Tom Myers: Anatomy Trains

  Myofascial Meridians for the Manual Therapist
  Workshops taught by Eli Thompson

Anatomy Trains is a revolutionary new way of analyzing soft-tissue patterns, and developing strategies for unwinding these patterns via fascial and myofascial work. The Anatomy Trains scheme offers a language that most hands-on therapists, regardless of their modality, can use to see their clients more clearly, and communicate to colleagues and clients how the neuro-myofascial web is configured by their "acture" (posture in action - Feldenkrais coined this word to indicate consistent patterns in both stance and movement).

As soon as one understands that the fascial web is one seamless network, new insights begin to form concerning the interaction of nerves, muscles, and connective tissues. Because we began our study of anatomy back in early Renaissance times with the knives of the hunter and butcher, we have naturally focused on the structure and function of individual parts. This has led inexorably to modern understanding of muscle function that could be described as the single-muscle theory. Each muscle is analyzed, in text after text, in terms of its action from origin to insertion.

In fact, no muscle ever works in isolation. In the body, even the idea that there are individual muscles is misleading. Without pushing this metaphor too far, it is more accurate to say that there are about six hundred pockets of myofascial tissue suspended within a single overall fascial bag, which in turn surrounds and suspends the skeleton.

The Anatomy Trains define the warp and weft of the myofascial tissue within this network. Simply put, the Anatomy Trains system simply shows how the muscles are strung together longitudinally to form a supporting tensile network for the skeleton. What we look for is an even tone along these meridian lines, because isolated areas of high tone and slackness will produce compensatory strain patterns that pull the skeleton out of line and lead to pain.