Massage Today Get the Latest News FASTER - View Digital Editions Now!
Massage Today dotted line
dotted line

dotted line
Share |
  Forward PDF Version  
Massage Today
May, 2004, Vol. 04, Issue 05

Four Menu Choices

By Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB

Dear Readers:

The last time my column appeared, I announced that I was taking a break for a few months to work on some other projects. That work continues (nothing ever goes as smoothly as you think it will), but it is time for me to return to this important commitment.

"Dealing with Pathologies: What's on Your Table" is meant to be a column designed by you, in response to your requests for information or discussion.

I will pick this up in my next article (scheduled to appear in July) by offering a choice: Would you like to see information on

  • West Nile Virus (summer is coming!);
  • A new emergence of whooping cough among children and adults;
  • Hepatitis C: the silent epidemic; or
  • Something completely different? Drop me a line and let me know. You are in charge of this space.

One of the great honors that my career offers me is frequent invitations to speak at massage school graduations. I say "Yes" whenever I can, and then I always struggle to find something useful to say. I had another opportunity to do this in March, and finally sat down to write the first incarnation of what, I expect, will be a long-term work-in-progress: a project that revels in the glorious language of the human body and celebrates the accomplishments of people who study it. I will never have to write another graduation speech as long as I live. I offer it to you to thank you for your patience during the time I took away from Massage Today.

I invite you to use it freely, but please credit where it came from.

Ode to an Anatomy Student

It's the first day of class and you're going to freak
You've just been given a huge list of Greek
And Latin word pieces to memorize,
This is a new language - this isn't massaging thighs
I didn't sign up for this - hey, help me out you guys!
Oh! I can get this. Now, that's a surprise!

The pieces of words soon build new understanding
Of cells, tissues, organs, and systems demanding
That you know about skin, muscles, blood vessels numerous,
Also bones in abundance - from tibia to humerus.
Respiration, urination, and about reproduction,
Then the hormones, nervous system, and that's just introduction.

General concepts come next, what is homeostasis-
Don't say "balance"; she hates that, whatever the case is.
Cells have nuclei, mitochondria, always a membrane;
Sometimes cilia, often ribosomes, and more along that vein.

Epithelium, connective, muscle, and nerve:
You learned all those tissues; their forms you'll preserve
Along with their functions, to cover, line, secrete,
Contract or transmit from your heads to your feet.

Then you started to learn about layers of fascia
Periosteum, perichondrium, you wanted to crash-a
Perimysium, endomysium, synovia, bursae,
Meninges, organ capsules, you wanted to curse-a.

Then all of the sudden you're on bones and joints!
How did you get here? Did you miss the point
That bone is living tissue and responds to the stresses
That life sends your way, right to your home addresses?

Wolff's Law put aside, you learned bony landmarks
Compared to the tissues it seemed quite a lark
Fossae, foramen, prominence, spine;
Trochlea, capitulum, aspera line;
Malleolus, gladiolus, olecranon, condyle;
Maxilla, axilla, -oid, with a style.

Naming movements, that's the next job, identifying action
Like flexion, abduction, rotation, protraction
Figuring all of these out gave you some tension
What is the difference between eversion and extension?

Muscles and nerves are the next on the list.
(How many muscles to make a fist?)
Origins are stable; insertions are mobile
Synergists work in a way that is global
Proprioception gets you dressed in the dark;
If only it could tell you where you can park.

Learning the nervous system is next,
Starting with the arc of reflex.
31 pairs of spinal nerves, 12 pairs of cranial
Motor and sensory together go
Through magnum foramenal

Neuroglia makes myelin;
You're strung up like a violin.
The nodes of Ranvier speed transmission
Lobes of cerebrum provide cognition
Medulla oblongata to equina cauda;
You learned the nervous system
Just like you oughta.

Hormones now, the system endocrine
All those glands - where have they been?
The hypothalamus is like Big Brother
Controlling the actions of the others.
The pituitary is at its call,
Pretending to be the master of all.
Adrenaline is for high-grade stress
Cortisol for long-term distress.
Insulin, glucagon, glycogen, glucose
One more sugar-word and your brain is toast.
Feedback loops negative and positive
For your dysfunction, what is causative?

Here comes repro, oh now pity us
Why do you need to know "epidydimus?"
Ovaries, gonads, and tubes fallopian
Isn't this outside your practice scope?
And in real life do you really need to know fimbriae?
Why couldn't all those sperm simply swim away?

Erythrocytes, leukocytes, plasma, and platelets
All work together along with heart rate set
To provide us with O2 and other stuff
And to take away garbage and if that's not enough
It all pours through vessels amazingly circular
From the greater trochanter to groove intertubercular

Blood brings us fuel and takes away waste
It runs through the body with a great deal of haste
Red cells carry oxygen but not the cells white;
Their job is to find cooties and fight, fight, fight
They set up the battle for final immunity
And establish your memory cells in harmonious unity
So if you are ever bit by the same tick
Your white cells will kill it before you get sick.

You've been pharynxed and larynxed and epiglottised
When you talk to your friends they think you're the oddest
Other students understand, though, about alveolus
You know, that thing deep to the gladiolus
Dyspnea, apnea, hyperventilation
Anatomy's almost over, you feel deep elation
And in case you feel your foundation is firm,
That's what you learned in just the first term!

The words you have learned are deep and delicious.
Nodes of Ranvier; Islets of Langerhans; anemia pernicious
Loop of Henle, duodenum, manubrium, glomerulus
Because you now know these you are much less clueless.

Every kind of anatomy question
From heart conditions to indigestion
Has an answer whose wisdom always transcends:
"Connective tissue" or "it depends"
All this knowledge found its way in
Through means unnoticed under your skin
Osmosis, diffusion, and lastly filtration-
Look at you now: it's graduation!

Drop me a line and let me know ... what's on your table?

Many thanks and many blessings,

Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB

Click here for previous articles by Ruth Werner, LMP, NCTMB.


Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreement
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.
comments powered by Disqus
dotted line