One of the most amazing aspects of the human body is its ability to heal itself. There are 30 to 40 trillion cells in the human body, and every second that we’re alive, these cells work tirelessly to achieve equilibrium, keeping us at—or bringing us back to—a natural balance. When we abuse our bodies or become ill, cells can be damaged or destroyed, sometimes in large quantities. However, these cells can heal or replace themselves to keep the body functioning at optimal levels. Here are some ways our bodies heal themselves and instances when you might find they need help.
The Incredible Immune System
The immune system is a vast network of cells, proteins, organs, and tissues spread throughout the body. It can identify our own tissues from foreign ones, recognize dead and faulty cells, clear them away, and be constantly on alert for assailants. For example, if your immune system discovers bacteria, a virus, or a parasite, it mounts a complex attack in response by developing antibodies that “lock on” to the invader and identify it for other cells to kill.
How to Help
You can boost your immune system by following healthy-living strategies such as:
- eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables,
- exercising regularly
- maintaining a healthy weight
- keeping your alcohol consumption low
- getting enough sleep
- practicing relaxation and minimizing stress
- taking steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands often and cooking meats thoroughly.
It’s also important to stay updated with vaccinations, which help your immune system fight off infections before they can take hold.
Crucial Cell Regeneration
Cell regeneration is another method our bodies use to heal themselves. As most of our cells age and lose strength, we generate new ones to replace them. Whenever a body needs to heal after an injury or a degeneration caused by illness, undifferentiated cells transform themselves to fill whatever area needs help. Over the years, however, the cells become less efficient at regenerating. This makes us more susceptible to pain and injury, and we take longer to heal.
How to Help
Cells and tissues need a robust and reliable supply of oxygen to regenerate. The oxygen nourishes your cells and provides the building blocks they need to reproduce themselves. Since oxygen is distributed via the circulatory system, it’s essential to keep your blood microcirculation strong and healthy.
Broken Bone Regrowth
Whenever you have an injury that causes a bone to break, your body starts working to repair it. A blood clot forms around the break, cells begin cleaning out fragments of bone and killing bacteria, and your system produces collagen to cushion and support the break. Two weeks after the break, you start creating new bone cells to replace the damaged ones.
How to Help
You can help boost bone regrowth by ensuring you’re getting a good calcium and vitamin D supply, which are both essential to bone health. Protein is high on the list of healthy nutrition, too, so lean meat, fish, dairy products, nuts, beans, and soy products are ideal additions to your diet. Doing the right amount and type of exercise is vital, too, so consulting with a physiotherapist is critical to helping your body heal from a broken bone.
Dealing with Chronic Disease
Around 133 million Americans suffer from one or more chronic diseases, according to the U.S. National Health Council. This means more than 40% of the population takes daily medications to ease their symptoms and manage their conditions. Strengthening your immune system to withstand illnesses helps reduce the number of medications you need to take, which benefits both your wallet and your overall health. Doing this can’t heal the chronic condition, but it can affect the severity of your symptoms and their impact on your life.
How to Help
Integrative medicine is an excellent way to help your body fight chronic disease. In addition to maintaining a healthy lifestyle and supporting your immune system, integrative medicine focuses on health and the therapeutic relationship. Practitioners try to understand the individual as a whole and use many forms of therapy such as acupuncture, animal-assisted therapy, massage, meditation, aromatherapy, stimulating microcirculation, and dietary supplements to improve general wellness.
Our bodies really do have a remarkable ability to heal themselves. Frequently, prescription drugs camouflage the body’s signs and symptoms, which can prevent healing from taking place. Integrative medicine is increasingly being recognized as a valid and effective approach to healthcare. The practice is gaining increasing acceptance among both the general population and among physicians and healthcare delivery systems.