Anatomy and Physiology

When you go to a massage therapist, know that you’re meeting with someone who has studied and studied hard. The following are the notes of things we will need to know for a test on this coming Tuesday. This information comes from our lecture and from the Susan Salvo book Massage Therapy Principles and Practice.  If you’re studying massage or want to, this will be great information for you. If you’re not, this may not be the most exciting reading, but it’s informative.

Chapter 18 Notes:

1. Anatomy – The study of the structures of the human body and their positional relationship to one another.

2. Physiology – the study of how the body and its individual parts function in normal body processes.

Levels of Organization  pg. 385

Chemical Level – Biochemistry of body

Cellular – basic unit of life

Tissue – Groups of cells that share a similar structure and function

Organ – Complex structures of two or more tissue types performing a specific function.

Organ system- Related organs with complementary functions that perform certain tasks.

Organism – Living entities composed of several organ systems (Most complex level.

Study of the cell:

Remember that the control center is the Nucleus. The cell membrane is like its skin and separates cytoplasm from the surrounding external environment.  It is semipermeable, letting some things in and keeping others out.

Cytoplasm is like jello inside the cell. It’s made primarily of water and all of the organelles float in it. Then there’s my favorite. It’s the Endoplasmic reticulum. That’s the transportation system of the cell. It “functions in the synthesis of protein and lipids” and transports them to where they need to go. Inside the Endoplasmic Reticulum you might find ribosomes. What they do is synthesize protein to be used in the cell.  The packing and shipping plants of the cell are called Golgi bodies. They are “a series of four to six horizontal membranous sacs that alter the lipids and proteins” and store them for later. Next we have the Mitochondria, the power plant. This is where cellular respiration happens and the Adrenosine triphosphate is made. The last one we are responsible for knowing is the Lysosomes. They “engulf the pathogens, cellular debris and other organelles” pg. 387. They are the garbage collectors. They clean up and get rid of things we no longer need….like excess uterus after childbirth.

Cell Physiology –

DiffusionMovement of molecules from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration. pg. 388

Filtration – Movement of particles across the cell membrane because of pressure pg. 388

Osmosis – Osmosis moves water, in and out of a cell.

Active transport – This occurs when something needs a little help getting through. Ions, Amino acids and sugars are moved in or out despite pressure levels.

Next we have phagocytosis and pinocytosis – Remember phagocytosis happens when certain cells EAT harmful things and then expel the harmless debris back into the body. Pinocytosis  is the same thing except these guys drink harmful liquids.

The next section of this chapter will be in the next article. Study hard!!


Infection Control

Ever wonder what measures are taken to keep you safe during your massage?

Our last class was on Infection Control and Emergency Preparedness from Chapter 9 of the Salvo Book. Since we will have a test over this material on Thursday, I’m going to type up some quick notes to help me study. Fellow students may want to use them to study too. Future clients should be reassured that massage therapists have this information and use it to protect you.

Types of Diseases

Autoimmune – caused by an overactive immune system. Ex. – Rheumatoid Arthritis, lupus, MS

Cancer – Abnormal and uncontrollable cell division. Ex. Lung cancer, colon cancer

Deficiency – Lack of vitamins, minerals or nutrients Ex. Scurvy (lack of Vit. C), Rickets (lack of Vit.D), Pernicious anemia (Vitamin B12 malabsorbtion)

Degenerative – when an organ deteriorates over time Ex. Osteoporosis, Alzheimer, Parkinson, Osteoarthritis

Genetic – abnormalities in genetic material. Ex.  Turner Syndrome, down syndrome

Metabolic – Abnormal metabolic processes & disruption of homeostasis Ex. Cushing disease, diabetes Mellitus.


Infectious – caused by disease-causing agents called pathogens. Ex. Impetigo, malaria, ringworm.


Pathogen – infectious agent capable of causing disease

Resevoir – Source of disease transmission

Host – Destination of disease transmission

Contamination – successful transfer of pathogens

Remember there’s vehicle transmission and vector transmission. Vehicle transmission happens when it’s from an object to the person. Vector is when you’re bitten or stung by something.

Ability of pathogens to cause disease depends on:

–         # of pathogens that gain access

–         area of body where they attack

–         the pathogen’s ability to spread and replicate itself

–         the pathogen’s resistance to host’s defenses.

Signs of Inflammation:                                              

–          heat

–          redness

–          swelling

–          pain

–          loss of function (rare)

(Not my foot.)

Contraindications: presence of condition or disease that makes it unsafe to treat someone as usual.

