A close look at the complex systems within our body can inspire awe. Such is the case with the body’s complicated, yet simple temperature regulating mechanism. In this article, know how the body regulates temperature and its implications.

The Process of Maintaining Body Temperature 

Hypothalamus, a small portion of the brain serves as the command center of temperature regulation in the body. This intricate apparatus is responsible for balancing the body at a temperature that is just right for optimal function.

The hypothalamus is like a thermostat that regulates your body temperature. It assesses the internal and external stimuli and makes adjustments to keep the body within one or two degrees of 98.6 degrees.

The hypothalamus also serves as a switchboard for the release of chemicals and hormones such as thyroid, cortisol and more. It works along with your skin, sweat glands, muscles, and blood vessels in order to keep your temperature within the normal range.

The whole process through which the body regulates temperature and maintains the right balance is called Thermoregulation. Below, let’s look at how your thermostat kicks in the cooling and heating system within your body:

The Body’s Air Conditioning System

As mammals, we are warm-blooded. The cells within your body create a bit of heat, owing to processes such as metabolism. Your muscles also produce a lot of heat when active.

So, when you get too hot, the hypothalamus signals the sweat glands to draw water from your dermis, the middle layer of the skin where most of the water is stored. Your sweat creates an instant cooling effect on the skin

Salt is also an inherent part of sweat, because of the way your body moves water from the dermis to the sweat glands. As a result, when you are sweating profusely, you also need to ensure that you make up the loss in water and salt.

Another way through which the body cools itself is by directing more blood flow to your skin. You may notice a person’s face getting red when they are hot. This is the body’s natural way to shed excess heat. Heat loss can be increased up to four times by using blood as a sort of radiator.

If your body is getting too hot, it can result in cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

The Body’s Heater System

At times, your body can also get cold due to environmental conditions and so, the body’s furnace generates more heat in the system. Shivering is the mechanism that drives heat through active muscles to boost body temperature. When cold, you can also supplement shivering by getting up and moving around.

Blood vessels can also be used to reduce heat flow by contracting near your skin. While the blood near the skin is used to reduce heat loss, more of the blood in the interior is kept warmer.

Your nervous system can also boost heat production through some heat-inducing organs. Your thyroid gland releases hormones to boost your metabolism. This causes a surge of energy and increases the amount of heat it produces.

When your body is exposed to too much cold, you can suffer from frostbite and hypothermia.

The Importance of Thermoregulation

Thermoregulation is a form of homeostasis, a phenomenon that is key to maintain the inherent balance within the body. Irregular thermoregulation will possibly disturb the balance and lead to several diseases in the body.

Ayurveda stresses on the fact that balance is vital to the body and an imbalance can be a direct contributor to ailments like thyroid issues, metabolic problems, and immune dysfunction.

Therefore, the provision of a stable core body temperature is essential. Here’s How How Can You Help Your Body’s Temperature Control:

  1. Summer is almost here!

During extreme hot climatic conditions, you can support your body’s thermoregulation by being well-hydrated and drinking lots of water. It is also equally important to make up for the lost salts along with sweat. The vital minerals that keep temperature gauge regulated are sodium, magnesium, and potassium. So, be sure to also include these minerals to your diet.

Stay away from spicy, hot and oily food as it has a tendency to increase body heat. Include naturally cooling foods like tender coconut water, mint, peppermint, watermelon, cucumber, ash gourd, pomegranate.

Also, pranayama techniques like Sheetali Pranayama will create a cooling effect on your body and help you maintain the right temperature.

  1. Stay Insulated During Winter

Winter calls for precaution with clothing in layers so that you can provide your body the much-need insulation. Pranayama techniques such as Ujjayi and Kapalabhati will help you constrict blood vessels to create a warming effect on the body.

Also, it is important to eat foods that digest or metabolize slowly. This way you can fuel your body’s furnace and make it feel warm. Your body will provide itself energy and generate heat by digesting food. Include healthy fats, high-fiber foods, nuts and seeds to your diet.

  1. Meditation to Control Body Temperature

A study done on Tibetan monks who were practicing a form of meditation discovered that mindful meditation can help to regulate body temperature. Certain techniques of meditation can help to function in cold environments, improve resistance to infections, boost cognitive performance by speeding up response time and reduce performance problems associated with decreased body temperature.

Thermoregulation allows your body to preserve the optimal temperature so that you can stay protected and perform your best. Consider what it can do for you and make sure to support your body’s efforts.


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