- Look at the five layers of the body, (skin, superficial fascia, deep fascia, muscle, and viscera) in different bodies, to see which layer gives a body its shape
- Learn about the texture of each layer of the body
- Navigate through the body by looking at fixed (with formaldehyde) and unfixed (without formaldehyde) forms
It's an invitation to receive a new vision of the body. From my mind, integral anatomy is very much about adopting attitudes of appreciation towards every thing that we are. Your model of the body is defining your behavior in relationship to it, even today. To see the human form in this way is wonderful and engaging, and incredibly compelling. You're gonna learn more about anatomy for sure, although I will not overwhelm you with vocabulary.
The heavy vocabulary that often accompanies anatomical discussion tends to overwhelm and go in one ear and out the other. Now 'cause this is all about function. Instead of, regional anatomy is not about function. Regional anatomy is about naming. Categorization. Separation.
I'm not interested in merely objectifying the body but in engaging you in your own experience of your body. I punctuate the talks as well with poetry, and moments of inspired conversation. I'm suggesting to you that I don't care if you're skinny or chubby. I don't care what your shape is, that it's your shape, that you own it, that you enjoy it, that you decide how you want to live in that body that's your gift. And that you don't take all of your cues from a culture which has fads of body style.
Over the course of a century it's gonna tell you what's beautiful this week and what's beautiful next week, and you're out and she's in, et cetera. So I hope you enjoy the workshop and I'm thrilled to be able to offer it to you now through this format, online, where you can watch it in the comfort of your own home.
"I am floating freely, weightless. I am fluid in fluid. I am the union of two and the union of all and also something new.
I am one swirling in an ocean of pleasure. I have always been and I am always becoming. I am extending myself into the thick of it. I am dividing but not conquered. I enjoy movement and have no brain.
I stream and flow yet have no heart. I behold the very soul of my mother, yet I have no eyes. I am life coming into form. (breathing deeply) Breathing in, I am born without knowing how or needing to know how. (breathing deeply) Breathing out, I let go, I die.
I yield to the tide and the next inrushing wave of life freely given. I am embodied. I've come to play, to learn, to expand, to love, to serve. I've come to do so here and now in this place with these people. I am forming the habits of my mind.
I am awake in my choices. I claim my power as a shaper of mind stuff to experience the whole through this one fluid form." (breathing deeply) So my first slide here stands as an acknowledgement, and a statement. The acknowledgement is of the donors who sign up for programs and offer their bodies for study. I'm the beneficiary of those programs and you are the beneficiaries of those programs because you're gonna look at pictures of those forms and in doing so, be gifted, you will be gifted by their offering. And your learning and your experience and your transformation based on that viewing will be your gift back to them.
So these are like little monuments. Some of you might know Dave Kennedy too. (audience laughing) He's a rock stacker. And Dave taught me how to stack rocks years ago in Boulder, Colorado, he was visiting my home. We all went out to the canyon and stacked rocks and I learned something about balance, that balance does not require symmetry, all right?
So that our uneven anatomy, in it we can achieve balance. When we look for symmetry in ourselves, so try to impose it on another, as a practitioner, we run the risk of adding layers of tension and idealization upon ourselves and our clients. When in fact, you only got one big ass liver and it's over here. And as a consequence of that, you are having reflections of your, right, of your asymmetry throughout your form. When you are symmetrical, they put you on magazine covers, 'cause it just looks so damn weird that it catches your attention.
Thank you, Dave, for that extraordinarily beautiful, multifaceted demonstration of balance without symmetry. Is that not in every dimension, an extraordinarily beautiful demonstration of asymmetrical balance between the male and the female, the father and the daughter, the baby in her own right and the sky above and the earth below. It's an awesome picture. Integral anatomy is what I'm sharing. Integral anatomy, not regional anatomy Upon the shoulders of which I stand, I don't reject regional anatomy, I studied regional anatomy and learned a lot from it and also felt as I approached it, as a Rolfer, that something was missing.
Like there was a holism that I believed in that was lacking in the regional anatomical presentation and thought, well, if it's there why don't we talk about anatomy that way? So that's how integral anatomy developed. I'm not really all that great at remembering words and stuff like that. You know, you take my class, people think, "Oh, I have to study words." I don't really, I'm not that into the words. I'm into the texture, the feeling.
The stuff that was under my hands when I was a practitioner. The stuff that's under my hands every day as a human in form. So when you touch a person or you touch yourself, you contact this first texture and yet you can move it and know that there's other textures. And then if you're, say, a bodyworker and you put your hands on somebody and you're cruising your hands along the body and then you go to a place and what you're feeling is a change in texture. That's what attracts, attracts your hand is the change in texture, not some anatomical thing in there, you're attracted to the textures and so was I when I started doing dissection.
And then of course your client says, "Oh my God, you went straight to the, straight to my thing. Like how did you know that?" And they say, "Are you psychic?" And you say, "Ah, yes. (audience laughs) Yes, I am." (Gil laughs) (audience laughs) It's a tip jar by the door. (audience laughs) So then it's also then looking at, in dissection and then feeling textures and following textures and then what is the continuity of a layer. It's like, "Oh my God, this texture keeps on going." There are no regions in the body, there's no line here that says "End of arm. Start chest." (audience laughs) Instead we have this continuity of a surface that goes all through our bodies.
It goes from your hands to your feet, et cetera. So we can follow the continuity in integral anatomy and then also, what is the relationship of that texture to another texture? How do we get from thin, tough fabric into into gushy, amorphous something, into extremely organized, dense, thin, fibrous layer? How how do we get through it? From what?
So we can look at the relationships between textures, what are the transitional textures? We can look at the continuities. Ultimately though we're looking at the whole body and the whole person because any time that you've parsed out a single texture, you're already telling a story, right? Because this is a whole. So the moment that your mind zones in on any specific of the whole, you're no longer in reality folks, right?
So the moment my scalpel touches the body I've started lying. I started telling stories and I am extremely conscious of the fact that all I'm gonna do today is to help spin yarns around the campfire. Okay, don't take any of it too seriously. I could tell a whole different set of stories. Half of them, I could tell the opposite story.
And it also contain kernels of truth. Remember that when you're having an argument with somebody, all right, 'cause something about what they're saying is true otherwise they wouldn't be defending it, so you can diffuse the situation if you just listen for a minute to the truth in what someone's saying, even if it's the opposite of your model. You might find yourself squirming in your seat today with some of the stuff that comes out of my mouth. Well, it could be ridiculous and that's why you're squirming, okay? And also it could be because it disrupts the pattern that you're holding.
Well, that's okay if you think that's fun. So ultimately this is just a model, right and a model, we're gonna talk about models now. Models are very important to me. If I gave a six-day lecture, it would start with a half a day on models. If I gave one hour lecture, I'd start out with 10 minutes on models.
If I gave a day long lecture, I'm going to give you a few minutes on models. So some models are physical. There's a model. You ever take a cruise? You ever have the cabin steward sneak in there when you're off to breakfast, you come back and there's some objet d'art on your bed, a few towels and a little dot of blue paper?
What's with the trunk? What? (audience laughs) That's suggestive to me. (audience laughs) It's that vibration of the ship. It's the, so anyway, we don't. We know that's an elephant, right?
It's no mistake. Any child, any adult knows that's an elephant, just a few suggestive indications. Some physical models are very simple indicators. Sometimes those are the very best, the simplest models don't have anything to do with reality, models are not about the whole, they're about how our minds function. Here's a real fancy model.
I have this train in my bedroom, believe it or not. It's a historical piece from my great, great grandfather made this train a 19th century, it's a working scale model locomotive. You can put coal in it, a little engine and it'll go zzz, around the tracks. And it's a very beautiful, it's an extremely, but it's modeled on an engine that pulled Queen Victoria's coach but if you walked Queen Victoria up to that and asked her to squat down on it, she'd be pissed off, right? Because that's not a real train, all right.
It's a model of a train. So your models can be very simple. They get very sophisticated, no matter how sophisticated your models. Look at quantum physics. They spent the last hundred years building this uber sophisticated mathematical model, utterly ridiculous.
Okay, 'cause they just keep patching stuff into a patchy system. It becomes very complicated and still hasn't simply explained our universe. We model people as well, right. We're satisfied with the model. We don't really want the real person. That's scary.
My kids don't want to play with him. (audience laughs) Okay. But what, what if we were to look inside. Right? (audience laughs) So we want to look inside of our models and see what makes our physical models tick.
We need to get inside of ourselves a little bit, inside of our heads. Here's a clay model of a little, see her look, riding crop and our little riding jacket. And she's an English or she's got a blue ribbon too. Huh? That's wishful thinking. Huh? So my daughter makes models in clay and only she's very wonderful artist and she always selects just those details that will bring you somewhere.
You know, that's what good artists will do. Hers brought her a horse for birthday. How about that? Models are not just physical models though, right. Some of our models are conceptual. So it's, this is about language.
I got a PhD and not in anatomy, it's in philosophy and ethics. So I'm looking at "the body is". Whenever you predicate that's "the body is" and then what's the predicate. The body is something, whatever you feel, whatever your answer to that question is, and it may be different from day to day or hour to hour or profession to profession, as you move through your career, "the body is" that's your model. Okay? However you answer that question.
Now, if you open up a physiology textbook or average, you know, it's going to say the body is a machine, a machine, ultimately, right. They'll proudly claim a mechanistic model as the approach, which is going to put on display certain aspects of the human form and shunt others to the side. Okay and that's what models do they emphasize? So this is 19, whatever. 1930s, forties, whenever "The Wizard of Oz" came out.
We had a very simple man as machine model, but then we know we take it a little further and went, "Well, maybe I'm a machine but a fancy machine." Like we were talking about earlier, how complex is the model? Or maybe we get into, you know, Mr. Data, where have this, you know, ultra sophisticated model. And yet the whole premise of the character is that something is still missing. Something is missing and that, that bit that's missing that we know we have, and that he knows he doesn't, he's fully functional, but there's something missing. Right? St. Francis had a model of the body.
He called his body "Brother Ass". Okay. Body as mule. Now, if you had carried the entailments forward in your life that your body is a mule or "Brother Ass" or something, I know there's a difference between an ass or a mule but I don't know what it is. Okay, then what is it? It's stubborn, right?
It needs to be dominated, right? Made to submit to your will, et cetera. You can beat on the thing, it deserves it. Okay, this is what Saint Francis did. He was dead at 42 from his self-flagellation and self starvation.
He died on a, on the ground, naked, apologizing to "Brother Ass", realizing that he had beat that mule to death. So that's, you know, that was my model for a long time. But what if we took another religious model? The model is the temple of the spirit, right? If that were St. Francis' model of the body, he would have had a totally different relationship with it, right, so I'm wanting to point out how your model of the body is defining your behavior in relationship to it, even today.
So if my body is a temple of the spirit is something where I can become elevated, right. Or I can come into connection with a deeper, my deeper nature. It's not- I don't beat a cathedral into submission, right? I go there to be lifted up to become more connected, to feel something flowing inside of me. Or we can go to an energetic model altogether, right?
Thank you, Alex Grey for his beautiful images, which I will share sometimes in this show, I love Alex's images because they capture a certain energy and light about the body that I never get in a cadaver. (audience laughing) Right so I'm very conscious that the model that a cadaver is requires a variety of counterpoints to fill in the picture, of the whole person because this is an inquiry into the whole person, not into meat because naming meat to me is very boring. Okay and arguing about the names of meat is very boring, but I am very interested to be informed by the outrageous intelligence of this living stuff, which I recognize to be an order of intelligence that's different from the hamster running on the treadmill in my brain, and that the hamster running on the treadmill in my brain can be informed by the intelligence and wisdom of the body. If I'm having a model that acknowledges that such a thing is there, then I'll look to it for that. If this is "Brother Ass", I'm not looking to it for intelligent suggestions about how to live my life, right.
Or my health or anything like that. But if this is, you know, a place of spirituality and beauty, then I can look there to learn and be humbled before that intelligence, be co-creative with that intelligence, rather than just assuming I know something. My own personal model is a very simple one. The onion tree, okay. The onion tree, get it, onion tree.
I told you some simple models can be very powerful. I find this to be a very powerful model, the onion tree, 'cause it suggests to me the idea of layers, some papery, some juicy and the idea of branches. So when I approach to the human form, not from a regional perspective but from a textural perspective, I encounter a layer of texture of that onion. I notice that it's particularly thin, when I take away just that papery layer on the outside from my onion, I find myself into a juicy, fluffy layer, just like on an onion. But as I do, so I see all these little branches and things, and I'm like, "Oh, what is that?" "Oh, there is a tree going through my onion." And so then I just can follow the branches of that.
Cause it's a texture, right? The branching tree is a texture unto itself, that's distinct from the fabric that's overlaying the whole form. And so I can get these two things happening at once and that's how I dissect as, basically body dissection is sculpture, right? So you have to become familiar with a number of different medium, media, media to sculpt the human form. We are all body sculptors.
If you're here in form, you're sculpting a body, right. It's shaped like what you are, right and that's your sculpture. That's Ian. That's my son, Ian. And he's a boy, he builds towers. Why do boys build towers?
You put a ruler to it, you know, when I was 12, I always had the ruler out but I didn't really build towers. Anyway, he, he builds them to, well ultimately, just karate chop them, right. (audience laughs) That's why you build towers. So our models, this is a model, right? It's not a building, it's a model.
We have models. We tear them down. This is our object. As soon as soon as you build it, tear it down. Okay.
It's not about finding the next best thing to cling to. Right. It's re and then you've got it. Now you've concluded the truth. It's actually just to have another castle in the sand, come up and be washed away by the next wave.
But we can actually maintain a consciousness that permits for multiple models at the same time. It doesn't just have to be one thing. So I'm going to encourage you to play with the idea of models and to have a bunch of them, okay? I'm gonna offer you one today, you can add it to your pile. I'm not asking you to only think this way.
So a model is a functional simplification. The power of a model is in the fact that it serves, it helps you do something. Maybe it helps you do body reading. Maybe it helps you give therapy sessions. Maybe it helps you live your life.
It's a way to highlight some aspects and hide others. And we apply them consciously or unconsciously. Obviously the suggestion here is to recognize your models and to apply them consciously. Use more than one, you'll see more. The test of a model is not it's reality.
It is not reality. The test of a model is it's functionality and hold your good practices dearly. Don't think, "Oh, my model is wrong therefore my practice is wrong." You can have an awesome practice that you describe with the dumbest theory. Okay and people say, "Well, what did you do?" "How does that work?" And you're like, " Well...I...This gravity, you know?" Right? You'll tell some story about what you did. "Well, I was working on the external rotator of the such and such and there was a facet that was a little loose and I leaned into that puppy and it caused a nervous reaction and it all flowed into your successful feeling right now." "Cool. My shoulder feels great." So come on in. Don't be shy.
So the thing is that you might find that your story is, is really just poppycock, but your practice could be awesome. Ear candling, right? Put that ear candle in and you're burning. Maybe it is clearing your auric field, maybe it is, you know, but when the therapist cuts it open at the end and pours out this dust and tells you, "This is candida powder and that that's ear wax." And you tell them, "No, it's not. Put it under a microscope, it's not." But that doesn't mean it might not have made you feel better.
So it's not about, right. It might've made you feel better. I don't got a problem with that. I'm a pig and this is all the way to seduce you into my cult. No, I'm kidding.
(audience laughs) No, I'm not. This is a Anubis. This is one of Sarah's little sculptures, my daughter, and it was a present for one of my embalmer friends, one Christmas. I, of course, had to pay her to do that but. Very mercenary my children.
(audience laughs) So the art of embalming is an ancient art. And it is the art of turning human dead bodies into models of human bodies so that the cadaver itself is a model. Some people will say, "Oh, ah, and fresh tissue, is that better than dissected?" Bet you could tell by the way I said that, a little sarcasm and irritation in my voice, that I'm very conscious that a "fresh" dead body is not anymore of a person than an embalmed dead body, right? And in fact, because of its flaccidity, it demonstrates less of the turgor and tension of a regular body. It goes to liquid, right and it decays, very rapidly and changes colors and odors and textures quickly and it doesn't hold shape very well.
So there are advantages to embalming when it comes to dissecting whole bodies. So I actually though still enjoy what I learn from unfixed forms as well. So I have fixed and unfixed, male and female in our discussion here. So you can learn from each of them. It's like a slide in a biology laboratory.
If you don't fix and stain it, you're not going to see anything, literally. It's like that with deep fascia. If it's not fixed, it's translucent, you can hardly see it and it's horrible to try and photograph that stuff. But if you, if you embalm it, then it, it actually desiccates and becomes visible. It doesn't mean to say the tissue then this is just an artifact of embalming.
No, the tissue is there all along, but now it's visible to your eyes in the same way that the ultra structures of the cell become visible when you kill on stain that creature, right. So is it closer to reality? Further than reality? None of us, none of it's reality, right? But it is all interestingly indicative and we can put together the pieces and add them all together and build our sense of what we're looking at. They really know how to hang a door in England.
I was just like walking down the street in some obscure little town and this is just the one door of many along the streets. Look at our doors. Look at that door. I'm like, "What?" They're into doors over there. Anyway, so that stands as our laboratory door and we're about to walk through. I'm very conscious that when you enter a laboratory, you enter altered states of consciousness.
It just goes with the territory. Time does the weirdest things in the laboratory. We have a little, I've had classes stop clocks. I've made jokes about clocks in class and say, I go, "Oh the clocks don't work in the laboratory." The thing, frigging stopped ticking, you know, so... So weird.
So it's similar when you're in the middle of your yoga thingy or when you're in the middle of a session with somebody. Sorry. (Gil laughs) (audience laughs) That you have to cherish (Gil laughs) (audience laughs) and hold dear the people in your presence under those circumstances because they become subject to suggestion, right? So when you have people in altered states around you, that's it, that's your big chance to be nice. Alright, that's your big chance to be kind.
It's not your big chance to say, "Vote for Obama!" or something like that. (audience laughs) You know, they're in the hypnagogic state and you're rubbing their neck and you're thinking about the news. It's like, you're putting that in there. You know, you got to serve under these circumstances, you gotta serve, serve yourself, serve them. So we're gonna look at skin.
Skin in a laboratory. This form is an unfixed form. Meaning there was no embalming fluid and she'd been passed for about a week. She had died. She's about an 81 year old female.
We called her Flo cause she had kind of a flowing form. The only way in through the layers is through the skin. You have to look at the skin. Looking close up at Flo's skin, it just looks like your skin, it's not any different. If the temperature is off, right.
She came out of the fridge, there's moisture on the skin but it's the same sort of lines. What pulls the skin down like this is connective tissue fibers. The skin is an organ. What is an organ? It's a compilation of tissues. The named tissues in our body are always together.
We can only parse them out in our mind, right? So we have epithelium and nerve and muscle and connective tissues. Those are gross abstractions, right? Skin has all of that. Skin has epithelium.
It has a connective tissue basement membrane. It has vasculature and nerve tissue flowing through it. It has little, little hair stander-upper muscles, right? In other words, it has all the different tissues in composite for, to manifesting specific purposes. So skin is an organ and I emphasize that word organ a lot because for me, each layer is an organ under described by our regional style of anatomy that chops up those organs into bits and calls them stuff that's in the way, on the way to the stuff that's named, right?
But instead, if you look at the layer as a whole, at the texture as a whole, you can see each textural layer as an organ in itself. People will also, maybe you've heard someone say, "The skin is the largest organ of the body." Well, if it is, you are way skinny, right? Because probably your superficial fascia is a larger organ than your skin. And probably your muscle organ is larger than your superficial fascia or maybe not. It depends on your body type.
And then you can start to, right, go and ask questions about that. The only way to get into a skin in a laboratory is with a knife. I take a scalpel. As I said, the second I incise that tissue I've begun to make up a sculpture out of it, an art piece, that's going to be defined by my interests, by my instruments, by my intention. Not by what it is.
So what's this, this is kind of pale and it's kind of yellow. Okay, so you notice the yellow is stuck to the pale. Alright, so that's gotta be dissected away. It doesn't come apart except by a knife. So I take my knife and I scrape along the cut edge and I can leave one texture down here and flip the other back over.
So here we have the surface of Flo's skin, the deep side of the skin that I'm creating and then the superficial fascia underneath it, right. She didn't have a skin before I whipped out my scalpel blade. I'm making a skin. I'm skinning her, right. I'm creating a skin.
There was no skin here. We don't have skin, skin's made up. If I flip it over in a larger swath of a cloth, I end up looking at all these beautiful circles on the back. Huh? So if skin is anything, it's an omnidirectional, stretchy fabric, it has a texture, right?
No matter which way you yank it it just goes back. Well, depending upon your age, it might take a little longer. Bwarbwarbbwarbbwarb. (audience laughs) Or you might have edema or something that you press into and it doesn't rebound or something like that, right. You can have all sorts of pathological circumstances happening with your skin.
But basically this is a pattern you're going to see on skin connective tissue circles, like fibrous white circles. That's Sarah. She's unzipping her skin. You see her little tattoo that she drew on her leg. She's her father's child.
(audience laughs) Don't tell her that though, you'll lose her immediately. So the skin then is this a kind of a ephemeral, it's an ephemeral thing, right? How old is your skin? It's two to five weeks old. Right? We're constantly sloughing it off.
(skin sloughing) (audience laughs) Okay. It's floating right? The skin. Oh, I see over here. Yeah. That's great. See you look at it. Look in the light there.
You know what that is? Bruce. Give a little scratch. No, no, scratch yourself. Oh yeah, yeah. Now blow. Okay.
Alright. So I'm serious. This is the air we breathe folks. We're literally ingesting each other. I know, you're like, (coughs) "Oh my God, she was a live one." (audience laughs) So we're constantly, it's a cycle. Now you can all go Howard Hughes on me and like, put your gloves on and gas mask.
Once you know, these things, you can either run with it, right and be okay with that. Or you can not be okay with it or you can just choose to ignore it all together. I pay attention to it and I'm okay with it. That's an option. So skin, is an ephemeral substance and because it's ephemeral, we strike it with permanence.
It's very interesting to me how we take this thing that's always vanishing on us and that we are regrowing and then we tattoo it. We scar it. We pour inks into it. And I love that this was my, the most tattooed class I ever taught. I was like, it was like the "tat" class in Boston last year. And I was like, "Folks, I gotta take a picture of all your tattoos at once." And so all the tattooed people got undressed for me in a lab and showed off their stuff and they had a lot of fun.
So we are having a form that is ephemeral. And then, and then we're playing with it with our consciousness. I was saying that your body is your sculpture, right? So how are your choices affecting, shaping, contributing to your form, whether it be through something obvious, like drawing on it or something less obvious, like the choice of what you eat or how you move or who you hang out with or more subtly, what you think because what you think, shapes your body, very powerfully, very powerfully. Sarah is going to be, have a hundred percent tattoo coverage at some point, starting with her fingers.
So looking at Flo from above, you get a different sense of her form. She really wasn't that big, she wasn't that tall. She's maybe this tall, I figure. And we can say when we look at a body, when we look at any body, which layer is giving the shape? Is it the muscle layer that's giving the shape?
Is it the superficial fascia layer? Is it the bones that are giving the shape? Is it the organs? What's giving the shape? So we'll ask this question all throughout the day and we'll let it be something that you walk away with.
