All course providers for a body massage, aromatherapy or reflexology course will insist that you also undertake an anatomy and physiology course. This can either be done online or via an inhouse course and it is essential you choose one that suits your learning style best as a good foundation within anatomy and physiology can really help with the practical learning on the course and beyond when you are treating clients. For many it can be a hidden investment that they weren’t aware of when they made the step to retrain in complementary therapies, but it is crucial learning.

Anatomy is from the Greek anatomē which roughly means dissection and is the branch of biology concerned with the study of the structure of organisms and their parts. Anatomy is a branch of natural science which deals with the structural organisation of living things. Specifically, the human body and focuses on the parts of humans, from molecules to bones and how they interact to form a functional unit. There are two main types of anatomy on being gross anatomy which is the study of surface anatomy (the external body), regional anatomy (specific regions of the body), and systemic anatomy (specific organ systems). The second being microscopic anatomy which is cytology (the study of cells) and histology (the study of tissues).

Physiology is the scientific study of functions and mechanisms in a living system. As a sub-discipline of biology, physiology focuses on how organisms, organ systems, individual organs, cells, and biomolecules carry out the chemical and physical functions in a living system. Essentially what reactions are going on to keep the human body alive.

Whilst complementary therapists are not GPs and not there to diagnose it is important that we have an understanding of anatomy and physiology as it can help us when treating our clients. For example, knowing how stress can impact the gut and cause IBS can help us with our treatment plan and lifestyle advice for a client. Without a deep understanding of the internal body, health professionals cannot truly evaluate, diagnose and treat illnesses. It is a necessary subject area that needs to be studied in order to help the health of our clients improve.

As well as looking after our clients it is important that we look after ourselves too and the knowledge you can gain from an anatomy and physiology course can make us think differently about our body and help to promote a personal healthy lifestyle, as well as helping friends and family with theirs. Many therapists go on to be self employed so self-care of the body is important.

Our course at Infinity also incorporates the study of pathology. Pathology is the study of the causes and effects of disease or injury. The word pathology also refers to the study of disease in general, incorporating a wide range of bioscience research fields and medical practices. By looking at common disorders and diseases within the course it can give you a foundation of knowledge that comes in great use when future clients come through the door with them. Knowing what medications, treatments and side effects of these a client could be under again helps the therapist create a holistic and effective treatment plan for them.


Louise Mac – Anatomy & Physiology,  Aromatherapy and CPD Tutor 


Interested in our anatomy and physiology course? Get in touch!

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