We often use metaphors of machines to speak about the body.
We talk about fueling it like a car.
Powering off. Recharge. Reboot.
The nervous system as a command center.
The brain as a storage room for memories and information.
These metaphors can useful to help us convey concepts like the importance of proper nourishment, self-care, physical exercise, and brain health.
Of course, that’s the point of metaphor.
A metaphor is a
figure of speech by which a characteristic of one object is assigned to another, different but resembling it or analogous to it;
Because I love learning about language… according to the Online Etymology Dictionary the word comes from
the Greek metaphora, “a transfer,” especially of the sense of one word to a different word, literally “a carrying over,” from metapherein “to transfer, carry over; change, alter; to use a word in a strange sense,” from meta “over, across.”
Back to the body.
Some metaphors are more useful than others. It’s helpful to remember that the body is not a machine. It’s a complex organism, a system of systems. And that’s just on the physical level.
The functioning of your physical body is intricately linked to your thoughts and emotions, your external environment, your sense of purpose, your energy. And other factors that are outside your conscious awareness.
Each of these elements influences and impacts the others. Physical illness and disease come just as much from thoughts and emotions as they do from biological causes.
Healing happens — must happen — on all levels. Numbing the effects doesn’t eliminate the cause. (More on this another time.)
The metaphors may be useful in some contexts, and it’s also useful to remember that we are not machines. There’s no magic button you can press to reboot your system.