ABSTRACT 19th century anatomy took a systematic, uniform approach as efforts were made to give each anatomical structure a precise description. Concerning red contractile proteins observed within a gastor, descriptive words provided little or no information concerning the anatomy or physiology of such structures. Latin names were provided describing shape (i.e. trapezius), size (i.e. maximus), number (i.e. quadriceps) and anatomical location (i.e. posterior) but did little to inform learners concerning a global view of human form and function. Such a reductionist view concerning muscles was delineated by their assumed tendonous origin/insertion attachment to bone. Bespoke human dissections performed on embalmed cadavers, embracing a (bio)tensegrity focus, provides innovative insights concerning the topics of human anatomy, form and function. Such dissection shifts attention away from the solely mechanistic observations made since the time of Erasistratus (ca. 290 BC) and Giovanni Alfonso Borelli (1608-1679) which led to nebulous interpretations and isolated “parts”. Long held concepts such as muscle origins and insertions are not supported as factual evidenced by biotensegrity focused dissections. Borelli’s explanations of human movement, based on man-made objects, included wheels, clocks, watches and two-bar pinned joints. Mechanical models require construction materials such as 1st, 2nd and 3rd class levers, pulley systems with pins and screws for functional operation. Embryology does not require surgical intervention to attach an upper or lower limb, a liver, spleen or blood vessel. The embryo grows and develops such structures in a temporal sequalae orchestrated by the forces and the environment wherein it emerges. To-date it has been averred that the human body is a combination of ‘parts’ comprising of levers and pinned-joints. This observational-based report offers anatomically accurate cadaveric imagery supporting a paradigm shift in human anatomy moving towards a model dependent reality of continuity and wholeness, “Biotensegrity-Anatomy for the 21st century”. 

KEYWORDS : Biotensegrity, Fascia, biomechanics, embryology, gravity, dissection. 

Correspondence: John Sharkey MSc. Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Clinical Sciences, University of Chester/NTC, Dublin, Ireland. Email : john.sharkey@ntc.ie 

Copyright © 2020 Sharkey J. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. 


John Sharkey – MSc

John Sharkey is an international educator, author and authority in the areas of clinical anatomy, exercise science, human movement and the manual treatment of chronic pain. He is a graduate of the University of Dundee, University of Liverpool and University of Chester. He completed undergraduate and post-graduate studies in the areas of exercise physiology, clinical anatomy and holds a post-graduate certificate in education. He is currently a senior lecturer within the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Life Sciences, University of Chester/NTC, Dublin and is the programme leader of the Biotensegrity focused Thiel soft fix cadaver dissection courses department of anatomy and human identification, Dundee University, Scotland.

John has been delivering human anatomy dissection courses for many years teaching the geometry of anatomy and movement from the unique Biotensegrity-Anatomy for the 21st Century perspective. His presentations are respectful, dynamic, entertaining, educational and insightful.

John promotes his model of “Biotensegrity-anatomy for the 21st century” integrating the pioneering work of his mentor Dr. Stephen Levin MD. John has been teaching European Neuromuscular Therapy using living anatomy and specialising in chronic pain conditions. He is recognised as one of the worlds leading authorities on fascia and Biotensegrity. He is a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies (JBMT), International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine and other professional journals.

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