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Anatomy Trains and Bodies in Motion

by Thomas W Myers and Susan K Hillman respectively

listed in bodywork

[Image: Anatomy Trains and Bodies in Motion]

Bodies in Motion and Anatomy Trains are DVD-ROMs produced by Primal Pictures and are two in a series of productions aimed at educators and students of a range of disciplines, teaching or learning anatomy. They are 'click and tell' applications rather than DVDs so don't be mislead! The basic set up and design of both is the same – indeed the anatomy sections, authored by Susan K Hillman, seemed to be for the most part identical. Anatomy Trains also illustrates the myofascial lines described in the book of the same name by Tom Myers.

Their main strength was the basic musculoskeletal anatomy along with the information about 35 different related pathologies. The content centres around a 'moving skeleton' who can be stripped in 11 layers from gross superficial muscles right down to the bone. Navigating through the layers was fairly easy and when the cursor is set to show a structure's name as you roll over it, it is fun to test yourself. Clicking on structures brings up information on the right hand side including details of each bone or a muscle's insertions, innervations and blood supply as well as action, agonists, antagonists and synergists. This text is clear and more than adequate (and certainly goes well beyond the knowledge gained in typical complementary therapy training in this country).

There are one-click links to the other structures you may want to reference and it is great to have all this information in one place (especially once I found how to get back to the page you had come from - a more easily accessible back button, such as in an internet browser, would be a helpful addition!). The images worked well for the larger structures, however visually, for the smaller ones or for a closer look, the limited 2-degrees of zoom did not get you near enough to really appreciate the details. For example, images of the menisci and cruciate ligaments within the knee joint are not clear. From a design point of view there is plenty of space beneath the text, so supplementary images would have been easy to include.

Perhaps the programming demands would be too much to include nerves and vessels within the main image? While textual information is given about these supplies it lacks the visual definition to gain a clear sense of where the pathways come from, which can be helpful in understanding impacts of injury, tension, muscle pain etc. Easier to create were the mini-movies that show basic movements in which the acting muscles go brighter / darker as they contract / relax. These are not labelled so are a good test to see whether you are clear about which muscles create each movement.

The short sections on typical muscle pathologies were great – they included an interesting range of 35 specifically musculoskeletal conditions, from general strains, sprains and 'itiss', to specific upper and lower extremity and spinal injuries. Interestingly the general comments on how to manage / treat such injuries were typical medical type interventions: from Anatomy Trains I expected a more myofascial perspective.

I was quite excited about the quiz section as I find it is a great way to find out what you really know! However, I found some of the questions tricky to answer as areas of the skeleton that were supposedly highlighted were at times impossible to see (admittedly I was using a small screened laptop - a better zoom feature, as mentioned above, would have helped a lot). The MCQ questions (from the format used in medicine exams) were fun to do but the wording of some questions unclear. However, even the process of being asked questions will help you ascertain how much you know about the topic.Anatomy Trains had all the same anatomical information as Bodies in Motion along with images of the myofascial trains and a fairly comprehensive description of their pathways, but having the book to compare it to (along with many anatomy texts!) I must honestly say I found the information more accessible on the old printed page, partly as it is supported by a greater range of images.

What do these (fairly expensive) products offer that corresponding (cheaper) text books don't? Well to be honest, this was tricky (though still fun) to determine. I would have to quibble with the description of these products as 'cutting edge' resources; a rotating skeleton is no longer particularly cutting edge, despite the complexity of the programming. While it is fairly intuitive to use for those familiar with such applications, I would class it as a resource for those who have already learned the basics, not really for beginners. For educators with access to multimedia equipment, using this software in presentations could certainly be helpful for students.

Overall, I was expecting current technology to have provided better interaction and something additional to books. However, if you like the 'click and tell' approach, don't have many texts and have the spare cash, then these would certainly be a fun addition to your library.

Further Information

Primal Pictures is offering Positive Health readers a 25% discount off the RRP of both DVDs. Anatomy Trains (RRP £135 + VAT) for £99 + VAT; Bodies in Motion (RRP £60 + VAT) for £49 + VAT. Please contact Primal Pictures Ltd and quote PH at Tel: 020 7637 1010;;

Caroline Barrow
Both by Primal Pictures Ltd.

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