When you look at a person who comes into your office and you can say, what layer is giving the shape here? So I find that there are four shaping layers primarily and those would be superficial fascia, muscle, viscera, and bone. And that the other ones are more covering layers. The skin, the deep fascia, the membranes around the viscera, the periosteum, these are not so much shaping layers, unless you have a, you know, a scarred intrusion into your skin and then it gives this a shape that you might not have had previously. Whoop. We slipped, we slipped her out of her skin.
Okay. So there's Flo's skin, in one piece, we folded the back around. We tried taking pictures of her, Sally'll remember, she was there, Sally over there, my friend and colleague. And so we had the skin laid out but it was like too scary. So we tucked the back skin back under, cause it really has a grand breadth.
Right? So, so there, there you go. It's one thing, right? It can be made one thing, this texture and it's very, when it's not fixed, it's very sort of slithery, right? In other words, it's so supple and moist and flexible, just like our living skin. Here's a skin of a gentlemen he was maybe six foot two or something and that's fixed skin.
So you can see it has some more stiffer, leathery appearance to it. We couldn't really do that with Flo's skin 'cause it was like way too floppy. You know, we put the, we kind of shoved it towards the edge of the table and I went into blurb-blurb into a bag. But with his skin, it was like, you know, he had boots at the bottom. You could, it was fast.
It was very stiff, right, so that's the effect of embalming, but it gives us a different impression of the skin, which we could also even backlight. So if we, if we backlight the skin and I find that interesting because it tells me that I'm in a relationship with the light. Alright, because if I'm in the sunshine, this light is penetrating my skin. We know that there's biological effect to the relationship of skin and light and if it was going through the skin then it must be getting to the superficial fascia. So perhaps we could also investigate the relationship of superficial fascia to light.
All the frequencies don't pass through, certain of them are filtered out by the skin and others are not, so that the light penetrates our bodies and has an effect. I am very fond of Color Light therapy as a treatment modality. But also even then, what about our eyes? We're often having no skin over our eyes and we have an organ that's literally a window of light to the body, very interesting. Also the breath, right?
The air is charged with the light and we breathe it in and it passes all through our form. I'm fond of saying that the sun is the master gland, right? And so what is it to say? What is a body, right? If you define your body as something that's having as its boundary as your skin, you may be selling your body short, right? 'Cause maybe we are having larger aspects, right?
Stellar aspects to our form. Maybe we are not unrelated to the stars. Maybe they have, we know they have a biological effect. Why don't we count that as our body, we can expand our idea of what our body is, right, to include the sun and the moon, the moon pulling at the tides of the ocean. You think it's not pulling at you.
It is pulling at you. All right. We share organs is what I'm trying to say here, folks. All right. It's a model of the person to say that you are there and I am here.
Right but if we had, if we changed our conception of the body, we might acknowledge our, our mutual relationship to higher things, even in the physical form. Just something to think about. You know, your entire blood supply passes through your eyeball every two hours. So a municipal water purification system will virtually, always have ultraviolet light shining on the water to kill stuff, right. Or even, you can go to a hospital, they put the instruments in surgery, into a bath with ultraviolet light shining on it.
It kills stuff, ultraviolet light. So imagine then through the tiny capillaries of your eyeballs, your entire blood supply passing through and having the light as, you see the sun is part of your immune system, right? And it's killing off little organisms that are then devoured by the little goats in your bloodstream. There are no warriors in my bloodstream. I just have goats.
I don't have any killer T cells, folks. I don't like that model. I just have scavengers and goats. It's good enough for me. So just think about these ideas.
If you expand your idea of what your body is then you'll think more about how things are functioning then, right? If you limit the functionality to what's inside your skin, you will not understand how your body works. Oh my God, Sarah got the camera, took a picture of her father exposing his skin to the light. We're only naked if we wear clothes in our culture. It's another funny thing about skin.
We cover our skin. So when we're not covering our skin, we're scandalized and consider ourselves naked. If you never covered it in the first place, then that becomes your clothing, right? Your skin is your clothing. And that's another, like, what is skin?
Is skin clothing or is skin a scandalous sex organ? (audience laughs) Check in, in different cultures in some places skin is clothing and some places it's so clearly acknowledged as a scandalous sex organ that it's completely covered, right? They have to cover a completely 'cause everybody knows that's a sex organ. I don't want to look at it. Or I don't want him to look at her, et cetera.
I love Alex Gray, again, he does this sacred mirrors installation of artwork. So like eight feet tall and he goes through the layers of the body that and demonstrates them as like, yeah, a man, a woman, right? Not a naked man or a naked woman, just a man, a woman. I like that. He did a piece, he had about 130 of his friends just stand like this and just photographed them all and made it an installation in his studio and it was very beautiful.
I took my children to see it because it's very rare that you get to see the human body just like that. You go on a web and you can see it in all sorts of positions but that's because we don't see it normally, right. So the amplification of our interest in a body comes from our denial of exposure to it, right. Or our categorization of it as, as something taboo. Right? So then we have to seek it in dark places.
I say what we feel in the dark, we should show in the light. I love that image. It's a bunch of friends in a mud pool in Turkey, about 15 years ago. And I love it as a demonstration of the mutuality of the body and the sensuality of the skin and love in general. This fella here, Leben, was the teacher of our group.
He was a Turk. So he would bring groups to Turkey. He's still at Turk. (audience laughs) Once a Turk, always a Turk. What's your skin like? Silk scarves A construct.
Something we create that we're in relationship with. Is your skin a problem for you? Is it a pleasure? We're told every day, our skin is a problem, right? And then there's like a multi billion dollar cosmetics industry to fix that problem for us.
And we can go through each layer of the body and notice how we are offered to believe that is a problem. The body is a problem. The layers of the body are problems and that we can commodify the solution to those problems by selling, you know, products, gyms, all right. Just something to think about when you're asking yourself, what is my skin? What is my relationship to my skin?
Is it a positive one? Is it a negative one? When someone comes into your office, you might appreciate their skin. They might hate their skin. Can you lead a person into appreciation of your skin?
You have to start appreciating your own skin first, if you're so busy trying to fix your own skin, you want to help everyone else fix their skin. What is your relationship to the layer and what kind of a leader will you be? Because for, for my mind, integral anatomy is very much about adopting attitudes of appreciation towards every thing that we are. Because when you don't just approach your body with a favorite tissue, whether it be muscle or deep fascia or I'm into nerves or whatever, you know, you have your favorite tissue and then approach the world from that colored glass, you'll get a certain kind of practice. People who also want and are attracted to that layer will come to you and you'll play with them, and that might be fine, but if you want to have a deeper, more integrated experience of your life, of the body and to lead people in the same, you're gonna need to find aspects of appreciation for all of the dimensions that are there.
Many of which you don't even know are there. You might have a negative attitude towards one layer, and you may not even know one of them exists. You can bring it all into your consciousness and have a more full picture of yourself. So skin's a bunch of things. I have these word slides and then I typed it all out for you and handed it to you so that you didn't have to sit here, scribbling out this crap.
I used to not hand out the flyer thing and then I put words up in the whole room would go, "Oh, I remember those back in high school. Oh my God, the professor put words on the blackboard, I have to write them down." I was a graduate student for many years, for eight years at the University of Chicago. I could write with two pens at the same time, literally. And I would take notes with two hands to go quicker. Multicolored pens.
(audience laughs) I'm serious, it's freaky.
Stand for a moment. With permission, with permission, turn to the person next to you and touch their skin. Oh boy, I love this part of the class. So superficial fascia, superficial fascia.
How about that? So less superficial for Tom Myers, thank God for Tom Meyers. I took on the Rolfing training and he did the anatomy portion of the pre-training in 1991. And he kinda, he pointed out to us that there were these layers in the body and that's really what caught my attention and set me off to explore the layers for the next bunch of years. And he said, there was this fascia, this superficial fascia.
I said, " What's that?" When I first dissected on my own in a laboratory with a couple of friends, we were, didn't have a sense of, we knew there was a layer there, didn't know how to dissect it but still, even though we couldn't get the skin off in one piece like we did with Flo, we could still get it off in chips and see underneath it this yellow substance. Ah, that's my son, Christopher. He loves to dress up, he's a Hedley. He likes the English hats. There's very much a sense of costume.
I mean, maybe the body is a costume and we can swap out our costume, all that we like and be who we choose. We can tell a story with the costume that we choose. My kids are like totally into Halloween. They start in August preparing for Halloween. Anyway, they're into anime, obviously, that sort of thing.
Chris though, that was the boy you saw with the eight foot sword. Chris I sort of called him "superficial fascia boy". And this was Easter '09, okay and you see those cute little cheeks and he was dying Easter eggs. Christopher just got into eating at this point. And if you brought out the potatoes he wanted not seconds, but thirds, Christopher got into his head that what it meant to eat was to feel like you were going to explode.
(audience laughs) And so look at this Easter '09. What is that? March. April. All right. This is July '09. Okay. So that's the same kid. I'm telling you, he went crazy.
And at this point he was still happy, he was having a good time but he couldn't out run his little brother anymore, he couldn't move. He got on a scale, he weighed more than his uncle. He was distressed. He's like four 11 in his picture and he's, I don't know, 11 years old. So he wanted help. So we went on a program.
The program was eat less, move more. (audience laughs) Okay. With one basic eating principle, which was instead of eating, instead of considering the meal being done when you feel like you're going to explode, the meal is done when you're not hungry anymore. That was the eating principle. Okay. So we're going to go from mid July to Thanksgiving.
The eating less changed the weight. There's a comparison shot. So. Oh, that was a little further along. Yeah, that shot was past the Thanksgiving shot a little bit.
Now he didn't stop eating or growing. So here's Chris a couple months ago at 205 and 5'10". All right. He's a big boy. And again, he was like, "Dad, I hit the wall again." We skipped the exercise and just ate less, a lot less, but you'll see his frame is, he has a big frame so here he is 20 pounds less. And then he lost another 10 pounds.
So there's Chris, the incredible transforming young man. And you can tell he loves posing his underwear, just like his old man. (audience laughs) So my basic principle with my sons is to get them to the place where they can kick my ass. That's my goal. He still can't do it, but it's a lot. It was hard to manage that 205 I weigh about 135 to 140 and so I could still kick his ass though but not for long, not for long.
He's very much into costumes. He liked those horns. Sly devil, he's a Hedley. So Mr. Agape is the next one. You've met Flo, she was an unfixed female form at 81 years old.
This is a male form, fixed, maybe 75 years old. Totally different morphology, huh? So when you look at his body and you say, "What layer is giving the form, it's lines?" It's different than Flo, right? Flo's lines were coming from her superficial fascia. We're going to see that in greater detail in the next several, this is a collection of slides, but we'll start with Mr. Agape's superficial fascia and you can see that when you remove his skin, his body has the same basic shape.
And it's covered in this yellow substance, which if we zoom in on it, we can see at his chin here, like, the flecks of beard that are rooted into the superficial fascia. Have you ever yanked the hair so bad it comes out with a little glistening bit of yellow on the end of it. Okay. So that's your superficial fascia. My son, Ian, got a cut right here, a little boxers cut. It was quite a cut.
Normal person would have taken him to the hospital and gotten stitches. I taped him back together. But as we were, as we were sitting in front of the mirror and he looked at his face in the mirror and could see this giant gash over his eye, he said, "Daddy." I said, "Yeah, honey?" He said, "Is that my superficial fascia?" (audience laughs) Five years old? It was a beautiful thing. I was like, "Yeah, sonny, that's your superficial fascia." You can see that the organization of superficial fascia, is more amorphous than the skin. Right? And if we look closely, we see lobular bubbles, right?
It's like bubble wrap with lobular forms, of lipids that are encased in kind of connective tissue. Superficial fascia is a connective tissue. Okay. It's a connective tissue with variable adipocyte deposition. Connective tissue has cells.
Adipose, adipocytes are connective tissue cells. They're also endocrinal. And they proliferate deep to your skin in variable depth from different areas of your body and different times of your life and from person to person. If we're down by the lower leg on Mr. Agape and I incise of the superficial fascia, you can see it's very thin and yet it has integrity, it's like a fabric. What gives it it's fabricy quality is that matrix of collagenous fiber in which those adipocyte are proliferating.
So there's fat in the connective tissue. That's the English version of that mouthful. Okay. And it has tensional integrity. It has nerves running through it.
It has veins and arteries running through it. It has lymphatic structure, a lot of lymphatic structure and all of these things together with structuring matrix that is the encasement of the lipids form a fabric of great integrity. It's like a fleece. It's like a, you have a yellow fleece on you, like a polar fleece. It extends over almost every surface of the form in fatty content, except at the genitals where you can see there's no superficial fascia over the scrotum.
Instead it merges into the dartos layer, which is a muscular scrotum scruncher muscle in the same layer. Or your eyelids. There's no fatty deposition in your eyelids, in your labia major, in your ear lobes, in your nose. So there are certain places where there isn't fatty deposition in the superficial layer, but exceptions prove the rule you're covered in a fatty layer. Here we are at the belly of Mr. Agape.
If I incise it and lift it up, right, just like I incised the skin here, I make an incision into the superficial fascia. I let my scalpel drop down to the depth of the next texture, the fibrous layer, the deep fascia here, right? I scraped my blade along the deep fascia and lift up the superficial fascia off of it. When I do so I expose cotton candy. The cotton candy is an artifact of me stretching the tissue.
Because remember at the very beginning, I said, what is the relationship of the layers? The relationship of skin to superficial fascia is very fibrous. I have to cut it with my knife every bit of the way. With the superficial fascia in relationship to the deep fascia, I can sometimes use my hands and push it away. But what am I pushing away? What am I breaking through?
I'm breaking through what I would call filmy fascia and filmy fascia is ubiquitous in human form. It's all over the place. It's a transitional layer that gets me from a fatty adipose deposition to fibrous, UPS strapping tape, deep fascia. (audience laughs) In between it there's a filmy layer, which has moisture and slip-ability. It's the slip factor here.
You feel that? You see that? What's sliding when you do this is your skin and superficial fascia over your deep fascia, through that filmy cotton candy. If I lay the tissue back down, as it belongs, then all those cottony fibers come back together again in a moist layer and that becomes the principle of movement in your body. Forget about muscles. I mean, they're great.
But if the muscles couldn't slide in their fascicular, relative to each other, you'd just be a block, right? So there's contractility in the muscles but the muscles are contracting over a sliding surface, which allows there to be slip and therefore play and therefore movement and that's true all over your body. Whenever you have movement, you're having the movement. There's no space. There's no air in there, right. So the movement is a function of the distensibility of the cotton candy.
No, 'cause it's not two layers hooking into each other in a way that fixes them together. There's no slippage in Velcro, hopefully, right? That's the whole point of it is to fix the location. Right? So Velcro is operating with hooks into it. Like a hook, kind of like for an insect, like a hook into cotton, so it fixes and it's doesn't go anywhere.
This is quite different than that. This is more like a loose, areolar array of collagenous fibers in what appears to be a chaotic organization, okay. But in virtue of its chaotic organization, it can distend in different directions, okay. But not infinitely. So as certainly as that cotton candy, filmy fascia permits movement, it also at some point locks it out.
So you can go somewhat, but not so far. If I'm standing here, my skin doesn't go blurb-blurb and end up around my ankles, right. So there are limits to the playfulness of filmy fascia. I'm gonna change the word now and call it a fuzz. 'Cause y'all know me as this fuzz guy, right?
So we'll call this the fuzz and what I'm wanting you to understand is that the fuzz, wherever it is, belongs there, it's part of our body. It's a function of our movement. And then the question is, is it optimally distensible?
Stretchy. Stretchy, okay. Right. So how playful is it? Is it too playful? Has it gone crazy? Is it sloughing off or does it not move at all?
I had a friend and a client. He was a, had been a, have a skin graft from his hips up, a hundred percent, right. All of this arms, all the way from this, all of this was grafted from his legs. So consequently he had short skin. Skin that didn't cover, his limbs were bent and sometimes it was stuck.
So we'd do a whole lot of this. A whole lot of stretching in different directions to try and restore the fuzzy, moist playfulness of the skin and superficial fascia's relationship to what was beneath it. Sometimes I worked him so hard I poked holes in him, you know?
Yeah. It was effective. He was actually a drummer, a professional jazz drummer and it helped him get more extension in his arms and just movement, in life in general. So here we have, Mr. Agape's superficial fascia with the fuzz torn away, dissected. We're creating a layer of superficial fascia and deep fascia as if there was nothing between them. That's a lie, you know what's between them.
Fuzzy, filmy, fascia, which is fluid and distensible. Anatomically, what's the name for the fuzz? Sometimes, it depends on the location, sometimes we'll call it epimysium or perimysium. Sometimes we don't call it anything at all and so when I came to it in the body as a dissector, without a whole lot of knowledge and a whole lot of book knowledge, I was like, "What is it that?" At first I wasn't sure it belonged there. (audience laughs) Right?
In other words, was that, was that a pathology? Was this a disease process? It seemed that if I could pull it up and pass my finger through it, it was very ephemeral. I couldn't have been there for very long. Maybe it grew there recently or something.
I didn't understand that there was a layer that was under described in a body, right? This filmy layer, because it's quite complicated. It's not everywhere under the superficial fascia that we find a filmy relationship. Sometimes the superficial fascia is fixed into the deep fascia. Sometimes it's filmy.
This is true all over the body. Sometimes we'll have a slidy relationship between muscle tissue. Sometimes they'll both be fixed into a fascial septum. So these, these details of anatomy that don't make it into the book. So you find when you're doing dissection, then you're left to start telling stories to explain it to yourself.
The story I originally told about this tissue was, was as I came to it as a Rolfer, as I mentioned. So to me, that was what I was busting up with my hands. I was making it go away with my hands. My idea was that I was supposed to turn the body into a set of silk stockings, that metaphor in my mind, conjured the entailments of independent units. I didn't really understand that there's no independent unit in the body and that it wasn't my job to create independent units in the body.
There are no independent units in the body. There's a continuity of textures transitioning from one to another in ultimate, ubiquitous, perpetual relationship of a whole. The thing about skinning a chicken is that the fatty layer comes off with the skin. You go straight to your deep fascia and as you pull the, as you pull, when you're skinning the chicken, you're busting the fuzz. If that chicken were dried out and you pulled it, you'd see the cotton candy because it's wet, you don't see the cotton candy.
When it's dry, you see the cotton candy, The cotton candy is there, whether it's wet or dry. Some people will say, "Oh, that's just an artifact of embalming." I'm like, "Hell no. It's not an artifact of embalming." Because if you look really closely at the wet stuff and you pull it apart nicely, you can see the fuzz. I got lenses on my cameras. I can zoom in and I can see the fuzz but it's a wet fuzz. So it looks different.
Wet fuzz looks different, right? But wet fuzz is closer to what we have. But if you look at Guimberteau's beautiful videos, right, you know, Jean Claude Guimberteau's a hand surgeon, he takes pictures of the "Strolling under the Skin". It's a beautiful video, I encourage you to watch it, but what you're looking at is an artifact of dissection, Right? He has pulled the body apart, slip the camera in there. When you're seeing those tissues dancing in front of your eyes, you're seeing them desperately trying to hold onto the tension that was torn, right?
In other words, they're basically being torn apart and you're witnessing their destruction, okay. It's not a bad thing because we can learn from that so long as you know what you're watching. Your tissues aren't doing that underneath, they're not dancing very much. So it's always about how do we get from a fluffy, fatty areolar layer? You get to a point where you transition to the place where there's like, no adipocyte deposition and yet it's still fluffy stuff.
And then that fluffy stuff, add a lot of movement and then it changes from a chaotic organization into an extremely specific kind of angular organization. And I would say that any time you see any tissue, you can assume that it's gonna have multiple functions, always multiple functions. And I am always including, in the multiple functions of whatever tissue layer we're looking at, communication, right? Because if it's impaired, you're gonna have a loss of communication. Whether that communication is because it's facilitating a nerve transmission, maybe it is, it probably is but that's not the only way it needs to communicate.
We communicate through, you know, tensional forces. We communicate through electromagnetic forces. We communicate through chemical signatures. We communicate through vibrational tone. All of these are means of communication that are inherent to all the tissues.
This is very much visible in our form. If I do something as simple as this, right? I make a muscle, right? I can see, I can see my skin going in one direction and my muscle tissue going in another direction. That muscle slides underneath the deep fascia, through those, through the fuzz, to the tailor stitch, the superficial fascia slides over the deep fascia and they can be going in different directions at the same time.
The deep fascia is in between them as, like, a fixed point relative to which other stuff moves. Here, I've made a big sheet of it and then backlit it over Mr. Agape's belly. While I was doing this, I thought, "Would it be possible to do the whole body in one big sheet?" And I explored that a few months later. I got a lot of pictures of backyards, that was in New Paltz in New York and it was looking very much like fascia to me. This is cadaver number three, she's a fixed female.
Okay. She's about the same age and height as Flo. If I remove her skin, we see her superficial fascia. Is her form being given by her superficial fascia? It's very different than Flo.
Flo had the rolling, right, the rolling form. That's indicative to me of superficial fascia layering. Right? When I look at her form, I see sort of turgor. A cadaver has like five to 10 gallons of fluid pumped into it. They blow up like water balloons, literally.
So she's been sort of blown up a little bit. She's also an old grandma. So look at her superficial fascia and you can say how much depth is there to the superficial fascia of her belly. You saw the depth of Mr. Agape's belly, superficial fascia, hers was about the same. You see, we're looking at her viscera kind of expanding into space.
This is a presentation of viscera defining the lines of the body. See that's her with her superficial fascia removed. She's deflated. Right? And she still has a certain roundness to her tummy shape, even though it's deflated now, but it's had superficial fascia removed to the depth of about a half an inch. That's all.
And there she is laid out next to her superficial fascia. Okay. So there's deep fascia woman lying next to superficial fascia woman. Okay and what to my mind, an elegant shape that is on a table there, the superficial fascia layer dissected in itself as an organ of form, as an organ in its own right. What are its functions? When we acknowledge a layer, which has its own muscle cells, its own epithelium lining, the vasculature, its own nerve tissue, its own connective tissue, it's own specialized functions.
We don't ask the question, "What are the specialized functions of the superficial fascia?" if it's chopped up in hunks, in a bucket, all right. We have to dissect it as a thing, as a something, to be able to work it into our brains enough that we can ask the question, "What's it for?" And it's a very sophisticated organ. "What's it for?" It's a giant lymphoid organ. It's replete with lymph, it's vacuuming toxin out of your body and storing it for you because you can't process it and you can't eliminate it. So it stores it for you.
Don't say, "Oh, fat's bad 'cause it's full of toxins." No fat's good because it was full of toxins. It's full of toxins because you keep eating toxins. (audience laughs) Right? And it's a homeostatic function saving you from yourself and your environment. Thank it. Don't curse it.
Thank it. What else is it? Don't we just love rubbing up against that stuff? It's a big sex, organ. I love rubbing up against that stuff.
I'd love to hug that stuff. I love to snuggle that stuff. It's wonderful. Doesn't that look like her wedding dress? Right? As you can see, this is a grandma, over on the right but look, she's this svelte young lady, over on the left.
Look at her figure, right? That's the figure of her superficial fascia woman. It's the same figure that she had when she was 20, I bet. Right? But the other things in her body changed from childbirth and aging and et cetera.
What else? It's a big endocrine organ. It's in complimentary relationship with your pancreas, your pancreas stores, right, sugars as fat, insulin and glucagon. You have white and brown adipose tissue in this layer that are designed to store and burn fat. The white adipose stores, the brown adipose burns. It's an organ of metabolism, right?
