Review of Beyond the Leaving by writer and editor Betsy Robinson
Review of Coming Into Form by writer and editor Betsy Robinson
Review of Reconceiving My Body by writer and editor Betsy Robinson.
The following list includes both comments from respectable folks as well as several published reviews reprinted here with permission from their authors.
Dear Gil, I absolutely loved the first video! I have a whole new perspective on skin and fascia...an absolutely amazing presentation. I am a yoga instructor and now look at my clients in a totally different way! I can't wait to watch the next video. I am hoping, after watching all of your videos, to take your workshop sometime in the spring. Sincerely, Deborah Cucopulos
Recent forwarded comments:
What can I say best 140 odd pounds I've spent in a long time. Great descriptive language Gil, easy to listen to and absorb. Plus reinforcement reviews of what's just been shown through layers back to original and back is just great teaching practice. Clearly you know your onions (as we say here), it just flows. The use of peaceful and reflecting natural imagery to rest the mind is inspired. As was your son on the sledge gently comical (enter stage right - shoot through screen screaming - exit stage left), humorous and uplifting. Have seen many demonstrators through my career and I have to say that you are one of the best I have encountered. With a good educator in front of you the level of understanding that then develops from their passion and the thinking about what you have just heard/seen is often more beneficial than hours of hands on workshops. Understanding allows techniques to come naturally through thought, observation and reflection in one's own practice. There is real passion for what you do and that shines through and makes the DVD's interesting and informative. Looking forward to attending one of your workshops in the future which I have no doubt will be just as good as your DVD's. Gail Selbie (Massage Therapist/Lecturer UK)
"Of course I'd heard of Gil Hedley for years-through the grapevine and also
first hand from bodyworkers who raved about his dissection classes. But
I'd taken a full semester of dissection at UC Berkeley, own many anatomy
dissection atlases and several videos and couldn't fathom how another class could
impact my view of the body and really have any change on the quality of my
bodywork. I was wrong, and can honestly say that Gil's One Day
Intensive is the most eye-opening and worthwhile class I've ever taken on any
None of that old "origin/insertion, agonist/antagonist" that we've all seen forever. Gil is as much a philosopher as anatomist, and his knowledge and enthusiasm have forever changed my understanding and reverence for the wonders and interconnectedness of the body, and the way I work with my clients and teach my classes.
If you are hesitant to commit to the full 6 Day Class, by all means take the One Day Intensive. It will forever change your understanding of the body and the way you work. Art Riggs, Certified Advanced Rolfer, Author, Deep Tissue Massage
Gil, that visceral work you presented on #4 was so brilliantly executed. I am sure you hear this all the time but you're hearing it again. And using both embalmed and "fresh" cadavers was about as perfect a learning experience as one could hope for (besides being there in person). Hey, I'm having the same experience I had when I saw your first body of work and had to immediately write and thank you for what you are contributing to the knowledge and reverence of the human form. Thanks again, my friend. Your fan, Catie :-) Cate Miller, Faculty, The Florida School of Massage
Hi Gil, I just finished the 4th volume of your set...
When I first learned of your Integral Anatomy series, I couldn't imagine how you could possibly bring to light the experience of dissection within the limited confines of a set of DVDs--it seemed like an almost impossible undertaking.
But in fact, in one way it was even more effective and educational for me than actually being there. My main dilemma with the workshops was that I always became overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of "information" each cadaver presented. I tried too hard - to "see" too much - kind of all at once.
But your discrete steady focus on the complete interrelationship of all the parts to the whole allowed me to let go of what I could not see, what I did not understand, and what "connections" I could not make sense of. Rather, it allowed me to simply take a breath, follow the leader and have faith that the end result would be a further elaboration of my ongoing quest to understand my people, my work, and my life. And still, within the carefully constructed framework of the "integrated body", you also presented a tremendous amount of detail that was key.
All of which is to say that I loved it, and to thank you from my heart for all your excellent work. Now I just need to watch it again a few dozen more times to see what I missed. Ha ha, I guess some things never change!
