Body.Work: memorization edition
A special newsletter exclusively for paid subscribers: behind the scenes of medical/clinical massage training.
We're getting into the more intense memorization now, focusing on the actions and attachment points for the muscles. By January, we'll have memorized information for almost every muscle of the body. In some ways, I'm frustrated that I don't know everything RIGHT NOW, but at the same time, I'm grateful that things are spaced out the way they are. Because boy, is it a lot to memorize.
This week we're focusing on the superficial muscles of the back. This is the second set of muscles that we've worked with, and much more complicated than the rotator cuff muscles that we studied a couple weeks ago. With this set, there are nine separate actions that the muscles are responsible for, everything from tipping the head back to raising the shoulder or raising the ribcage when you deliberately take a breath. Similarly, there are fifteen total attachment points. Some are straightforward (the spinous processes of cervical vertebrae 1 and 2) but some are very complicated (medial border of the scapula between the superior angle and the superior portion of the spine of the scapula).
In medical massage, knowing everything about a muscle is important because it gives us the tools to treat disfunction. If a client says that their upper back hurts, this in-depth knowledge of anatomy helps me to understand that, in this case, the underlying problem is actually with the muscles of the chest. And I can treat those muscles specifically through knowing exactly where they attach to the bones. Even in the few weeks that I've been working in the clinic at our school, I've been able to see how effective our approach is.
But the memorizing! My poor brain!