I recently participated in a 6 day, fixed form dissection lab with Gil Hedley, in Colorado Springs. I'm still processing what was--and is--one of the highlights of my professional life. Here are some of my immediate takeaways:
1) The idea of a thing is much different than the reality of a thing. This notion was ever-present throughout the course.
2) The anatomy textbooks I know of are clearly just averages of human corporeal presentations. I was struck by how little what I see in a Netter or Thieme book was what I experienced and got to dissect and touch with my own hands.
3) I'm a good massage therapist, but I haven't been doing what I thought I was doing. The same goes for Cranial Work. My practice--such an apt word--will be changing completely, going forward. The more I learn, the less I know!
4) I don't do it anymore, but it seems fairly clear that Swedish Massage is simply adipose (fat) tissue massage, with an occasional stroke that affects the musculature directly. Adipose tissue is very thick--even in thin people. And YOU NEED IT! Getting rid of fat is one of the worst notions our culture has ever produced. I'm not saying you should be obese. I'm saying, your fat is important. Extraordinarily so. That's a book that needs writing. I can't even begin to get into the piezoelectric fields and electrical/spiritual conductivity of the adipose tissues.
5) Your muscles are likely not your problem when you're feeling tension or tightness. Ok, this is my opinion: if you are feeling like you "need a massage" you probably need to a) hydrate, b) stretch and move, c) loosen your connective tissue that wraps and binds your muscles, d) change your attitude (positive thoughts are key), e) reduce your intake of inflaming foods. Hey, massage is wonderful; I get it! However, I found in my lab, that the three softest tissue in the body are veins, brains, and muscles. I could use one scalpel blade for every muscle in the torso together, but the connective tissue in that same area would cost me about 8 scalpel blades.
6) The structures of the brain are more like cavities than "bodies." The spaces were the places of importance.
7) The sutures of the skull are pretty solid in their situations. We cranial therapists are working with the dura mater, in truth. The pia and arachnoid are virtually indistinguishable. Gossamer in their lightness. Exploring the brain was like holding the hand of God! (Gil said to me at one point, "you finally get to touch what you've been working with all this time." I went into another room, and I just cried.)
8) The skull permits much light transmission through the osseous membranes--more than I was taught. SAD is truly a thing (Seattle? Portland? I'm looking at you!)
9) Every bodyworker would do well to participate in a dissection course. You owe it to yourself and your clients, if you can manage it. This class changed my life!