Apr 2, 2017

Posted by in School of Massage Therapy | 0 Comments

Week Six: Face up, moving onto Supine

Six weeks… it’s really hard to believe I’ve been back in school already for six whole weeks. At this point I’ve started to get a very good feel for my core classmates (we combine two classes, Full Time Spring ’17 so FTS17 and Part Time Morning Spring ’17 so PTMS17 for sciences), and we’re all starting to make friends with one another here and there. Obviously, even though we’re growing close as a family of classmates, not everyone will be close friends with everyone else. The beautiful thing of this program is that it brings together all sorts of different people from all different walks of life, so sometimes interests align into close friendships, and other times they just stay as friendly classmates. Regardless of where we are in friendship status with each other though, my whole class is amazing and I feel such a strong connection among us. It’s a very supportive community that we seem to have built for ourselves, and I definitely see us all raising each other up instead of trying to compete for top grades or silly things like that. It’s wonderful.

This week was more of the same as far as classes go. We had Myo, A&P, Foundations, and Pathology.

Myo introduced the extrinsic hand muscles, so the Extensor Indicis, Abductor Pollicis Longus, Extensor Pollicis Longus, Exstensor Pollicis Brevis, Extensor Digiti Minimi, and Extensor Digitorum on one side; and the Flexor Digitorum Superficialis, Flexor Digitorum Profundus, and Flexor Pollicis Longus. We also are asked to know that Extensor Digitorum has its origin as part of the Common Extensor Tendon, and is a Superficial Posterior forearm muscle; and that the Extensor Digiti Minimi has its origin as part of the common extensor tendon, and is also a Superficial Posterior forearm muscle. So for me the first ten intrinsic hand muscles were no issue. I have them at least memorized. Now that we’re adding in the extrinsic hand muscles though… oh boy. These ones are a bit tough on the brain. The nice thing is though, I hear it gets easier once you get out of the hands, as they’re fairly complicated. So that’s a good thing. On an even more positive note, writing these blog posts (which is part of why I’m trying to be diligent) is really helpful to me reviewing and studying. It’s another medium for me to review and rewrite everything, which in turn helps cement it in my brain. So I apologize if most of this is gibberish, and you’re doing the tl;dr thing a lot, but it’s helpful to me and I encourage you to also try odd but enjoyable avenues in order to further your own studying if you are in such a position.

Now, the nice thing about learning these muscles and movements in Myo is that we’re finally applying them to massage! So in Myo we are getting the tables out, and learning how to do really nice hand and forearm massages at the moment, and that’s pretty awesome. We’re getting a good basis for all massage in Foundations, but I feel like Myo is adding little details that will spice things up. Super pumped for that.

In A&P we finished covering the basics of tissues, and have moved onto our first system, that being the Nervous System. This one is going to take us a few classes, because it is so complex and we really need to know it because we’re going to be working to relax specific nerves in the body come Neuro-Muscular Therapy. In fact, I think the instructor has it divided into a part I and part II just because it is so complex. But it’s a really fun system to get started on, since it runs everything else. I’ve also always really enjoyed learning about the human body and all its amazing functions though, so this is really enjoyable to me regardless.

Pathology was a review of muscular ailments that we may come upon, which included things like fibromyalgia and whiplash. This class of Pathology felt a lot more natural too, than the last one. So we’re all improving on our abilities to ask good questions to determine if massage is safe and such. And then I did all my homework for Pathology this week while at the dentist to get some fillings. I had time to do my multiple choice while I waiting for the dentist to come in after being seated (I wasn’t in the waiting room very long), and then while I let the numbness set in I had time to do all the reading. I get so much homework done at the dentist it’s kind of ridiculous… Hahaha

