What is Homeostasis?
Homeostasis is a state of balance throughout the body. The body uses several processes to regulate change needed keep us healthy. When the body is in a state of homeostasis, people are generally healthier. One way to understand homeostasis better is to imagine a set of scales. If you add objects to one side of the scale and add the same amount to the other side, it will be balanced. When you add more objects to one side of the scale, it becomes unbalanced. Our body is so complex that is always requiring adjustments. Therefore, our body always requires homeostasis.
Homeostasis - Website to help you understand Homeostasis
Homeostasis - Website to help you understand Homeostasis.
How does Homeostasis apply to Occupational Therapy?
Homeostasis deals with all aspects of Occupational Therapy. As mentioned on the home page, we find adaptive equipment when you use the compensatory approach. When we find equipment for people with Parkinson's Disease, we are focusing on helping them with activities such as eating and dressing. One piece of equipment that may help a patient with Parkinson's Disease would be a weighted utensil. The weighted spoon will cause the muscles to somewhat relax and cause the arm to stop shaking. Homeostasis is occurring in the muscles. The muscles are trying to balance, and adding weight to the utensil is a good way of trying to balance out the muscle contractions and tone. This will make it easier for our patients to be able to feed themselves.

How does Homeostasis apply to your life?
When your body temperature rises about the normal temperature, the nervous system signals the dermal blood vessels to dilate and the sweat glands to secrete. Then, the body heat is lost to it's surrounding and then it gradually drops down toward the normal body temperature. This is homeostasis because it is a process of balancing the body temperature. Your nervous system does the same thing when your body temperature gets lower than normal. The picture below explains homeostasis and temperature control.

Homeostasis and Temperature Control - Website to view above picture

Negative Feedback
One process in homeostasis is known as negative feedback. Negative feedback is when the body returns to a normal state. Negative feedback loops require 3 things. A receptor, a control center, and an effector. A receptor monitors internal conditions. Receptors sense changes in the body's homeostatic response. The receptors are connected to the control center. In homeostasis, the control center is in the brain. When the brain receives signals about the body's internal conditions, it sends out signals along nerves. The signals prompt changes in the function that correct the change and bring things back to normal range.

Negative Feedback Video -
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http://science.jrank.org/pages/3365/Homeostasis.html - Website to help you understand Negative Feedback

Positive Feedback

The positive feedback system is designed to push levels out of normal ranges. To achieve this process a series of events needs to happen to increase the effect of the stimulus. The process of positive feedback can be helpful to the body, but is rarely used by the body. One positive feedback example event in the body is blood platelet accumulation. This produces blood clotting in response to a break or tear in the lining of blood vessels.