It's an organ of metabolism. Okay. We have issues with this layer in our culture. We have entire industries built up around it. Like we have around the skin. Okay. We're attempting in our culture to defeat this layer, to eliminate this layer.
We go to the supermarket and we see banners on products that say low fat, no fat. That's a moral statement, meaning good, in our culture. You're supposed to eat that. Actually it's brilliant marketing because if you take all the fat out of one product and sell it to you again in another product, right? Then you get to sell the same shit twice.
(audience laughs) Absolutely, there are many therapies that are based on superficial fascia. First thing to make it better is to love it. You have to fall in love with superficial fascia. I assure you that when you fall in love with superficial fascia and recognize its properties and its advantages and the service that it does you in your life, then with that shifted attitude, you'll establish a different relationship with it. If you don't have a hateful relationship with something, it will transform.
If you have a loving relationship with it, you might not, you might decide you don't need as much of it and you might decide you need more of it. It depends on your own personal morphology. I grew that layer. I didn't have it at all. So I grew it. I'll show you pictures. I un-grew it but that's another story.
But all I'm saying is that you want to transform your relationship with this layer? Start with appreciation, snuggle up to it, fall in love with it. And then think about how, what kind of choices you will make from that loving state, in relationship to your body. You might make the same choices. You might make different ones.
But if you have antipathy towards it and people come into your office, into your practice, into your yoga room, into your whatever and you hate that layer yourself? You'll teach them to hate it. I love that. Do you notice this is a, this is Renoir's "The Bather". Do you see we, if I dissected her, I'd get the same fleece.
This is Flo being dissected. Okay, I'm dissecting Flo. I want you to see, she had maybe two inches thick of superficial fascia on her belly. I had to kind of paddle my way down through it to find the deep fascial layer and that's what I'm doing. I'm taking my scalpel and I'm gently passing it through the superficial fascia in a way that gets me to the next texture, which is going to hit my scalpel tip like a rrttt, like a little scratching, a different feel to it, right?
This is extremely soft stuff. If you've ever hugged a person who is abundant in their superficial fascia, it's like hugging a cloud. (audience laughs) It's very nice. Potentially, actually this layer can get hard to, right? So in other words, it depends, it really depends on the person.
I'm going to qualify what I just said. So I'm working my way through the superficial fascia to find the deep fascia, that kind of fun to watch the dissection happen. Right? I just use my scalpel like a paddle and I brush it along. So I just poked a tiny little hole on the deep fascia there. And then as I-
The superficial fascia contains adipose in, in different levels of abundance. There's a little blood vessel. One of those perforating vessels coming up from the deep, passing through the deep fascia, right through the filmy fascia, into the superficial fascia. And we've got to feed it and drain it with blood vessels. Get it? Onion tree.
The deeper we go in the onion, the bigger the branches of the tree get. Just like on any tree. It gets small at the periphery and gets bigger towards the trunk. You can see the stranding of those tailor's stitches you mentioned. You see that.
What else do I find in here? See if you pay attention to texture, while you dissect, then you're going to run into stuff that's different. So right here, boom. Look at that. I just popped over something. You see how that fat has a different texture.
That's a wee little hernia at the base of a set of stitches, Right, that's peritoneum sticking through encasing visceral fat that's poking through. It's a different layer.
So here she's halfway out of her superficial fascia. I was just. Now she's gone. There's her superficial fascia all by it's lonesome. It weighed 53 pounds, 53 pounds is, sounds like a lot, but it's really not that much.
There's big people out there, 53 pounds isn't that much.
About three hours. She had a little, like, a chemo port there. You can see her general morphology is retained in the layer. The layer has integrity. It maintains its own structure.
Even when it's not embalmed as is the case here. Cool. Huh? You'll never look at clouds, (audience laughs) the same again. Welcome. Welcome to my world. (audience laughs) Okay.
The oldest sculpture in the world, 35,000 years ago, they had a different relationship to superficial fascia than we do now. Those are big boobs. (audience laughs) Here's "Diana the Huntress". You see the master, the master painters understood superficial fascia and were in a culture that appreciated superficial fascia in a way, completely different than the way it has been problematized in the last a hundred years in this country. Or even more specifically in the last 60 years.
This is Gauguin's "Suzanne Sewing". Look at this mom comfortably sitting there naked in Fiji doing her sewing, with her mom body. Very comfortable. Okay. This is a Sun-Maid Raisin lady in 1935.
Okay, nice Italian lady from California. This is how she was portrayed on the Sun-Maid Raisin box. Nice full breasts, rosy, chubby cheeks and full arms. Okay. Then we hit the age of celluloid.
The Sun-Maid Raisin lady in the 1950s. Okay. What did they do? They changed her body morphology. Now she's represent, this is the new representation of beauty, right? Let's keep, this is what I would call the problematization of superficial fascia in our culture.
Let's go on. Here's the Sun-Maid Raisin lady in 1970s. She's getting skinnier and here she is, here she is today. Okay. So we've come a long way, baby.
It's not just, I'm not trying to get off on the Sun-Maid Raisin company. I love Sun-Maid Raisins, okay, as good as the next guy, what I'm trying to point out though, is the shift in the representation of the human form over a century, right? Which is not exclusive to that company, but all through our culture. Here's Columbia Pictures' torch lady, in 1930s. Look at her hips, look at her breasts, look at her cheeks, look at her arm.
Just take in that form so we can compare it. Look at the way her, her dress clings to her body. And her body gives us a shape of the flowing curved lines. Right. And we go to the fifties.
Okay. She's trimmed down a bit, huh? That was a representation of an ideal of beauty. And here she is today, okay. I'm serious. That's the new, that's the torch lady for Columbia Pictures today, I didn't make this up and look at how now her knee sticks out out because otherwise she's just like wearing a curtain, right.
and there's no shape to her body anymore. Her body doesn't count so much as the representation of beauty. There's a cloth draped over her and she has to stick her knee out to give shape. So it's the bone and the muscle morphology, her sternocleidomastoid are popping out like cores on her neck as if this is an ideal of beauty. You can't look at a magazine cover that doesn't have like sternocleidomastoid.
They put extra shadow from Photoshop to make sure that. (audience laughs) It's bizarre. Okay. Why? Because our attention has gone to the muscle layer. We look for the muscles as the representation of the ideal body, rather than looking to the superficial fascia layer as the representation of the ideal body.
I'm suggesting to you that I don't care if you're skinny or chubby, I don't care what your shape is. That is your shape, that you own it, that you enjoy it, that you decide how you want to live in that body. That's your gift. And that you don't take all of your cues from a culture which has fads of body style and over the course of a century is going to tell you what's beautiful this week and what's beautiful next week and you're out and she's in et cetera. So forget about that.
If we're gonna mature in relationship to our culture, we have to take a stand for our own body's beauty for our appreciation of it, right and then let the culture go on alongside of us saying what it will, to the masses at large. But you don't have to take it, right, because you may be coming into fashion and you're going to be going out of fashion. This is my niece and she's a beautiful, full figured gal and is very comfortable with her body, maybe. And has, what could I say? Rejected the family standard to lose weight.
Because she likes wearing a bikini on the beach and going surfing. She's good with, you know what I'm saying? She doesn't feel like she too much. She feels like she has her body and she loves her body. So all the things, she's also an incredible artist.
She's the one who did the, the sculpture of the little wire guy. And she does other sculptures too. If she did not have an appreciation of her superficial fascia layer, do you think she could have made that? Right? There's a bronze over clay of this like tree lady. And like this kid gets in her art, all that I talk about without having to say a word, I love her and her art.
Isn't that awesome? So beautiful. And that is not art. That is a chunk of fat, right? It's from the "Anatomical Charts Catalog", right? You could buy a pound of fat. It's a chopped up blob.
You pay X many dollars for it. You put it in your office to discuss to people. (audience laughs) The exclusive purpose of this toy is to inculcate disgust, for the fatty layer, in the people who look at it. I think we should question that. I think that the "Anatomical Charts Catalog" should be selling beautiful fleece costumes, of Venus Mary with voluptuous breasts and hips that we can all wear.
(audience laughs) Alright. So which demonstration would be one that inculcated appreciation, right? That's all on all I'm asking here. So if you've ever purchased this thing, throw it out or reinterpret it as, as what it is, as an antibody thing. I can cut the body ugly too.
I could make you all vegetarians in minutes by cutting the muscle layer in a bloody chunk and handing it to you and say, "This is meat!", you know? Or I can make it a very elegant, beautiful steak and put a soy sauce on it, you don't go crazy for it. You can use the word again but you're going to, you're going to redesign the entailments of the metaphor, right? So that "fat" means to you a kind of connective tissue with endocrinal and lymphatic intelligence apart from which we cannot live and which we all carry in different proportions at different times of our life and in different areas of our body and from sex to sex. And we can, we can, we can rehab.
I've called, I said, for myself, for the last 19 years, I'm trying to rehabilitate fat, right? Our conception of it. But rather than chucking it out the window altogether, as a word, we can reclaim the word. Words change. We can change it some more. Fat.
When I worked in a soup kitchen in North Carolina, and that was the bit that people were asking me to fish out of the pot. You know, in other words, the fat 'cause there's a richness, it used to mean rich. It used to be a sign of wealth. It was the good part of the food, et cetera. It's the nutritious part.
We want women who have fat here and here but not here and yet it's one layer. There's no place on that Venus Mary thing, that beautiful whole body wedding dress where you can say the breast ends, it's all the same layer, right? So it's an impossible, ideal to place upon a woman, the demand to be cut here and still have that there. Now there are some bodies that will represent that, by luck of the bell curve of human form, right? So that you will have the six pack and the breasts, but most people just get rid of all the fat and then install the breasts later.
(audience laughs) You put them back in, you had to eliminate them to get the look and then you go and buy them back. (audience laughs) That's true. She didn't do that. Right. She got to keep hers. There's a lot of words there but they're all on your thing.
"No thing is made sacred by being set apart, separated, hallowed, no one becomes Holy from adulation pomp or prayer. What clump of this or a lump of that, what bits of flesh or outcast does not hail directly from the same precious source of holy waters and holy men, Flesh too aches from the divine stirring within and the scraps flung to dogs, turn to light and scat alike, all beyond comprehension. Perfect. The sacred stuff is all, every yearning, star and burr, the exalted and the lowly, songs, cries and moans, the fleeting and the lasting. Every one, a turning wisp of smoke, rising from the altar burned sweet, holy and acceptable." Adrienne asked to help me out on a couple of dissections.
And she, she came scampering up to a table, at a conference, in this shirt and I had to take her picture, look at that smile. She loves fascia! (audience laughs) Deep fascia. So we're talking about what about that word "fat" and using the word superficial fascia. I do choose very consciously to introduce the idea of superficial fascia, create a relationship of it with our conception of fat. Not all fat is superficial fascia.
Some fat is deeper in a body and we call it different kinds of fascia. Subserosal fascia is the fat around the kidney. When we start employing the word fascia in relationship to the fatty tissues, it opens our mind to other entailments of metaphor by where we can have a broader understanding of them. Deep fascia, however, is quite different than a superficial fascia. We don't find fatty deposition in deep fascia.
Like the filmy fascia, we have a diminishment of the deposition of adipocytes. You can have some fatty deposition in filmy fascia, but it's not it's character primarily. Whereas the deep, deep fascia even more particularly seems to exclude the proliferation of adipocytes in favor of a very strictly organized arrays of collagen fibers so that we get actual grids in the tissue. Here's Mr. Agape. Agape, by the way, is a Greek word.
It means love in a large sense. The word Eros also means love but in a more sexual sense. And Agape is love in a sort of expanded sense. And when I was doing this dissection, I spent... I spent 26 straight days with this particular form.
Sometimes 17 hours in a day, I would wake up at 1:30 in the morning, I would be in the laboratory dissecting at 3:30 in the morning and I would leave there at around 6:30 at night. I would drive home, about 45 minutes, spend 15 minutes eating and reading stories to my children in bed where I'd fall asleep until 1:30 and then repeat and I did this for a month. On the way down there, obviously I was in a psychotic condition and I would sing that song from Godspell, "All good gifts surround us" and just weep all the way to the lab, thinking about what this guy was offering. So skin, superficial fascia. What if we remove that yellow layer and we, the deep fascia?
So the deep fascia, okay. He's fixed, right? There's a certain white opaque quality to the deep fascia that we see evident in his form, which has been most, mostly scraped, right, of its superficial layer. We've got a scrape it, you get in a sense that this stuff doesn't, it doesn't come off like, woo. It's not like a deer on human beings, you know, on a deer, when you're going, you're skinning a deer and you cut, or a chicken or whatever, right.
It comes right away very easily because it has a more universally loose relationship. Whereas ours is fixed in certain places. So it doesn't come off so readily and you have to scrape. Get up close at the tensor band of the fascia lata of the deep fascia of the leg here. We get that classic "strapping tape" look to the deep fascia although we see multiple directions in the fiber, right?
So we see fibers that go in this direction, right, and then we see ones in perpendicular to that and then we see like rippled banding in the tissue, which is like kinks in the fabric, right? That's particular to his form or mine, if you touch me. As a Rolfer, I felt responsible to iron that out. (audience laughs) To strip that away. To drive my arm down it. Folks are getting more subtle than we were 20 years ago.
But I'm fascinated by the regularity of the layment of the fibers in the deep fascia, which is exceedingly predictable. And in many areas it's at a 90 degree angle. All right. And in another areas it's at like 78 degree angle. That's the organization of it.
I'm not going to say a whole lot about it, except to say that it's predictable. You can tell your own story. I didn't go out in New Paltz, it's freezing in that town in the winter. This is in my backyard, the place with the big fascia sky, and I saw this little, a cake of ice, the water had evaporated out from underneath a puddle overnight and left to the sheet of ice that looked a hell of a lot like a fascia lata to me. Because you see the body is a liquid medium and demonstrates in its form, all of the motions of fluids but at a different rate, right?
It flows at a different rate than water coming out of the tap. And yet this properties of the fluid remain in the tissue and are represented in its shape. So we're going to see in the deep fascia, the artifacts of ourselves as water forms. So you saw Mr. Agape's deep fascia. Here's Flo's deep fascia.
What's the difference? There's bits of yellow all over it. This is an incomplete dissection. Where you asked us how long it took us to do it and we just, we said three hours. Well, I spent a lot more time scraping down, Mr. Agape, than I did with Flo. He was embalmed. She was not.
If the tissue isn't embalmed, you don't have time. You've either gotta get rid of it or put it back in the fridge. And so doing a quick job to create that Flo's 53 pounds, superficial fascia fleece involved, not perfectly scraping down the deep fascia of her leg and it demonstrates to you that there is fixedness and relationship and vessels that flow into it and that when you just tear it away abruptly, then there's going to be remnants, right? 'Cause it's not, they're not exceedingly independent things. So I like pictures of half done dissections because it gives you a sense of the relationship there.
That's some clouds out my hotel room in Louisville, Kentucky when I was giving this talk there a couple of years ago and I recognized Mr. Agape's thigh in the sky. (audience laughs) So remember I had incised it down by the lower leg and flipped it down and shown you the superficial fascia at it's edge. This is that particular dissection process and you can see that I'm just using my thumb, at that point, to push the superficial fascia away. I can bust through the filmy fascia with my fingers. You know, it was from that impression that I could dissect the body manually when I started doing this as a Rolfer trying to improve my practice.
I wanted to Rolf the cadavers apart. All right. That was my metaphor, right. That was the idea that I brought to my practice was that I was separating tissues. So naturally when I went to the dissection lab as a practitioner, with that metaphor, I carried it to the cadaver and tried to take it apart by hand and that worked really well down at the lower leg and I could make a beautiful dissection there. But then when you get to a place where it's not in the same kind of relationship, which I didn't know what the relationship was throughout the body, I hadn't done enough dissection.
Hadn't done any dissection. So I found myself pushing harder, right? Forcing the superficial fascia away from the deep fascia, tearing the tissue off, ultimately, and I would basically induce a melee in the class when we got to this point 'cause I said, "Just Rolf the superficial fascia right off the body." And you get all a bunch of big fellows in a room and we'd start getting at it and we'd be tearing, literally tearing it, start to tear the tissue apart 'cause I was using the wrong dissection technique, I was extending my metaphor further than it could legitimately be used in the body 'cause I didn't know the anatomy. Well, I learned the anatomy when a metaphor bumped up into reality, right? And the ladies in the room with a bunch of superficial fascia were literally weeping and leaving the room and crying because they were literally in pain.
I induced pain in people's bodies by tearing the tissue of the cadaver. I learned a lot about the relationship between our dynamic in the room and the actual body. And how do we interpret what's on that table? And what, how does it affect people when we bring one metaphor as opposed to another, to the tissue that we're dissecting? And then once we learn how sense, that this is a sense organ, when you tear apart a sensor organ in front of someone who has it, they're gonna feel it, it's the same thing.
It's a resonant fleece. It resonates from one body to another. It's as significant as a sense organ. So then, okay, now I'm dissecting a sense organ with sensitive people in the room and I approach it differently and start dissecting it more carefully using my scalpel in places where it doesn't yield to my hand. And that's how I managed to generate that fleece after 11 years of doing it, otherwise where here, I'm pushing her off with my finger because I can and showing the deep fascia underneath it.
And you see that this time we got the, the angle like this instead of the right angle. Now we have this angle here in the tissue. Can you see that? And you can see the hemostat through it, right? 'Cause it's basically an opaque, translucent tissue. It's very thin but it's super strong.
It was cold in New Paltz that winter and the pond froze and it had been snowed on a lot and then it melted and the cake of ice receded from the edge of the pond, right, and the snow packed down. And then it was cold again and it froze again and I got to see superficial fascia and deep fascia and bone. (audience laughs) You see that? You see there's a bone in the deep fascia? It's all water, right? But it's water and water can manifest different morphologies depending upon the conditions that are placed upon it.
The stresses that are placed upon it, the temperatures that it under undergoes. It's movement patterns are all going to generate different shapes in it but it's still gonna all be water. The clouds, the snowy ice, the other kind of ice, it's all water. I have the same approach to each layer. Look at it in its surface morphology, incise it.
What is it's relationship to what's underneath it? What does it look like in its depth? So here I have incised the fascia lata, the broad fascia of the thigh, the deep fascia here and lifted its edge and what do I find? Fuzz. More fuzz.
And I think to myself, "Fuzz, there's more fuzz here." Again, I figured it out like, "Oh, I've stretched the filmy fascia out. There's a filmy relationship between the muscle layer and the deep fascial layer. The muscle slides relative to the deep fascia, the way that the superficial slides relative to the deep fascia. And so this is that distensible stretchy fascial matrix through which deep fascia relates to muscle. Again, do we call it at a given time?
Here we may have called the epimysium or something like that, right? But I'm bagging those words. I like the big universal words. I want to call the same texture, the same thing throughout the body. All right, so when I come across this kind of stuff, I call deep fascia, regardless of where I find it.
You know, skin, I only find skin on the outside, for instance, I never find any. So this is it, once you take the skin off the outside, there's no more skin, I've never like bumped into more skin deep in the body. (audience laughs) That's tells me something about its properties and its relationship to the whole but that's not true with the deep fascia. It covers the muscle layer, but it also dives into it and through it, it dives down to the bone and surrounds it. That's interesting.
I can follow a texture if I can follow a texture I can follow a function, right? 'Cause this is all about function. Instead of regional anatomy, it's not about function. Regional anatomy is about naming, categorization, separation, but integral anatomy is about function and where you have a common texture, you have a common function. So I can have superficial fascia here and I'll find that texture again, elsewhere in the body and I can say to myself, "Wow, they resonate." There's a, there's a common, there's a commonality based on the texture, which is based on the substance, which is based on the structure and therefore the function.
If it's in your body, I always go to communication. For many years this has been considered to be an inert, inactive, dead substance in your body, that's defining spaces and structure. I think that's very limiting. This stuff is alive, right? It's as alive as your eyeball, it's all alive. We look for life in each other's eyes, but once you've seen a body in depth, you can see life anywhere.
I see your life in your skin. I see your life all around you. So this is a living substance that is not. It surrounds nerves but is it a nerve? Well, what's a nerve?
It's a communication organ and a structuring organ. It's a million things. It's whatever you want 'em to be, basically, to tell you the truth. It depends on what your profession is, what it is, right? How do you answer the question if you're a psychologist?
"What is it?" How to answer the question if you're a yoga person differently than if you're Rolfer? You're all going to have a different- Or if you're a Tai chi guy, this is where Iron Shirt Qi Gong is going to happen. Right? What's that? "Oh, that's my Iron Shirt Qi Gong layer and you can't punch me anymore." That's what it's for, right. (audience laughs) "What's it for?" And then the psychologist is going to tell you, "Ah well, that's where you defend." You know?
So the, in other words, depending upon the model you bring to the body, that's how you're gonna define the function of the tissue you're looking at. So if someone answers the question for you, "What's it for?" you can ask yourself the question, "What's their model?" And you can answer it again, coming to it from a different model. That's what I'm saying, the more models you carry to the body, the more answers you're gonna have to the question, "What's it for?" So this same tissue pulled a little further and you can see how does it get to the muscle layer, right? There's continuity into the muscle layer of tissue fibers. Here's a little bit of nerve coming through the muscle area into the deep fascia, right.
Here we have the covering. Look at there we've got fuzz there at a microscopic level, right? And you can only go so far in gross anatomy. All the stories that I tell you are based on gross anatomy. I do gross anatomy.
I don't do histology. I don't have a microscope. I look at it with my eyes. When my eyes don't see anymore I don't have any more story to tell. I'd tell a whole different set of stories if I were a histologist, "What's it for?" Oh God, it was a cold winter. I spent eight months in his place and bought a house in Florida.
(Gil laughs) (audience laughs) So that tissue is encased, right, in the fascia? But unlike these individuated branches, right, there's a continuum from one thing to the next. If I scroll my knuckles underneath that fabric that you saw I incised and I've taken away the fuzz and the film and I roll it back on my knuckles. I look to the deep side of the fascia lata, what do I see? Another layer of the grid.
A lot of people would do cross fiber friction. It's a technique, cross fiber friction, like, "Which fibers are you crossing?" (audience laughs) 'Cause they're going in a lot of directions here, right, going in multiple directions again, it's the intention. I'm not saying that's a bad technique, not in the least. It may be an awesome technique and may be just what's required for that but in terms of bringing more metaphor to your, to your body, then you understand, "Oh, I feel so... I should always do something in this direction or in that direction." I'm like, "I don't know, it depends on what you're doing?
What do you want to accomplish? This is the whole, there is no direction. There's no up or down to a body. It's a sphere." So I can make a bag out of the deep fascia. If, before I peek under it, like I did, when I lifted it up at the thigh and saw all that fuzz, if before I do that, I just make an incision and sweep my finger under it, I'll pretend that it really had no connection to what was beneath it and I'll go, "Ta-dah, a fascial sheet.
Ta-dah, a fascial plane." Now functionally, there is a fascial plane there, right? But there's more than that. There's a fascial plane and there's more, there are other relationships. You see this stuff talking about how it locks out at a certain point. It all locks on a certain point.
Watch I'm gonna pick up a rock, a big rock. I'm gonna make a big rock stack. I pick up this rock, right? And I get this boulder (Gil straining) and I'm doing this right. I've got to figure out, okay, right here and drop my nut. There we go. I got the rock and I got the rock and it's very- So describe this kinesiologically what's happening.
