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The hypothesis
nections between muscles and fasciae listed or their
function discussed (as in, for instance, the large attach-
ment between the iliacus muscle and the medial
intermuscular septum of the thigh and vastus medialis
- Fig. In. 3).
The absolute dominance of the isolated muscle pre-
sentation as the first and last word in muscular anatomy
(along with the nai've and reductionistic conviction that
the complexity of human movement and stability can
be derived by summing up the action of these individ-
ual muscles) leaves the current generation of therapists
unlikely to think in any other way.
This form of seeing and defining muscles, however,
is simply an artifact of our method of dissection - with
a knife in hand, the individual muscles are easy to sepa-
rate from surrounding fascial planes. This does not
mean, however, that this is how the body 'thinks' or is
biologically assembled. One may question whether a
'muscle' is even a useful division to the body's own
If the elimination of the muscle as a physiological
unit is too radical a notion for most of us to accept, we
can tone it down in this way: In order to progress, con-
temporary therapists need to think 'outside the box' of
this isolated muscle concept. Research supporting this
kind of systemic thinking will be cited along the way as
we work our way through the implications of moving
beyond the 'isolated muscle' to see systemic effects. This
book is an attempt to move ahead - not to negate, but
to complement the standard view - by assembling
linked myofascial structures in this image of the 'myo-
fascial meridians'. We should be clear that 'Anatomy
Trains' is not established science - this topic leaps ahead
of the research - but at the same time, we have been
pleased with how well the concepts play out in clinical
Once the particular patterns of these myofascial
meridians are recognized and the connections grasped,
they can be easily applied in assessment and treat-
ment across a variety of therapeutic and educational
The basis for this topic is simple: whatever else they may
be doing individually, muscles also influence function-
ally integrated body-wide continuities within the fascial
webbing. These sheets and lines follow the warp and
weft of the body's connective tissue fabric, forming
traceable 'meridians' of myofascia (Fig. In. 1). Stability,
strain, tension, fixation, resilience, and - most pertinent
to this text - postural compensation, are all distributed
via these lines. (No claim is made, however, for the
exclusivity of these lines. The functional connections
such as those described at the end of this introduction,
the ligamentous bed described as the 'inner bag' in
Chapter 1, and the latitudinal shouldering of strain
detailed in the work of Huijing, also in Chapter 1, are
all alternate avenues for the distribution of strain and
Essentially, the Anatomy Trains map provides a 'lon-
gitudinal anatomy' - a sketch of the long tensile straps
and slings within the musculature as a whole. It is a
systemic point of view offered as a supplement (and in
some instances as an alternative) to the standard analy-
sis of muscular action.
This standard analysis could be termed the 'isolated
muscle theory'. Almost every text presents muscle func-
tion by isolating an individual muscle on the skeleton,
divided from its connections above and below, shorn of
its neurological and vascular connections, and divorced
from the regionally adjacent structures. 1 " 1 0 This ubiqui-
tous presentation defines a muscle's function solely by
what happens in approximating the proximal and distal
attachment points (Fig. In. 2). The overwhelmingly
accepted view is that muscles attach from bone to bone,
and that their sole function is to approximate the two
ends together, or to resist their being stretched apart.
Occasionally the role of myofascia relative to its neigh-
bors is detailed (as in the role that the vastus lateralis
takes in pushing out against and thus pre-tensing the
iliotibial tract). Almost never are the longitudinal con-
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