The Inner Landscape of a Human Body — Volume I

Experiences in human dissection by Christine Anderson, RMT.
What is so great about having a massage therapist who is obsessed with anatomy?

Have you ever visited the Genius Bar at the Mac Store? These dudes know their shit, and when I have a problem with my electronic device, I trust they will know exactly how to solve it. I strive to achieve their level of Geekdom …

The crazy part is that most of us know more about our phones than we do about our own bodies. Not all of us are interested enough to regularly attend to our bodies; this vehicle we carry around for life. When something goes wrong and you have pain, suddenly you are aware of your body in a way that you weren’t yesterday. Thank goodness there are some of us out there who have devoted a large part of our brains to figuring out the puzzle of your pain.

As a self-professed Geek in all things body, your pain inspires me to dig deep into my understanding of structure, movement, cause and effect. Once each year or two, I jet off to a specialized lab and spend six days in a room (scalpel in hand), unwrapping the gifts that the donors offered us on their way out of this world.

When I look at movement, I can visualize the structures underneath, because I have seen them. When I touch a muscle, the nerves in my hands stimulate images from the lab in my brain, and I acquire deeper understanding still. In the lab I am surrounded by other body Geeks and we share an excitement for exploration and sharing. It’s the most inspiring week of my year.

Did you know that the surfaces of your joints are as smooth as a stone polished by the salt of the ocean, and are protected by a steady supply of lubrication produced by YOU during movement? This fluid is protected by your joint capsule and remains undisturbed in a healthy joint right up until the end. When in a state of dis-ease, the fluid becomes like glue and the bone can get irritated and worn down by it.
Did you know that the underside of your skin looks like the outer surface of a cantaloupe, and this texture has a purpose? Where your skin stretches with growth and you see those marks on the surface, the cantaloupe texture disappears underneath.
Did you know that the bronchioles inside your lungs look like a forest landscape of trees in the early spring?

While for the most part we are all made of the same stuff, sometimes that stuff appears in different presentations, which aren’t ever seen in textbooks, but they are felt all the time by informed hands.

You don’t need to know any of this, but I can’t get enough of the incredible and constantly changing landscape inside our bodies.

Got an ache nagging at you? Go visit your nearest Geek…

Accessing Mind through Body

Ever notice how repeated activity allows you to master a certain skill? You may be surprised to know that when you worry, allowing the same thoughts to circulate in the brain, you are essentially ‘mastering’ the skill of keeping that thought close.

We are all familiar with the monkey mind! What are the tools you use to quiet the chatter?

Any activity that takes you into your body sensation will eventually distract your mind and draw you away from repetitive thought. Simple activities such as walking can be helpful, however, walking for most of us is an activity that requires little to no concentration. To bypass the monkey mind, you will need to engage in an activity that requires your mind to go somewhere further than the thoughts.

Massage therapy can be an extremely effective tool. Not only is your body getting some much needed rest, the pressure on the skin and muscle draws the mind directly into the body and past nagging thoughts. The further you get from the thought, the longer it will cease to nag at you.

Try traditional or Thai massage, and challenge yourself to engage the body over the mind.