Head and Neck

The head and neck have quite a few muscles that assist with everyday processes.

The neck has a variety of muscles in the posterior and anterior portions.  The posterior neck has four pairs of suboccipitals that rotate and flex the head.  The sternocleidomastoid muscle originates on the anterior portion of the body and inserts into the back of the head.  It flexes and rotates the neck.  There’s a bone in the anterior portion of the neck called the hyoid bone, which assists with swallowing.  The suprahyoid, infrahyoid, and retrohyoid attach to the hyoid bone and elevate or depress the bone during swallowing.  The scalenes in front of the neck, flex and rotate the neck.

The face consists of various muscles that move the face and help with eating.  The masseter, on the cheek, closes the jaw and is the strongest muscle in males and second strongest in females (the uterus is the strongest muscle in females).  The temporalis, on the side of the head, elevates the jaw.  The lateral pterygoid, in the cheek, opens the mouth.  While the medial pterygoid, also in the cheek, closes the mouth.  The buccinator, on the sides of the mouth, compresses the cheek.  The zygomaticus, diagonally from mouth to cheek, elevates mouth to create a smile.  The orbicularis oris, around the mouth, closes the lips.  The obicularis oculi, is a circle around each eye, closes the eye.  The frontalis, on the forehead, raises the eyebrows.



The tongue has four intrinsic muscles, the superior and inferior longitudinal muscles, the transverse muscle, and the vertical muscle.  The genioglossus, under the tongue, helps to stick out the tongue.  The styloglossus, under the jaw near the ear, retracts and elevates the tongue.  The hypoglossus brings the tongue back down.  The palatoglossus pulls the tongue up to the back of the throat.


There are muscles throughout the ear to help information travel to the brain.  There are five different muscles that help with eye movement.  The procerus, above the nose, wrinkles the nose.  The nasalis, on the nose, flares the nostrils.


The back consists of a variety of layers in the upper and lower portions.

The most superficial muscle of the upper back is the trapezius.  This broad muscle extends, flexes, and rotates the head and neck.  The levator scapulae attaches the scapula to the upper vertebrae, it elevates the scapula.  This muscle tends to get overworked because it can do the job of other muscles.  The rhomboids minor and major attach the middle of the scapula to the vertebrae below the levators, they adduct and stabilize the scapula.  The supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and teres minor all attach to the scapula and are part of the rotator cuff muscles that move the shoulder.

The deeper muscles support the spine.  The erector spinae is a group of three muscles that extend and flex the vertebral column.  Even deeper is another group of three muscles that include the semispinalis, multifids, and rotatores.  These muscles assist in rotation and extension of the vertebrae.

The lower back is covered by the latissimus dorsi.  This muscle wraps around your side to attach to the arm, it extends, adducts, and rotates the shoulder.  The quadratus lumborum that attaches to the lower vertebrae and the pelvis, elevates the hip and aids with lateral flexion.  The iliopsoas attaches to the lower vertebrae and the leg, it flexes the hip.





The thorax consists of the muscles in the chest and abdominals.

The pectoralis major is a superficial muscle of the chest and it flexes the arm.  This muscle can help with pulling and climbing.  The pectoralis minor is under the pectoralis major and it adducts and medially rotates the arm.  The serratus anterior attaches to the rib cage and is found towards the sides of the body.  It pulls the scapula down and helps with flexing the arm.  The external and internal intercostal muscles are found under the rib cage and they assist with inhalation.  The diaphragm lies within the lower part of the rib cage and moves downward to increase the area in the lungs.

The trapezius is mainly located on the back but it does insert onto the clavicle on the chest.  The upper portion elevates the shoulder.  The deltoid also attaches to the clavicle.  It rotates, adducts, and extends the arm.

The most superficial abdominal muscle is the rectus abdominis.  These muscles are also known as your 6-pack, they flex the spine and stablize the pelvis.  The external and internal obliques flex the spine, hold the organs in the abdominal cavity, and aid with rotation.  The deepest layer is the transverse abdominus which compresses and supports the organs.



Upper Extremities

The upper extremities consist of the hand, arm, and shoulder.

The hands contain more tendons than muscles.  These tendons attach the forearm muscles to the bones of the hand.  Some of these muscles include the finger flexors, finger extensors, opponens pollicis, flexor pollicis brevis, lumbricales, palmar interossei, dorsal interossei, abductor digiti minimi, opponens digiti minimi, flexor digiti minimi brevis, abductor pollicis brevis, and adductor pollicis.

The muscles of the forearm flex and extend the forearm.  The wrist flexors include the flexor carpi ulnaris, flexor carpi radialis, palmaris longus, and pronator teres, they flex the wrist.  The wrist extensors include the extensor carpi ulnaris, extensor carpi radialis longus, and extensor carpi radialis brevis, they extend the wrist.  The brachioradialis flexes the forearm.  The extensor digitorum extends the forearm.  The anconeus pronates and supinates the forearm.

The upper arm has muscles that flex and extend the arm.  The biceps brachii on the anterior side of the arm, flexes the arm.  The triceps brachii on the posterior side of the arm, extends the arm.  The brachialis helps flex the arm.


