Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy and Physiology is the cornerstone of a good massage therapy school and training.  As a massage therapist, you will need to have a basic understanding of how the body works. Anatomy refers to the structure of the body and the relationship between the structures.  Physiology refers to the study of the function of body parts.   Pathology is also closely related and is the structural and functional changes associated with diseases.

In massage school, you will be learning basic college level anatomy and physiology.

The body consists of several levels of structure.  This list starts with the simplest forms and moves to the most complex forms and is the basis of learning anatomy and physiology.

Atoms – such as carbon, oxygen, hydrogen (to name a few) are the basic make up of chemicals.

Chemicals are things like the proteins, carbohydrates and other things that are essential for life support.

Cellular structure such as the muscle cell, nerve cells and blood cells make up Tissue.

Tissue is a group of cells that together with their intercellular material have a similar origin in the embryo and usually perform a specific function.

Organs are structures that are made up of two or more different tissues and have special functions and have a recognizable shape.

Systems are made up of organs that have a common function.  Like the digestive system is made up of the mouth, salivary glands, throat, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, gall bladder and pancreas.  There are 12 systems of the body: Integumentary (skin, hair, nails) Skeletal (bones), Muscles (skeletal, smooth and cardiac), cardiovascular (blood, heart and blood vessels) lymphatic (lymph nodes and vessels), nervous system (brain, spinal cord nerves), endocrine (glands, hormones) respiratory (lungs and airways) digestive, urinary (kidneys, bladder) reproductive, immune system.

The Organism is the combination of all 6 of these things that create a living person.


Anatomy Terminology

Muscles –  Types of Muscles, Naming Muscles,  Master Muscle List,  Anatomy of Muscles, Functions of Muscles,   Muscle contraction, disorders of muscles,

Inflammation – Stages of Inflammation  , Comparison Chart of the various stages of inflammation

Laws of PhysiologyLaw of Facilitation , Hiltons Law, Arndt-Schultz Law ,  Davis’ LawReciprocal Inhibition , All or none , Law of specificity of nervous energyWeber’s lawPfluegger’s Laws ,  Law of conservation of energy ,  Murphy’s law

Connective Tissue :  Types of connective tissue, characteristics of connective tissue,  fascia,




Movements of Joints

Postural Assessment

Principles of Posture

Body Mechanics





Tissues & Membranes







Reproductive Systems

Immune Systems



Cadaver Studies

5 thoughts on “Anatomy and Physiology”

  1. Those Anatomy and Physiology courses are UNFAIR for Massage Therapy students, as a massage therapist, I am planning on working at a Spa, where people come in to relax and release stress. I’m not planning on working at a doctor’s office nor a hospital nor any medical facility! I’m not a Medical student!

    A nurse or a medical assistant or whatever are something, and a massage therapist is totally something else! my career dream ruined because of those useless too detailed anatomy and phsiology courses! why would I need to memorize all those body parts and compenets while working at a spa?! useless and waste of money and time!

  2. It’s probably not the right career for you then. People will come in with pain, injuries, health conditions that you need to know about and how to work with no matter where you work.

  3. Sounds like mistaking a Masseuse with a Massage Therapist. If you want to provide Therapeutic techniques, you need to know anatomy and physiology, not just how and where to ‘rub’.

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