The science that is responsible for analyzing and knowing how living beings work is called physiology. This term has its origin in the Greek word “physiologia”, which means “knowledge of nature”. As its name indicates, it is a science that has defined all the principles that accurately describe the biological, chemical and physical functions of all living beings.
This discipline is also related to other sciences to complement and support its theories. It is considered to be one of the main ones, because it represents being the basic unit for the understanding of life on planet earth. Those who have studied this topic have been able to determine the functions and characteristics of the different species that inhabit here.
The study of physiology turns out to be fundamental to be able to establish relationships between anatomy and the different branches of medicine. In the latter, it can be seen that a different approach is maintained regarding the study of humans and other animals.
The origins of this science go back to the centuries before Christ, in which it was a question of using thinking based on logic and the rules of life. That is to say, it meant to be an important transformation in the way of thinking, it goes beyond the philosophy and other medical procedures applied up to that moment.
The first time this term was formally used to refer to this discipline was Jean Fernel. As a scientific method it allowed the promulgation of important experiments and hypotheses , in this way the causes of the phenomena of life in a normal state can be explained. For this reason, it is important to experiment and carry out theories that are constantly being reformulated.
What is physiology?
Physiology is defined as the science that is responsible for studying how living beings function from an anatomical point of view. But it also includes aspects related to other sciences, such as physics and chemistry. Thus, it has been possible to understand in a better way how any living organism works , this is done by doing an exhaustive analysis of the tissues and organs within a system.
This science has two main focuses, the first of which is related to the animal and plant world . Everything related to the various types of systems, organs and cells that have this origin is attended to. Consequently, it has become necessary to establish a series of classifications such as muscle physiology, cell physiology, neurophysiology, vascular physiology, renal physiology, and others.
In the second case, human physiology is studied. It is considered that Hippocrates is the Greek thinker in charge of giving visibility to this science, from it many scientists would begin to be formed who were busy investigating various physiological theories that have evolved over time.
The topics covered in this classification are diverse, such as homeostasis. Many aspects must be taken into account to understand all the functions of an organism, consider the internal and external conditions.
It is one of the natural sciences that investigates in a particular way about the transformations of matter in terms of energy, physics, and chemistry. These elements will be analyzed to understand the changes that occur in different combinations.
Various scientific and experimental methods are applied , each of them adapts to the environment and the rules of behavior of matter. Thus it has been possible to understand life, understanding that there is a particular morphology and physiology in each living being, as well as all the laws that govern its existence. Finally, it is important to mention biology, which helps to study the relationships between these organisms with their environment.
Physiology is based on basic principles categorized into three types. The first of them integrates all tissues, systems and organs, which constitute the body structures of human beings and other multicellular organisms .
Homeostasis is also important because it allows us to understand the resistance of bodies to certain environmental changes . Its relationship with internal changes is also being studied, therefore each of the feedback loops is being studied. Finally, metabolism and self-regulation are the essential activities carried out by the body that guarantee its maintenance.
What are the characteristics of physiology?
It is a science characterized by being guided by basic principles that are the result of experiments . This means that it depends entirely on exact sciences that will help to understand all the possible interactions between the basic elements that constitute a living being. It is also applicable to the environment in which you live, this makes it possible to have a clearer perspective of your situation.
Another characteristic of physiology as a science is that it proposes various theories that meet the same objective, it is about understanding both general processes and independent functions. This is done by distinguishing that there is plant, animal and human physiology .
There is also another branch called psyphysiology, which unites psychology with the physiological bases of psychological processes . Currently its most accepted name is cognitive neuroscience, this term began to be used from the 90s of the last century.
The other main characteristics of physiology as a science are described below . A distinction is also made between those aspects that are more related to the practical part and to another theoretical one. They are as follows:
- All physical mechanisms that lead to specific detectable reactions in the body or system of a living being are analyzed . That is to say, it is about understanding how each of the capacities that it possesses works.
- Essential concepts are used that are necessary to understand how pathologies related to certain mechanisms work. That is, this science constantly promotes the creation and analysis of terms, which define those processes that have already been possible to identify.
- It offers a generalized perspective in which the principles of other basic sciences are united together with the integral interpretation of the physiology of a system. It is of great importance for the clinical understanding of certain diseases.
- Provides answers to understand the main physiological processes that are involved with other mental processes. In this way, all the relationships between the elements that constitute and provide life to living beings begin to make sense.
- All the studies and theories proposed by this science are based on a basic unit which is called a cell. Without it the survival of living beings would not be possible .
- It has similarities and a close relationship with the human anatomy . This is because in both cases similar experiments are carried out, in the same way it proposes theories that maintain a direct connection at a conceptual and practical level.
- For a proper study of living organisms, a division and classification of their body systems is carried out. This methodology to facilitate the study of each of them.
Classification of the different types and branches of physiology
Physiology is a science that is structured through a series of divisions and branches, each of which focuses its attention on addressing specific issues. The following describes each of them:
- Animal physiology is responsible for studying and proposing theories that describe all the processes related to the animal kingdom.
- Plant physiology focuses on understanding and studying the processes that occur in specimens belonging to the plant kingdom, such as plants.
- Generalized physiology broadens its field of study by integrating all functional and vital aspects that are considered normal in most living organisms.
- Cellular physiology studies each of the functions of the smallest and most complex units that make up the body. Neurons and other similar ones are studied.
- Comparative physiology is responsible for making a zoological scale from the comparison of each of the bodily functions.
- Cell physiology is responsible for studying each of the activities that occur in a living cell. Some functions are to absorb water, produce food or growth; others such as neural transmission, transport and muscle contraction are even integrated.
- Human physiology studies the body of these living beings, identifying their mechanical, biochemical, physical and bioelectrical functions, as well as others. A perspective is maintained in which it is always considered that different interactive systems will be combined, these use organs and a set of other elements such as oxygen.
- Plant physiology studies the functioning of plants. To do this, it uses research that focuses on understanding its morphology, genetics, cellular and molecular biology as well as biophysics.
- Environmental physiology is also known as eco physiology, it is studying plants according to their relationship with the environment. It maintains a close relationship with ecology, both depend on studies that provide precise answers about the influence of temperature and wind for example.
- Evolutionary physiology combines physiological evolution with the creation of essential functions. Thus, it is possible to create patterns integrated by characteristics of individuals belonging to a population of organisms. As a result, a classification of the multiple generations of the same species can be made.
- Comparative physiology not only studies functional characteristics, it also explores what are the particularities that occur in various organisms. It maintains a close relationship with evolutionary and environmental physiology, this is due to the fact that they coincide when trying to describe animals according to what their basic needs are.
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