Is this all about this muscle, to this knee, at this angle going, bing, bing, bing. No way. I have tensional mechanical forces being transferred. What's the function of the fuzz? Being transferred throughout the whole fuzzy body, which I've locked the whole thing out simultaneously.
All right. To create- And then those tensional forces will be transferred differently through my body. As I move through that utterly imperfect motion to get that rock from here to there, it's not about mechanics and leavers and all that sort of stuff. Even though I can sweep it away with my finger in dissection, the stuff is the stuff of transference of mechanical force all through the bodies under conditions, when it locks out and the whole body goes, "Iron Shirt Qi Gong. I'm gonna get that rock from here to there." There's no ideal way to do that. You do it in the way that you can.
I'm talking about this because I built a, I built a 30 foot long, four and a half feet high, four and a half foot deep stone wall in the yard where I was stacking those rocks. God, that was tough. Anyway. (Gil laughs) So the bag layer. But what if I cut it a different way? Right?
I cut it along the bone and I just pull it back altogether and I see, "Oh my gosh, that muscle comes with, this is a different and here I can see the relationship- Bless you! Of muscle into the bone and that there's an existing relationship of the muscle fibers to the deep fascia itself, if I don't scrape it away, there's leverage there too, right? Tibialis anterior roots into the crural fascia, makes its home there and then if you have contracture there, you have pain. All right. How do you cut it? What does it do? What does it do? Depends on how you cut it.
Because if you cut it differently, you'll see it differently and you'll tell a different story, so... You know what it does? It does whatever you want it to do 'cause the will's the most important aspect of your anatomy, in my opinion. Doing what you want to do or not. If you want to, if you want to, to judge whether your therapy is successful, ask the person to begin a session, not how many degrees of rotation they have in their hip or blah, blah, blah.
Ask them what they want to do, that they can't do and then if they can do it that they'll remember, they won't remember what your precise therapist's brain can see in their body. Now some of you are athletes and you do your yoga thing and you can feel the difference of two more degrees of flexion or extension in some movement that you've been practicing for five years. And you finally get that and you have that "aha" moment. That was it. But your Average Joe on the street, lay person, all I want to know is what can they do?
Okay, we're going back to Flo. Hi, Flo! I love Flo. She teaches us a lot, you'll see, okay. So here we saw her skin on the table. Now you see her superficial fascia still on her.
And here she's like an angel. She's coming out of her superficial fascia. Look who was in there. Look at the deep fascia woman who was hiding in that form. Interesting, huh?
Would you have guessed that that was the shape of the muscle deep fascia lady inside of that form and there she is. That's the muscle form that was carrying the other form. So there's Flo's muscle form. What I want to point out is how closely her muscle form resembles Mr. Agape's muscle form. Do you see that she is not presenting her abdominal viscera to the world, right?
She was presenting her superficial fascia, which I hope you will consider as an organ. I hope you will consider superficial fascia to be viscera with endocrinal and lymphatic function. And that she literally wore her organ as a sleeve on her body and then when removed, she's looking very, very, she's concave, right, from her ribs to her pelvis is a concavity like Mr. Agape, whereas Venus Mary was still a convexity. She was presenting her organs. She had big organs.
Here's cadaver number four. This is a male form. We called him Ray because when he still had his superficial fascia on, he was a shock of brilliant yellow. That was still alive. He died on Friday. We dissected him on Monday and it was so brilliantly yellow.
We were like, "Oh my gosh, it was like a ray of light on a table." So we called him Ray. And this is Ray's deep fascial form. but I'm gonna zoom in on the process whereby we. See, so here, I'm lifting him up and you don't see like Mr. Agape, the fuzz, right? Same area I'm lifting, but look real close.
There it is, see, it's still there, it's just wet, you get it? It's still there, it's just wet and people say. Oh, I have this lady. She pounds me on Facebook. She drives me insane. She's always saying that. "No, the fuzz is just, it's just from dead people.
There is none of that." I'm like, "No, I'm sorry. It's not true. It's just a different textures. It's wet in the living." Now he's not living, but he's damn close to it. Okay. I mean, literally this guy has been dead 72 hours. Different.
So if I zoom in on that same process, right? Took a picture in the middle of that process. And you see the deep fascia, the grid of the deep fascia, the superficial fascia lifted up, but the filmy fascia that's been torn in the process is recoiling in it's wetness and is invisible. That doesn't mean the tissue isn't still there. That it isn't still structured like cotton candy.
It's just collapsed, flat, wet cotton candy. You gotta dissect in different ways. You've gotta do different things to the bodies, to build up the artifacts into a bigger story. Ah, look really close to that. You see that glossy, bubbly quality?
That's a, that's the film. That's the fuzz here, right? It's like a wet, bubbly film.
(audience laughs) The upper arm of Ray reflecting the superficial fascia, trying to define the deep fascia and finding that it's coming apart in his very fresh body, like filo dough. And I'm having a hard time getting beat and beat on it and saying, that's the end of the superficial fascia. Yeah, we kept on pulling filo dough layers out of his deep fascia. It was really, it was really fun and very informative, right, to our sense of, "What is that?" When we have the very, when we define very clearly the deep fascia in the fixed body and all we have is a stack of layers that aren't easily separated because of their desiccation. If I zoom in, and this is actually Flo's arm, if I zoom in on that wet, deep fascia, that's not fixed.
You see it's, I use like 180 millimeter lens here, right close up and then lit it in such a way that you can see the fibers. If you're staring at it with your eyes it just looks see through, it looks like saran wrap. See here, it's been cut away now, right? Deep fascia's gone here. It's intact here.
And then you see the glistening muscle layer with it's film over it, beneath it. Now, Mr. Agape's butt, right? That's Mr. Agape's gluteus maximus area. You see how the superficial fascia is fixed into the very thin layer of deep fascia in such a way that I'm having a hell of a time cutting it apart. So you can see, I get, I get a little bit of deep fascia showing here, and then I cut a hole through it.
And there's a little bit of it here underneath this fatty bit and then there's some of it missing. Some anatomists will say, "There is no deep fascia over the gluteus maximus or over the pectoralis major." I say, "It's there, it's just thin and maddeningly frustrating to dissect." But if I, if I bother to take the time with it, I can mock up a deep fascia over the gluteus maximus or the pec major. So I'll do that on Mr. Agape's chest. You can see he had a big scar here from a triple bypass. We're talking about a half a million open heart surgeries a year in this country.
It's very common to have cadavers with bypass surgery. You have the bypass surgery, 10 years go by and you die of the same thing that you had in the first place. It's very common. It's not necessary to happen that way, but it's a common sequence and they often end up on the table. Superficial deep fascia, okay, so we've got the deep fascia here now I'm gonna go to the next layer and take away the white film and I'll get the more, the muscle layer with having abstracted it from the overlying deep fascia, although it was thin but it does have a different look, huh?
It's more defined. There's Ray's chest. You see, because it's thin and translucent it appears that there's no deep fascia there, but you can see even a little, see, it's clear that the deep fascia is here and then there's some holes poked in it here. I was trying to give you a sense that the deep fascia doesn't always have that robust "strapping tape" look that it has on the side of the leg, that throughout the body, it depends what I'm calling deep fascia, right? That's what I'm calling deep fascia.
I'm telling you here's a body and I'm describing it in a certain way. My layered conception of the body is a model. The body is what it is. See how closely can it fit to the story that I want to tell about it. Here we have, again, this is, this is the, the pec major of Ray with its deep fascia intact and you see this muscle fiber's running over the pec major.
And this is just, I had a run on unilateral, extra muscle thing that maybe Da Vinci saw and drew, right, as sternalis. But maybe he, he was wondering where it was. He probably thought he wrecked it on the other side. I don't know, he drew it in. But we don't. I don't find that very often, actually, it's more rare.
You can draw whatever you want though and say everyone had it. Imagine the difficulty. I have enough time dissecting this kind of a form with a week, in a refrigerator, in a laboratory. Imagine it's like, it's Italy and it's the middle of the night and there are chickens and dogs going by and a guy just died and everybody doesn't like what you're doing and you're kind of doing it by candlelight in the middle of the night. And you have to go through all the layers to get to the thing that you didn't see the last time you did this and you're trying to piece together all the information.
You know, we shouldn't be too, too hard on the older anatomists for missing the boat on some stuff in their artistic representations to the body 'cause the task that they faced was extremely difficult and you can read Leonardo's journals and he whined about it. He was like, "And all you people are like, blah, blah, blah. and you don't know what it's like, the stench, the darkness, the smoke." So this is Flo's lower limb. I'm gonna zoom in on that fibrous knee and beneath it to the deep fascia of her lower leg. And I'm gonna keep going, zooming.
I love this picture 'cause I see the multiple directions of the fiber here, right? That builds up the layers of the deep fascia. I see the kinks in the fabric that I would palpate for, as a therapist. I see the branching form of the heart. Again, we're talking about organs here, right?
And the trees penetrate all the layers. Just because it's white doesn't mean it doesn't have blood supply. It doesn't mean it can't heal. If we tell ourselves that it's white and dead and therefore if it's broken, it can't heal. Then we won't.
All right. We'll separate ourselves from that. It'll stay broken for a long time. If you see the branching form of the heart interpenetrating to within two cells of everything in that fabric, then I'm going to send rushes of my life energy in there to heal myself. And again, what is the story that you're telling about your body and how far can you go with your own healing? I think you could go really far but again, and this is just gross anatomy.
Look at the little branches coming off of the branches. You see that? I'll take my green light away. You see those little red threads. That's all the heart.
That's the heart beating in your deep fascia. Is the deep fascia alive? Hell yeah it's alive. My heart is beating in my deep fascia. Hmm.
Oh, that pond, that frozen pond. So this frozen pond, the oak leaves that surrounded, the two oak trees that surround the pond, the leaves would float down onto the pond. I'm gonna give you a call and I'm your Zen teacher and you're all sitting cross legged on your little cushion button thing. And y'all have one of those. You've got cushion button things, don't cha?
(Gil laughs) I told you, I know you people. Y'all got like extra cushion buttons in the back of the room. I love those things. They're so good 'cause they take the stress out in this. Anyway...
So and I say to you, "Okay, take this dried oak leaf and use it as the instrument whereby into the hard surface of this frozen pond in winter, you carve a two inch deep shape of an oak leaf." And you come back to me crying after 20 minutes, an hour with your crumbled handful of oak leaf dust. "It can't be done, Master Gil, it can't be done." (audience laughs) And I say, "Turn to nature, turn to nature. See what nature does, right?" The oak leaf floats down on the pond, the sun shines on the oak leaf. It's darker than the surrounding water, it melts underneath in the shape of an oak leaf. The water evaporates at night, the leaf drops down the process repeats for a week and you end up with a pond covered with two inch deep Oak leaf impressions.
How do we sink into a body again, what's our metaphor? Do I want to dig in there and force my way in? You're going to end up with crumbled oak leaves. You're gonna be rejected. They're going to do Iron Shirt Qi Gong and just chuck you out.
But you can sneak in with heat and patience, and go very deep through the hardest substance and it's cool. Deep fascia is.... Ah, it's just a bunch of words you could have given me a whole other set and it will be just as good. Okay but they're written down on your sheet so I'm not going to spend time on these slides, communicating structural web, contractile compliments, I could go off about that. But you know, I'm going to for a second, I want to just remind you that deep fascia is actively contractile at a different rate than say, muscle.
I'm gonna tell you also that superficial fascia, as an organ, is a contractile organ. Superficial fascia is full of smooth muscle cells. Superficial fascia has a tone, right? Just like your muscle has a tone. Every layer has a tone. What is the tone of your layer?
Is it tuned up high? Is it tuned down low? Is it in harmony with the other tones of the layers? Right? There's a, there's a tone. I went from a tensional tone to an auditory tone, but you get my drift, right? And so superficial fascia, you can touch a person and when you do, there's a response, right?
And the tone of our superficial fascia is part of how we read our environment. I'm telling a story now, partly how we read our environment. Similarly with the deep fascia, when I was picking up that rock, right? There's a tone in the deep fascia that enables that'd be the transference of forces between the deep fascia and the muscle layer and back and forth and back and forth, while I pick up that rock ,at a pace that I can't imagine, but the muscle can't stay contracted for very long. It gets exhausted and it can pass on the deal to other just about to be soon exhausted muscle fibers, or it can pass it off to the tensional web of the fuzz, or it can pass it off to the functional, structural fabric of the deep fascia.
All of which are communicating with each other at the speed of light, in my opinion. Not waiting for nerve impulse to go cruising down. (snores) (audience laughs) It's faster. I think it's faster. I think every movement and action generates fields of light, which themselves represent communications of the status of everything else in the body, which are interpreted, read and fed back to. It's a light phenomenon, not a nerve conduction phenomenon.
Again, this is a, nerve people out there who get all mad at me for saying stuff like that. They go off, I got trolls on my website. (Gil laughs) (audience laughs) They're like, "You didn't say that?" and I'm like, "I don't believe what you're saying, I'm sorry." Okay. Muscle, muscle, muscle.
So, if my son Christopher is superficial fascia boy, I'm muscle man and part of my own personal interest in anatomy was sorta kicked in. I was like 13 and I broke my leg.
I had nothing to do, but play with my dad's old dumbbells on one foot. And at that age 13, my body just turned into this and this is pretty much what I've looked like ever since. People say, "Oh, do you work out?" I'm like, "No, I don't." And so I have what my, we call it transparency. Now the transparency that you can get in a male body is slightly different. Men have a thinner, deep fascia in general than a female and men generally have less superficial fascia than a female form.
So in general, it's easier to have a transparent, male, muscular anatomy then a transparent, female, muscular anatomy due to the hormonal and genetic dispositions of the different types. So I have a muscly form but people always tease me. Tom Myers, he'd go like, "Oh, Gil, you say all these nice things about superficial fascia because you don't have any." (Gil laughs) (audience laughs) I was like, "Yeah." And well, "I'm going to grow one then." So I changed my body and I grew a superficial fascia. And that's what I looked like when I grew a superficial fascia. All right, so that's, that's me at about 175 pounds.
Yeah, you just, and I have been known to be a sufferer of migraine headaches and I was finding that if I, if I would wake up in the middle of night with the seed of a migraine headache, and I like about a half of a package of Newman's Own Fig Newtons, that when I woke up in the morning, I wouldn't have that. I wouldn't get the next stage of the headache. So I was like, "Okay." And then it was like the whole package, you know, at one o'clock every morning, so it worked. And so between the Guinness and the Fig Newtons, I grew a superficial fascia. Now that particular beard configuration was just goofing on my kids because so I just shaved off all the dark part and left the gray part, like little Charles Dickens pom poms.
(audience laughs) Anyway, now you saw the image of my son. Now I had to do this on purpose. I really enjoyed walking, I felt like a man for the first time in my life, I was walking around in like a man's body, like, "Hey." I walk into the room and I had this body, you know, and it was fun to experience my myself that way. Although it was unusual for me to carry the weight and anyway, my son again, asked for help in losing weight so I did it with him. I did the walking with him, we changed our eating habits together and so I lost about.
That's me at about 145, which is what I weigh now. So it's about 30 pounds less than in the prior image. And I thought a lot about adding another slide, I was very depressed, about a little over a year ago, I'm newly divorced, okay. There's my (Gil sniffles) tell all. I'm fine.
(audience laughs) I'm good with it. I'm good with it. But no, it was very hard experience and anyone else who's going through it you know, it's a very, very challenging experience. I lost another 20 pounds from this image in the decision making process was very challenging to me. Basically, I died, you know, and sort of shed layers of myself through it. And it was very dumb thing to do, it's a very dangerous thing to do really, to take 20 pounds off of that body, I looked really skinny.
So I put it back on and I'll take my clothes off for you now and I'll look like that, okay, ready? (Gil laughs) (audience laughs)
And we get, this is a, "He-Man"'s body in the 1930s. He's a farm boy, right? Got a farm boy body. And then we go to Jack LaLanne, right, 1950s, natural bodybuilding, carrots and juice and all that stuff. This guy was unbelievable, Jack LaLanne and that's a natural bodybuilding fitness guy.
Him and Joe Pilates out there, doing stuff.
And what was in that leather package? He was absolutely my hero in the seventies. And I followed his weight training program. But this was the look when you add a certain, you know, a little bit of a, a little bit of help from your friends, right. Okay but then we go to, right.
This is Jay Cutler, 2009 Mr. Olympia, right? So the cocktail has been sophisticated to such extent and this is called playing with your body. Now he looks like he's having a good time, huh? And this isn't Photoshop folks. This is Jay Cutler on drugs or whatever.
In other words, there's no testing before you go on stage in the World Bodybuilding Federation or whatever. So... This is body modification. But to me, it's not any different than a tattoo, right. There you're playing with your skin layer, right?
Or superficial fascia gaining or losing weight. I could show my son and myself, I'm playing with my body. This is playing with the muscle layer, right and using substances and whatever and weight trainings and disciplines and all sorts of things. There are ramifications to this level of play 'cause those cocktails are not without untoward effects on the personality, demonstrated by the macaques-like (Gil laughs) (audience laughs) facial expression. Like a chicken.
Actually, what happens to the chicken, when he goes off, that cocktail is it goes away and he grows breasts, you see because when you've up regulated your system to such a degree and you're a male and you down regulate it you're stuck on those chemicals.
And these people die young in car accidents, driving too fast, they jump off of bridges, they kill themselves. It's a rough sport on the off hours, right because there's a lot of ramifications to playing with these chemicals for men as well as for women. Okay. So it's not just the guys who play with this thing. But again, it's like, I'm not showing you this to say I don't approve or something or like before I wasn't, I like fat ladies and not skinny ladies or I like skinny ladies, not fat ladies. It's not about that at all.
It's just about our power to step into the body transforming with our intention and clay at will consciously, or we're doing it, we're doing it unconsciously or consciously. And these are just extreme examples to point out that we all make choices that shape our bodies one way or another. And you could see in her case, right, her superficial fascia is gone. Therefore her breasts are gone and maybe she's gotten some something under there, a little falsie or something, right. This lady took my class, Terri Poch.
She's a Rolfer. And she took my dissection class but in seventies she was a bodybuilder and she described to me the substances, right, that they would play with. But she got off of those substances, many people don't, she got herself into. She sure came off of the substances. You could see her body got smaller and then she decided she wanted to be a show, lady wrestler.
She spent, as Terry Power, that was her stage name and she's quite quite famous. She spent 17 years traveled all over the world with the Wrestling Federation, built her body up. You see, now she doesn't have the same kind of definition as she had 'cause she's got the woman's body, but she, she did heavy lifting and all that kind of stuff. They're very, I mean, it looks like a show but they really are killing each other out there. And they do injuries and they break and they get plates in their head and they die, you know?
So it's a very rough sport. And she got so injured that she eventually found her way to a Rolfer who- See the aggression levels are a little high there. And once she got, this is what she calls her a hundred percent Rolfed body. She gave me the sequence of pictures, her a hundred percent Rolfer body and she basically credits her Rolfer with saving her life, you know, taking, helping them. Then she became a Rolfer and serves that industry.
And not to mention she does yoga as well, but she basically transformed herself. And then she transformed herself once again, because once she got that body she was like, "Wow, this is really cool, I want to be a pinup model." And so she kept on going with it and you can type her name in, very interesting lady. She does interviews and she's a very, very nice lady but I was fascinated by her as a somanaut, as a person who plays with her body, you know, and takes it to extremes. I love that, I'm I'm into it myself so I admire, I think that's cool. Like that's how we're, the body as a plastic medium, not just the deep fascia, the whole body is a plastic medium.
Our psyche is a plastic medium, and we can transform ourselves over and over again with the same genetic endowment. Big change from there to now. Yoga lady. And there's Jack at 93, still lifting weights and pushing his carrot juicer. He died about, what? About a year and a half ago?
At 96? I believe. So muscle, here's a cross section of muscle. You can see the bundles and the fascia in between them. Those English are really into stone walls. So look at Mr. Agape.
It took me maybe a day to get his skin off, half a day, another half a day to get a superficial fascia off. And then I spent two weeks, you know, peeling off his deep fascia and going into his muscle layer to make them look like Arnold Schwarzenegger here, right? Because look at the definition, the definition that you see is a function of the elimination of skin, superficial fascia and deep fascia, right? So this is an extremely high level of abstraction where most anatomy courses start. How long have you been here folks?
Two and a half hours, three hours, three hours and 15 minutes and we just got to the muscle. What the heck? Drives the massage therapists, who take my class, crazy. This is Wednesday morning. They're very nervous in the morning circle because they've been like, they're like jonesing for muscle really badly, you know?
And I've like had them peeling skin and sloughing through superficial fascia in great sheets and then peeling deep, you know? And so it's very, very hard because if you have a favorite tissue, right, and you want to get to it but I'm telling you, you don't understand your favorite tissue if you have an urgency to get to it, no matter what it is. If you're the visceral manipulator and you think that the viscera are in here and not out here, you're missing the boat. If you're the massage therapist and you think you've ever touched a muscle without having gone through skin, superficial fascia and deep fascia, all of which are contractile, then you're missing the boat. If you're a person who thinks that deep fascia is the cat's meow and just lays your elbow into it, the second you see somebody, you're missing the boat, in my opinion, 'cause you haven't connected to the whole person and it's the only thing you can touch.
So the specificity of your touch is lodged in your mind because you're always touching the whole. If you're touching, you're touching the whole, you can only touch the whole and everything else that's happening is a story in your mind, I'm not saying you can't specifically touch different textures in the body, you can but you're always including everything else every time you do it. So this is a very high level of abstraction. If you go into a massage school and you see the anatomical charts, catalogs, portrait of the muscle body in perfect symmetry, you know, you're looking at a very deep level of illusion and abstraction. But it sure is pretty.
The butt, the human rear end takes its shape not from the muscle layer, it takes its shape from the fascia. We love fascia. That's why we love each other's butts. Come on those eyes. What is it?
You watch people's eyes when they're walking down the streets. (eyes shuttering) (audience laughs) You ladies too. It's not just us fellas. Y'all just you cop a feel with your eyes all day long. And you're looking for that, that stuff, you can hook your fingers under on a good day. And that's fascia, it's not gluteus maximus you're into, that's fat that you love.
So if I remove the superficial fascia from the gluteus maximus, for the most part, I'm approaching the muscle layer, but there's still superficial fascia surrounding the levator ani group, all right? So you still don't see the look of the human butt as a muscle layer, until I dissect further, that's what it looks like. Okay, that's the muscle layer. Do you see that gluteus maximus is a quadrate shaped muscle going from the sacrum over here.
That's not what your butt's shaped like your, your gluteal fold is at a right angle to the gluteus maximus. Now, if you look at the muscle drawing from the abdominal charts catalog, which shows it face forward and face backward, and you will see that you have painted on a nice round, gluteus maximus, giving you your butt cheek shape. (audience laughs) It's a baboon butt, right? In other words but we're not attracted to that, right? We like the fat.
(audience laughing) It's interesting, huh? It's a very deep pocket. The viscera hang in your deep pelvis, like in a funnel, the pelvic floor, is like a funnel. Now we're at the front coming through the skin, the superficial fascia, the deep fascia. (audience laughs) That's a fig leaf.
