What is normal vision? 20/20 right? So if you need glasses, and you take them off, and everything gets blurry, you can’t perceive your environment correctly. For example, if you and I were face to face and having a conversation, if I take off my glasses, I have no idea if your facial expression tells me, I am so on board with your opinion of the latest Avengers movie, or if you’re really bored with our conversation. As a result, our conversation breaks down, and that affects our relationship. That’s just one example of why our ability to perceive our environment is critical to everything we do, every day.
So step one in body function is INPUT, being able to accurately perceive our environment. We can see, hear, and feel what is around us. Thousands of messages per second are entering your brain, spinal cord, and millions of sense organs. Step two is filtering all of these messages to coordinate an appropriate response, which happens in the brain or spinal cord.
Step three is OUTPUT or function, where the brain’s plan is transformed from a theory into action. This is where your brain generates a signal that transmits to muscles, organs, and glands. So let’s imagine again that you and I are face to face having an animated discussion about superhero movies. You decide that I have just made an excellent point, and you need to let me know it. Step one: your brain, because it’s always paying attention to all of your body parts, gets the signal that your hands are in your lap. Your brain quickly generates a plan of how to bring your hands about a foot up into the air and clap them together. This plan is transmitted in electrical signals from your brain, down through your spinal cord, out of the nerves at the base of your neck, and down your arms and hands. And suddenly you are clapping in joy at our delightful conversation.
This kind of input-output dance is taking place in all body systems, both conscious and subconscious. For example, regarding posture: you can consciously sit up tall, roll your shoulders back. But you can’t consciously move the muscle on the right side of your neck that connects the top two bones in the neck. You also can’t control how much stomach acid you produce to digest your food, or how many white blood cells you’re generating to fight an infection. Your body does those things automatically.
Again, the normal cycle of body function is input – coordination – output. If this cycle breaks down at any point, there is a loss of health. It may show up as breathing problems or muscle spasms or chronic ear infections. When the body’s cycles are interrupted, we are robbed of our best chance to thrive.