Types – Local (just in one area) and Absolute (could put you or client at serious health risk to treat).


            Positional – Use of seated or reclining position, avoidance of prone position, placement of supportive cushion under right pelvis or trunk (during advanced pregnancy)

Procedural – Lighter than normal pressure, avoid percussion or joint mobilizations and assisting client off table.

 Hygiene – collective principles of health preservation. Contaminated tools – immerse in bleach water 1:10 solution (or isopropyl alcohol 1:7 solution) for 10 minutes

*Remember #1 source of contamination is human hands. *


Massage Series

Inspired by my classes and desire to focus on how they will help not only my family, but all those around me, I will be writing a series of articles focused on massage and health. There will be direct references to what I am studying in class as well as study tips and reminders for my classmates. I encourage anyone and everyone to give me feedback, ask questions and participate in anyway they desire.

This first post is a simple one inviting my classmates to join in the discussions.

Reminder for tonight September 25th: Read Chapter 6 to be ready for an open book test. The next close book test will be over Chapter 9.

Just sayin’

“NICE BLINKER!!” was the wonderful comment shouted at me this morning as I ran my errands. Yeah, I know, my blinker doesn’t work. I’ve changed the bulb. I have had my husband look at it. It worked for like five minutes before it went out on me again. I have an appointment made with a mechanic to get it fixed, but the wonderful person who felt it necessary to yell at me this morning knows none of this.

I know it is such a little thing, but it just made me wonder why we have become such an angry society….and, by the way, that includes me. What in the world do we accomplish by yelling at someone who cut us off or doesn’t agree with our politics? Why in the world do we think it’s necessary to rant about or hold a grudge against someone for doing something that may have been completely unintended? Now, I’m not saying we should tolerate insults or be that doormat when someone is being rude. I am saying maybe, just maybe, we need to take that deep breath and think before making that knee jerk remark. Not everything that happens to you is ABOUT you.

So next time something happens…just think… How many times have you looked at your own face when you get a headache? I usually have a pretty mean expression on when I’m in pain.  What about when you think you’re about to have a little….diarrhea? Might you press the gas a little harder to get home? Now do you really intend to offend when these things are going on? I doubt it.

I have been having to learn that many things that happen are not actually happening to me, but rather are simply affecting me. The things that are happening are actually happening to someone else and I’m just one of the people in their lives that sees or feels some of the consequences.

I don’t know if this makes sense to anyone but me. I just wanted to share.


Stay home vs being a working Mommy

Attention Mommies of the world! Are you struggling with whether or not to work or stay home with your children? Do you feel racked with guilt about staying home? Maybe your desire to use your degree and help your family financially is compelling you to get out of the house and bring home the bacon? My struggles with these very issues have haunted me for years. Today I want to share the pros and cons of both sides. The grass always looks greener from the other side, but everyone needs to remember that the lawn has to be tended to. It’s just the prices we pay that differ. So here goes:

Staying Home

Raising kids as a working MOM

It’s wonderful because you get to be with your children all day everyday. That’s also a reason why it can be a huge struggle. You are with your children ALL day EVERY day. If you are like me, you might not be able to afford childcare if you stay home. The simplest tasks can become complicated. My children are older, so I can manage to shower or bathe alone, but getting a haircut or shopping alone is not easily accomplished.

It’s great to feel like YOU are raising them and not leaving that job to others. On the flip side, if you don’t get out and spend time around other moms and kids, you may get a skewed view of “normal”. This often happened to me as a Special Education teacher. I would not realize that what was “normal” in my classroom was unheard of in a general education room. So make sure you keep in touch and spend time with other people in similar situations as you.

You and your kids may stay healthier if you stay home. This may not always be true, but I have found it to be true for me. I have been better able to tackle the sickness before it gets to us. I have been able to experiment more with natural remedies and that have kept us out of the doctor’s office. Still, I do worry that if one of us is struck with something more serious, we will struggle because we don’t have as much health insurance.

Being home, I have felt a lot more like I can focus on the things I sincerely feel are important. I am able to CHOOSE to help my friends and family. I am able to say no when I need to. (However, saying no is a skill that MUST be learned to be successful in either situation.) I do find that people tend to ask a little more of me than they did in the past. Some also think I have endless amounts of free time, forgetting that I still need to bring in a little money and that is not easily accomplished without a “job”.

