Chapter: The Massage Connection ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY : Integumentary System

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Functions of the Skin

The skin has many functions. It protects the underlying organs and tissues from abrasion, irradiation from sunlight, and attack by pathogens and other harmful agents.

Functions of the Skin

The skin has many functions. It protects the underlying organs and tissues from abrasion, irradiation from sunlight, and attack by pathogens and other harmful agents. Salt, water, and certain organic wastes are lost through sweat and, thus, the skin has excretory functions. The skin plays an important role in maintenance of body temperature. It prevents loss of heat when the atmosphere is cold and facilitates loss of heat when the body gets hot. The skin detects changes in the surrounding environment by its ability to sense touch, pressure, pain, and temperature and relays this information to the central nervous system. The skin participates in the synthesis of vitamin D, which plays an important role in calcium metabolism.

Its vast surface area helps store nutrients. The skin also serves as a reservoir of blood, as the volume of blood flowing in its extensive network of blood vessels can be altered according to systemic needs.

Diseases of the body are often reflected in the skin. Many internal disorders are outwardly presented as skin lesions. However, the most important function of the skin that is recognized by society is the skin’s ability to reflect emotional states, regardless of dis-ease. Warmth and human affection are given and re-ceived through the skin. To a large extent, human beauty is related to the structure of the skin. As soci-ety gives importance to the color, texture, and tone of skin, even slight skin imperfections evoke a variety of individual responses.


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