Keep having fun (-: All best, Lynn - bodyworker, yoga teacher, and grateful Somanaut
Gil you are ABSOLUTELY AWESOME!! Years ago Marty Ryan tried to get me to come to one of your dissection classes I turned him down and have regretted it ever since. When this DVD series first came out Marty suggested I buy and I must admit I have learned more from this series than all the continuing education classes I have spent money on in the last 6 years, well except Marty's love your Guts Seminars, which in part are based on your teachings. So with this segment [Vol. 4] you have once again single handedly advanced bodywork to the next level. Is there any way I can encourage and facilitate you coming to the Kentucky Area to teach? (from Chris Hughes, LMT)
I just finished watching your "Vol. 4: Viscera and their Fasciae." It truly is the best quality and most instructive of any DVD that I have ever seen about our human body especially about the viscera. I truly love the way you explain things and give some important information that pertains to us bodyworkers working on the human body. I am very grateful to you for demonstrating the adhesions in the "fresh" cadaver. I was amazed seeing a lung so stuck to the top of the diaphragm. I am truly grateful for the two "Human Dissection Workshops" that I attended in San Francisco. Thanks to these workshops, and your DVD's, I have developed my work, (starting with the first DVD that I saw), with the visual and palpable intentions, of separating layers of stuck tissue by applying pressure only into the directions that feel good to the client, and including the client's movement, to help the tissue layers to separate with no pain. Your "Viscera" DVD reinforced my belief that it is the fascial release of adhesions, anywhere in the body, and the repositioning of the organs, that are helping to give relief to clients that have been in pain for years. (from Boris Vilner, Master Bodyworker, Novato, CA)
I am a 50-year old woman who has spent the last six years "melting away the fuzz" in my body. I really enjoyed your fuzz video [now posted at YouTube, ed.] and plan to share it with others. Trying to explain fascia to most people is difficult, if not impossible. Thanks, W.K.
SUE HITZMANN, M.S., The Melt Method: "Gil’s teaching style allows the viewer to learn complex, frequently misunderstood structures and connections of the body effortlessly. Regardless of your previous education in dissection, movement, or any aspect of the inner connectedness of the human body, Gil’s stunning images, helpful diagrams and models will deepen your understanding of what really holds us together. It’s like a whole other system that has been previously disregarded. This DVD [V.3] is really spectacular!"
KEELYN WU, D.O.: "They just keep getting better! No matter what your level of understanding human anatomy, this beautifully crafted installment [V.3] in the series is bound to provide fresh insight into the structure, function and continuity of the different fascial layers. I thoroughly enjoyed it."
JAMES OSCHMAN, PH.D., Energy Medicine: the scientific basis. "Gil Hedley has created an artful and engaging series of journeys of discovery into the human body. His brilliant explorations enliven human structure in new ways that every student of movement and bodywork will appreciate and apply. I especially value Gil’s deep respect for those who have contributed their physical forms so that we may better know ourselves. His constant reference from the parts to the whole and back again to the parts bring life and meaning to an adventure that lies hidden when we study static anatomical drawings."
LESLIE KAMINOFF, The Breathing Project, Yoga Anatomy. "Gil is one of those rare individuals who has found his true calling. No one else can do what Gil does--bringing such passion, dedication and humanity to this vital work. I highly recommend this remarkable series of DVD’s to anyone committed to understanding the human body."
ROBERT SCHLEIP, PH.D., Research Scientist, fasciaresearch.com: Your DVD [V. 1] is fantastic. I love it! It is at the same time very professional, aesthetical, spiritual and anatomically richly informative."
RAY BISHOP, PH.D., Anatomy Instructor: "[V.1 is] a potent and uniqe fusion of rarely seen images of the first few fascial layers, insightful anatomical observations and interesting social and philosophical commentary. A significant tool that should radically alter how we understand and interact with fascial layers."
JUDITH DELANY, Director, NMT Center: "While there are other cadaver dissection tapes out there, this is the first one [V.1] I have seen that makes me feel as though I am there, part of the dissection... Top of page
SAM DWORKIS, Author and yoga teacher:"Dear Gil, I was given Volume 1 as a gift and was taken by your description of superficial fascia. I have been teaching yoga for well over 30 years and am the author of three books on yoga. Through the years, I have come to believe that we can achieve faster, but more importantly, safer results when we first approach yoga exercise by first addressing the skin and superficial fascia; rather than by first trying to stretch the deeper muscles as is commonly taught in yoga. Your presentation on fascia supports the many essays in my website that explore fascia’s role in maximizing yoga’s potential and minimizing its risk of injury.
