Anatomy and physiology

A knowledge of the structure and function of the body is necessary, as this will enable you to identify the structures you are working over and understand the effects produced on the body systems.

It will help you to learn this subject if you try to visualise the tissues underneath your hands as they move over a part when massaging.

Your hands are in contact with the skin: what is the skin composed of? Could you draw and label a section through the skin?

Under the skin is the subcutaneous layer: what is it made of?

Under this lie the muscles: can you name these muscles and give their action?

Under the muscles lie the bones connected at joints: can you name the bones and the joints?

In this book you will find the anatomy of each part immediately before the massage routine for that area, e.g. the anatomy of the leg is immediately before the leg massage routine. As you massage the leg, think of the structures underneath your hands and mentally answer the following:

^ Name the bones and the joints that lie underneath.

^ Name the muscles and note the fleshy parts, which can take heavier manipulations and are easier to knead, wring, pick up and roll than the more tendinous parts.

^ Name the lymph nodes and their location.

Remember that arteries are deep, and blood flow through the arteries is governed by the contraction of the heart. You are not likely to affect this arterial blood flow with massage. Veins lie towards the surface, therefore massage will increase blood flow in the superficial veins.

Lymphatic vessels lie throughout the tissues and the flow of lymph will be increased by massage.

Revise the relevant anatomy both before and after the massage lesson. It becomes easier to remember when you relate it to practical work.

During assessment you may be required to give the name, position and action of certain superficial muscles.

You are required to know the parts and functions carried out by the body systems and how massage may affect them.

When you are studying the text, use the summaries, write your own notes on key points, ask yourself questions and answer them.

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