We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Medical Physiology?

Karyn Maier
By
Updated Feb 27, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Medical physiology is the study of the various systems of the body, from a molecular level through integrated functioning as it relates to the whole being. Generally, the term medical physiology applies to human beings. However, the science of physiology applies equally to all living things. In other words, what is understood about cellular metabolism in any kind of plant or animal can be extrapolated to human physiology. I

The scope of scientific disciplines that have branched from medical physiology is no less encompassing. In fact, while its primary concentration pertains to organs and body systems, the interdisciplinary nature of medical physiology lends itself to a variety of expanded fields, such as molecular biology, biochemistry, and pharmacology. As a solo area of study, medical physiology stems from the work of the early 20th century physiologist, Walter Cannon, who presented his theory of homeostasis, or body wisdom. Inspired by the earlier concept of milieu interieur, Cannon proposed homeostasis as a state of internal stability maintained by the body through deliberate communication and regulation between body systems.

This may sound like heady stuff, but the basis of medical physiology is actually quite sound and simple to illustrate. If one were to think of the human body as a home heating system, for example, it makes perfect sense. When a heating thermostat, which has been previously programmed, detects that the ambient temperature has fallen below an acceptable level, it sends an electronic signal to the furnace to produce more heat. The human body is equipped with similar devices to trigger the appropriate response to maintain stability. However, the systems of the body are not limited to electrical impulses and use chemical messengers as well.

Unlike branches of science focused on form and structure, such as anatomy, medical physiology is clearly concerned with function. However, recognizing that all of these aspects impact the integration of systems leads to targeted areas of physiology. For example, metabolism and physical growth are facilitated by hormonal signals produced by endocrine system physiology. Certain brain activities and nerve impulses that automate breathing and control conscious movement are regulated by the nervous system, specifically the autonomic nervous system and the somatic nervous system, respectively. The study of physiological processes extends to the heart, eyes, and muscles as well.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Karyn Maier
By Karyn Maier
Contributing articles to WiseGeek is just one of Karyn Maier's many professional pursuits. Based in New York's Catskill Mountain region, Karyn is also a magazine writer, columnist, and author of four books. She specializes in topics related to green living and botanical medicine, drawing from her extensive knowledge to create informative and engaging content for readers.
Discussion Comments
Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier
Contributing articles to WiseGeek is just one of Karyn Maier's many professional pursuits. Based in New York's Catskill...
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.