Please help me teach myself about physiology and anatomy, and to generally understand the human body
March 26, 2010 7:30 AM   Subscribe

Please help me teach myself about physiology and anatomy, and to generally understand the human body.

I'm just starting down this road, and find learning through the internet quite frustrating due to the massive amounts of information and detail out there, and lack of structure.

I'm thinking maybe a good book or three? Or perhaps there are some great websites I haven't discovered? Or maybe I need the right approach?
posted by MetaMonkey to Science & Nature (11 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Honestly I'd start with a high school/college physiology or anatomy book. They are laid out in the perfect manner to start down the road on these topics. A quick google search uncovered a few options ranging from $20-$60.
posted by alcoth at 7:35 AM on March 26, 2010

Get yourself a muscle anatomy chart and pin it to your fridge or something.

Also: injure yourself! In my experience there really is nothing like horrendously painful inflammation to forever sear into your memory the precise location and function of whichever muscle is it you've torn, sprained, twisted or contused.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 7:41 AM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]

If you're looking for a really top notch book on artist's anatomy, you can't do any better than:

Die Gestalt des Menschen
Bammes, Gottfried

The illustrations transcend the fact that the text is entirely german. Avoid the cheap softcover anatomy books by Bammes, they aren't in the same league as Die Gestalt des Menschen.
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:10 AM on March 26, 2010

A human anatomy & physiology textbook such as is used in nursing schools is your best bet. Textbooks that are a few years old are cheap; around here you can get them in thrift stores (Goodwill, St Vincent de Paul). You can buy them used on Amazon.
posted by neuron at 10:09 AM on March 26, 2010

I have to second injuring yourself. There's nothing like intense pain to help you pinpoint an anatomical location. The practitioners of Yamuna Body Rolling say they practice a "touch and tell" mode of learning anatomy; I find "touch and yell" even more effective. But if you're not lucky enough to be run down in a crosswalk, there are still some good resources out there.

I've gotten a lot of mileage out of Flash Anatomy. (I have an older version of the Muscles set. They often show up used.) Anatomy of Movement approaches anatomy by looking at muscle and joint function in movement, which I've found very helpful.

Don't neglect the usefulness of your own anatomy. If you can afford a great massage therapist, invest in a few sessions. Otherwise, if you have a local massage school, call 'em up. (Massage students need to get a certain numbers of massage hours in to graduate, and surprisingly often they are hard up for people to practice on.) Ask your student or practitioner to talk you through what they're doing. While you're being worked on, visualize the musculature and understand what it does. Feel how your body changes after being worked on. For instance, if you're normally a bit on the lordotic side, you may find that when your TFLs, say, are released, your pelvic alignment comes more easily into neutral and you stack up your spine without trying to extend through your mid-upper back to counter-balance an anteriorly-tipped pelvis. You may also find that your femurs are less rotated inward and your knees less likely to lock. It's fun to see how a change in one part of your anatomy propagates through the rest of your body. For me, it's the anatomical relationships that make anatomy fascinating.
posted by sculpin at 10:51 AM on March 26, 2010

I can't say enough good things about McMinn's Clinical Atlas of Human Anatomy and both the Color Atlas of Anatomy (I didn't buy this book, but it goes with the accompanying flash cards that I did use) by Rohen. If you want to see what a real cadaver looks like, that is. Everyone in class bought the Netter's Atlas with the awesome drawings, but nothing beats real pictures. They all wished they had chosen my book. As far as a good textbook, we used Human Anatomy by Marieb and I thought it was excellent, very easy to read. As for physiology, A Visual Analogy to Human Physiology by Krieger is pretty good. There is also the Visual Analogy to Human Anatomy and Physiology by Krieger. We're using the textbook Human Physiology by Fox this semester. It is awful, really hard to read. I do not recommend it. Marieb has an Anatomy and Physiology book so that might be a good fit for your needs. You can get the last edition used for about $30.
posted by wherever, whatever at 1:12 PM on March 26, 2010

For a quick visual summary of physiology, Physiology at a Glance and the Color Atlas of Physiology are good.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 2:55 PM on March 26, 2010

The best anatomy books I've read are the ones - not with drawings, but with photos of real cadavers being dissected. It sounds a bit icky - but it's not, and actually seeing the muscles on a real body made it so much easier for me to see and find them on real, living bodies.
posted by smoke at 5:58 PM on March 26, 2010

I am writing from a hospital bed (usually on the other side) and have logged in purely to passionately second and recommend Netters Atlas (these used to be called Ciba Collection of Medical Illustrations). I enjoyed them and learnt so much when I was a medical student and the correlation of anatomy and physiolgy in it is excellent. You will enjoy it.
Bonus: Many libraries around them received them for free some years ago so you may be able to find them in your local library.
posted by london302 at 8:41 AM on March 27, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks very much for the responses everyone, should get me going in the right direction!
posted by MetaMonkey at 9:22 AM on March 27, 2010

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