As a yoga teacher, the more I appreciate the perfection of the human body as I study human anatomy, the more I appreciate yoga. Because Volume 1 of Your Integral Anatomy Series is the most through, yet spiritual approach to human dissection I have yet seen, I look forward to receiving Volumes 2 and 3, which I feel confident will further my understanding and ability to practice and teach my craft. I wish you well, Sam Dworkis
Review of the Integral Anatomy Series Vols. 1-3 for
International Journal of Yoga Therapy
by Leslie Kaminoff, founder, The Breathing Project, author of bestselling Yoga Anatomy
For the past 13 years, Gil Hedley, Ph.D. has been offering the rare and precious experience of human anatomical dissection to bodyworkers, yoga teachers, movement educators, dancers, and artists. The groundbreaking whole body, layer-by-layer approach that Gil calls "Integral Anatomy" has created an unprecedented opportunity for body-centered practitioners to have their lives and careers transformed by an experience previously available only to medical professionals. These 6-day intensive workshops have become a regular pilgrimage for so many (I’ve done three in the past 10 years), that spots at the tables have become increasingly hard to come by. Thankfully, Gil has lovingly assembled hundreds of hours of live dissection imagery into a spectacular video presentation he calls "The Integral Anatomy Series", the first three installments of which are reviewed here.
Volume One: "Skin and Superficial Fascia" offers remarkable insights into these often neglected layers, and also introduces the basic concepts of the entire series. It would be a sad error if anyone contemplating a purchase of these DVDs thought they could skip this disc, and get directly to the more "interesting" layer of muscles depicted in disc 2. The images on this disc are the result of hundreds of man-hours of highly skilled, difficult, and in some cases unprecedented dissections. For example, on Disc One, Gil and his students painstakingly separate the skin from the superficial fascia/fatty layer and remove it completely in one piece from the cadaver’s form. The sight of Gil’s assistants holding this intact sheet of skin up to the light and seeing its surprising strength, heft, and translucent beauty is an image never to be forgotten. All through this process, Gil engages the viewer with invaluable information, inspiration and perspective gleaned from his experience with hundreds of cadaver forms.
An even more stunning image emerges at the end of disc one when Gil accomplishes a feat of dissection so remarkable, it must be seen to be believed. He separates and removes the entire layer of superficial fascia in one piece from a female cadaver, and places it in repose on the table next to her, as if she’s just removed her full-length wetsuit and is resting her muscles from a day of surfing − a truly mind-bending sight.
I need to say a few words about the imagery and its intensity. I’ve personally shown these videos to many people who profess to be squeamish about blood, surgery and the insides of bodies in general. Without exception, their initial reaction of revulsion is immediately replaced by one of fascination and awe. It should be noted that there is no blood in an embalmed cadaver, and the colors and textures are not as livid as those of a living, or even a recently deceased body (as in an autopsy). Gil is very sensitive to the intense reaction these images can provoke in the mind and emotions of the viewer, and he thoughtfully provides frequent visual breaks by interweaving the lab scenes with beautiful, tranquil tableaus from nature: trees, running water, stone sculptures and wildlife.
In Volume Two: "Deep Fascia and Muscle," we encounter the more familiar structures of muscle, tendon and connective tissue, but from a fresh and integrated perspective. Throughout this series, Gil constantly reminds us of the fact that our body is an inseparable, functional whole, and nowhere does this become more apparent than when we attempt to divide it into parts with scalpels. Learning of the myofascial continuities and relationships between adjacent structures may be surprising to many viewers who have more traditional anatomy training, but most yoga practitioners will find their experiential reality firmly validated.
It’s no surprise that Gil’s presentation is reminiscent of the innovative "myofascial meridians" perspective found in Tom Myers’ landmark book "Anatomy Trains." Myers helped create the anatomy program at The Rolf Institute, and Gil is a former Rolfer who studied with Tom as part of his training. In speaking of Gil’s work, Myers has said: "...this may be an example of a student surpassing his teacher." High praise indeed from one of the world’s leading anatomists.
