The Human Body: A Physical Wonder

by Kathleen Glavich, SND on February 19, 2020

in Blogs

Recently I read a book that referred to our body as a physical wonder. This prompted me to reflect on the truth of that statement. The wonder of our bodies was brought home to me most powerfully after weeks of experiencing excruciating pain in my upper arm. To my surprise, the doctor’s diagnosis was a herniated disk in my neck. But how could that be? My neck felt fine. The doctor explained that a trapezius muscle runs from our neck and across our shoulder. When our spinal cord is threatened by a herniated disk, this muscle contracts, causing pain that prevent us from moving around. How ingenious and thoughtful of our Creator to design us this way!

I also marveled at our bodies power to heal themselves. In my case, after surgery in which my neck was cut open, after a few weeks the flesh and skin had knit together. Today the scar is invisible.

Many other fascinating features of our body are still being explored and discovered. Here are a few of them:

Our eye muscles let our eyes turn in the same direction in 1/50 millisecond.

Our big toe bears 40% of our body weight.

Our strongest muscle is the jaw muscle.

The appendix, long considered useless, is now known as a “safe house” for good bacteria.

We have 2,000 taste buds.

Our eyes can see 10 million colors thanks to 7 million color-helpful cells in our retina.

One step takes up to 200 muscles.

Our nose can detect 1 trillion smells.

We have two kidneys, though only one is necessary. (Maybe so we can donate to someone who needs one.)

The lining in our stomach is replaced every 4 or 5 days to prevent it from digesting itself.

Our bones are five times stronger than steel.

One square centimeter of our skin has 100 pain sensors.

Only 1% of bacteria can make us sick.

In one day our blood circulates 12,000 miles—the distance across the Pacific Ocean at its widest.

And a strange one: Our goosebumps evolved to make our hair stand up so we appear more threatening to predators.

(I wonder how some of these numbers were arrived at.)

For many years, the body was scorned as a lesser part of a human being and the center of sin. Spirituality was a matter of “taming” the body by severe penances. Thankfully thinking has reversed and we are encouraged to assume responsibility for caring for this gift of ours by healthy diets, exercise, and enough sleep. After all, God himself took on a body, making it especially holy!

I’m grateful for my body that can run, dance, eat, sleep, hear the laughter of children, give and receive hugs, read a book, and play the piano.

What do you especially appreciate about your body?

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