Come to us, Adam. I get various comments on this slide about the size of the fig leaf. (audience laughs) Seems to be a big fig leaf to some, small to others. That's very average actually, very average fig leaf. (Gil laughs) (audience laughs) Like statistically, like with a ruler, it's average.
(Gil laughs) (audience laughs) But what I'm really looking at is my thighs here. Oh, that's me. I just confessed, yeah. So the thighs and I'm always taking naked pictures of myself. I text them to myself (audience laughs) 'cause the truth is, I've always thought that my body is just so cool (audience laughs) and if it weren't for that prurient interest in myself, this class would not exist so... So what happened?
I flexed my thighs, right?
It's very interesting muscles change quickly. Deep fascia, slow contractility. Muscle, fast contractility, not sustained for a very long time, short and sweet. All right. The muscle contractility.
However, the muscle contractility represents our personality in space constantly. When we're happy, when we're sad, when we're frozen. You know, whatever it is that we're doing, right? We repeat those muscle behaviors over and over again and our fascia comes to conform and represent that behavior over time. Right, through long sustained contractility in place of the short emotive contractility of that muscle layer.
So this is, does deep fascia have memory? Why does that? Well, what it is, is it's a slow motion, liquid represent. It's the ice of your personality at a certain level, right? I've been showing you ice. That's just water, just water.
The deep fascia, again, I had mentioned that it covers but also invests, right and goes all the way through to the bone. Here we're seeing a septum of the deep fascia, from the fascia lata, cutting in underneath and covering the vastus intermedius and going underneath rectus femoris, right? So that's a lot of words. I usually don't use these words. Okay, there's rectus femoris. Here's the deep fascia being pulled back and you see that it's not only a continuity in this direction, it's a continuity into the body, right?
So that it then invests and covers on its way to the femur. And if I traction with my fingertips, the rectus femoris here, lift it up and you see that deep fascia I've let go of it. And what do you see between muscle to muscle? You see more fuzz. What is fuzz?
Fuzz is filmy, fascia in traction. Fuzz, right, now you know, fuzz is filmy fascia in traction. The fuzziness of it as an artifact of me tearing it apart, which demonstrates its internal coherence as a chaotic collagenous matrix of multi-directional fibers that allow play between tissues. You got it. Awesome.
? I taught something. ? Okay. This is Ray's leg. I'm doing the same thing that I was doing to Mr. Agape in that image and I'm zooming in, I'm lifting up his rectus femoris and I'm rubbing my finger. As I lift, you see, he's wet but he's, I'm busting his fuzz, I'm tearing his filmy fascia apart.
So you get there and you can see. So. I love this. See, this is blunt dissection. I'm just using my fingertip, see what I mean, I'm busting wet fuzz.
See, that's not the deep fascia. That's not the muscle. This is the muscle. This is, right, this is film, the fuzz, the movement potential, the sliding potential, the slip-sliding potential of different segments of muscle and you see it has its own life, it has its own texture and it has its own function, right?
I'm inside the muscle layer. And in some places inside the muscle layer, there are filmy relationships and sometimes they're fixed and there is none of that, they're all fixed into a septum.
The contractility of the one can go in a different thing. I was like squealing when we were doing this. Do you remember, Sally?
We were all squealing together.
I got friends. (audience laughs) No, I tap in with great appreciation and respect to the donor programs that universities use, the same way and you can request whether you want fixed or unfixed tissues.
With this, I do this 10 feet from the refrigerator and we have them out and we put them back for lunch. We take them our after lunch. We go back and forth and back and forth. Even under those conditions and even with them being in the fridge 16 hours a day and eight hours a day that's it's out by day five, it's gnarly. I, you know, age is really not a function of years, it's a function of use and we've come across 104 year old cadaver that we swore was a sickly 75 year old, you know?
And then we were worshiping that body and we were like, "How robust.", you know? Often the a hundred year old plus cadavers are in unbelievable condition. Farming, big, strong strapping farming body. I mean, this one guy, a 104 years old and he's built like this and he's got this gut and he's powerful and people are going off, "Oh, he must've eaten McDonald's Look at the size of his belly. See he died young, heart disease because of this and that." I'm like, "104." They're like, "Ahhh!" (audience laughs) 'Cause we tell these stories.
We had this one guy on a table. This is old gentleman, he's all crooked like this and we told saddest stories about this body and we went on and on. And then I was at the gym at this university that night and I was in the sauna near the pool, this place. And the guy walks in, the exact guy, in the exact form and the exact age. The cadaver walked into the, (audience laughs) into the steam room with a little towel on.
And there were girls in the room and he just sidled up next to one of them and started telling her all about himself. She's like. (clears throat) (audience laughs) But he was actually describing that he was training to swim the English channel again. And that he'd done it before and decided he would do it again. Like Jack LaLanne in the 70's, like towing boats out of the Alcatraz or whatever.
And I just thought all bets are off in the stories that we tell, right? We'll say, "Oh, they were in pain." or "They couldn't have walked." Forget about it, you just look around at people and what they do and how they manifest, it's fantastic. This is Ray's leg. I'm wanting you to see the differential motion through film, right, there's no muscle contractility here. We're lifting the guy's leg.
Look at the differential movement. The two directional movement. You see that?
I love that.
And that's called, that's embalmed, right? That's the same as-
Or was that me? You were on a camera, Sally. I was moving his leg.
I love it. So back to Mr. Agape's legs. Okay, so here look before, before the abstracting and dissecting has taken place and I've just peeled off the relationship of deep to muscle. And here I've, I've loosened up the named muscles, right. Now in order to do so I had to use my hands and a scalpel, right and a hemostat and pull away tissues to create this individuality, which we take for granted as the reality of the human body.
Even here, when we see the muscle, it's still not individuated until I start digging around in there. And what we have in the origin and insertion model from regional anatomy is a preference for certain mechanical relationships over others. Because that filmy fascia is a mechanical relationship. It's not, you can, from the mechanistic model, you can expand your mind to include other elements of the mechanism to understand how forces are transferred through this body. The muscles attachment is 100% of its surface.
Every muscle is attached over a hundred percent of its surface and the question is not to ask what are the attachments? But what are the qualities of the relationship of the tissue across the a hundred percent of its surface? And then you'll be learning some serious anatomy. Now I proceeded to dissect Mr. Agape, according to the book, for fun, because it turns out you can learn a lot from the regional anatomy style of dissection. You'll see a lot. It's very interesting.
So with each grouping of muscles, within the muscle layer of his body, I dissected them all individually, one at a time, on camera, for a couple of weeks. And then I laid them out in pretty arrays, which I called a "glam shots" and took pictures. (audience laughs) So I skeletonized him, right, by pushing the layered concept all the way, just doing one layer of time. Skin, superficial fascia, deep fascia, muscle and what's left when you take away all that, what's left is viscera and bone. Alright.
What's that? Can anyone guess?
It's levator scapula. Different yes, levator scapula coming in to the transverse processes. There's the cervical vertebrae here coming from the shoulder here, right, of course it's been fluffed out. so it's not hugging the neck and what I'm pointing to is that there's normally four insertions and this one had five. The muscle layer is incredibly variable from body to body.
I see variation in every body. So no body is the normal body. The norm is variation. There are certain commonalities that extend and extend but within that general framework, there's constant variation. Here's another example of variation, okay. Here we have pec major, right, this grouping here.
In this case, pec major divided in an unusual fashion, the sternal and clavicle portions had no individuation that was apparent on this side, but had an extra slip on the lower portion. And on the opposite side of the body, we had the, the clavicular portion going over to the arm, different from the normal configuration. So this was what you would normally see in an anatomy book and this was like a different configurations. Again, this is just one body. They're all different. Every one of them.
Like, what the heck is that? (Gil laughs) Is that pec minor? No, that's pec major inferioris. Right. Pec major, superior and inferior. This is Flo's lower leg. Thanks to Sally.
On the fifth day, when Flo was beyond, beyond help. And we were out of time and needed to pack up all the cameras and stuff. We hadn't dissected any of her muscles. We went into her for her superficial fascia and for her viscera. You gotta choose when you're doing a unfixed form, what are you gonna look at in that short period of time?
That's what we had chosen but Sally was like, "Oh, we haven't seen a single muscle. Get your scalpel, do something." So I was like, "All right." and I just like. (Gil mumbles) (scalpel slicing) I never do a cross section in a body, literally never, but literally it was like a two minute dissection. So I just sort of sliced into her calf and I pulled back and you could see the little plantaris tendon here, and the soleus flipping back and I slice into the gastrocnemius and we peeked at it and it was not there. It was a fatty body. She didn't have a gastrocnemius. She just had a fatty body there.
And we were like, "What the heck?"
And we were chit chatting on the phone and he said, "Gil, have you ever seen, we were in the lab", he said, "and we cut into this lower leg and the gastrocnemius was just a fatty body." I was like, "Oh yeah, I've seen that." (Gil laughs) (audience laughs) Guys are such dicks. (Gil laughs) (audience laughs) Mr. Agape's back, okay. If muscle is short term and deep fascia is long term, then bone is even longer term. It turned out, Mr. Agape, when you started stripping him down had scoliosis. I didn't see, he had a perfectly squared off back when I started but when I went into him he had a pretty strong scoliosis.
Look at his spine. (race car zooming) So look at 12th rib, nearly touching iliac crest. Here's the iliac crest, here's the 12th rib. I couldn't get my finger in between the two of them. On this side, we had a two inch space.
I'm, I don't know. You know what I'm saying? But I'm just, I'm just saying that in the youth when it's represented as a muscular tone, this pattern, you can help that person in a big way and spare it from the pattern, going into the bone over a lifetime. Because I do believe that everything can change and if the bone got this way, it can un-get this way. But who wants to spend the time?
Is it really worth your effort? You took a lot of effort to get that way. It's gonna take a lot of effort to undo it. Some things you just go with. I have scoliosis. I haven't tried to fix it lately.
I'm like, I'm okay with that. I'm pretty functional. This is a section of the abdominal aorta, where it branches into the, the common iliac artery of a body that had severe scoliosis. Okay, so the guy was quite, quite twisted and bent with his scoliosis. He had a big, you know, like a hard right turn in his lumbar spine.
and he had it in his artery too. Which came first? You know what I'm saying? But this is a muscle form, right? And it's, and it's had the scoliosis is in his heart, not just in his bones, right.
He has scoliosis of the heart. This is Mr. Agape's gluteus maximus and I'm showing it as a quadrates shape, which I reflect and remove and bring you down to the gluteus medius here and the piriformis. Famous bad guy. (Audience agreeing) Okay, here's the sciatic nerve. Here's the rest of the deep six lateral rotators.
Okay, do you notice that the piriformis is in the same plane of tissue as the- It's in a clock face, right? It's like a clock. That's the thumb and then the fingers, right? Thumb. Fingers. I can sweep my finger down here and destroy the fuzz in between them and create a kind of definition there. However, I want you to focus here on the relationship of the piriformis to the other tendons.
I can lift it up to a certain point, but not all the way into the trochanter because it's blended, okay. You see that? This is the external oblique. This is gemellus inferior, gemellus superior, internal oblique, piriformis. I call this the one, two, three, four, five, the quin-seps-trochanterous. Okay, the five headed muscle of the trochanter. Why not?
I just want you to notice that our nomenclature affects how we imagine the body to be. If you just dissect by texture, you can get a whole different set of nomenclature that will be equally representative, perhaps more representative of the body. We could call this. Why do we call this pec major? All it means is "big chest muscle".
You know wouldn't it be better to call it clavicle brachialis and sternal brachialis? We don't. We're used to calling it "big chest muscle". The muscle names are simply conventions that we assign, based on a dissection style of about 400 years history, to the body, there's no functional reality to it. The muscles have no functional reality, except as a unit, as an expressive singular unit. Huh?
Walking down the sidewalk in San Francisco, I came across a pigeon feather and a cigarette butt They seemed to go together, I didn't place them together. I assumed that the pigeon had simply put out his cigarette (audience laughs) and left. I looked across the street, there he was. (audience laughs) Okay. Now I have my, I have my prejudices.
You know, I have my prejudices. I judge, I see pigeons as these little, you know, urban flying rats or something but you can love a pigeon. Nikola Tesla loved pigeons. I saw this pigeon and I did take its picture cause I actually, I wanted evidence for the cops that he was littering. But I got a little too close for comfort for the pigeon and he took off and I just hit the shutter a couple times.
And, and I was, when I, when I, when I looked at these images on my computer, I was just blown away by the beauty of the form and the elegance of the creature, this humble creature, right. That I could have overlooked and not appreciated. And this is, this is what we do. And that we can slow down a little bit. And even the most humble things can reveal themselves to us as very beautiful.
Very proud pigeon. I was mentioning, it was really was the first time that I took every named muscle off of a body when I did Mr. Agape. I had certain things I had just never cut through. I never got around to it in class. Here I had my 26 days, my 17 hours a day.
I had a lot of time and so I cut the obturator internus tendon for the first time and I looked underneath it. This was, I mean, the body was like drying out under my Home Depot lights, at this point, as I was skeletonizing it and then I flipped this up and we're three weeks into it and I see, I see that. I see that pigeons tail. I see the incredibly beautiful bundles of the, of the obturator internus tendon and it just kind of, it kind of humbled me, again. Remember that ice, up in New Paltz, when I showed you Mr. Agape's thigh and fascia lata?
And if we zoom in on these little sticks that were sticking up through the ice, look at that, there's a greater trochanter, right. You see these forms are around us everywhere. It's just water at different speeds, right? With different challenges placed upon it. Or the tendons on the back of the hand of Flo.
Or a kale leaf. We have a nature park near us in Florida, it has one non-native species to Florida, which is this hippo that got kicked out of a movie troop like 25 years ago, 'cause he was mean so, and they just like throw cantaloupes down his throat And he eats them. He's very happy. He's got his own pond. He's a star. And he's my cue that it's lunchtime.
I talked about models in the morning. So here's a model. Again, how do we predicate "the body is". "Your skin is", "my hand is", You just stretching your sleeve there? That wasn't a question?
Every hair on your head and line on your face, every rushing tide of wind and wave moving you from within this living testament, bear witness to the truth, layered within you. Study this text with conviction then, reflect with care upon its meaning and enjoy the divine inspiration."
(Gil laughs) (audience laughs) Ah, I have to say thank you to Roger. Roger was like, the guy who I call. I wanted to do a dissection. I picked up the phone and he picked up the phone and I gave him this whole spiel, "Oh, I'm Gil Hedley, I represent the anatomy faculty at the International Rolf Institute and we would like to have a research project in your laboratory with your cadavers." (Gil chuckles) And he was like, "Come on down to my office and I'll have a look at ya." And we made friends right away. And he's the one who opened the door to his laboratory that I could then leverage to the next laboratory and on and on, I give Bruce some credit too 'cause I would have just quit in that first year.
But he said, "Gil, you've got something here." I was like, "Ooh." That was one of those angels on high, opens the ceiling of the heavens above you and he's like, "He's right." (Gil laughs) (audience laughs) And this is Lisa, Roger passed on but Lisa took up his job and she's my good friend who keeps the door open for me. And that's John, he kept the door open for me for about 15 years. You see Sally there, groping the moose? (Gil laughs) (audience laughs) The moose is Miranda and see Moose, Miranda. (audience laughs) And they helped me so much, I can't tell you.
And then Sue Hitzmann, who always shows up, when there's a camera ready? Yay, Sue. Melter. And who brought half of you here? But the astonishing, the beautiful, the ever groping my heart.
(audience laughs) (Gil laughs) Jill Miller. Thanks Jill. Viscera. Viscera is a plural Latin word. Plural of viscous. Viscous means organ. So viscera, organs.
We're gonna go play with some organs. Mr. Agape's organs and everyone else's too. So skin. So is the viscera is it a layer? Is it a tree? I don't care.
You know, like it all kind of breaks down once you get deep in there. I think it's a layer. I think the viscera are a layer but maybe it's a tree. I don't know. Hard to say. So deep fascia at the belly wall there.
Now with Mr. Agape, like I said, we very carefully dissected him. I did, this was like a solo project actually but anyway, we incised the deep fascia there and scrolled, the scroll that I'm pointing at there and what good is that? Okay, see this is his anterior rectus sheath would have been covering here in the prior slide. Then it was cut and then rolled back under. So this is the external oblique, external oblique, rectus abdominis.
He even had a pyramidalis, Mr. Agape, had it all. Pyramidalis is of those, sometimes you got it, sometimes you don't, muscles. When I got really skinny, I told you I lost another 20 pounds, past what I weigh right now. I've got a pyramidalis. That was the one saving grace was like, I could see my frigging pyramidalis and I was like, "This is bad." Okay, so if we remove the external oblique, we come to the internal oblique and we remove the rectus abdominis and the pyramidalis.
We see the posterior rectus sheath and the way that the tissues contribute to that. And then, huh, okay, look, we have a pod of viscera in membrane now. All right, so, 'cause we really would come to the membrane before we come to viscera each of our visceral spaces, if you will, are surrounded by fascia. The outer most enveloping layer is a fibrous fascia layer immediately deep to that is a serous membranous layer, meaning it produces a serous fluid. So it's a special kind of fascia, these membranes that produce serous fluids.
And then we have within that sac organs covered with membrane, the skin of the organ. So we have the layer that's adherent to the fibrous layer, that's the wall layer, parietal layer, we have the layer that's adherent to the organ, that's the visceral layer and they slip around in there. So what we're looking at here are two different layers. This is the fibrous layer around the abdominal organs here. Goes all the way up here.
This is the diaphragm, that's fibrous layer. So we'll have the serous layer deep to that but up here, we're already at the serous layer because the fibrous layer is adherent to the rib cage, which has gone. So I took the fibrous layer with on the top and left it on the bottom. So what you see here are the parietal pleura, the serous membranous layer over the lungs and then we have the branches of the viscera, right? 'Cause they have arms too, the viscera have arms and legs and a head, tummy.
This is how it happened. It was a big decision when I was dissecting this particular form because I was trying to push the envelope of my little model just again, to see how far I could take it. So like I said, I decided I would skeletonize him rather than, you know, like in a class we don't skeletonize bodies, we don't have time. So we'll do some dissection of the muscle layer and then we'll open the ribcage with clippers and then you look in and see the viscera there, right? I didn't want to cut his bones.
I wanted to have a whole skeleton and I wanted to have a whole viscera seemed mutually exclusive but it's so in his case, what we did was flipped him over and disarticulated, all the ribs, right and in doing that, I could peel the membrane off of the rib cage and remove this thing, right. This arms and rib cage and then I could put 'em back later.
It's like, it's like this kind of, I've never seen this before and it's on a table then. And I spent like an entire day dressing it up because I had his superficial fascia and his muscles saved. So I've kind of put it on and take it off and put it on, take it off. It was awesome. Thank you, Mr. Agape, once again.
So that brought us again to the membranous layer around the viscera and then okay, to reemphasize the concept of, this is a different form altogether, this is from a class, maybe last year or the year before that, I can't remember. And I want you to get a sense that we can eviscerate all the viscera from tongue to anus at the same time to represent that layer right just so you can see it in its dimension, in its fullness as a singularity, the way we looked at the superficial fascia, right, as a singularity. So that's what the group did with this particular cadaver. There we have my friend, Leslie Kaminoff and he's cradling the viscera, tongue to anus, right? It's like a pod of being, it's another person.
It's a homunculus, it's you, inside of you, right? You all have that too. You have that fleece. You have that muscle form. You have this pod of viscera. What goes on in there? What is your life about there?
Asking questions about, who am I and what is my body? And what is the meaning of this scripture? What is this chapter about for you? Is it something that you're connected to, or not connected to? It's very light. It's floating inside of us.
We don't even feel it until we load it up with, you know, turkey dinner. But, but this, this is an incredible aspect of our form, and it really moved us as we held this thing and moved it around from one table to another and it was like a baby also. Like a what?
How do you contain that in yourself and why don't you feel its weight? 'Cause you don't, you know, and some people gain weight in this layer. My dad gained all of his weight. He would put on weight and lose weight and he gained it and lost it all in the viscera. The viscera can accumulate a fatty deposition and be a place of storage.
So that's the man with the expanding pregnant tummy that goes and comes and goes and comes, depending upon where he's at. My dad never got like fat in the can or something. He had a tiny hiney just like me but he would get pregnant and then, you know, it would diminish, he was gaining and losing weight in his viscera. I'm gonna suggest that the viscera, in health, operate under the principle of levity, not gravity. Viscera are having the propensity to go up.
I got this from Broll, from his book, right? So did the descriptions of the pressure differentials being the greatest millimeters of mercury down in the pelvis, 20 say and then 15 in the abdomen and zero to even negative pressure or positive, depending upon where you're on the breath cycle, but a considerable difference between the thorax and the abdomen, so much so that given the propensity of materials to move from a high pressure to a low pressure and we have the organs are wanting to migrate up into the thorax unless we have the doming of the diaphragm. All right we have these two peaks. These two domes of the diaphragm, this curved arching, double parachute of a diaphragm full of organs with your liver, not suspended by its ligaments, from the diaphragm in such a way that gravity would force the diaphragm to invert down into your lower pelvis here. Why doesn't your liver drop down like a baby, about to be born?
No, because the liver is going up. It wants to come out your mouth and it would, if it weren't for your diaphragm. Blurp. (audience laughs)
It's floating up. It's from a high pressure zone floating into a low pressure zone. It's what is what, in my mind, gives when I learned about that sense of lift that you're looking for in a Rolfing session, right? You want to feel that that uprightness and that lift, that counter position between earth and sky, where you feel a real lightness of being, isn't about doing something. It's about not holding against the propensity of your viscera to organize you and float you in space, all right.
So that way we float on these viscera, it's like, don't think not of you, that structure there, right, that structure isn't, isn't a cinder block stacked on other cinder blocks that's, that's, that's more like your head is like a helium balloon and your spine is like a string. And your, yeah. Can you imagine that this whole upper body is a helium balloon on a spinal string and that this isn't a series of compression members but rather it's just a floaty, it's a floaty thing. And it's not only bearing weight down in pathology when we hold against levity, right, when we fight pleasure, when we grip against the impulses of our viscera to lift us up, when we do all those things, then we experience our spine as compression members. Then we experience our body as a series of stacked cinder blocks that need to be organized over each other, to give us a sense of lightness.
So I'm thinking of it instead as a very light system.
(audience laughs) I have almost no control over my mouth. And so betwixt and between those two ends, you have a, you have a, what do you call it? Chicken. Continuum. A second brain, right?
You have, you have the, the-
Well, and let and let it, let you go to its pace. 'Cause its pace is like a way different than this thing. So with Mr. Agape then I incised the fibrous bag and scrolled it up right with his diaphragm, kind of took his diaphragm off the top. You see how far up it goes? The diaphragm goes up to the nipple on a guy.
I don't know where your nipple is, somewhere lower... Or not, I mean, it could, I don't know. (audience laughs) So this is the viscera but why don't we see them still? Because they're in a bag right, they're in a sac. This is as baggy a bag as you're gonna get in a body, this is the peritoneum.
This was the first time that I saw the whole peritenoneum in a hundred dissections 'cause it always tears and you kind of give people a little shard of it and you're like, "This is the peritoneum." And they're like, "Oh, right." and then you just go and you're all excited. You see a liver who cares about that little bit of material there, right? I'll say you get excited about the organs but this again, Mr. Agape, lent himself to so many fantastic dissections in. And it was the first time I had seen the entire peritoneum. You look at Netter. Look for peritoneum and Netter.