Volume three: "Cranial and Visceral Fasciae," is arguably the best of the series so far. In it, Hedley’s presentation is more confident and flowing as he shifts into a realm that can only be described as otherworldly. He manages to make one of the most difficult subjects of anatomy − the multilayered, complex membranes of visceral and parietal sheathing − comprehensible, engaging and memorable. It’s clear that the process of doing these specific dissections for the DVD in front of the camera has inspired Gil to reveal views he’s never previously attempted, and we are all rewarded with the spectacular results. At one point, Gil gleefully exclaims on-camera: "Wow − this is so cool! I’ve never done this one before!" This occurs just as he’s exposed an entire abdominal cavity with an intact peritoneum, and lifts the back of the sack to reveal the psoas muscle resting serenely behind it − a sight that may forever change the way you feel about flexing your hip.
Of particular interest to Yoga practitioners is Gil’s extremely thorough treatment of the respiratory diaphragm and its relation to the ribcage, lungs, heart and abdominal organs. He pays particular homage to the interwoven continuity of the diaphragmatic fibers with those of the transversus abdominus − their antagonistic counterparts. This is a relationship that he and I investigated in our first workshop together nearly ten years ago, and it’s wonderful to see how deeply he’s explored it since.
Gil’s tour of the of the body’s sheathing layers continues into the head as he removes the crown of the skull and exposes the brain’s coverings: the dura, arachnoid and pia mater. Perhaps the crowning achievement of the disc, this section offers us the sight of a keen and curious mind contemplating the most complex object in the known universe.
Gil Hedley is one of those rare individuals who has found his true calling. His original fields were Philosophy and Divinity, and that speaks volumes about the passion, dedication and humanity that he brings to his current work. It is thrilling to think that the widespread availability of these discs will allow many thousands of people to share in Gil’s revolutionary, vitally important perspective on anatomy. I can’t recommend highly enough this remarkable series of DVDs to anyone who is committed to understanding the human body. Top of page
Review of The Integral Anatomy Series, Vol. 1: Skin and Superficial Fascia
by Stephen Evanko, Ph.D., Certified Rolfer®
Published in Structural Integration: The Journal of the Rolf Institute®, Dec. ‘05, p.36.)
I had been wanting to revisit the cadaver’s representation of the human form because many years have passed since I was a teaching assistant for human anatomy lab in graduate school. However, realizing that I have probably breathed in enough formaldehyde in my time, I was excited to see that his DVD is now available. While nothing can substitute for a first-hand, tactile experience of a cadaver dissection to gain an internal perspective, the video is so well done, you can practically feel it anyway. I think every Rolfer should see this video.
Gil Hedley, Ph.D., is the founder of Somanautics Workshops, Inc., and has been conducting human cadaver dissection labs for many years. His rich experience is clearly evident as he guides us on an incredible and visually compelling journey into the human form. The first two layers, skin and superficial fascia, are covered in Volume 1.
Gil’s exploration is exceptionally articulate and insightful. He begins with a thoughtful recognition and appreciation of the donors and the amazing gifts they give. His respect and gratitude for the donor’s gifts, as well as a holistic view, are in the forefront throughout. Next, there is a general consideration of each cadaver’s overall body shape and skin features, with time taken to note interesting details about texture, thickness and the like. As the skin is removed and reflected to reveal the superficial fascia of a man and woman, we become engrossed in the riveting images, and held there with insightful and thought-provoking narrative.
The overall technical quality of the video is excellent. The camerawork is of professional quality, with many nice close-ups that provide clear, detailed views of the dissection process and anatomical specializations. The sound is consistently good. Although it seems that most of the narration was done on the spot, during the filming, it is well-timed, articulate and easy to follow. There is just the right amount of technical language. Special details like the shining of light through the reflected skin and superficial fascia, and the visual detail of the anatomy of cellulite or the matrix of a dowager's hump add further interest. The relatively heavy viewing of the cadvers is interspersed with short contemplative breaks showing footage of serene views and sounds. For me (and I suspect for those new to seeing cadavers), these respites also added positively to the feel of the video.
