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FAQ for Upper-Level Anatomy Dissection Series Class

Classes will be held in September, 2019 at the  Institute for Anatomical Research in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Do I have to have a lot of knowledge about anatomy to attend?

We encourage all levels of anatomy students to attend. We would encourage you to brush up on your knowledge before you come but be aware that many people find that learning anatomy from books and doing dissection are two very different things. Consider this a journey, you will be discovering what you don’t know yet, what you need to know and just as important, what you do not need to know.

Do I have to participate in everything?

In all classes conducted by Julian Baker, he simply asks that you do what you are comfortable doing and nothing else. There is no pressure for you to do anything that you don’t want to do. You can work at your own pace and observe or take part as you wish. At all stages you will be guided and helped and while we hope that you will feel comfortable in participating with the dissection process, at the end of the day, your experience is what counts.

Can I undertake my own projects?

We will have a basic outline for each three-day course and within that time, our goal is to get through a certain amount of material. There will be time for individuals to work on aspects of their own study. If there is anything that you particularly want to look at or understand, please include it in your Statement of Intent in your application or feel free to contact us by email and we will make sure that we design time and an approach so that you will be able to see what you want and that you get a chance to work in the particular area you are interested in.

Can I take photographs?

No photographs, videos or recordings on any camera or mobile device are allowed. Our intent is to maintain the integrity of the lab and the donor program. This is a very serious and strict rule for us and if it is breached, you will be removed from the lab and the class.

I’m squeamish and don’t like the sight of blood. Does that matter?

The cadavers are all preserved, using a process that fixes the body at the time of death. As a result, there is no blood that comes out when we dissect and depending on the type of technique used, hardly any blood is left in the body at all. We will have regular breaks during the day, but also will keep an eye on you. Sit down if you need to take yourself out of the lab and get some water. There will always be someone around to take care of you.

How is learning anatomy through the dissection experience different than learning it from text books?

Anatomy depicted in books is a very sanitized and cleaned up version and not really how the body is at all. The difficulty with these illustrations is that the don’t show how the body moves, stabilizes or changes. A medical view of anatomy is book learned, two-dimensional exercise in naming parts, not a way of understanding the relationship between systems and functions and certainly not a way of examining movement, lack of movement or compensation. Learning anatomy in a static form is only half of the story. When you have the experience of holding a piece of tissue in your hand, anatomy will suddenly make sense. It truly is a game changer.

How will this dissection experience relate to my work with my clients?

If you are working with the body, either as a yoga instructor, a massage therapist, a Pilates instructor, acupuncturist, doula, or any similar body worker- this class will change the way you look at the body and so will change the way you touch it. Because Julian will lead you through dropping through the layers, the dissection processes he uses allows you to see clearly what it is you are affecting and what tissues you are working on. After taking one of Julian Baker’s classes, students often comment that they have a new view of how they are working and are able to understand how multiple presentations and problems can be condensed and worked on. Instead of thinking of muscles and tissues ending or beginning or having a specific, isolate function, we start to see how things work in a tensional way. You may find that your results with your clients go through the roof. You will find yourself better able to identify the origins of pain and function and treat more clearly and directly.

I’ve never seen a dead body before. I am not sure if I will be able to perform a dissection.

The cadavers we will be working with were all donated by the person. These people recognized that after they passed away, their body would no longer be of any use to them, and so they donated it. They did this so that professionals would be able to learn from their form and so that other people would be helped by the learning experience. The generosity of this gift cannot be underestimated and always in the forefront of the thinking of the instructor and the students is how incredibly appreciative and fortunate we are to be able to do this work.

Ultimately, the form is no longer a person, but rather the material that the person has left behind. Just as the person left behind belongings after they died, this form is left behind. The lab is not a funeral home or a place of mourning, but it is a place where the last wishes of the donor and their family can be accomplished.

It is understood that the process is a challenging one and one that will put you into a position to look at your own body and your own sense of self. The instructor will carefully and sensitively guide you into the experience and at any time you are able to move away from the table and take some time out for yourself.

I am afraid that I might pass out.

No one has passed out yet! The main reason one gets light-headed in the lab is because you will be standing on your feet all day. The lab can be quite cool and for a lot of the day you will be standing still and concentrating. You will be encouraged to move around, not hyper-extend your knees and keep hydrated. Water will always be available outside of the lab and you can take a break at any time.

We will take breaks and there will be a lunch break during the day as well. You are encouraged to stay well fed and hydrated.

Does it smell?

This is always the number one concern! The simple answer is no, with a few caveats.

The smell that people fear is one of decay and that is not anything that will happen in these classes. The cadavers are fixed very soon after the time of death. This means that a fixing solution is pushed around the circulatory system, destroying all the bacteria that cause decay. It makes the cadaver effectively sterile and no breakdown of tissue can occur, so there is no unpleasant smell.

There is a slightly chemical odor, but it is completely harmless. If you remember your biology lab in school, the dissecting room smells much like that.

What do I need to bring with me?

We ask that you bring a lab coat and comfortable clothing such as scrubs to wear during the class. We also ask that you bring a box of latex gloves that you will use during the class. You will also be responsible for any Personal Protective Equipment that you would like to use; masks, eye protection, Essential oils etc.

How will attending this series improve my practice?

Many therapists in the wellness industry are required to participate in a certain amount of continuing professional development hours each year. Continuing Education allows you to keep up with new skills and knowledge within the industry. This continuing education, either lectures, seminars, courses or hands on training, gives you an opportunity to grow as a therapist. The interaction with other therapists and professionals allows you to exchange information and knowledge about your profession. By attending the Upper Level Dissection Series, you benefit by having the opportunity to:

  • Expand your knowledge of the human body
  • Learn of new developments in the field of medicine
  • Engage with other professionals and form new relationships
  • Improve the quality of care provided to your clients
  • Improve your confidence in your skills and abilities as a practitioner

If I attend, can I earn Continuing Education Hours?

Yes, Pacific Restorative Therapy is an Approved CE Provider through the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork. By attending the Advanced Anatomy Human Dissection Class, you will earn 24 Continuing Education Hours for each 3-day course. Attending both Part 1 and Part 2, you will earn 48 Continuing Education Hours.