Look it up, let's see what he draws. He draws a black line around the viscera with an arrow, the peritoneum. There's no image of this. So this is an amazing, amazing thing. You see, it has tensions in it, right?
There's the medial, on the medial and the, those ligaments.
And what we have here is a place where there's more adhesion of the peritoneum to the fibrous layer at the linea alba. And then as we go laterally from there the adhesion of the membrane to the layers is more peel-apart-able. But we've gotta go into that to see the guts, to see Mr. Agape's viscera and his liver and his intestines and here's his greater omentum. Now, Mr., here's his lungs here, right, and his heart still in the fibrous pericardium and the diaphragm, it's a rolled up out of the way. The greater omentum in his case is very small.
It's kind of normal for a greater omentum to drape clear down to the brim of the bony margins of your belly. And it is a layer that has normally fat in it. I get a little upset when Dr. Oz shows a greater omentum with fat on, on Oprah, and says, you know, "Watch out for visceral fat." And I'm like, "No, no, folks, that's an organ." That belongs there. That visceral fat in your greater omentum is a lymphoid organ and it's a doctor inside of your of your belly. It moves around.
It goes to places of inflammation. It's like a clay poultice. It's like a country doctor and it goes from place to place inside of your belly, right, addressing inflammation. This is a good thing. This is part of our system.
Again, it just draw, it could draw off toxins. It does.
What does it do? What's it for? It has a job, it's that doctor inside of us wandering around and you're do I find it all over the place. You've got a sick liver and I'll literally find the greater omentum back-flipped over it and wrapped around the liver.
Stomach cancer and the greater omentum will gather up around his stomach, it goes for- Or it'll stick to stuff. You have peritonitis. It'll stick to it, right? And it'll be adhered, probably.
I want to show you some other greater omentums. That's the Venus Mary's greater momentum. Do you remember her? The lady with the round tummy? The grandma who we, we showed the two. So this, this is kind of more, more normal, okay and remember she had a round tummy with big organs.
That was our perception from the outside. Now we'll decide if that's true from the inside. It is. (audience laughs) And yet, so here's the fatty apron actually more normal. I'm going to show you Flo's as well 'cause I want you to be able to compare You see, she had the same concavity of an abdomen as Mr. Agape did but he's got this wee little greater omentum and hardly any fat in his abdominal area.
Whereas Flo had, you know, abundant yellow in her concave abdomen, it's normal. She wasn't "fat" inside of her gut. She was normal there and her external morphology demonstrated that and yet we'll still see a whole lot more yellow in her than in Mr. Agape who was a bit emaciated in his gut. So that's Flo, that's Flo's greater omentum. Now she had other issues with her greater omentum.
She had a great number of abdominal surgeries. The greater omentum was adherent to her liver. It shouldn't be, it should be a hanging off of the stomach, not stuck onto the edge free edge of the liver but so, right all along here it was stuck and I had to pull it away. Here I'm running Flo's bowel, okay. On every cadaver I pass my hands along the pathway of the small intestine and just look for what I see.
What's going on there? Anything interesting? Is it a kind of homogenous in continuity? Are there problems? Is it stuck to itself? Are there visceral adhesions that stand out to me? Is it big in some areas and small and others?
Is it bubbly? And then smooth? Here I find an adhesion, right. And I pull it apart. Okay. Oh! And then I find a little tumor.
So there was a little tumor that caused the tissues to come close to each other and then the stillness induced by the tumor resulted in the sticking of the other stuff. If you don't move, you stick. That's the basic principle in the gut, okay It's the same principle here too. But I can't tell you if you're stuck or not, right. Maybe you're not moving as much anymore.
Maybe your range of motion is limited, right? So here we're going to have a limited range of motion on her intestines based on the fact that they're adhered to each other through this little tumor. I have a feeling she had other tumors that were removed. She had stitches elsewhere that we're gonna come across. So look at this, here's an adhesion.
It's got vascular supply. You're getting nerves and blood vessels going through adhesions in the viscera. Okay it grows it everything you need to be alive. Right? It's living tissue. All the tissue is living tissue.
It's not like the adhesions are dead. No, they're alive too. All right.
This part of our intestinal is stitched together. The doctors got there first. They took something out and they sewed her back together. Alright. So I rip it apart with my hands. I'm just ripping tissue 'cause it's very sturdy.
This is an adhesion done on purpose, right. The doctors made an adhesion with stitches and staples. Now we look at this, this is the mesocolon, the fatty layer on the back of the body and I'm just hanging out with these stitches. See, now I'm freeing the intestines, right? Cool.
So my hands are surrounding the root of the mesentery. What is that root of the mesentery? It's the fabric of connective tissue coming up and blossoming in this form for one thing. But it's also a vascular route. In other words, this is the intestine of the heart, right?
So there's a vascular route. There's veins and arteries coming up to feed and drain the intestines. There's a nerve root, right? 'Cause there's that enteric nervous system that's flowering in the form of the intestine itself. You ask what is the shape of the enteric nervous system?
It's the shape of the brain and it's hollow and that's it, right. So that the enteric nervous system lives in the arcing myenteric plexus that lines the intestine, that's the shape. It looks like a brain, it is a brain. It's not, you know, so and you think, "Oh, is this being run by this?" No, definitely not and if it was, you'd be in big trouble. Could you imagine, if you had to pay attention to his lecture right now and sort your food in your stomach and tell your gallbladder, "Oh my God, she had pizza at lunch.
We're gonna need some bile to emulsify that fat." Could we time that. Oh yeah. The, the, the, the, you know, the pyloric valve needs to open now and let the liquids out, but not the solids. We gotta keep them back because that liquid's got enough acid to burn the hood of a car and we'll sear a hole in the duodenum within five minutes. If it gets in there, we have to tell the pancreas, the first let out some pancreatic juices, including bicarbonate to prepare the duodenum for the exit of the acidic substance from the stomach, just for liquids, not for solids." Aren't you glad you don't have to do all that?
Do you know, you can, we're in a group and some of you have snuck a little, a little gaseous, gaseous releases. Haven't you? Go on, no, go on. Yeah. So that's okay. Your enteric nervous system did that for you. Did any of you here shit your pants during the lecture so far?
(audience laughs) Your enteric nervous system can sort the gases from the solids and move the gases to the front, please and let them squeak out without squeaking out the solids. Could you imagine? (Gil laughs) (audience laughs) If you had to do that?
And while I was dissecting, Mr. Agape, in the backyard was a big tree with this giant fungus. It was this big, this fungus. It was like two feet across, two and a half feet across. And I couldn't help but see Mr. Agape's intestine there and I want to zoom in on it. Oh, oops.
in your house. That's a brain. A lab in my house?
So there's, that's Venus Mary's brain actually. Same form, right, except it's solid, got the same sulcis and a gyri but they're solid. Hmm. What's that? Yeah. Thank you. That's Flo's ovary.
Isn't that pretty? Very rare that I get a- The was another one of Flo's presents. 'Cause the ovaries are usually flattened and desiccated in the cadavers. She was unfixed and a rare 81 year old to have an ovary that looked like that. It wasn't all shriveled up. A beautiful little brain.
Women have two of those and the one here and the one here, that's four brains, all competing, vying for attention. (audience laughs) Guys, guys don't have to deal with any such levels of intelligence. Okay, a different angle on the fungus. I zoom in it from this angle and I see that. And I'm like, "Oh my gosh, that looks a lot like the rugae of the stomach of Mr. Agape.
Same form. Different place. See the rugae. But look at those rugae, don't they look an awful lot like the bark. All right, so what is that fungus, if not a projection of the form of the bark in space even? Or the trees intestines? I don't know.
It took about a year. I took pictures of that fungus for a year, as it went from its full bloom to just white powder on the ground. Beautiful. Mr. Agape's tummy. That's comic relief from all those guts.
That's Ian and Luna, the dog. Cute. So this is Flo's intestines, which you saw me kind of paddling through in the little video but I wanted to, I kind of gathered them together in the middle, like flipped up the greater omentum so you can see her colon, her large intestine, the dark green, right. It comes down here and it has many fatty lobules called epiploic appendages that sort of decorate the descending colon and the rectum.
Natural colors. Yes, I mean, there's are green, it's the bile. The biliverdin is green, right, bilirubin is red. We have dyes in our body. In the...
She's gone a week, colors change rapidly in a guts. So it's a more brilliant color in the living. I have the surgical PA, who takes my class every year and she describes the extraordinary opalescent colors inside of the gut, it's very beautiful and brilliant. It's a closeup on Flo's ascending colon and to enable you to see that shiny skin, the skin of the organ, the shiny membrane that covers it. I just thought that it was really pretty.
And at the same time, I'm very conscious that I'm taking pictures of again, the dead in altered states, right? And so when I see this on the sidewalk in San Francisco, just this little juniper bush and I, that, to me, looks like the living colon right there, the same arching form but brilliant and alive, little food particles in it. And you know what I'm saying? So we always want to translate for ourselves the kind of images that I'm showing you and make them come alive. So we're getting interesting things about shape and meaning, et cetera.
But there's also the fact that we're brilliant forms of light like harmonizing with each other and that was this completely different phenomenon. And this reminds me of that, the way Alex Grey's pictures remind me of that. So back to the green on Mr. Agape. This was his gallbladder here, see and this is his cecum, okay, which is the beginning of the large intestine. You notice that, well, this is the producer of the- the liver produces the green and it gets concentrated here.
And the gallbladder and the cecum have very common functions. You would think not but they both reclaim water, right? 'Cause the chyme, the water it produces, you've got three quarts of water or so, one gallon of water to digest your food area, you don't drink that much water. Two gallons of water? You don't drink that much water, you can reclaim the water.
The watery bile's produced, it shunts back up into the gallbladder, the gallbladder dehydrates and concentrates the bile, so it's a more powerful emulsifier of fats. Similarly, the chyme, the watery food particulate going through your intestines makes it to the end of the small intestine hits the large intestine and (slurps) the water's drawn off, it's concentrated into feces and you eliminate that. If you have a peristaltic rush, right? And you don't have the time to reclaim the water, you lose all that water and that's why diarrhea is a killer on the planet. Little young children get water, they shit all their water out and they don't drink as much as they've lost, right.
Of course it's more than normal. When you have a peristaltic rush, you lose all the water and don't get to reclaim it. There's anxiety, you know, in some communities of health practitioners around the fact that we've got shit in us. (audience laughs) Like, "Oh, you should get it out and scrub it and ream it out up there." And like. (brush scrubbing) (audience laughs) And the pride that's taken when people consume substances and then shift these bizarre things, you know?
(audience laughs) And I just, I'm not sure about all that. I've had the question asked to me many times, "Gil, is there really 10 pounds of impacted fecal matter in every colon in America." (audience laughs) No, there is not 10 pounds of impacted fecal matter in every colon in America. Have I ever seen 10 pounds of impacted fecal matter in a body? No. Have I seen colons that are full? Yes. You don't magically empty your bowels from stem to stern when you die.
You leak a little poo from lack of control over the anal sphincter and the rest of it just like lays in there, embalmed poo. (audience laughs) Okay. Oftentimes the bowel is completely empty because the person didn't eat for a week before they died. That's pretty common too. I've had again, multiple surgical nurses take my class and you ask them the question.
When you're dissecting a bowel, "Do you find 10 pounds of impacted fecal matter in every bowel?" No. You find mucus linings but that's necessarily, it protects us from the toxins. If you strip out all the mucus linings of your intestine, in our culture, you'll poison yourself eating the most innocuous substances. I mean, it's adaptive. Or you can go super rarefied, like the Russian family of raw foodists, you know and they went a hundred percent raw food and then you eat a piece of pizza and you virtually, it's like suicide, is it right?
It's dangerous, really dangerous. You can't, you can't do that. You're very rarefied at that point. Again, it's no different people experiment with their gut, the same way those bodybuilders experiment with their muscles and people playing with their weight, experimenting with their superficial fascia and people tattoo their skin, people play with their viscera. They staple their stomachs. They remove this.
They add that, they take out the uteruses, they cut their testicles, they do everything. It's all part of how we step in, as conscious beings, into the ever evolving and changing human form with our consciousness and join the party. This is a shot of an interesting appendix. This is a different cadaver all together but I just want to show you the, see the cecum here and there's this long appendix, uniform appendix. This Mr. Agape, the one thing he didn't have as an appendix so I want to show you an appendix but this is an unusual place.
Look, this is the rib margin here and the cecum is underneath the rib cage, right, with the appendix trailing along where you'd expect to see the ascending colon. What's the deal there? So are you a visceral manipulator? Did you learn where to find the cecum? "Oh, sure. You go to the anterior superior iliac spine, you go to the belly button, you draw a line in between the two, you go to center line you go down two centimeters and there's the ileocecal valve." Unless it's here.
(audience laughs) So remember you're always touching a real person, not a diagram. And if you want to treat the ileocecal valve, go to where the ileocecal valve is, as opposed to where you've been told it is. And how do you find that out? Well, practice, practice, right? This is Flo's beautiful diaphragm.
You see how the diaphragm is covered in a membrane. It always is. That's the pleura. Parietal pleura, at that place, is called the diaphragmatic pleura. On the underside is covered in peritoneum, which is the membrane on the abdominal side.
So you have a layer of muscle that's sandwiched between the pleura and the peritoneum. So I like to call the diaphragm, the pleural-peritoneal muscle. Just a way to shift your brain around, to realize that every contraction of the diaphragm, 20,000 times a day amounts to a stressing of sacs above and below, right? As it contracts, it pulls on these sacs and changes the tension in them. And by changing the tension in a piece of electric fabric, I imagine in my mind, echos of light being produced by every breath we take, which represent the signature of that breath to the whole body as a spatial thing.
Is it a good one? Is it a bad one? Maybe your body adjusts in a relationship to your breath, or maybe you hold your breath. You do what I did, you're a Tai Chi guy, a misinformed Tai Chi guy who wants to breathe from his diaphragm and instead of expansion of my whole body to every breath. Instead of trying to control my breath letting my breath expand me. See the breath, the heartbeat, the levity.
These are free gifts operating inside you 24/7 that you can release yourself to and enjoy the benefits of, or that you can resist because you want to have that washboard abs set. And so you walk around holding your gut all day long, like a rock or as an emotional defense, if you're looking at it from that side and you might get the washboard but you might be suffocating at the same time. All your cells are starving. As you, as you literally anchor the expansion of your breath with your abdominal musculature. Just let it go, baby, get the Buddha belly.
That Buddha belly is a breath belly. I took the hoodie, the stocking cap, off of the liver. The diaphragm is a hoodie over the liver. The illusion of the prior slide though, the illusion of the slide is that the diaphragm's cut edge doesn't continue on in the abdominal musculature. It does, the diaphragm is at right angles, perpendicular in the exact same plane as the transversus abdominis muscle, they are a unity.
I have a nice little video on YouTube describing this and that unity of the transversus abdominis and the diaphragm is rendered abstract when I go cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cutaway the abdominal all so I can see that pretty parachute that I just made. 'Cause it's not a parachute. It's a pillowcase. It's a muscular pillowcase enveloping the whole abdominal content. So what's in there? A liver. Again, the liver domes because it's trying to go up.
It's a big whole organ, the liver but it's floating inside of you. You don't feel its weight, ever. And its motion is governed by its relationships to the diaphragm, through these ligaments, the right triangular ligament, which is simply the peritoneum lifting up over into the deep surface of the diaphragm off of the skin of the liver or the coronary ligament of the liver, right? That same tissue in continuity, forming an arch over the top of the liver. This is diaphragm. This is liver.
This is their relationship, this horizon of tissue. This is the, the left side, the left triangular ligament. So we go all the way over the liver and we have an edge and an edge. And we have this, this governance of the motion of the liver. It's not suspending the liver. It's governing its motion.
And then there are skilled people who can palpate the abnormal motion of the liver. What happens when we have adhesions inside of the gut and the liver sticks to the diaphragm over here. And then instead of rolling forward and down, like this and medially, it goes this way and then it turns because it's gotten yanked in the other direction. And then what kind of a massage does your kidney and your adrenal gland get underneath it. If the liver isn't doing what it used to do and what it's designed to do, then they miss out on their daily massage and they get all bent out of shape.
These motions can be restored through intelligent touch, yoga, like I love yoga for, for what it does to your organs. You get in all these twisty type positions and then you breathe, (breathes deeply) Oh, that's fantastic for your guts, right? To facilitate the compression of the organs and then breathing and then free them up so that they can, so you can just give in to their normal motion and they can enjoy the health that's a function of movement. Here's Mr. Agape's stomach. Here.
And I took it out and skinned it, see the skin? That's peritoneum, visceral peritoneum, and I peeled it off so that you could see the beautiful muscle layering, which goes in multiple directions and the stomach again at a function of the, the stomach churning the stomach contents, the function of the enteric nervous system. Your vagus nerve does make it through. It follow down the esophagus, the right and left vagus nerves follow down the esophagus, the top and bottom of it, pass through the esophageal hiatus and then the vagus nerve has made it into the gut. It doesn't mean it's running the gut.
It's listening to the gut. It's keeping tabs on the gut. It's not in charge of the gut. They used to have a therapy, they cut the vagus nerve for anorexics. They figured, "Well, obviously she's crazy.
Cut the vagus nerve." It didn't didn't affect anything at all. It didn't, it didn't, it doesn't change peristalsis, that's a function of the enteric nervous system. You just keep on keeping on. This is real basic old stuff. Ah, that's a spleen, gotta love the spleen.
Fits in the palm of your hand. Spleen's a very soft organ it's like a little sack of blood, in there, much smaller than your liver. We're asymmetrical remember? So there's Mr. Agape's spleen. Are all spleens shaped like that? No.
(audience laughs) I'm like that. (audience laughs) This is Mr. Agape, at the layer of his gut. So this is tongue to anus. I did a dissection of Mr. Agape a little different than I'd done, just for fun. I was looking to, this is the digestive pathway.
I included his lungs. Because exactly what do we eat all day but air? We eat air all day long. Occasionally we put food in it but mostly (inhales deeply) we eat air. We can go a while without food.
We can go a little less time without water. We don't, can't go long at all without air, right? So I just dissected this way now, of course, this is arranged sort of schematized so you can see his tongue and then the branching bronchi, the stomach ducking underneath the transverse colon. We come to the duodenum, here's the pancreas. And then the small intestine loop, loop, loop, loop, loop, loop, loop, loop to the cecum, ascending hepatic flexure, transverse colon, splenic flexure, descending colon and rectum, anus.
You've seen a lot of layers in Mr. Agape, huh?
I kept all the solids, like the funguses of the heart tree. So the kidneys and the spleen and the liver, I counted as funguses on a heart tree and took them the, the heart, branching heart together with its solid filters. Here's a closeup on that pancreas. Pancreas is long, it's like eight inches long. It stretches all the way from this side, all the way over to your spleen.
Tail of it touches the spleen. It's always nestled inside the duodenum and they're not two, but they're one. Only in our minds do we have a pancreas and a duodenum. In the body you have that, right? This complex of tissue, some glandular, some muscular, okay.
It's our nomenclature, that turns one into one organ and the other into another organ. They're a piece. If we look on the back of the pancreas, we can see the pancreatic duct, the common bile duct joining at the ampulla of Vater, into the sphincter of Oddi, on the inside. That's a lot of juices. You got the pancreatic juices, a quart a day, the bile, a quart and a half a day, the juices coming out of stomach.
All those juices meeting in the duodenum, juicy place. Oh, I put this slide in Sally, check it out. So here's the cadaver's pylorus, pyloric valve of the stomach coming into the duodenum here. Here's the duodenum we get to the end before it turns and we have the DJ junction here, the duodenum-jejunum junction. And that makes that ligament of Treitz, muscle of Treitz.
None of you have ever heard of it, none of you care but I do. (Gil laughs) (audience laughs) Bruce, you ever heard of that? Ligament of Treitz? Y'all work on it theoretically, right but it took me 18 years to find it, okay.
Czech? Was he Czech? Was he a Czech guy?
I had to cut the pancreas, which I don't normally do. Like, I don't normally cut the obturator internus and see those beautiful ligaments. I don't normally just saw the pancreas in half before I've taken out of the body but when I did, I saw that, which I've been looking for for years, but never saw it 'cause I never did it right. Anyway, if it's in too much tension, it'll put a kink in the duodenum and you'll have digestive problems. And because of its location near the near these two arteries, the celiac artery and the superior mesenteric artery, it will create circulatory problems in the gut as well and this is why it calls the attention of surgeons and visceral manipulators.
I love little holes in things. So this is the sphincter of Oddi from the inside, okay. So this is the pathway through which all of your bile and all of your pancreatic fluids enter into the small intestine. And once I see a valve like that, I want to, I want to compare it to other ones. And since Mr. Agape was in tact with all that stuff, I kind of thought, well, maybe I can gather, gather the valves together.
So I went and got the pyloric valve and opened that up and had a peak. You can see how differently structured it is. It's a much larger valve, end of the stomach, it has like a zipper of intense musculature. It's an important junction, very important. Again, it's protecting your body from that stomach acid.
The pancreatic juices are pretty potent too, you know. Like they digest meat, right? You're meat, right? You have inside of you an organ that can eat you. (audience laughs) And people are all like, "Oh, the pancreas, that means sweet." I'm like, "No, it's vicious." All right.
The pancreas is a vicious organ or one of those problems when you have pancreatitis and that sucker leaks in you, you got like battery acid rot inside your body. Dissected that a bunch of times too. Yeah, that's right. Anyway, pyloric sphincter valve. Oh, here they all are.
This is called a "sphincter bouquet". (audience laughing) Because we can. So here's the epiglottitis and we've gone down the down the- towards the esophagus here, up in the throat and we're gonna come out the cardiac sphincter of the stomach, go through the stomach and lead us to the pyloric sphincter and material'll pass by the sphincter of Oddi go through all the small intestines to the ileocecal valve and then work its way out to the anus, "sphincter bouquet". So here we are in Flo. We're at the level of her peritoneum, that covers the kidney fat, right?
So I'm gonna show you, I'm gonna lift my thumbs under here. So that's the serous membrane, right, of the peritoneum. If something is under a serous membrane, we're going to call it subserosal. So subserosal fascia is what we call this substance, the fatty packing material around the kidney that surrounds that organ. What you expect you're gonna see a kidney bean in there?
No way. You're gonna see an organ embedded in a fatty layer. It belongs there. This is not accidental fat. You don't want to lose this fat, that position of your kidney depends upon this fat. The health of your body depends upon this fat.
Fat's a good thing. Subserosal fascia is a good thing. She does not have an extraordinary compliment of it. Remember, she had a concave belly. She has very normal subserosal fascia.
This is normal. I'm poking a hole in it to show you the kidney that lives on the inside.
You see how soft her liver is when I touch it. Mr. Agape's liver was like a football, you know? 'Cause it's coagulated. Kidney... Embedded in subserosal fascia.
Right around here is where we find the adrenal gland. The adrenal gland lives in the subserosal fascia, adrenal gland is not naked, hanging out over your kidney like Netter draws it. The adrenal gland is glandular tissue embedded in subserosal fascia with many fine filamentous vascular and nervous relationships to the fat. Your adrenal gland, I believe, is listening to your fat because you're fat's got something to say. It has a lot of things to say, actually, but I tend to imagine it because of this relationship to the adrenal gland as having specific potent communication to that gland.
