete work and tell others about it as well!
We will begin our tour of the Human Machine from the outside and work our way inward, beginning with the integumentary system or skin, which is the organ system that protects the body from various kinds of damage, such as loss of water or abrasion from outside.(1) Its various functions are:
To waterproof, cushion, and protect the deeper tissues,
To excrete wastes,
To regulate temperature, and
To be the attachment site for sensory receptors to detect pain, sensation, pressure, and temperature.(2)
Thank G-d for temperature-controlled vehicles! The first automobiles lacked an enclosed compartment for passengers leaving not only the passengers, but the interior of the car, exposed to the elements. Rain, snow and intense sunlight penetrated the interior and sped the process of deterioration. Without hair, skin and nails, our internal organs would be unprotected from exposure to the elements, dehydration, pathogens, and physical damage. Additionally, this bodily system functions like the radiator in a car, which circulates water or coolant around the engine to prevent overheating. The sweat glands within our integument or skin cool our bodies through evaporation, and the sweat carries away toxins with it as well. In fact, the skin is often referred to as the “third kidney” due to its eliminative function within the human machine. The multiple layers of our integument also help to keep us warm and insulated from the cold through a layer of fat as well as through the process of shivering. When we shiver, our “computer system” or brain (hypothalamus) triggers the “accelerator” or thyroid to narrow pores on our skin, ensuring that the heat is conserved within our body.(3) Just another example of how far short any man-made machine falls from the perfection of the human body! What car has the ability to regulate temperature by regulating the size of pores in the paint surface?
Has your “paint job” lost its luster & shine? Although aging is an inevitable process and we may not have that race car exterior that we once sported, we can affect the rate at which we age by regular and consistent maintenance of our Human Machines. Every paint job is unique and can be likened to not only skin color and tone but also is an external reflection of what is going on below the surface. Rust on the body of a car will eventually show up on the paint job in the form of bubbling, chipping, and peeling. The same is true of our skin; thyroid dysfunction or toxic buildup in the liver, colon and other internal organs will show up on the skin in the form of rashes, acne, infections and disease. Long before we manifest these irritating and unsightly symptoms, our internal organs become polluted, congested and weakened. Preventing “rust damage” to our Human Machines requires a clean diet and regular cleansing, which will contribute to optimum organ function.
Oxidation of the paint job on an automobile can also lead to rust and decay. Parking in a shaded or protected location, as well as regular washing and waxing protects the painted surfaces of our vehicles. In the same way, reasonable amounts of sun exposure are good for our skin, as sunlight is necessary for the production and synthesis of Vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones and muscles, as well as for cancer prevention; however, over-exposure leads to excess oxidation in the Human Machine as well. This is referred to as oxidative stress or free-radical damage, which creates an environment for disease. (UPDATE: the production of free radicals is a normal process within the body, necessary for health-- yes, free radicals actually fight disease! Read more in my blog series entitled "The Devil's Advocate.") We can “wash” and “wax” our bodies from the inside out through:
Drinking plenty of water—holistic health experts agree that drinking ½ your body weight in ounces of pure water (I include clear liquids such as herbal teas in this number) every day is necessary for optimum health.
For more about keeping your human machine running smoothly, read my blogs on The Chemistry of Nutrition.
Ready for a "wash & wax?" Start from the inside out:
Click Hereto download a FREE eResource on the principles of cleansing and detox.
L'chaim-- To Life!
3 Know Your Body: The Atlas of Anatomy, Introduced by Emmett B. Keefe, M.D., Stanford University Medical Center, Ulysses Press: 1999.