Although Western medicine discovered circadian rhythms about 300 years ago, chronobiology, (the study of body rhythms and internal body clocks), is still very much in its infancy. Unfortunately, this research of physiological rhythm is consistently under-rated in both popular and professional circles. Most of us know that such rhythms exist, but we fail to appreciate their power in determining our health and fitness. We, in Western Medicine, are so locked into our various specializations that we fail to see large-scale relationships, especially those between the body and its environment. Physicians treat specific symptoms, but many of our afflictions stem from broader patterns of asynchronous living. What we fail to realize is that if you're missing the beat of the larger environment, your body will naturally become confused and disordered.
Almost all other cultural medicines view humans as a microcosm of the universe, seen as being part of the natural world and governed by the universal forces of nature and it’s cyclic rhythms. Human bodies do not exist in isolation; we are creatures of our environment. The physiology and performance of the human body is tightly linked to the natural oscillations of the natural world, especially diurnal and seasonal variations. Light is the drummer in the physiological rock band; it keeps the systems in our bodies playing along at the right tempo.
Given the ancient and intimate relationship between human physiology and the rhythms of the natural world, it is reasonable to suppose that separation from those rhythms will cause stress and in turn, increase the likelihood of illness and disease. As we all instinctively know, when our rhythms are in sync, life flows easily.
Stay tuned for my next post on Rhythm, 'Rhythm and Getting in the Flow'