And what does that thing do? It listens to it. It listens to our emotions, the emotional environment, determines how to let either hang with it or run, right. It prepares our body fight or flight, all that stuff. So you're walking down the street, minding your own business. And you're like, "Hmm." And you look across the street and there's, like, the creepy guy.
And then you make a decision, right? Do I run? Do I fight? Get my purse, brass knuckles, keys spiked between my fingers? Or you're on the elevator and you're facing the door and you turn your head and that one's kind of cute, actually.
Why do we keep turning our head? 'Cause I'm telling you a story. The vibe comes to us, right? Your superficial fascia is liquid, right? 98.6 degrees. It's a liquid sensing layer. Huh?
The puddle goes, tututututututututu, right. All of the waves of our environment are making their impression on the liquid sleeve, around your body. It's like a tuning fork. You strike that tuning fork, subserosal, uh, superficial fascia tuning fork is struck by the waves coming into the environment and all the like textured tissues in the body co-vibrate with it. All right, clear on down to the greater omentum and the mesocolon surrounding the gut.
Again another shell, like my Russian dolls here, right? We've got our superficial fascia and then we got our greater omentum and our mesocolon surrounding the gut and then we have our subserosal fascia surrounding the kidney, right? Each one is like a tuning fork, you strike the one on the outside, it echoes down into it. And then what are antennas doing? They're transducing one type of signal to the next kind of signal.
You put a piece of metal on your car. It pulls in a radio wave. It turns into an electrical signal, the electrical signal is then interpreted, right? Well maybe this is how we interpret our emotional environment, right? People send off a vibe, we pick up the vibe, we translate the vibe.
We notify, through cascades of nervous impulse and hormonal information substances in our blood, that it's time to turn your head. This is so late in the story. When we bring our neocortex, our decision making apparatus into the conversation with our body, right? To either corroborate the danger or to say you're off, you missed. That's not it, there's nothing going on.
Those two people are yelling at each other over there. It's got nothing to do with me. I'll make it on my way. And this is how we, we meet our lovers and our enemies. It's all happening around us.
We are constantly feeling the vibe of a room. You're in this room. It has a certain feeling, right. You're okay with it. You're hanging with it. We've generated a kind of a fabric in the room of our beating hearts, interweaving and creating literally the texture of the room that represents our gathering here.
If someone came in through the door and started doing something else that wasn't what we're doing, it would break that fabric, right? And we'd all turn our attention to that. And we would all react or respond to it in different ways, right? But we're doing that all day long, we're interpreting our environment. I believe that this fat is part of the apparatus in the physical whereby we interpret our world.
It's just a set of ideas. These are Mr. Agape's kidneys. Stripped of their very minimal subserosal fascia, remember he was very skinny in the gut. And again, they're like, funguses hanging off of his heart tree. This is his aorta and his inferior vena cava.
Now we're back to Flo. Hmm, Flo. If we lift up Flo's greater omentum we see her abundant small intestines, they were pretty large, small intestines, huh? As compared to, I'm sorry, this is a Venus Mary's compared to Flo or Mr. Agape, she has incredibly abundant small intestines. So if I deflect them out of the way, look at there, that's her uterus.
That's her uterine tube and that's her ovary right here. This is her colon covering her other ovary. So I gotta deflect the colon, right? This is the colon. That's the rectum at this point. And we see her uterus, the uterine tube, uterine tube, fimbriae, ovary, ovary.
This is a rare gift folks. When you go into an 80 something year old person, it's one thing to get lucky enough to find a uterus and ovaries in them, right? But to have them be photogenic is a whole other story because it could be dark and deep in there and they could be twisted and off and it could be very mucky and nasty. And the one time I wanted to photograph it, the universe served this up to me. I'm very grateful.
You look a little closer at the ovary on the left side here, at the fimbriae in the uterine tube, just noting the position, right? These come in different places. We're talking about the cecum being in a different place, well ovaries can be in different places too. In a general area, you don't find an ovary up in your throat usually, but you can find a migrating into different places in a pelvis, relatively speaking. I was fascinated by the position of this one in particular for the bodywork community because her ovary was sitting.
This is the same body with everything stripped away except that uterus and this is her psoas, all right, so her ovary and her fimbriae are sitting exactly on the most accessible point of the psoas for a bodyworker. I went to that spot hundreds of times as a Rolfer and noodled around. Just inviting you to be conscious of the fact that you might be noodling around in somebodies ovary. You can induce ovulation by noodling around on people's ovaries, all right. So much for the rhythm method.
(audience laughs) I'm a rhythm method, baby. They weren't that good at it in the early sixties and in the late fifties. It's actually a very good method now you can get pregnant using that very, the muco-ovulatory method. You know, when you're ovulating, if you pay attention to the signs in your body, it's actually unbelievably accurate. The Catholics have actually taken, getting pregnant to the next level.
Those are that. It looks a little bit like sphincter of Oddi but that's actually the os of the uterine tube, the opening. Every one of you went through that whole one day.
We all, you get fertilized in the abdomen, folks, for the most part, the ovary's only good for like 15 hours so it either gets fertilized or it doesn't. This is totally... I don't know what any of you are doing here. (audience laughs) If you think about the unlikelihood of any of us being here, based on this ridiculous system of reproduction,
This, if you follow this pathway down, it's gonna take you down the uterine tube and into the uterus. It takes it off four days for the egg to travel down the uterine tube, into the uterus. If it's only good for 15 hours and fertilization had to take place either at the very top of this thing or out in the abdomen and then it needs to get sucked back in the hole, after being released from the egg, somehow, against the pressure differential, because remember the pelvis pressure going up towards the abdomen and here you got something that could go down into the pelvis, all right. It's like, what the heck? You just wanted to be here.
You figured out a way. Mm. Flo's uterus. She had one. What do you call it? Cystic ovary.
This is the ovary I showed you a while ago. This is the fundus of a uterus. This is not actually her uterine tube. This is the round ligament of the uterus. Her uterine tubes had been removed.
This is the opening of her cervix. So here's the cervix. This is the opening of the cervix here. The os of the cervix. Do you see this shape?
(lips flapping) (audience laughing) That's the way it is so that we have a perfectly round like donut dimple in the cervix of a woman who hasn't had a baby try and get out of it. And when we see a cervic shaped like that, we know a baby came out of it 'cause it was stretched. And then when it reconfigures, when it recovers from that dramatic 10 centimeter plus shoulders stretch, (audience laughs) it gets that uneven shape. (breathes deeply) Mm. Ah.
The moon. (audience laughs) (yawns) Ladies, if you got yourselves a lunar calendar and just stuck it in your kitchen and followed the lunar phases on a daily basis, your cycle would go to the moon, literally. We in our Julian calendar are cut off from lunar cycles. We don't go outside at night. We're scared. It's dangerous, blah, blah, blah.
And so your cycle is off from the planet but this is pulling on ya. I'm kind of grateful you don't all come into it at once. (Gil laughs) (audience laughs) You'll never see me teaching class on a full moon, if you do. This is the, now this is a vagina. All right, here's the cervix.
Here's the urethral meatus, right, for the urine to pass through. And this is the cut edges of the vagina, right? So you can see the rough inner surface on the anterior wall of vagina. In these little crevices sperm can live for like a week and that's the why you can get fertilized in that little 15 hour window because the sperm can hang out for several days in these little crevices, when the acidity is backed off, right, when it's alkaline and a vagina, it's normally acid environment, when it goes alkaline, the sperm can survive, they're alkaline loving. You notice this kind of a bulbous padding here, the urethral sponge is like a female prostate.
It produces the same chemicals and surrounds the neck of the bladder and the urethral pathway, the same way as the male prostate does ours. Science will tell you more about that eventually. Once some of you more ladies become doctors and scientists who will talk about it 'cause the guys are so busy studying their own gizmos that they never get around to yours. (audience laughs) Here's Mr. Agape. I'm showing you his inguinal ring.
He had, I think he had mesh on both sides, Mr. Agape, he had repaired hernias. We get up close and we see the spermatic cord here. The testicles are like herniations through the abdominal wall and they drag the fascia with it as well as the abdominal musculature so that the internal obliques are draped down along the spermatic cord and creates that, the ball lifter-upicus muscle. (audience laughs) What do we call that?
Bruce? You want to lift yours with me? (audience laughs) On three, Bruce. One, two, three. Up. (audience laughing) Okay, down. Thank you.
(audience laughs) Okay. So, here's Mr. Agape's... Stuff, as it were, the testicles, right? Little epididymis here, here we have the, the testicular artery and vein on each side and we have the vas deference coming from the testicle as a duct for the sperm to travel through to the back of the bladder where we'll have the, the,
You'll notice right here, a little problem. I do my best to dissect but I gave him an accidental unilateral vasectomy. (audience laughs) So I just tied that baby back up. Fellas, it doesn't work to do one side.
You gotta do both sides, yeah. If you slice open a testicle, unlike the uterine brain that we saw, here we just have a sponge. (audience laughs)
Okay, it's actually a very intelligent system, the testicle, I'm very happy with mine. And if you combine it with the ovarian stuff, you end up getting very creative children. That was a father's day present from my daughter. It was a clay figure of an apple walking it's worm. Isn't that cute?
And I was fascinated by this bunny, look at this like soap. This is the mesentery or the bunny, right? But there're no fatty deposition. Bunnies don't have a very busy emotional life. (audience laughs) So we just have little soap bubbles here and see a little bunny poo going through his pathway.
I just thought that was extraordinarily beautiful and a wonderful counterpoint, right, to our fatty mesentery, it's supposed to be that way. There's a bunny's mesentery, it's supposed to be that way. Okay but it gives you a sense of the beautiful quality of the membranes. That's the bunnies uterus, she had five babies in her.
"Like intertwining limbs of lovers exploring one another, the tendrils of the human heart, wrap and wind embracing every nook and hidden place of the beloved drawing to its love the breadth and light of life cell by blessed cell.
Its pulsing caresses are the gentlest hands stroking skin, the softest lips, kissing tenderly, wherever they will. It's a resonant voice with constancy speaks to the truth throughout this land of quaking form like a prophet inciting passion for what we bear within us. Yield then, yield. Yield to this one love. Be carried away.
The heart to which you bow and bend is your own. I am growing accustomed to feeling good. I am increasing my tolerance for pleasure." (breathes deeply) We go back and forth. What's the difference? There's no difference.
We're breathing that and it's breathing us. What is a body? As a body we're doing mouth to mouth with the planet all day long, right? What is a body? Is my body bound by skin? Is that not my body?
That's my body. I'm breathing that. (breathes deeply) Trees. I got layers. I got trees.
I love this picture. I've had it up on my cabinet for years and years. Kirksville College of Osteopath Medicine. Kirksville, Missouri? Missouri? In like 1920s, a couple of students did a nerve dissection.
That's a kick-ass nerve dissection. I sometimes dream of repeating that it's been too long. I've taken little swipes at it but nothing like that. It's awesome. Well, that's quite a tree, huh?
So you have that in ya. Look, I'll show it to you. See, there's, that's Ray's arm and we see the beautiful nerve here, cutaneous nerve and look at how it overlaps with this other tree branch, the heart, this vein. And here we're seeing at a gross visual, visible level but again, this is going down levels and levels to the microscopic, this, this growing together of these trees, Heart and brain aren't separated in your body, they're those intertwining limbs of lovers, right? I had a whole lot of nerves.
Now, if you were to just go to the spot on your arm, for instance, right. You make a little muscle there and it's like a little pocket right there. And you go into that little pocket right there on your arm. Yeah. Around there. And you just kinda, you just scooch the muscles out of your way and like dig in a little, like twang, twang, twang.
Okay, that's your radial nerve. It's right there. It's big. Yeah radial nerve. What about, what about, okay. You got our elbows right. Everybody's got an elbow. You straighten it out and there's like a little bump over here on this outside and then there's the olecranon process.
So you've got this bump and then this bump you go in between 'em and you go twink, twink, twink. You might get like a little electrical shock shooting down to your pinky. Stop. (audience laughs) She's like, her face is all screwed up, she's like, "Ah!" Did I do that to her? Yeah.
So that's your ulnar nerve, right? So you got the radial right here, ulnar right here. Okay, we all got wrists, right? Why don't you take your wrist or you can go like this, all the tendons here, you bend your wrist all the way back like that and you'll see that it kind of mounds up in the middle of it, you get a little white spot there. A little pale as the blood rushes out of your skin there.
That the little high point. That's your median nerve. It pops out between your tendons when you bend your wrist. You know median nerve's like a chewy, gushy pad there before it dives underneath the carpal tunnel, median nerve. So you've got median nerve, ulnar nerve, radial nerve, easy peasy.
They go on more, they're all over. Look, if I just paddle my way through the muscle, I don't have to cut any muscles to get to see this radial nerve. I'll just show it to you this way. See, I find a little thread of it running down along the brachioradialis muscle there and then I just slipped my hemostat under it. That's what you were touching just a minute ago, right here.
Big old radial nerve. So this is the. This is your brain, your nerve tree branching, it has arms. So the brain is non-local right, it extends to the periphery. This being the surface of your brain.
I love it when Dean Juan says, "Skin is the surface of your brain." It very much is this periphery. It's a union. It goes through your whole body. It's structural. Your nerves are structural. They're giving integrity to the fabrics of your body, they have to be flexible and stretch with you. If they don't you'll feel it.
What if you live in a chronic, you saw that big nerve thing. What if that thing is (hand freezing) that's what it's like to be in a sympathetic reaction, your whole life, right? Where you literally shorten your whole nerve tree. If that represents into the structure, right? We talk about limited range of motion.
What's the model by which you're asking questions about the range of motion. Should we be looking at fascia collagenous body? Maybe we should be looking at a nerve tree that's having a sympathatonic seizure, right? That's as good, that's as good a cause as any to reduce range of motion in a body. We had a wonderful group of naturopaths in one of my classes and they dissected everything away but the, you know, we're going like this.
And we're looking through the pelvis at the sciatic nerve coming into the bones here and watching how this particular legs range of motion was inhibited by the nerve, basically. It's fascinating. So like, I know there are nerve Rolfers out there now. There's all kinds of people. You see this stuff is surrounded by fibrous connective tissue, right.
So we're talking, you know, what is it? Is it structural? Yes. But it's also like, it's like a, we have this whole connective tissue nerve tree in addition to the nervous tissue nerve tree, right. Maybe it's also a communication pathway, but it's conveying information of a different type, in a different order, at a different rate than the nerve tissue itself, which is having its chemical cascade going through it at a different rate, then communication can travel other ways. (Gil twitching) (audience laughing) Okay. So...
Okay, so what was that? What the hell was that?
If you design a robot insect with a brain that waits for each movement to be calculated through algorithms in a central processor, that insect goes nowhere. When they trashed the central processor on the little insect robots that they build now, and they just let the joints function like bug joints. The thing will go skittering, once you set it moving, it just keeps on moving. We don't, we're not, I don't believe that we're as dependent as we're led to believe on a hierarchical ordering of impulses. Again, just an idea. Just an idea.
What is the brain for? I'm not so sure. I don't know if I've even tried mine yet. (audience laughs) I think a black box. I love my, one of my favorite teachers is, he's dead sometime now but Stylianos Atteshlis, he was known as Daskalos and he had this thick accent from Cyprus. And he'd say, "Why do you pay so much attention to that clump of earth inside your head?" (audience laughs) That having been said, I think brains are, like, really cool but overrated.
So here's the collarbone, right, the clavicle. Here's Mr. Agape's neck and his nerve, right, brachial plexus, coming down underneath it. Vein, artery, we're going to see them all a-tangle. Sally and I did a whole bunch of filming of this, this cadaver, Ray, we were moving his clavicle and his subclavius muscle over the brachial plexus and a vein and a nerve and filming that and talking about the- The subclavius is the massage therapist of the brachial plexus. Notice how the artery is threading through the brachial plexus.
You don't see that in the schematizations in the book but the fact of the matter is the heart and the brain are literally braided amongst each other in these larger branches. This is Mr. Agape and his... His skeletal tree and his nerve tree are still intact. That's all that's left of him. See I put his ribcage and his arms back on him after removing his guts.
I see all these beautiful nerves coming out of his neck to make his arms. The nerve arms are coming out of here, like the femoral nerve right through the psoas, the psoas is full of all that stuff. Sciatic nerve branching into the peroneal and the tibial nerve, on down to the feet. Mr. Agape with his calvarium removed, right, so we can see what the membranes. So just like the tummy with the fibrous sac and then a serous membranes surrounding the organ, your head is organized the same way, basically.
You have a fiber sac, we call it the dura. You have a membrane called the arachnoid and then the surface of the brain, the pia, we have the same kind of layering. The textures are a little different but the basic organization is similar. I can zoom in on that dura and see the staining here. That's bloodstain because it's the dura itself has many sinus pathways through which the venous blood drains from the brain.
It's like an air conditioner, right? Aristotle called the brain an air conditioner. I think there was a lot going there. I know we, migraine sufferers, have definite temperature differential blood flow problems going on in a head, something going on here, right in the central sinus. And if we cut this open, you can see it as a pathway 'cause the dura has two layers in a brain.
It's a double layered fibrous sac. So in between the layers, you can have pathways through which blood flows. See? That's the transverse sinus cut open. Here I've cut the dura along the edge of the bony margin here and scroll and rolled it up to expose what?
The arachnoid. The arachnoid is a very diaphanous drapey kind of membrane that covers the brain. It doesn't invaginate all those little nooks and crannies. It kind of lays over the top and underneath it, the cerebrospinal fluid flows, not between the dura and the arachnoid. No, those are adherent actually.
The fluid flows deep to this membrane through the gyri and the sulcis and the ventricles of the brain and on down to your sacrum and perhaps out to the periphery, depending upon who you're talking to. (attendee sneezes) The arachnoid is a funny thing. God bless you. When you poke it or tear it or cut it all, it's just so thin and just, it's like touching a spiderweb. It just recoils on itself and disappears before your eyes.
And you have this whole thing in front of you and then you touch it and it's gone. And I've always whined about that in class. So you can't really get a good bit of arachnoid once you've started dissecting it. Cause it all goes away and then no longer, no sooner had I given this speech, then a guy next to me was like, "Well, how about this Gil?"
Now the difference between the pia and all the other sort of visceral membranes, visceral layers, is that there's no, there's no... You can't peel a brain. It's too soft. The pia is only like two or three cells thick. So there's never a fabric that you can peel off the brain, the way I peeled that stomach lining when I showed you I'd peeled the stomach and I showed you the muscle underneath it and you could see the cut edge.
You can't do that with this substance. You can poke your finger right through the pia. It's just a cellular layer, it's a function of histology. You can't peel it away and do gross dissection. That's the cerebellum there.
It also has arachnoid covering it. Between the arachnoid and the pia are branching, connective tissue threads called trabeculae. And those trabeculae create like a network of little like those tailor stitchy things you talked about. What was the word again? She's gone tailor tack, yeah.
Yeah, that's like the trabecular between the arachnoid and the pia and that creates like this, this amazing network with like little post gone through that allow the, then the cerebral spinal fluid circulates through that. And brain surgeons actually pay acute attention to the trabecular between the pia and the arachnoid for one, because the trabeculae are covered in pia. You don't want to bust 'em, you're gonna poke holes in the person's the brain. They're gonna get little micro bleeds and stuff. And they will stand there for like 16 hours, looking through binoculars, three or four people, studying the branching of that particular individual.
They'll have like a table with 250 instruments on it, all different shaped forceps. And after, like, six hours they're like, "Hand me the massetini 369." And they take that and it'll snake their way to where they want to go. It's bizarre. I got that from a brain surgeon guy. He was into origami, then he retired.
(audience laughs) He's like, "It's not rocket science, you know." He said that. I have a rocket scientist friend who lives in San Francisco and he says, "It's not brain surgery." (audience laughing) That's a fish. My daughter has been drawing cartoons on a whiteboard her whole life and then one day she sits down and draws this fish. It took her about 10 minutes, she did it with a pen and she use to always complain that she wasn't good at math. And then she drew that and I'm like, "There's more math in that fish." And I've done it my whole life.
Unbelievable. I was like, "Honey, can you do more fish?" So she did that. (attendee sneezes) Bless you. Like, "How about a school of fish, honey?" She gave me a school of fish. She didn't even own a fish at the time.
Is that a brain? Did a brain draw that? What the heck is a brain? I don't know but like, what's the relationship of that too, I don't know. I'm just putting it out there as a question. What a brains do?
They make us move? I think it's to slow. Do they make us draw fish? Isn't that a spiritual phenomenon? Is that a nervous phenomenon or a spiritual phenomenon? I don't know what a spiritual phenomenon is either but I'm just saying, I don't understand that.
This is a little ringed snake, we have them in Florida. They're very friendly. Our neighbors called me up, "Gil, there's a snake in the pool." I was like, "Cool! Kids, let's go get the snake in the pool." So we went across the street, we captured the snake and we put it in our pool. (audience laughs) Ain't that beautiful movement? And look at how it's movement reiterates into the water with waves, right?
Look at that, little echoes of the motion in the water, right, shaping the water. We are water being shaped, right, by that writhing, nervous impulse in our body. Will we let ourselves feel that again? Are you? Can you increase your tolerance for pleasure enough to allow your nervous system to move as it's born to move and let its waves go through you, to mix with the waves of your heart and offer you a free experience of ecstasy and form?
(breathes deeply) And that's Venus Mary's brain and spinal cord still on the dura. There's a big storm and it tossed up this kelp bed. And these clusters that were clinging to the bottom of the sea were lying around on the shore with these long undulating to up to the surface of the kelp bed. I decided ride one out to sea but it was tangled up with this other one, so I picked it up and tossed it away. When I saw the shot, I was like, "Damn, if that isn't my brain and spinal cord, I'm throwing away." Hmm. That was in a class last year.
Brain and spinal cord on down through the sacrum and then down into the legs, they managed to get that. That was in another class, people get into this project. Can you see the brain is still in the dura, right? This took hours and hours basically had to erase the bone. This is, you have a soft thing and you're trying to erase the bone around it, save the membranes, but it's a beautiful image of the dura intact.
Give you a sense of its shape. Do you also see the asymmetry of the brain? Okay, so our brains, you got your hip forward, your brains forward. All right. Well our brain is a soft organ surrounded by a membrane.
The membrane is in tensional relationship with every other tensional relationship in your body. You got your knee up, your brain is up, okay. You're sphenoid's off, your brain is off. The brain just molds to the distortions of the tissue. Interesting, yeah.
Where does it start? Where does it finish? It's a chicken or egg thing. I can't tell you which generates which. Is it a twist in the flow of fluid in the brain that generates the distortion in the pelvis? Is it the distortion in the pelvis that represents a preference for moving ahead or holding back, that then translates into the shape of the brain.
I don't know which way it goes. It doesn't much matter, but it's something you can play with. Hmm. So there's the brain stripped then of the arachnoid and you get to see the beautiful shapes. Now all of these little sulcis and gyri are all named. You can look in books and they'll paint little colors on them and tell you, this is what happens here and this is what happens here and all that stuff's being chucked out the window 'cause it's still in books and it'll be in books for the next hundred years but you go to a neuroplasticity conference and they're gonna just toss that stuff out the window.
