What is Physiology?

By Casey Shivers | Director of Clinical Programming

At bēkn, we often talk about physiology and the physiologists that work here. If you aren’t someone that works in the health & wellness industry this term may be new to you. However, once you understand what physiology is, you can better understand why it is such a key part of what we do in keeping you healthy. 

What is Physiology? 

Physiology is the study of living systems and how they self-regulate. In the human body, this relates to everything from the connections throughout organ systems, the actual organs themselves, and even how each of our individual cells work together to carry out their physical and chemical duties. 

These systems work together to keep the whole body in balance. If one piece is out of whack it can throw the entire system off. In short, physiology describes how all of the “parts” relate to the “whole”. 

How does the body self-regulate? 

Systems in the body regulate themselves through “feedback loops”. Feedback loops are an alert system – if something is out of balance a physical or chemical reaction occurs to give “feedback” to the rest of the system that there is an imbalance. It is the key component in understanding when we are healthy and when we are not. If everything is in balance, the system continues business as usual. If not, the alert system is triggered. 

What is an example of a feedback loop? 

One example could be if you eat something that your body has difficulty digesting or absorbing nutrients from, you might get a symptom like acid-reflux or diarrhea. Your system is thrown off balance, and sends an alert in the form of a symptom that something is wrong. 

If a muscle in your leg is weak, you may feel a shooting pain when that muscle is being overused. Your body is sending your brain a warning that something bad could happen if you don’t pay attention to that area.

How do we fix something if my alert system is triggered? 

Rather than focus all of our attention on each individual part of your complex body, bēkn uses physiology testing to better understand the whole. Additionally, all of our exercise and nutrition programming is built into a feedback loop process. 

Our health coaching system uses this reflective feedback loop analysis in order to provide better support to our members. This process also allows our practitioners to measure progress and make more consistent checks and balances across the board. 

Our feedback loop process is broken into 3 major parts: 

  1. First, we will ask you to identify your motivations, strengths, and obstacles. We want an honest reflection of your current priorities, goals, and foreseeable hurdles.
  2. Then we perform our full physiology testing, which offers objective feedback on both movement and your unique metabolism. This helps our physiologists find out where specifically your current exercise and nutrition programming is in (or out of) balance.
  3. Finally, based on the results of our testing and your goals, we then put together a plan for moving forward. We update and refine your exercise and nutrition program, and set you up for success with individualized lifestyle recommendations and homework assignments.

Physiology is the foundation in all-inclusive wellness. 

At bēkn, we understand that everyone is different. There are many ways that our bodies can be thrown out of balance, but also plenty of solutions for finding that balance again. Our physiologists have the tools to address negative feedback loops, and to help get you back on track in becoming your best and healthiest self. 

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