We are all just searching for balance in our lives. As the great novelist Margaret Atwood once wrote, “I like a balanced universe.” The same is true for our bodies; they are systems which require balance and harmony in order to function properly. Consequently, homeostasis is how our bodies induce and maintain this system of balance.
Homeostasis in the Human Body
Homeostasis is an important concept in health and wellness. It originated with 19th-century French physiologist Claude Bernard. During this time he stated that the stability of the body’s internal environment is necessary for life.
However, the actual term was coined in 1926 by the American scientist Walter Cannon in his landmark book Organization for Physiological Homeostasis. In this text, he observed that the human body has various ways to maintain a consistent internal temperature despite outside variations.
So let’s take a moment to formally define homeostasis. It is how the human body maintains relatively stable conditions within its internal environment while changes occur both inside and outside the body.
These conditions, all of which are necessary for life, include:
- Body temperature
- Blood pressure
- Lung pressure
- Sodium, potassium, zinc, and calcium concentrations
- pH balance
- Hormone levels
Whereas the internal or external changes may include:
- Overall stress
- Fluctuations in ambient temperature
Example of Homeostasis in the Body
One of the most common examples of homeostasis in the human body is the regulation of temperature. Humans require a consistent internal temperature of 98.6 F (or 37 C). This temperature can vary a little bit, but it must stay within the homeostatic range.
Anything below 95