SKILL BUILDING FOR

THAI BODY WORKERS

Basic Anatomical Terms

With Vanessa Hazzard

Hello Healers!
Welcome to the first installment of my monthly series.  The Skill Building for Thai Bodyworkers Series was designed to formally introduce you to your body! You will sharpen your anatomy, physiology, and kinesiology skills…while learning cool Thai Massage techniques to address the body’s needs. Each series will include:

  • Common conditions, disorders, body system, and/or injuries
  • Physical anatomy as it correlates to the sen lines
  • Applying Thai Massage techniques that will address featured condition(s)

If you have taken Thai massage classes before, you know that this modality was not designed for “spot treatments”. The goal is to remove stagnation within the sen lines (energy pathways) so that lom, or energy (which actually translates to “wind”), can flow more freely. This means that the client experiences a sense of ease (as opposed to dis-ease). This is done with compressions, massage, stretching, and movement. These physical techniques have energetic intentions. That being said, for the sake of making learning about the body more attainable, we will focus on one portion of the body at a time. The techniques shown should be included in a full body sequence for best results.
Who is This Series for?
The Skill Building for Thai Bodyworkers Series is specifically for people that have taken at least one Thai massage course and do not have a strong background in anatomy. It is also beneficial if you have taken an anatomy course and wish to strengthen your knowledge. As I mentioned above, while Thai massage is an energetic modality, you are still manipulating the physical body. This series will help you know the names of things you are touching!
So, before we jump into specific conditions, let’s talk about basic anatomical terms. This will help you to navigate future blogs. Use this specific entry as a resource…it’ll make your life easier. I’ve included a PDF of this blog for future reference. We will be discussing:

  • The names of each directional plane
  • Movements within those planes

Basic Anatomical Terms

Planes

Planes are three imaginary lines penetrating the body to aid in visualizing the spatial relationship.
Sagittal– lengthwise cut dividing the body into left and right portions. Mid-sagittal means the cut divides the body into equal left and right halves.
Transverse or Horizontal – perpendicular to the sagittal plane.  Divides the body into superior (upper) and inferior (lower) portions.
Frontal or Coronal – perpendicular to both the sagittal and transverse planes.  Divides the body into anterior (front) and posterior (back) portions.

Movements: Sagittal Plane

Flexion
Decreases the angle between two bones. It bends a joint, or brings two bones closer together.
Ex. My arm in the photo (elbow flexion). My model’s arms (shoulder flexion).
Extension
Increases the angle between two bones by straightening or opening a joint. Hyperextension is when a joint extends beyond its normal range of motion.
Ex. My model’s arms are in elbow extension.

Dorsiflexion
A movement of the ankle that lifts the toes towards head.
Ex. Flexing the foot in a calf stretch

Plantar Flexion
A movement of the ankle that points the foot toward the ground.
Ex. Pressing the gas pedal

Movements: Frontal or Coronal Plane

Abduction 
Moves the limb(s) away from the midline (think “take away”)
Ex. Leg abduction to palm press leg muscles
Adduction
Moves the limb(s) toward the midline (think “adding towards the body”)
Ex. Leg adduction to place the leg back to original position after performing technique

Ulnar Deviation

Radial Deviation

 Abduction and adduction at the wrist joint is called “ulnar deviation” and “radial deviation”.

Ulnar deviation is when it angles towards the pinkie finger side.
Radial deviation is when the hand is palm up and angles towards the thumb side.
                   

Flexing the head or vertebral column to the side. This is a head and vertebral column movement only.

Movements: Transverse Plane

Rotation
Turning from side to side. This is a head and vertebral column movement only.
Example: Shaking your head “no”

Medial/Lateral Rotation (Sometimes referred to as internal and external rotation)
These photos show internal and external rotation of the hip joint.
Medial rotates the body part towards the body.

Lateral rotates the body part away from the body.

Inversion
Movement of the sole of the foot inward toward the midline.
Example: Twisting the foot at the ankle joint towards midline of the body.

Eversion
Movement of the sole of the foot outward away from the midline.
Example: Twisting the foot at the ankle joint away from midline of the body.

Supination
Movement of the hand that turns the palm upward.

Pronation
Movement of the hand that turns the palm downward.

Horizontal Adduction
A movement that adds the limb towards the body in the horizontal or transverse plane.

Horizontal Adduction
A movement that adds the limb towards the body in the horizontal or transverse plane.

Circumduction
Turns the part in a complete circle.

Thumb Opposition
This is the only joint that performs this motion. Thumb opposition is when the thumb and fingertips touch.

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