Okay, they're so far ahead of that, basically just erasing everything we know about the brain over and over again, just erasing and erasing and erasing. Which is great 'cause it saves you the trouble of having to learn in the first place. (audience laughs) Yeah, exactly. So I just skipped all that 'cause years ago I was like, "I don't think that's right." And then people said, "I don't think that's right either." I was like, "Phew, I saved myself all that trouble." Flip the brain over and you can see the pineal gland here, that little pea there. This is the olfactory tracts and bulbs, the optic chiasma cutoff from the optic nerve, going out to the eyeballs.
It's very pretty the brain. It's an incredible organ. When you come to the brain, you're like, you know, you're looking at something special. Ah, your liver, your spleen, they're great and then you see the brain and it's just like, it sort of ups the ante on your respect for the levels of organization that are inherent in a human body and every one of us has got one and it is so frigging fancy, you can't believe it. And a guy sleeping on a cardboard grade, in a big city and the Queen of England, they've both got one. You've got one. I've got one.
I love the human body as the great democratizer, the great equalizer because we have this precious, spectacular gift, each one of us. Doesn't cost anything, it's right there. If you stop like doing stuff, you can just sit there and feel it and it's like entertainment and essential entertainment. The body is amazing. So it's like you can go to the movies or you could just sit in a chair.
(audience laughs) We look back into that cranial vault but what's left of it, right? Once we've removed all that stuff we saw on the other slide and you see the cerebellum still in place where the brainstem is cut, the trigeminal nerve, optic nerve. Let's see, internal carotid artery and the vermis of the cerebellum, it's just pretty. This is the stem of the pituitary gland. This is the Turkish saddle, the sella turcica of the sphenoid bone, where the pituitary gland sits right under the optic chiasma.
Beautiful. If I look down the spinal cord, like I pull the cerebellum up, I look down the spinal cord. You see the, the accessory nerve that innervates the, the traps and the sternocleidomastoid coming back up from the spinal cord and out the foramen here with the vagus nerve and the... What it that? Hyoglossus. Fancy stuff.
Here's an interesting brain. You see the holes?
If I turn the brain sideways, you see a big stroke. So a stroke is like a heart attack on your brain. It's a failure of blood supply. If you get a heart attack on your heart, you get a scar on the muscle tissue. You get a heart attack on your brain or brain attack and you, or a stroke we call it and the tissue just atrophies, it goes away.
So you end up with holes. You can have major strokes where you lose a big chunk of brain and sometimes that can bother you and sometimes it can't. You can recover from strokes. Again, this is an incredibly malleable, re-routable system. I had a client who, literally, had half of his brain removed, for a tumor.
He was a truck driver. He came to, he had a shoulder problem. He was not really missing it. The mysteries of the brain.
What I love about this little clip is that I'm going to start flexing and extending the head of the cadaver and you're going to be able to see the effect of flection and extension on the dura. Okay, even of a cadaver.
Keep your eye on the dura. Cause the more you do it, the more it helps. All right, so now look.
How deep can you touch yourself? All the way in. By doing something as simple as a roll up. Alright. Where do you bring your attention when you're moving? This is not about stretching muscles, range of motion.
Can you have a seizure in your dura and you can stretch a person muscle all day long. What they need is to relax the dura. You keep coming back. It was a fun question you asked 'cause there's a hundred ways to answer it. So when I stop and don't answer it, it's not out of, 'cause it was a dumb question.
It's because it's so large a question that it needs to be answered all day long. I just love tracing the heart all over the place. Look at the dorsal nerve roots coming off here and we see this meandering vein running down the spinal cord, right? You see the, the meander of the blood? Tutututututututututu.
Cerebellum. There's this stranding of the cauda equina, right? Here's the termination, the conus medullaris, the end of the spinal cord surrounded in pia. We end up getting a strand called the filum terminale, it goes all the way down to the coccyx. This little connective tissue thread running through the cauda equina.
It's just, this is just such a frigging fancy antenna we're dealing with here. Very fancy antenna. What's it good for transmitting and receiving? What do you use yours for? What's the signal you're sending off and what's the ones that you're paying attention to?
Are you happy with it? It's just an honest question, because if you're not happy with the signal you're giving off or the signals you're paying attention to then pay attention to a different signal. You don't have to keep listening to, "The world is coming to an end, the world is coming to and end, the world is coming.", or whatever. I spent 15 years following alternative news on the web 15 years, I consumed like a voracious, hungry man, never, ever, ever, ever achieving any satisfaction, eating at that table. Looking the whole time for something positive or something good and never finding it.
About maybe two and a half years ago, I taught my own class in San Francisco and it was so uplifting. It was so positive an experience to be with that group of people under those circumstances. When I just didn't look at the news for a week, I haven't looked at the news since. "Oops, I missed the election." Dang. (audience laughs) What happened?" But what I'm saying is that instead of spending my time reading bad news, I took up writing good news and telling good news.
And I think it's been good for me, changed my life. I don't, like, stay up late at night, worrying about my children and where I should move them to in the event of yada, yada, yada. 'Cause yada, yada, yada, the barbarians were coming over the hill a thousand years ago, yada, yada, yada. There's always a barbarian horde coming over the hill to destroy you. Are you gonna live your life?
Are you going to sit quaking because the barbarian hordes are coming? Me? I'm going to just hang out and twangle my filum terminale. (audience laughs) (mouth popping) I love that. That was done in a class.
A couple ladies got obsessed with the femoral nerve and I was like, "Let's do it." And I got a pair of clippers and started clipping away the bone and we got this far in a couple hours. On the other table was a heap of- Dissection is mutually exclusive if you want to dissect the nervous system, you have to shred and literally masticate everything else. So it was a big pile of mush on the other table to get that.
Yeah, that was a lot of work too. I had to get that, eyes still connected to the optic nerve to the brain, but remove the bone. That's a clipper job. Home Depot, three quarter inch trimmer. (audience laughs) I'm just saying like, you think it's gotta be like chrome plated, yada yada, from some German, you know, tool manufacturer.
I don't use anything else. It takes also a knowledge of the textures and the medium and experience having done it wrong. most of the time. You have to destroy it over and over again until you finally get it right. And you have to be willing to fail over and over again to get something like that.
Okay. So... I thought that tree was so beautiful, it was snowing, that I had to take my clothes off and run out and stand next to it. So I call that picture "Bare limbs in Winter" 'cause I am a tree and it was a tree and I went out and like, hugged the tree. Yeah, yeah, I'm not kidding.
That's me. It was fun. My kids were laughing at me like, "Dad!" I was like- (teeth chattering) This is the brain hemi-sected, right, one hemisphere. This is the corpus callosum in the lateral ventricle and then the beautiful arachnoid with its vasculature covering the brain on its medial surface. We saw that picture earlier, when we looked at the guts and then here I was fascinated by this.
The cerebellum, you're talking about dissecting the cerebellum, showing image of the cerebellum. Look at this cerebellum, the vermis of the cerebellum are braided. You see that beautiful braid? Again fluids on our planet braid, right? You pour water out, it braids.
It doesn't come out straight, it braids. So we have braids in our body as well. That's Venus Mary's cerebellum in cross section. Isn't that gorgeous? So it's covered outside in the arachnoid but you go through the middle and what do you see?
But this beautiful leaf.
And if you take out the cerebellum, you'll go like touch your nose. I think there has to be more. I mean, that's complicated. (audience laughs) But maybe, if I used this thing, I could fly. Maybe if I used it, I could talk to my cousins in the Pleiades.
I don't know. Maybe we should try it. Nah, this is good. I'm happy. I'm good. (audience laughing) (breathes deeply) Alex gets the idea of the whole heart, doesn't he?
Right, he recognizes the whole shape to be a form of the heart. I think we're actually gonna start out with a little bit of lung stuff here. I was on a little river boat tour down in Florida there and the cypresses grow right in the middle of the river. It's beautiful. Huh? It's was just reflecting and reminding me of my lungs.
Or Mr. Agape's lungs, which we saw earlier. You see the branching here, right of the bronchial tree. That's another tree. The bronchial tree. Here, the bronchial tree has been dissected, very carefully, by someone in a class.
People will just plop it down with a set of lungs for a day and do something like that and I really appreciate their efforts and record them when I can just to give you the sense of like a bush, like a tree. Now this is just one what's been torn away is all the other tree, right? All of the vasculature has been torn away to show just the bronchial tree, all right. So there's two more trees in there. There's the venous tree and the arterial tree that were layered in here, right?
In the shape of a lung like that. Incredible. (breathes deeply) Remember those kelp balls that I was chucking around in the ocean there? So that that's one of them up close. I was just fascinated by these plant forms because I know that, we just saw it on a previous slide.
So are you thrown out of the garden? Are you thrown, have you been thrown out of the garden? Any of you? Yeah, I've even thrown. I think the garden is within us and to the extent that we experience ourselves as thrown out of the garden and we're disconnected from our own nature, this is our nature that the nature without is the nature within.
We don't have to go out into nature to find nature. Right? You can and it's lovely, to see yourself reflected there. "All this world is a mirror." It's a beautiful thing to see yourself in the mirror of nature. And then again, we don't have to go far to experience the glories of nature, not anywhere at all, in fact, 'cause you are the glories of nature.
It takes something pretty interesting to hold my attention for a long time. 'Cause I'm like totally scattered (audience laughs) but I keep coming back to this human body. I figure, " Am I done yet? Am I done yet?" But no, I keep seeing more, go deeper and deeper. When I first looked at a body, seen three, four, five bodies, I never saw a nerve, "Nerve? What nerve?" All I saw was yellow. Blonde.
All right, that's all I could see. It took practice to see then past that or to look through shades of yellow and to see things within the yellow. Practice. I didn't see a lymph node for like 10 cadavers, "Where are they?" But then you start to see that and you start to include more and more in your vision. And the more you look, hundreds of bodies and you look and you see more, more and more.
It's like, if you take the, what do they do? They focus the Hubble telescope, they found some big black part of the sky where there wasn't any stars in particular and they focused it there for like two weeks and they found like a hundred gabajillion galaxies in that black spot. And that body is the same. The somanaut goes in, just like going the astronaut to outer space. The somanaut goes into the form and the more you go, the more you see and the more you go, the more you see and there's more and more and more.
And I guarantee you that if you go deep enough in here, you're going to bump into astronauts. (audience laughs) This is another present from Flo. This is Flo's lungs. We blew them up. Look at those- They picked up on us. It was awesome.
Look at them, see, "Whoopsy daisy." And down Beautiful. (breathes deeply)
It's getting better. Look at the displacement of the liver from the filling of the lungs, the heart, look at how the liver rolls forward, see that? I love this. There's no diaphragm involved. It's just one element that produces the transference of motion from one organ to another, just the inflation of the lung is enough to displace the liver forward. If you added the contraction of the diaphragm, you'd have a more dramatic displacement of the liver forward.
All of our organs are rolling in response to our breath, unless we're not breathing. Why wouldn't we be breathing? We don't breathe because we're afraid, we don't breathe because we don't like something. We don't breathe 'cause, I don't know, 'cause it feels too good.
Notice how the flaring of your ribs is creating dimension.
Sally was there, we were squealing. Oh, look, it's the ulnar nerve in the palm. Oh no, the ulnar artery rather. Ulnar artery. You could stare at your palm.
Again, forget about the movies. Just get a light on your palm and you just hang out with that, you'll see. Bumpbump, bumpbump, bumpbump. As that artery pulses in your hand. As a Rolfer, I got a kind of, to be hanging out like, with our hours and hours looking at people's skin surface while you're leaning on 'em or whatever.
And it got to be where, you know, I could see the pulses of their, see their pulse and then see it like reiterating waves down their body and after awhile it was like how I Rolfed. If you touch the body and you don't feel a pulse and you, because then the heart's wave isn't reiterating to the surface due to tension and shielding, et cetera. So if you just hang out and wait there until you do feel a pulse, then you're done. You move on. Isn't that great? It was less work but people don't want, they don't want to come to me for that.
They were being gypped. They wanted me to work. So I quit. Here's Mr. Agape. Mr. Agape I mentioned I had a triple bypass, right?
So it was kind of a fancy dissection I did on his heart. And here's bypass number one, like what's with the straight line running down Mr. Agape's heart? There's no straight lines in the arterial system, they meander, right, it's a fluid form and the motions of fluid are reiterated in the heart form. The heart demonstrates all the motions of water. So when you see a straight line on a heart, you know, that a surgeon's been involved.
His great saphenous vein has been sewed on there. Here's another bypass going around the back and here's the mammary, internal mammary artery and vein that were stripped off of the chest wall and used as a bypass on the front. You look closer at that, see, here's nature, here's his anterior coronary artery and here's the bypass running next to it, right? Here's the anterior coronary artery and here's the bypass and this is the bypass too. Here's the branching of the pulmonary veins.
It's like a crazy straw, huh? This is the aorta. What? I ask the question. What's it for?
What's it for? What's the heart for? Pump fluids. That's what we're told. Go into any doctor's office and look at a chart of a heart.
It's going to say, "The heart is a pump." If the body is a machine and a heart must be a pump.
I'm a head guy. I live up here. My heart's very open but here's where it's happening. (audience laughs) But that's not everybody. There are people who live right here and their consciousness is here and their sense of "I" is right here. And there are some people whose sense of "I" is right here.
Right? And there are some people who find in meditation that they can move their sense of "I" from here to here to here. And some people who practice a whole lot can move their sense of I from here to here. Right? Or here to here.
And I can say, I am with you. I'm not one of those guys. This is the aorta. That's right. And do you notice and see here's the left ventricle? So we're coming from the left ventricle underneath the pulmonary trunk.
If we cut through here, we'd see the braiding of the aorta and the pulmonary trunk from above, they braid. The main artery coming out of the right ventricle and the artery coming out of the left ventricle are braided. So the blood comes swooping down, in this way, it comes in here, it goes out, it goes to the lung. It comes back in and it goes down here and it swoops up and goes down like that. I have a video up now, I'll encourage you to look at it.
It's on the web, it's a YouTube video it's called "The Heart Dance" and the heart dance is, it demonstrates the pattern of the blood flow through physical motion. Well, I did some reading and applied what I read to anatomy. I read up on a guy named Viktor Schauberger and Viktor Schauberger was a Austrian naturalist. He was a Forester, he worked in the Austrian forest. He spent his days watching the river flow, watching the trout in the stream, watching those things and observing them and it's fascinating stuff.
When he talks about how rivers meander and then I see those exact same meanders in the body. I'm like, "Oh, well, maybe the same thing that's going on out there in the forest is going on inside of me." And why does it meander? Because the water forms vortices on our planet. There's vortical movement that turns over on itself and meanders that doubles back on itself and creates counter vortices, right, backflow. There's a Yang current and there's a Yin current.
I see this in the heart, the heart valves, the heart valves show me the backflow of the blood because the blood shoots up through the semilunar valve, spinning through the aorta and then it rushes back down the sidewalls and shuts the door behind it. And the semilunar valve, the cups of the semilunar valve are physical reifications and representations in space of the blood flow. The blood flow comes first, the heart form comes second. The heart isn't pumping the blood. The heart is representing the motion of the blood in a muscle form.
You have blood flow in an embryo before you have a heart. The vasculature builds up around the flow, not the other way around. The blood is not limited by the vascular pathways, the blood created the vascular pathways, the movement of the blood defines the deposition of the vessel. So... Unless of course I trap the blood.
How? How can I trap my own blood? Hypertension? Right? So you have a supple pathway, that's undulating like that snake and responding to the meandering, spirilic motion of the blood in the body, right? And then I hold it steady.
I make a canal around the blood, I build a canal. What happens when you build a canal? The blood is, is this like a straight jacket, on water on our planet. We've got dams and canals all over the planet, straight jackets on the water. What do they do? They continue to meander.
The planet continues to spend at 25,000 miles a day or whatever, hurdling through space. Nothing's gonna stop the spinning of the planet, but you can put a straight jacket, called a canal, on water and what'll it do we'll then abrade right. The water will abrade the canal, wear it down and break it down. A canal engineer spends the first half of his life building the canal and the second half of his life repairing the canal, right? Because so the water cannot be contained.
You build a dam, you put a date on a dam. All the dams have dates. There's a 50 year dam, a 100 year dam. Why do they know it's gonna have? 'Cause it's gonna, you put a straight jacket on a fluid, it's gonna start dropping sediment.
It's a vortex that creates the cold inner core that has the increased carrying capacity that can bring sediments to the seat. If you put a straight jacket on it, it drops its sediment, becomes lassitudinous it drops the sediment, it drops the sediment, it drops the sediment till it rises up over the dam and it's back to back to meandering and carrying sediment again. I lived on the other side of a 48 and a half year old, 50 year dam, in Colorado. I was like, "I'm out of here." It was 18 months there and I sold the house and moved to Jersey, right? Because it's like, it's now gone, there's no damn, there's no lake there anymore.
The dirt had filled up all the way at the top of the dam. The river's just gonna go around it. You can't stop these things but our lifetime is shorter than the lifetime of the planet or the lifetime of that dam, right? So when we dam up our blood, when we, through white knuckle driving and hypertension and anger and wrestling with our lives, the way we do, and we create that stiffening of the muscular walls of the vasculature of our body. It's literally like we, instead of going with the flow, we create resistance to the movement of life within our own body.
That's what hypertension is resistance to the normal pulsation of life in your body. We fight pleasure and what are the, upshots, the consequences of that for health? We call it heart disease. I don't call it heart disease. I call it homeostasis. We have a higher self that keeps us on a planet longer than our petty time and place personality would ever permit.
We'd be dead so long ago from so many stupid decisions that we make. Where we keep on having this higher commitment to our term on the planet, you can call it homeostasis, you can call it God, your higher self, call it anything you like. But if I stiffened my blood vessels and therefore diminish the carrying capacity of my blood, diminish its capacity to bring nutrients and oxygen, to my tissues for fuel, I'm not fed as much, I have a diminished health. What else is gonna happen? I'm going to have like oxidative stress in my blood.
My liver's going to start producing cholesterol, it's a mild level antioxidant, right, to restore the blood chemistry towards it's alkaline tendency, right. If I have acidic emotions, right, that drive my blood in an acidic direction towards fermentation, my body's gonna respond. It's going to change the texture of the vessels. I've stiffened. It just like when we talked about with the scoliosis and the deep fascia, right?
If I have a muscular pattern that becomes a fascial pattern, that becomes a bony pattern. It's the same thing in your blood vessel. If I muscularly, through hypertension, stiffen my arteries and I want to keep it that way, eventually I change the blood chemistry. My blood now becomes chemically offensive to the vessel walls. It's abrading it, just like the stream trapped in the straight jacket canal.
So the blood is grinding away now at my blood vessels with a chemical constituency, that's more acidic than is healthy for me, wears down the vessel walls. To repair themselves, they throw off smooth muscle cells, which proliferate in there to smooth it out. The cholesterol oxidizes and packs into fissures to try and smooth it out. We don't want to have a hole in the thing, right? And you keep on presenting your body with an acid blood state, then you're eventually going to build a calcified canal inside your blood, you don't need muscles anymore.
We're going to represent your hypertension in a form of, in calcified tubes that come out like arteries that crack in a body. Some of you have been in my dissection, Jill nodding and she's like, "Yeah." You get an artery and you touch it and it's sharp You cut your glove on it and then you break it. This is a supple, muscular pathway that has become a bony pathway and eventually it will completely occlude. It can. This homeostatic response can only last to the degree that there's still a lumen for the blood to pass through.
What is a heart? I say it's the place where the blood spins itself. Where the blood refreshes it's movement, right? It's a place where if we let go to its motion, the blood is maximally restored in it's movements that it can go cruising down the pathways and we don't need to pump it. The very shape itself of the vasculature is drawing the blood through the body.
When we, when we yield to it, right?
He made conical pipes with rifling on the inside of them and when they measured them, they found that the fluids that were introduced to those pipes under underwent negative pressure in certain places, along the pathway, right. Now this is a poor representation of the fabulous nature of your own blood pathways, which are more perfect, I would say. So if Viktor Schauberger with a metal, rifled, conical pipe can get blood, can get water to be sucked through it, just in virtue of the shape, I'm of the belief that our blood is also not being pushed but sucked right throughout our form.
And that your heart is simply too small to push your blood. Two gallons of blood through 60,000 miles of pathways. When the heart is asked to pump and it is when you occlude your vessels the way I described, right, when you hold yourself in hypertension, then the heart becomes a pump. The heart is only a pump in pathology, the spine is only a series of compression members in pathology, the ligaments of the liver are only suspensory, in pathology. So when, when the, when the...
When the heart is asked to be a pump, because you're resisting the motion of the blood, you still need the blood, now the heart grows and you get megalocardia, you get giant hearts, I've seen hearts as big as livers, giant hearts inside the chest. That is a heart that's been asked to be a pump but we see beautiful Flo's heart. It's this beautiful, supple, fluid form in the palm of the hand. There's Mr. Agape's whole heart.
(Gil chuckles) See the meanders? I think that if we did time lapse photography of these vessels of Ray's intestines here, we would see them undulating like that snake, right? Just like every stream on the planet, put a camera on a stream for a hundred years and this is what it does. Just different rates. This doctor sent me these, he was a Chinese doctor and I had, I literally searched the entire world and communicated with every laboratory in the world that could do a whole body plastination and he was showing off.
(audience laughs) I was duly impressed. That's the whole heart, right? Incredible.
Flo's heart. This is yet another present from Flo. You see, it's only a potential space there, right? The membranes are adherent through serous fluid. I have to cut it and introduce air in order to make a space inside the pericardium.
So that's the fibrous pericardium in an unfixed form. It's translucent. I can see the heart through the fascia. See I cut it and the air goes in there. Now I have an actual space instead of a potential space.
No, that's a $4 scalpel and a $4 hemostat. Yeah, I can do virtually everything with just these two instruments and I do. They're the only instruments that I use except for a hacksaw, to do the cranium.
Her organs were fantastic. They're so pretty. This was a very, it was a moving moment for me, when I opened this space because I was so used to doing fixed forms and the fluidity of the heart literally brought me to tears. I was like, right, of course it's fluid, it's a fluid place.
That's a pump. (audience laughs) You're gonna tell me that little beautiful fluid form in the palm of my hand is a pump? No. That I took out of Mr. Agape's femoral artery. That's a calcified shell.
Remember he had a triple bypass. That is a bony sleeve inside of his artery so that's the process. Mr. Agape was staying on the planet longer by transforming his beautiful, soft, meandering muscular tissue into a bony pathway to deal with the chemistry of his blood, which was a representation of his way of being in the world. We all have our way of being in the world. It can be more or less resistant to the natural impulses pulsating within us.
That's a big heart. It's as big as the liver in that body. That's megalocardia. That's a heart, that's become a pump. See how different that is from Flo's heart.
This is, this heart is pumping. Alright, but that's not that's pathology, right. Ah. (Gil sighs) Hmm. I love my garden.
Hmm. These are my good friends, Jules and Jane. Do you see how many layers of heart are in that image? I love this picture, it's one of my all-time favorite pictures. I'll show you why. We were just playing.
We were having fun, I had my camera out. We were in the tube in London, coming up the escalator and we were being jolly and laughing and joking and they love each other, of course and they formed this beautiful heart. And then you notice Jane's arm, right into Jule's heart. Right. So we have that circulation there.
And then someone pointed out, after I showed this picture for two years, that Jane is wearing a heart pendant, right here, and that they are in relationship with me, right. Another heart connection that enabled that image to be taken place, that their hearts could be exposed to the camera because I was the one holding it and we were in joy together. What's it all about? All about the heart. Thank you, Mr. Agape (breathes deeply) and all your layers and all your friends.