Back in the day..
When I first trained as a Structural Integration practitioner at the Guild for Structural Integration I was very lucky to have an engaging anatomy teacher who brought a lot of real human bones to class! This may sounds strange, but when you’re studying human anatomy it’s a real treat.
We were encouraged touch and take in the details of each bone; we were even allowed to borrow them overnight to assist us with our homework assignments, but most of all to keep us fascinated with the human body. It worked!
During the anatomy course we even went to visit a cadaver lab where the different bodies were specifically dissected for massage therapists. For example, they showed us how the fascia on the bottom of the foot is connected to the fascia on the top of the head in one long strip! I also remember my surprise when they showed us the piriformis muscle, it’s so small compared to the images in my books! How can this little muscle be such a big pain in the butt?
I didn’t realize how lucky I was to have this experience untill later. Back at home I had to rely strictly on books to study anatomy. I used a number of them and compared the images of one to another and then to another to try and grasp what the different muscles looked like, where they were located and how they were layered over one another.
It was quite a feat! The Trail Guide to the Body has really good and copious illustrations and nowadays even includes a DVD (which is awesome!!) that teaches you to palpate soft tissues and bony landmarks, I can’t recommend it enough. Blandine’s book explains really well how the body moves, but the images are a bit too confusing for a newbee so to get a clearer picture I would read it along side Netter’s Atlas of Human Anatomy which is beautifully detailed. It illustrates the body in a way that inspires awe both for the for body’s complexity as well as for Netter’s artistic abilities. In my quest to understand anatomy better, I also used art catalogues such as this one from the reinassance wax sculpture collection of La Specola’s Museun of Natual History in Florence (photographed above).
Today you can navigate the body in 3 dimensions from your laptop with 3D humna anatomy apps!!
These apps are great for home-study as well as for creating keynote presentations. You can explore the body from all angles, isolate muscles, bones and internal organs, layer them and save screenshots of the angles you like most. What a great addition to your collection of resources.
In the applied anatomy study group we’re currently exploring these two programs: Visible Body’s Muscle Premium and 3D4Medical’s Essential Anatomy 3. The cool thing is that they both offer a free trial version! Links to those are here and here.
Muscle Premium vs. Essential Anatomy 3
When it comes to the payed versions of the muscular system, I favor Essential Anatomy 3.
- it looks good: the design is appealing, simple and nice on the eyes.
- it’s easy to use, you don’t have to look at tutorials to figure it out!
- it also includes other body systems: nervous, respiratory, digestive, cardiovascular, lymphatic and connective tissue 🙂 which is a definite plus, as don’t have to buy them separately.
- my favorite feature is “isolate” where you click on a body part and then view it from all angles. Super cool!
- It also lets you “dress” the skeleton, so to speak, by adding layers of muscles onto the skeleton.
- It has a bookmarks menu to which you can add your own slides (though I still haven’t figured out how to delete the slides you’ve created without deleting all of them!)
Essential Anatomy 3 screenshot of the “isolate” feature.
Cons: the main “con” (that makes me crazy!!) is that when you click on something you want to view it will automatically zoom in. I find this rather annoying, still, the pros outweigh the cons.
Muscle Premium is more detailed when it comes to the images but it’s not as easy to navigate or as user-friendly. It also doesn’t include the vascular, digestive, linfatic or respiratory systems which you have to purchase separately. It’s most interesting features include 3D movement animations which are cool and help you understand movements like inversion / eversion of the foot, if you get those confused. It also has a detailed catalogue with views of the different regions of the body which I find useful, though it doesn’t offer a whole body view in any of these sections.
Muscle Premium: Nice detail on the muscles and nervous sytem.
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