Foundations is starting to get spiced up now too, in that we finally get to roll each other over! We have completed prone position (face down) and have moved onto supine (face up)! So on Thursday we learned the face, head, and neck and how to massage them. In doing so, I have discovered that I really like working in these small areas on the body, and apparently I’m fairly good at it? I don’t know if I’ll see repeated results yet since I’ve only done it once, but my partner reported feeling like a lot of pressure went away and she could breathe better. So I mean, I’ll take that as a pretty awesome compliment. My instructor did say though that if I really want to get into the fine areas of the body like the neck as a potential specialty, it’s even more important to keep my nails as short as possible because those areas are more sensitive and will detect even the slightest of nail edges. So boo on that. I hate to be so vain, but I really do miss my fingernails. I’m going to try getting a manicure soon though, and see if maybe just dressing my nails up can help me feel a little bit better about having to cut them all off after working so hard to stop biting them and letting them grow out and strengthen. Thankfully, I’m not so vain that I’m going to allow my desire for fingernails to keep me from such a wonderful career.

I’ve also found a study partner in my best friend. She’s in school for nursing, and so we’re actually paralleling science classes at the moment. So we’ve decided to get together on Fridays as we are able, and review what we’ve learned each week with each other to reinforce information through the “teach someone else” method. Worked great this past Friday. Next Friday we cannot meet, but after that we should be good to go for a while. Love it. And at the same time, I feel a little bad for her for some of the information they aren’t reviewing as well with her class. However, I’m sure she’s going to be a fantastic nurse regardless, and hopefully so will the rest of her class, so that’s what matters most.

FOREWARNING: The following bit will involve cadavers. If death and the state of the human body after death and what happens to bodies donated to science may bother you or cause you to feel squeamish and ill, it is recommended that you do not read further.

In other news at school, we were told about Cadaver Lab, and the fact that we have the option to go if we want. Well, I signed up for that pronto! So I get to go to a cadaver lab on April 12 at 6pm, and I am so excited. It has been described to us as a room where there will be a lot of bodies on tables (like a huge morgue) that medical students have been dissecting and learning from all year. Some of them will be available for us to view and palpate (touch), with just certain body parts exposed. So each body we get to view will have one body part showing, and the students who are working with that body will be there to tell us about what we can see and touch. We’ll rotate stations so everyone has a chance to see and touch everything. I’m pretty stoked.

The instructor also explained to us that the people who donated their bodies to science are generally elderly, and died of natural causes. They aren’t young people who succumbed to illness or anything terribly tragic like that. Those who donate their bodies also have all costs after death covered by the medical college. So they will be the ones to come and collect the body, cover the costs for preservation, and later cremation. Since they are getting very familiar with the body as well, the students who were assigned to each body (the students only ever work on one body for a whole year, in small groups) at the end of the year will hold a memorial to honor the deceased, which the family is also invited to. After cremation, the remains are returned to the family. So to me at least, it’s really a beautiful process. Someone who is passing on knows they aren’t going to burden their loved ones with the debt death of a family member can bring, medical students get hands-on learning of the human body, and the loved ones will receive the deceased back and can know they were appreciated even beyond death and that their donation likely will help save lives with the knowledge the students gained. I know it’s not for everyone, but I think it’s a beautiful cycle for those who are willing.

In preparation for this (and because why not), I have also been watching human dissections on YouTube. I did not seek these out myself though, my best friend told me about them. All because the German doctor who is performing them looks just like the German doctor in Indiana Jones: Raiders of the Lost Ark, complete with the creepy black hat. I mean, it’s amazing. Originally she sent me the first video just to show me that, but then I couldn’t stop watching. One video became two, and I have two more  lined up. The human body is fascinating, so I’m really enjoying these. I watched them skin a cadaver, then slice a brain into sections in a meat slicer, and completely remove the spinal cord and sciatic nerve. They’re so long! In the second one, I got to see them artificially inflate the lungs and simulate breathing, put blood into the cardiovascular system of one organ set to show how that works; and see a preserved cardiovascular system of a human body where they pumped it full of a polymer resin, then let that harden before using digestive enzymes to get rid of the body and leave behind just the system itself. It was so delicate and so beautiful. Up next I have the digestive system, and then the reproductive system. Since my boyfriend is also interested, we may hook the laptop up to the flat screen in the living room and watch it at a much bigger, better resolution. Ah, such good couples activities we have… Hahaha

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