Now this one is for those of us who spent all of our young lives preparing for a full time career. Staying home can be a serious blow to your self-esteem. My husband really enjoyed knowing I brought home a nice paycheck and was pretty upset that I wanted to stay home. Other teachers and other mommies have been very supportive, but a lot of people have made negative remarks and faces when I’ve told them what I do now. This is a situation I was not as prepared for as I thought I would be.

You may not get to see your kids as often, but you may cherish that time a little more. When you need to, you can leave them at the daycare a little longer to take care of yourself; get that massage or haircut. You may be able to plan quality activities or pay for vacations you will all enjoy. However, my experience was, I worked really hard to make time with my kids quality time, but I often got sick or worn out and ran out of energy for my family.

A working mom often feels a tremendous amount of guilt about sending their kids to daycare. HOWEVER, you need to know that unless the place is just awful your kids probably love it. They get to interact with other children. Their teachers plan activities to stimulate their little brains and the regular schedule gives them a great sense of security.


Children in daycare are exposed to a lot more illnesses. That means they will more likely get sick a lot more often. It also means they may develop a more powerful immune system and eventually not get sick nearly as much. I had that happen with both of my children. They both spent the first year sick every few weeks. After that, they seemed to be able to resist quite a bit….except LICE. They caught those every time there was an outbreak.

Working full time I often felt assigned tasks that I did not feel were worthy of my time. I was fully aware that I was staying late to complete paperwork that NO one ever read and would only be read if I screwed it up. This is when the guilt would get to me. I knew my kids were waiting for me and I couldn’t be there for them because I had to appease the Special Education Gods. These were things I could not choose. I just had to do them if I wanted that paycheck.

Working while taking care of little ones can be the biggest challenge you’ll ever face. Unless you have a reliable support system in place, sickness and activities can have a huge impact on your ability to do your job. The last two years of my career I missed more work than I ever had before. First one child would get sick, then the other. I would have to miss constantly. I began to miss deadlines more often. This was also a blow to my ego. I had gone from perfect attendance and nominations for awards to just hanging on. Not a happy situation.

In my case, I decided to stay home, but my desire to bring in an income is still very strong. I’ve decided to get training as a massage therapist. My ultimate goal is to have a business where I can set the schedule and take my kids. I want to focus on our health and put them first. I know I’m giving up insurance and retirement benefits, but I hope to remedy that situation through careful financial planning.

Hope this helps you make your own decision. Neither option is easy, and both have extreme pros and cons. Make sure you have weighed them all before taking the plunge, but also know that it is unlikely that either one HAS to be permanent. Maybe you can do both at least for a time. Whatever you decide, do it and don’t second guess yourself. Regret is a huge waste of time and energy. Follow through and meet as many of your goals as you can. Love you all! Have a great week!!!

High Efficiency?? Really???

About two years ago, our old washer gave out. Being the “responsible” citizen that I am, I bought a GE High Efficiency washer and for two years I have been trying to get the darn thing to WASH!

My husband and I consider ourselves pretty capable of figuring these things out. I can read instructions. I use only the HE detergents. We’ve pre-soaked items, double rinsed them and tried every different kind of stain remover we can find. The only success we have had is finally finding something that removes grease stains. (Awesome from the Dollar Store. – Excellent product.)

Other than that, our clothes come out covered in lint, still dirty and sometimes even still SMELLY! So I beg my readers, if you have tricks to this that I’m unaware of, please let me know. If not, then I guess it’s just not as “efficient” it claims. So much for that!

Things we do in bed

Have you ever thought about the way things change in your bed? I remember as a kid my bed was my cozy, safe place. I hid under the covers when I was scared. I snuggled down with my Mama when I was sick or cold. It was a safe haven.

As I grew older, I became curious about the more intimate things that happen in bed.  I found love, marriage and heartbreak there. I found pain and ecstacy there. In reality that has been something that has never changed since it began. The complicated issues that arise from a sexual relationship seem to continue for the duration.

When I was pregnant, I remember laying on this bed with my older children and discussing what we would name my sweet new baby. We laughed until I cried here. Waves of nausea seemed to pin me down in my bed. Backaches made me feel like my bed was a torture device at times and my only relief at other times.

I look at my parents and grandparents and realize that someday my bed may become a dreaded place. It could very well be the place where I feel nailed down, trapped, depressed, sick and lonely. The idea is terrifying.

For now, every morning my little ones make their way to my bed and snuggle down with me. They cuddle under the blankets and I know I’ve created a safe, happy place for them. I want to prolong this time as long as I can, but I know eventually they will become curious as I did. I just pray it isn’t too soon.