Evolution throws survival strategies at the wall and sees what sticks. As a result, your internal communication system has gone through millions of iterations, resulting in organized chaos.
By default, you’re unable to eavesdrop on the ongoing conversation between your brain and body. If you want to listen in on these signals, wearables are the microphone—amplifying conversations that were once impossible for humans to hear.
Yet understanding these conversations and making sense of all the internal chatter remains a scientific frontier and a personal journey of discovery.
Brains communicate with neurons—fast cells with direct targets—like a direct telephone line. But this convenient wiring isn’t available for the majority of our body. Most cells send messages indirectly via a longer-range and less precise method called diffusion.
Because these cells can’t directly call up their intended recipient, they release messenger molecules in the general direction of their target—more like radio waves than a telephone line. Send enough of these molecules, and eventually one will hit a receiver and the message can be heard.
As a result, tons of chemical messages are constantly traveling throughout your body. This allows your organs to be flies on the wall of every conversation—listening in on everything, even if it wasn’t intended for them. Diffusion gives tissues information about what other organs are up to and helps your body to stay in touch. Our cells are always talking.
From the outside, we have a hard time listening in on our own, inter-organ chatter. Though it’s central to how we function, most of these diffused messages never make it to our conscious awareness, because all this information would be overwhelming. Our brain shields us from these messages and lets organs make their own decisions without our conscious input.
That’s where wearable sensors such as the Oura smart ring come in. Oura gathers and interprets messages from your body, empowering you to pick up on your internal changes over hours, days, months, or seasons.
No one signal gives you perfect information on its own. Just listening to heart rate is a bit like listening to a static-filled radio: you catch sentences but not the whole story. Oura allows you to listen to all of your channels; your heart rate variability, respiration, movement, and body temperature. By tuning in to all of these channels, you get a clearer picture of what’s happening in your body despite the static.
Oura interprets these signals and provides insights on the patterns and deviations that emerge. Maybe they sound positive, and that’s how you know your diet is working or your pregnancy is healthy. Or maybe they’re negative because you see your body reacting to illness or a stressful period of your life.
Regardless, information is power. If you want your body to keep going strong, then having new tools like Oura that help you gain information about your body’s rhythms is exciting.
Like radio waves, diffusion messages are widespread and take time to travel, find their target, and return. This back and forth communication results in natural bodily rhythms, rather than simple on and off switches.
For example, your body trends gradually towards a cooler temperature at night, rather than suddenly dropping its temperature right before bed. Holding complex systems at a constant is difficult and requires precise communication. To preserve energy, your body fluctuates around your baseline temperature instead of holding to an exact number at all costs.
Ultimately, many of your body’s rhythms line up because they are all listening to the same signals. Once one system cycles, like a hormone, most other systems need to as well. When one system receives a signal, that same signal passes all other systems on its way to the target.
This means that the rhythms in temperature or heart rate are often in sync with your hormone’s rhythms as well.
When you listen to your body and intercept these messages, you may begin to understand better just how much a hectic modern lifestyle is affecting your body. Long-term patterns can reveal whether you’re falling short of goals (like sleeping better) or how lifestyle changes like learning to meditate or starting a new job can impact your health.
Either way, we can gain insight into how our choices interfere with internal signaling and distort our body’s communications.
If you’re looking for somewhere to begin, consider learning more about your body. See how your heart can tell you if you’re stressed, your body temperature can reveal your recovery patterns, or how your monthly cycle impacts more than you think.