„Our heart is like a pump.“ „Our cartilage is like a suspension.“ „Our bones are like a frame.“ These are simple analogies of our bodies functions.
Like all models, these mechanistic analogies are sometimes useful. They are useful when something in the body needs REPAIR. Like a machine sometimes needs repair. When we use these analogies it helps us to grasp complexity and REPAIR the body. With the assistance of these analogies we can REPAIR the heart. We can REPAIR cartilage and we can REPAIR bones. But like all models, these analogies are also wrong.
They are wrong because we are not a machine. It is important to realize the limits of these analogies when REPAIRING does not solve a problem in our body. What is the difference between a human organism and a machine? A machine deteriorates under stress. We drive our car and the more mileage it gets, the worse the condition of the car. For a machine it is true to say : „The more you use it, the more you lose it“.
A human organism is FUNDAMENTALLY different. When we use our body, it gets worse initially, but then gets better. When we walk barefoot for a day, the soles of our feet begin to hurt. But two days after the skin under our feet is tougher. When we drive our car for 100 miles, do we expect the frame of our car to be stronger a week later? No we don’t. Because a car is a machine. They do not get better with stress. But that is exactly what a human organism does. It gets better with stress. When we take it out for a walk or run, the bones ADAPT and become stronger. Our human organism ADAPTS and becomes stronger with stress.
Most chronic problems of the human body are not a REPAIR-PROBLEM. They are a REGENERATION problem. To understand regeneration, and to understand how the human organism needs stress to grow and become a better version of itself, we need to understand the limits of a mechanistic model of the human body. For a human organism it is true to say : „Use it OR lose it.“ We are not a car, we are not a machine. We are a living and adapting organism constantly adapting to the challenges our environment confronts us with…if we let it happen.
May the FLOW (of adaptation) be with you! #bioflow
Gerrit Keferstein is a Medical Doctor specialised in Performance & Functional Medicine. He is most known for his work on the optimisation of recovery and adaptation in elite athletes.