From ArticleWorld

Physiology is the study of how a living organism functions on biochemical, biomechanical and biophysical levels. While anatomy focuses on what the parts of the body are, physiology studies what the parts of the body actually do. Technically, physiology can involve either plant or animal functions.


The study of physiology involves a great deal of research. Ideally, the study of human physiology would be done on humans; however, this is often not possible. Animal models, including bacterial models are used to mimic human conditions as much as possible. Innumerable areas of physiology are studied, generally for the purposes of furthering the understanding of medicine and for uncovering ways in which new pharmaceutical products may become beneficial to humans.

Areas of physiology

Most of physiology deals with very small sections of the human body. For example, a person studying renal physiology may study only the function of the renal tubules in the kidney and essentially disregard the other aspects of kidney function. Other body areas studied are the circulatory system, endocrine system, neuroendocrine system, reproductive physiology and the respiratory system.

Some researchers who study physiology deal with how the body functions on a cellular or subcellular level. Cell physiology addresses the various aspects of cell function. Subcellular research may include understanding the processes of the mitochondria or the membranes of cells. Myophysiology studies only the function of muscle cells on a microscopic and biochemical level.

Exercise physiology studies many body systems but applies the principles of stressing the body with exercise to see how it adapts to exercise. This is very important to high-level athletes who use the information to maximize their performance.

Plant physiology can study the way water is lost from plant leaves, a process known as transpiration. Photosynthetic processes that derive energy for the plant cell is another area of plant physiology.