There are five processes the are indispensable to proper functioning of the body. In increasing order of importance, they are elimination, digestion, rest, hydration, respiration. Importance, in this instance, is being judged by how long the body can be sustained in the absence of one of these processes. Breath is the process that is the most time dependent. These processes support the internal and external activities of the body, when in unison. Take one of them away and the body will eventually succumb, fatally.
Elimination is the process of discarding non-functional or non-useable products from the body. Although the colon is a critical organ of elimination, the body utilizes several routes for accomplishing this end. The degree to which these channels maintain their designated actions ensures that the body is continually discharging non-useable compounds.
Your food travels the length of your digestive tract where vital nutrients are absorbed, healthy bacteria are (hopefully) nourished, and waste is removed from the body. You might not want to think about it, but bowel elimination is one of the most important functions of your body.
- The Liver – a first step in toxic materials breakdown and accumulation for transport for elimination
- The Kidney – liquid filtration, bodily pH balance, urination
- The skin – sweat mediated removal of water soluble toxins and waste(s)
- The Lungs – see respiration
The body can survive for varying lengths of time depending on the organ that becomes compromised.
Digestion is an important part of life. Lots of social activities are centered around this process. Though often indulged inappropriately / inadequately it is necessary for ‘survival’. Digestion, for our focus, is comprised of ingestion (the bringing in raw nutrients), digestion (breaking them down into useable components), assimilation (those components being absorbed into the body).
Each part of your digestive system helps to move food and liquid through your GI tract, break food and liquid into smaller parts, or both. Once foods are broken into small enough parts, your body can absorb and move the nutrients to where they are needed. Your large intestine absorbs water, and the waste products of digestion become stool. Nerves and hormones help control the digestive process.
The average person can only last 21 days without adequate food consumption.
Rest (sleep) is a must have. Resting allows to body to heal, it alleviates stress, it can boost creativity and enhance productivity. Adequate sleep, eating right and exercising regularly are pillars of ‘good health’ . It is true that one cannot achieve optimal health without catching sufficient Zzz time each and every night.
Sleep requirements vary, but the average adult should get between seven to nine hours of sleep every night for peak health benefits, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
The average person can only last 11 days without sleep.
“Hydration, the proper balance between water and electrolytes in our bodies, determines how most of our systems function, including nerves and muscles,” says Larry Kenney, PhD, a professor of physiology and kinesiology at Penn State.
When we were younger and would go out to play ‘all day’, we would run to the nearest friends house, turn on the outside water line and drink from the hose . . . water, water, water. Somewhere that appreciation for water has evaporated. The need for waterb, remains the same. As the human body is made up of >70% water, the need for adequate hydration is a must.
Most healthy people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. For some people, fewer than 8 glasses may be enough. Other people may need more than 8 glasses each day.
The average person can only last 4 days without water.
Respiration is the physical / chemical process through which the organism supplies the cells and tissues with Oxygen. The Oxygen is needed for metabolism and energy production. Resultant Carbon Dioxide and waste metabolites are expelled via respiration. Respiration is facilitated through the two phase breathing process. Inhale brings in fresh air (O2) and exhaling expels waste (CO2).
Yet breathing does more that this. Complete breathing massages the internal organs and exercises the diaphragm. The massage of internal organs helps them to function in a more synchronous manner. This complete breathing also stimulates the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve helps with mediating the fight of flight stress response and calms down the whole body.
The average person can only last 20 minutes to 45 minutes (in cold water) without breathing
Each of these processes is important to the body. They work together in sustaining the functionality of the body. Even if they are not working optimally, they must all work simultaneously. If any of the processes should fail, the body would eventually die. Of critical import is breathing. As is evidenced from the preceding information, the process of breath is most time sensitive. Thus, the concern becomes tantamount when breathing fails.
The facts are that breathing is, at best, only 40% efficient and most people breath ‘inefficiently’. We therefore have a situation whereby suboptimal O2 / CO2 exchange and suboptimal nutrient / waste exchange becomes normalized. These processes can be brought to optimal operative capacity by giving attention to what we do and how we feel. By all means consult with a health practitioner if If there is any history or indication of physiological challenge.
Notwithstanding, above all else, take time to breath . . . to breath fully . . and to breath completely.