Gil’s insights instilled a deeper appreciation of the intimate relationships between the "layers" and, for me, a much greater appreciation of the superficial fascia as a complex and important organ; "a piezoelectric sensing layer", as he says. When we listen to the superficial fascia under our fingertips, we are sensing a communicative mediator between the skin and the deeper fasciae. I have been Rolfing with this in mind and I think it has already improved my work. The wonderment behind Gil’s presentation, as well as his insights, make this DVD special. It will inspire any bodyworker or anyone else interested in understanding the whole human form. I look forward to further installments. Top of page
Published in Structural Integration: The Journal of the Rolf Institute®, June ‘06, p.26.
Gil Hedley, Ph.D., the founder of Somanautics Workshops, Inc., continues his amazing series of dissection videos and treats us to another incredible learning experience. He covers the deep fascia and muscle layers in Volume 2. We truly become "somanauts" in the exploration of "inner space," as he leads us with intricate detail further into the human form.
Once again, the technical quality of the DVD is among the best I’ve seen. The close up shots of the fascia and the fluffy connections between the layers are superb, and make it feel like you are right there in the dissection lab. His narrative continues to be articulate, insightful, thought-provoking and educational. In the dissection process, Hedley finds the layer and "onion tree" models to be the most educational, but also emphasizes how we should not cling to our models, and should be ready to throw them out to allow for deeper levels of understanding. Throughout the DVD, he emphasizes how we are really looking at an abstraction of the layered shifts in tissue textures. "There are no independent structures in the human form, only abstractions produced by the scalpel."
Beginning with the deep fascia, we see remarkable examples of how fluid movement leaves signature tracks on the material of the body, with a strapping tape-like quality and beautiful crystalline fibers, sometimes translucent, often opaque, overlapping and converging from different angles. These shots are interspersed with views of similar grid patterns on the water’s surface induced by wind and flow, or twists and turns in the wood and bark of a tree. It becomes clear how our fascial tissue is formed and remodeled by interfacing waveforms of varying vibration. We see how the fascia is perforated by blood vessels and nerves as they make their way to nourish the various tissue layers. He continues with some interesting work to "create" an extensor retinaculum with the scalpel.
Later on, we see in fine detail the relationship of structures in the carpal tunnel to the median nerve, and the confluence of the deep fascia with the tendon sheaths in a detailed view of the dissection around the medial malleolus of the ankle. In another sequence, we see the extreme thickness of the sciatic nerve found within the fatty, filmy and slippery protective tissues deep in the thigh.
The second half of the video focuses on the muscles. As Hedley expertly differentiates muscles from one another with his scalpel or fingers, or exposes the various septa between muscles, we can see the light, filmy, loose and fuzzy fascia between each layer. Seeing this reinforced for me the notion that this is the material responsible for the stickiness or glue-like quality we feel as we work to differentiate the muscles in our clients. We see how some muscle fibers attach directly to the septa, while in other places they are more easily differentiated. We see how manipulation of the calcaneus works to loosen the fibers of the Achilles tendon and retinacular fibers. Importantly, Hedley shows some examples and emphasizes how the naming of muscles is often actually rooted in anatomical convenience or historical preference rather than structural or functional realities.
Peeking through the window between the sternocleidomastoid and the trapezius to the splenius and the surrounding gristly fascia, Hedley asks provocatively, "What is it that needs intervention? Is it the clumping of tissue that inhibits the sliding surfaces from playing against each other in muscular action, or is it the tonicity of the muscles, or is it just the way you feel that day?" Hedley proposes to look to the emotional life and the will, rather than the nervous system for answers to questions regarding reasons for tissue tone. He says, "For every emotion, every human response, every thought, there is a corresponding whole-body signature of tonus throughout the muscle layer. Each one of us in the human community represents the signatures of joy and sorrow, exhilaration and fear, compassion and love, through the outwardly visible motions of our muscle layer. Our emotional expressions, rooted in both cultural and personal habits, are patterns traced one way or another, by and in, our muscle layer."
The DVD ends with a bonus--Hedley's great "Fuzz" Speech, explaining how the fine material connecting the different muscles builds up through inactivity and needs to be released through stretching, movement and manual therapies. I think all bodyworkers will appreciate this DVD and Hedley’s style. I highly recommend it and am looking forward to the next DVD volume on the viscera. Top of page
Published in the American Hellerwork Association’s Tensegrity News, Spring ’06, p.25.
