Kathy Dooley: Functional Anatomy for All Disciplines
“Why is anatomy not taught this way in school?”
Each time our team teaches Immaculate Dissection, we’re asked that same question.
With curricular committees setting standards, the focus at school is to satisfy requirements for professional licensure. The type of practitioner a clinician will become is largely determined in practice, not in school. Although we may feel curriculum-based education falls short, we can still learn as much as we want to learn in post-graduate work.
No matter how well you think you know anatomy, a different angle or perspective may be helpful. It wasn’t until I walked away from books that I forced myself to really think about the material. Eventually we created a seminar for ourselves, to share with others what we learned outside of books.
In our lectures, we put the anatomy into our bodies—to feel it move—and we explain how things work in synergy, rather than as separate parts.
Learn as much as you can from the books, but consider opening your mind to new perspectives that exist outside the confines of a book’s pages or in traditional schooling.
Learning Breathing and Immaculate Dissection
In our first-ever Immaculate Dissection seminar, we zoned in on the anatomy of the abdominal musculature, bringing the anatomy to life with Danny Quirk’s unique body paintings. We watched fibers move in stretched and short positions, and we discussed the important functional anatomy and clinical pearls that other seminars often miss.
We filled in some gaps and lit up some brains as we put the functional anatomy into movements and palpations.
Each time we teach, we notice the disconnect many people have in understanding the proper building of intra-abdominal pressure (IAP). If IAP is like a dial, we must learn to use the dial to activate what is needed to protect the spine and still permit proper movement of the trunk and limbs.
But if you don’t understand the mechanics of achieving proper intra-abdominal pressure, you’ll mobilize on a wobbly platform.
You won’t believe how learning the anatomy of breathing can alter the way you move. This is a simple example of the difference between how we teach functional anatomy and how anatomy is taught from a book: You can’t feel this in traditional book learning.
How Anatomy Can Stay Alive
Formal anatomy instruction might be dying. Curricula are being cut all over the world in the instruction of anatomy to medical doctoral candidates.
I’m part of some of these curricula. I’m a hard worker, no doubt. I’m not obsessed with work, but I took every anatomy job handed to me for one big reason: I knew anatomy dissection instruction was a fading pulse.
And I knew the only way for me to learn anatomy fully—and quickly—was to get my hands on it.
I watch as students use gorgeous three-dimensional applications to learn structures, then look at me dumbfounded when I ask them to find it in the body or on plastinates.
Apps are great—but they absolutely fall short as a solo learning method.
As I enter what may be my last decade of teaching human dissection, I look for new ways to keep the anatomy alive. The best way I’ve found to keep it breathing is to talk about it.
We started our Immaculate Dissection courses to help teach functional anatomy to practitioners of all disciplines.
We take the fear out of learning anatomy, and use Anatomy Angels to give us real world applications for anatomy. We put the anatomy into your body so you can feel things move as a unit. To understand the macro, you must study the micro. To fully integrate the micro, you must learn to watch and feel the macro. Anatomy instruction is at the foundation of all of this.
How do you study anatomy?
Through apps? Great.
Through dissection? Fantastic.
Through atlases and models? Word.
Through coloring books? Fun.
Through human movement? Excellent.
Through seminars and podcasts? Informative.
Through talking it out? Wonderful.
If you can’t do one part, do whatever you can. Do multiple things to learn from every cerebral direction. Pick one muscle a day, and learn its every detail. Apply those details all day. Pick one arterial feed every month. Know everywhere that artery goes. See it on a body, on an app and in an atlas. Talk about it to anyone who will listen.
Before you know it, you’ve learned it all. You’ll start to make connections the more your mind goes to anatomy. You can turn your anatomy weaknesses into strengths.
If your anatomy studies stopped in school, you have a lot more studying to do. You might need to get to work, because anatomy still lives.
. . . And it still matters.
Why You Should experience Immaculate Dissection
Having instructed muscle testing all around the world, I notice a few common themes.
1. People need more anatomy education.
2. People need more palpation guidance.
3. People need to cue corrective exercises based on the maintenance of breathing and proper intra-abdominal pressure.
If you’re a fitness professional or therapist with doubts that your anatomy knowledge is strong enough, this is the seminar for you.
If you’re a future surgeon or medical professional, consider this the anatomy class you never had (but always needed.)
If you’re not quite ready for whatever reason, start with our 90-minute introductory video, Immaculate Dissection: Functional Anatomy Featuring Body Painting.[Click for more preview clips.]
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