The anatomy of connective tissue as a connecting, continuous material is in its infancy. This video offers a history of anatomy and anatomical exploration and beliefs. As with so many fields of study and understanding nothing is static and the same is true of anatomical exploration, study, beliefs, and view points. The word anatomy is derived from the Greek ἀνατέμνω anatemnō “I cut up, cut open”, which is in keeping with how the study of anatomy has evolved over the centuries namely from dissections. Much of anatomy can therefore be thought to be “designed” by the anatomists hand and view point. We are in a new realm of anatomical learning based more about the continuity of the structures of the body rather than the piecemeal way of anatomical thinking of the body.
The understanding of connective tissue as a continuous structure is integral to the work of Dr. Ida P. Rolf and her work of Structural Integration (Hellerwork, Rolfing, Guild for Structural Integration, KMI, to name a few schools of SI).
Below is a video called Anatomy Continues by Karl Jacobs, Lecturer of anatomy at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and anatomist at Amsterdam Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, in which he describes anatomy in some interesting and novel ways. He points to some very interesting new, cutting edge thinking and research into fascia and connective tissue, which allows us very different and fruitful ways to reimagine the body, its structure, movement, pathology, and ultimately healthy functioning of the body.
See the section of the video starting at 17:34 about the gleno-humeral joint. From this I’ve been reimagining how the shoulder joint works and how to help my clients with Frozen Shoulder. When I think of the biceps brachii long head and the triceps brachii long head both attaching to the labrum forming a continuous structure not three separate structures it offers me avery different point of view. So, helping a Frozen Shoulder make some changes (structurally) might involve some fascial work on the biceps and triceps at the same time and focusing the work indirectly into and through the labrum and then on to the other side. What a wonderful way to mobilize the glen-humeral joint in a very different way. I’ll keep you posted on how it turns out.
Since these structures connect through the labrum in that way I can then offer my own shoulder and my clients some very useful new ways of thinking about how the glen-humeral joint and how it moves and how to keep it healthy. In addition to the biceps and triceps depressing and elevating the humerus, respectively as Karl Jacobs points out, I can imagine the biceps and triceps working together to encase, stabilize, and perhaps almost lift the humerus away from glenoid fossa (like a hammock). So a relaxed shoulder would want to move very differently than a slightly engaged biceps/triceps pair and again differently than a fully engaged biceps/triceps pair.
With similar thinking in the area of the menisci and joint capsule of knee and it makes me wonder about how the biceps femoris and semitendinosis might form a similarly related pair with the knee joint. Off hand it seems a bit far fetched, but I’ll have to look into the anatomy and maybe some dissection to find out more. But, if it did then perhaps there is a connection through the joint capsule or the menisci and causing a lifting of the femur off the tibia when both muscles are engaged, maybe freeing the knee joint or adding some sort of stability. The minimum it does is offer some differing ways of thinking about knee motion, limits, and stability. It changed my morning hike for sure. How fun.