I have just had the opportunity to view the most amazing dissection videos: The Integral Anatomy Series, by Gil Hedley, Ph.D. Gil and I have been "speaking" the last couple of issues of the Tensegrity News and through the prompting of Tom Myers I decided to approach Gil about reviewing his series for our newsletter.
When I first received this two volume DVD series (more to come, as Gil continues to "somanaut" ever more deeply!), I thought "these may be exceptional...but..." In my ‘other life’ growing up in the hospital ER’s for almost 30 years, I have seen many dissection videos, participated in numerous dissections and surgeries, and been in on many autopsies. I have had my hands deeply into people’s chests, abdomen’s and everywhere else helping keep them alive. So part of me was saying "what is this series going to show me that I have not already seen and experienced?"
I am so glad I trusted my feeling about Gil. These videos are top quality through out. Gil performs the most eloquent, precise, reverent dissections I have ever seen. The photography is as precise and clear as Gil’s dialogue. No need for a medical dictionary. Gil speaks in very easily understood language and is continually enthusiastic, awed, and inspired as the dissection proceeds--as becomes the viewer. You truly get the feeling of ‘being there’, right in the room, your hands exploring the body. Gil uses beautiful analogies of nature to depict what you are viewing in the body as well as using what seem at times to be "nature breaks". The beautiful shots of nature depict the flow, the organization, the connectedness, the balance within nature directly correlating with the dissection. Without these analogies and ‘breaks’ from the intensity of the dissection videos could become all too intense and overwhelming. Gil’s reverence and sense of spirit and spirituality that he brings into these videos is also quite wonderful. The sense of love and thanks Gil gives to these people who have offered the gift of their physical bodies and the gifts they ultimately bestow are very beautiful and inspiring.
Volume 1, Skin and Superficial Fascia, is most amazing. Proceeding very slowly, very precisely, you examine the total physical body, the skin, and on into the superficial fascial layer. Gil’s inspired insights, theories and analogies with nature help us more clearly unnderstand the deeper concepts of skin and superficial anatomy. Have you ever seen the entire superficial layer removed from a body and laid out?! This is so awesome! The entire superficial fascial layer was removed as a continuous piece from this woman’s body and laid out for viewing! The "wet suit" of the body brilliantly demonstrated! The superficial layer is thick, tough, continuous, resilient, and opaque to light (as is the skin...important concept), and clearly defines the gender of our bodies. What incredible depth and continuity of this layer with the deeper fascial layer, beautiful, strengthening grid like patterns in the tissues. What must things like liposuction, plastic surgeries and major traumas do to this continuous interconnected layer, and ultimately to the ability of our bodies to function and move with fluidity and flexibility?
Volume 2, Deep Fascia and Muscle, was done just as exceptionally. Again Gil carefully dissects this layer showing the continuity, interconnectedness, and patterns of each layer with each other. We are truly like an onion, multiple layers, overlapping bags of fascial tissue, down to ‘bags’ of organs all intimately connected to each other by more, thin, fibrous, saran wrap like tissues, all fed and nurtured by branches of nerves, blood vessels, arteries, capillaries--the concept that true muscle layers do not exist--we have to artificially dissect them from all the other fascia and bone to point out a "muscle"... How amazingly our bodies are created is almost overwhelming as one proceeds through this series and truly begins to ‘grok’ the "bigger picture" of fascia and fascial layers all the way to the bone.
As others have said, "extremely well done", beautiful, inspiring, an important piece of work. I highly recommend getting these DVDs. Top of page
Review of The Integral Anatomy Series, Vol. 4: Viscera and their Fasciae
by Bruce Schonfeld, Advanced Certified Rolfer in Los Angeles, for The Journal of the Rolf Institute
In Volume 4: Viscera and their Fasciae, of The Integral Anatomy Series, Gil Hedley, Ph.D. provides a user-friendly bridge for the manipulation based therapist interested in fascia, visceral anatomy and "systems" relationships. On one level Vol. 4 delivers solid educational information about the visceral system, but oh, there is so much more. It's a master class on organ anatomy couched in a framework of whole body connective tissue. Dr. Hedley is knowledgeable about fascial interconnections between structures, takes his time to show the viewer the donor gifts clearly and instills more complex material through thoughtful repetition. This video has good production value so its easy to see what he is talking about and showing in the actual dissections. As Dr. Hedley states, "it is only possible to touch the whole person," and to this extent he seamlessly references back and forth between the revealed specimens layers, tissues, and fascial connections. He's interested in how anatomy behaves locally, how it relates to adjacent tissues and how it weaves in and out of our whole overarching form.
