Those who dedicate their lives to researching, developing and performing medical procedures and treatments see, firsthand, the mysteries and complexities of the human body. Narrowing the science down for each working component of our physiology requires years of training, practice and testing.
One ability our bodies have is healing injuries or wounds without the assistance of surgery or drugs. If you’ve ever experienced a mean papercut or scraped your knee falling off your bike as a child, chances are that it fully healed with minimal or no scarring after a few weeks. You may have awakened with a scab the next day, and if you found yourself wondering how this happens, the answer is both a simple and complex one. You’ve experienced the biological process of self-healing.
All living things have the innate ability to heal themselves, but humans have a particular way of healing and developing certain mechanisms to prevent future infection or disease through the immune system.
The most basic unit of any living human being is the cell, which is capable of replicating itself. Cells heal themselves by replacing the destroyed or damaged cell with a healthier one. When we are afflicted with a wound or serious injury, our body starts to produce new cells or platelets to replenish the lost, damaged cells. White blood cells then carry the dead cells out.
Wear and tear from daily activities in our lives requires constant regeneration of cells to repair the tissue and eliminate the dead cells in our bodies. We are in a constant state of healing, and when we turn to medicines or other treatments, we are aiding our body in its own ability to naturally heal.
The Immune System
Apart from external physical damage to our bodies, many disease-causing pathogens we come in contact with— bacteria, viruses and toxins—can affect the body’s mechanism to protect itself from foreign elements.
Our bodies have evolved to develop certain features which play a vital role in keeping these invasive pathogens outside of the system. Mucus, for example, is produced within the lining of some tissues and is a natural moisturizing barrier that prevents material intruders from entering while also keeping the surrounding area from dryness.
The body has two types of immune systems: the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system. Because we are capable of adapting to our environment, our body can attain immunity from certain pathogens through exposure to these microorganisms.
The innate immune system can be observed from a child’s rapid response system, i.e., their skin, the cornea of their eyes, and also the mucous membranes that line the gastrointestinal, genitourinary and respiratory tracts. It is inherited and plays an active role from birth to ensure babies grow and remain healthy.
As we age, our body encounters new foreign invaders that our innate immune system is not programmed to defend against. This is when our body starts to produce a special type of protein called antibodies, developed by cells known as B lymphocytes. The system then recognizes this new antigen and protects the body from getting sick.
Immunization and antibiotics can be used to boost the child’s immune response against known infections.
Stem Cell Research
Much research is being done on this type of cell, produced in the bone marrow, and its natural ability to heal the body effectively. Stem cells are immature forms of a cell that can grow into any type of cell. As a fetus develops in the womb, embryonic stem cells start to divide and differentiate into the necessary types of mature cells.
Adult stem cells have the ability to mature into three types of cells: mesenchymal, neural and epithelial cells.
- Mesenchymal stem cells are able to regenerate bone, fat, muscle and cartilage cells.
- Neural stem cells help to replenish nerve tissues in the brain and spinal cord
- Lastly, epithelial stem cells mature into skin cells.
While adult stem cells may reproduce for a long period of time, the body loses its efficiency to produce them as we grow older. Stem cell therapy assists your body’s own stem cells to work more effectively, inducing tissue regeneration, a reduction in inflammation and overall improved function in the area receiving the treatment.
What Affects the Body’s Ability to Heal?
Several factors inhibit the body’s natural self-healing process. Most commonly known to us is our diet, sleep and overall health lifestyle. “Our body is consistently working to heal itself and requires adequate rest and a sufficient supply of nutrients to support the process,” says Dr. Lindsay Clark, MD, a specialist in regenerative and metabolic medicine. “Our diet plays an important role in the self-healing process or can be a major source of toxin buildup, depending on what we consume.” If you are recovering and looking for ways to help your body during the process, consider recovery IV therapy in Inland Empire. These hydrating treatments can offer vitamins to fuel your body as you heal, as well as regenerative formulas designed to stimulate cell repair and promote faster healing. These healthcare professionals can guide you towards the best treatment to aid in your recovery.
The amount of sleep we get is another crucial factor in our body’s regenerative process. A large part of our time sleeping is actually our body repairing and regenerating the dead cells and damage from daily activities. Lack of sleep equates to a decreased amount of time spent healing, making our bodies weaker and more susceptible to infections and illnesses.
Conversely, if our body is not receiving the right amount of exercise and utilizing the stored energy from recuperation, it can shorten the lifespan of a person, specifically the telomeres in our chromosomes. Telomeres are specialized structures at the end of chromosomes which act as a protective barrier for the DNA. Damaged DNA results in our body’s deterioration, and this includes aging or developing cancer.
Actively incorporating exercise into your daily schedule, even if it is just a walk around your neighborhood block, can greatly assist your body in bringing oxygen and other nutrients to your cells, speeding the process of eliminating free radicals. An active lifestyle is linked to an improvement in your sleep and emotional and mental health overall.
Free radicals are another important factor to consider when it comes to the body’s ability to heal. They play an important role in eliminating waste from damaged cells, however, stress, infection and inflammation can increase the production of free radicals causing a buildup in our body. This damages the cells and DNA through oxidative stress.
Understanding the body’s ability to heal and how you can improve the process starts by understanding the physiology of your body and regeneration methods as well as treatments, such as stem cell therapies, to assist in the process of repair.