Archive - June 2013


…a methodology that would approach the teaching of Anatomy from a different perspective, one that encouraged independence, student-centered instruction, and engaged all types of learners…to my delight I found what I was seeking… the Anatomy in Clay® system transformed our program …

Teri Fleming, Recently Retired Science Instructor, Biology and Anatomy (and winner of Teacher of Year Award six times and nominated 12 times more), Alief, ISD, Houston, TX

The Muscles of the Core: Enabling Complex Feats of Athletic Splendor & Proper Posture

The muscles of the core play a central role in our overall health. Comprised of roughly 30 muscles, these connect your legs to your hips, spine, and rib cage. They work synergistically to stabilize the torso, enabling complex feats of athletic splendor as well as proper posture.

The muscles of the core include:

  • Obliques – Rotate your torso and work with the transversus abdominis to support your center during movement.
  • Rectus Abdominis – Form the contours of the contracted rectus abdominis, better known as the “six-pack.” It helps stabilize your core, but its main function is to flex or curl the trunk.
  • Transversus Abdominis – This deepest of the abdominal muscles wraps laterally around your center like an internal “belt.”
  • Psoas Major/Iliacus – Better known as the hip flexors, these muscles lift the thigh toward the abdomen and limit excess motion of the hip joint.
  • Erector Spinae – This collection of three muscles straightens the back and, along with the multifidus, a short muscle, supports the spine.

Athleticism aside, the muscles of the core continuously support the spine in achieving proper posture.

A few reasons why good posture is so important:

  • Better Future Health
    Proper posture reduces stress on ligaments that connect spinal joints, as well as reduces abnormal wear and tear on joint surfaces that can lead to arthritis.
  • Improved Breathing
    Good posture helps open the airways and improves breathing, allowing enhanced oxygen flow in the cardiopulmonary system.
  • More Comfort
    Good posture decreases your chances of back and neck pain.
  • Boosted Self-Confidence
    Good posture helps you feel better, make a good first impression and look more attractive, taller and slimmer.

Want to learn more?

There is an upcoming workshop on the muscles of the core at the Formative Haptics Center in Denver, CO (Formerly the ANATOMY IN CLAY® Centers).

 Saturday September 21, 2013 9-5 pm
Posture and Power: The Muscles of the Core
Instructor: Michelle Howard (6 Hours)
Cost: $180

Why Should You Study Anatomy?

Many of us studied anatomy on a very basic level in middle school and high school–exploring biology via frog or pig dissections, learning physiology through diagrams and books. And for those of us who did not continue on to health science related disciplines, much of the anatomy knowledge went right out the window with the Algebra and Early American History.

So why should you study anatomy if you are not enrolled in a pre-med program or other healthcare field?

Well, to put it plainly, each of us embodies anatomy every moment of our lives. Learning about the form, function, and interconnectedness of the body has many benefits:

It can lead to better performance, injury prevention, a greater ability to address health issues effectively, improved communication with healthcare providers, as well as reduced stress and anxiety related to recovery.

Mike Conlon, Anatomy and Physiology instructor at the Bancroft School of Massage Therapy in Worcester, MA shares,

“It is my experience that a better understanding of the human body and its functioning helps people (clients) become more involved in their healthcare. I truly believe that knowledge is power. When a client can bring rational thought and understanding to a healthcare issue…this can help to relieve related stress and anxiety surrounding their recovery. In my experience, as stress and anxiety are lessened, the body’s own recuperative abilities seem to be heightened.”

It’s an old but true saying, Knowledge is Power. The more you know about your own body, the better equipped you are to deal with its inevitable decline.

Why do you think it’s important to study anatomy?

End of Year Cleaning & Storage Tips for Your Models and Clay

We covered the cleaning and storing of ANATOMY IN CLAY® models and clay in a previous post, but wanted to revisit the topic since many classrooms are wrapping it up for the semester.

For this time around, we’ve added some additional pointers for removing stubborn color residue.

Here are a few simple maintenance tips that will keep your models and clay in good shape:

  1. Remove as much clay as possible from the models, separating the different colors into piles. For clay that is impossible to un-mix, save for the creation of a diseased organ or gray matter. Roll clay into golf ball-sized pieces.
  1. Store balls of clay by color in separate bins. You may want to cover the bins to keep any dust or debris out of the clay, but it is not necessary to prevent the oil-based clay from drying out.
  1. Soak models in a solution of warm water and dish soap such as Dawn or any other good grease-cutting detergent. After a few minutes, scrub with a soft sponge. Test tube cleaner brushes work great for cleaning small nooks and crannies. Let models air dry or wipe gently with a towel.
  1. For stubborn color residue leftover from the oil-based clay, Mr. Clean Magic Erasers seem to work very well. Cut the Magic Eraser into 4 or 6 pieces and hand out for students to use.
  1. If you have the room, keep the models assembled when storing–it will save time as well as prevent the loss of misplaced screws and spare parts.


Now your models and clay are clean and ready for your next class or workshop!

…and the WINNER is…

We believe in our system so much that we promised to give away 3 Complete ANATOMY IN CLAY® Student Learning Systems plus Educator Support (a $2100 VALUE!) to one lucky recipient who entered to win during our Spring 2013 email outreach campaign.

…And the WINNER is…drum roll please…

Tamara Bories, Ph.D Associate Professor of Kinesiology at Western Illinois University!!!

Congratulations Dr. Bories! We can’t wait to hear about how you will use the Learning System in your classroom!

Thank you to everyone who entered!


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