His dissection and discourse on fascial continuity shows us much of the connective tissue alchemy that lives inside the pelvis, abdomen and thorax. These insights are invaluable in terms of understanding more of the body's hidden infrastructure. As Dr. Hedley uses both preserved and non-preserved donor bodies he is able to show the best of what both forms have to offer. As seeing is believing this video makes the viscera more approachable and understandable. The following are a few highlights from Dr. Hedley's exploration into the relationship between the containers and their contents:
Dr. Hedley shows the large attachment of the root of the mesentery to the posterior portion of the mid-line of the abdominal cavity, i.e. the front of the lumbar spine. This view offers an amazing window into low-back, spinal and gastrointestinal issues. It's one of those attachments that leaves nothing to the imagination with it's big broad vertical connection across the lumbar spine. How could the spine be at ease if the massive attachment on the front of it is having mobility problems? Clinical insights and speculation naturally flow out of anatomical connections.
Dr. Hedley's detailed discussion and dissection of the liver is very helpful as he show's it's suspensory system of ligaments connecting into different aspects of the diaphragm. He gives us a wonderful window into the secret life of the liver and it's attachments. He spotlights the right triangular ligament to demonstrate the blending of the parietal and visceral layers of the peritoneum. As opposed to imaging or conceptualizing this anatomical idea, Dr. Hedley simply shows us how it happens. And again, he shows us that the whole is bigger than the sum of its parts. Within an integrated framework of the circular shaped coronary ligament, perched on top of the liver, we see both the left and right triangular ligaments. They fan out laterally as membranous/ligamentous extensions of the whole coronary form. The falciform and round ligaments blend into each other anteriorly weaving liver to the parietal layer with thicker cord-like attachments that provide both stability and mobility. These ligamentous structures are not only in the same fascial layer - they are the same fascial layer. They function like an intelligent spider-web on top of, surrounding, suspending and facilitating motion of the liver.
Dr. Hedley's demonstration of normal range of motion of the interfacing spleen and stomach as articulating structures is extremely helpful. It deepens ones conceptualization of normal range of motion within the serous fluids of neighboring and interfacing organs. This sets the stage for many other visceral articulations. In another instance he captures the visual of the moment perfectly by referring to the hepato-splenic ligament as a 'slingshot', which it actually looks like in the specimen he's showing. This potentially difficult ligamentous relationship becomes newly accessible from this visual perspective. It just makes more sense seeing all the related anatomy function as an integrated whole, seeing their depths, shapes, colors and gossamer-like connections. He reveals a vast amount of pertinent information about our inner workings in both physiological and fascial terms.
The video illuminates the european osteopathic idea of 'the primary lesion' and its relationship to postural compensation. For example, actually seeing the inflexible adhesive properties of scar tissue in the deep abdomen it is much easier to imagine the resulting compensation within the musculo-skeletal system. The interrelationship of the organ (small intestine) to the big membrane (peritoneum) to the musculature (transversus abdominus & co.) becomes much clearer upon seeing these underlying organ impinging adhesions with clarity. The unrelenting pulls and lines of tension are apparent in the tissue. How could function be optimal in a tangled web of adhesions? In relationship to the musculo-skeletal system we are able to see how adaptation can occur from the inside-out.
Dr. Hedley's expose on gross morphology as a primary factor in defining our overall shape and form is another real jewel of information. He shows us three different bodies and correlates their overall shape to underlying biases within different anatomical systems. One has a bias in the fat, another in the musculature and the third in the viscera. This lesson is very helpful for visual assessment in terms of differentiating layers in a client's postural presentation. This lesson is also very helpful in terms of thinking about the underlying mechanisms defining shape and form. Top of page