The shoulder has quite a few muscles in and around the joint.  The rotator cuff muscles include the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis.  The supraspinatus, found under the trapezius, abducts the shoulder and is the most frequently injured rotator cuff muscle.  The infraspinatus, on top of the scapula, laterally rotates the arm like a tennis back hand swing.  The teres minor, lateral to the scapula, laterally rotates the shoulder and adducts the shoulder.  The subscapularis, under the scapula, medially rotates the shoulder and stabilizes the shoulder.  The teres major, below the teres minor, also adducts and medially rotates the arm.  The deltoideus, on the top of the shoulder, rotates, abducts and extends the arm.  The pectoralis major, in the chest, adducts and medially rotates the arm.  The latissiumus dorsi, in the back, extends, adducts, and medially rotates the arm.


Lower Extremities

The lower extremities consist of the feet, legs, and the pelvic muscles.

The feet have more tendons than muscles.  These tendons attach the muscles of the calf to the bones in the feet.  Some of these muscles include the flexor digitorum longus, flexor hallucis longus, extensor digitorum longus, extensor hallucis longus, lumbricales, dorsal interossei, and plantar interossei.

Other muscles of the calf include the infamous gastrocnemeus which is found on the posterior of the calf.  The gastroc, for short, creates the outline on the back of the calf and is prominent when women wear high heels.  Under the gastrocnemeus is the soleus which helps the body stand upright.  It can get sore during sports like running.  The tibialis anterior and tibialis posterior perform opposite functions.  The anterior dorsiflexes the foot or lifts the foot up towards the knee.  The posterior plantar flexes the foot or send the foot away from the body.


The knee has ligaments that connect one bone to the other.  Some of the main ligaments are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that prevents hyperextension, medial cruciate ligament (MCL) that prevents the knee from moving out to the side, the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) prevents hyperflexion, the lateral cruciate ligament (LCL) that keeps the knee from going in, and the meniscus that is a buffer between the bones in the knee.

The main muscles on the anterior side of the thigh are the quadriceps.  This is a group of four muscles, the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedias.  These powerful muscles extend the leg.  The opposing muscles on the posterior side of the leg are the hamstrings.  There are three hamstrings, the biceps femoris, semimembranous, and semitendionsus.  These muscles flex the leg.  The adductors, gracilis, and sartorius are found on the inside or medial part of the thigh.  The adductors bring the legs together.  The gracilis also brings the legs together and it flexes the leg.  The sartorius is the longest muscle in the body and it flexes the thigh.  The tensor fasciae latae on the lateral part of the thigh, abducts the thigh.

The pelvis has a variety of muscles that assist in rotation and abduction of the thigh.  The largest and most superficial in the pelvis is the gluteus maximus.  This muscle extends the thigh and rotates the hip.  Under that is the gluteus medius that rotates and abducts the thigh.  The deeper muscles are the gluteus minimus and piriformis.  The gluteus minimus also rotates and abducts the thigh.  The piriformis is used to hold the femur in place and it rotates the hip.  There are a few deep lateral hip rotators as well, the gemellus superior, gemellus inferior, obturator internus, and quadratus femoris.

leg muscles

Muscular System

The muscular system moves the skeleton, maintains posture, stores energy, and generates heat.  There are three types of muscles, skeletal, smooth, and cardiac.  The skeletal muscles are under our conscious control and are attached to bones by tendons.  The smooth muscles are not under our control and our founds in blood vessels, bladder, stomach, digestive system, and other organs.  The cardiac muscle is only found in the walls of the heart and is responsible for contraction of the heart.

Aromatherapy can be very useful for the muscular system.

The skeletal muscles can be divided into sections that include:




Reproductive System

The reproductive system is used to produce children.  The female egg, ovum, and male sperm fuse together to create new life.  Each individual is made up of 46 chromosomes that contain genetic information.  This information makes each individual unique and special.  Half of the chromosomes come from the male and the other half from the female.

The male reproductive organs consist of the testes, prostate, vas deferens, penis, and urethra.  The testes are suspended in the scrotum and produce sperm.  It’s suspended because sperm can not be created at normal body temperature.  The vas deferens or ductus deferens transports the sperm into the body through the prostate.  The prostate produces fluid that is ejaculated with the sperm and aids with mobilitiy.  When the sperm mixes with the prostatic fluid it becomes semen.  The semen moves through the urethra, that’s located in the penis, and out of the body.


The female reprodutcive organs consist of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, cervix, vagina, and mammary glands.  The egg or ovum is stored in the ovaries.  An egg is released during every menstrual cycle, approximately every 28 days.  The egg travels through the fallopian tubes to the uterus.  The uterus provides an environment for the fertilized egg, fused with sperm, to thrive and grow.  After approximately nine months of gestation the baby will travel through the cervix to the vagina and out of the female.  If they egg is unfertilized the environment within the uterus will begin to breakdown and menstruation will occur.  Blood will pass through the cervix to the vagina and out of the body.  The female also has mammary glands in the breast that produce milk for the newborn baby.

female rep sys



Aromatherapy and herbs can be beneficial to the reproductive system.


Integumentary System

The integumentary system refers to the skin.  The skin protects our bodies from pathogens and it’s the largest eliminative organ.  The skin produces vitamin D with the help of the sun, keeps the body hydrated, and stores fat tissue that can be used for energy.  The skin has three main layers, the epidermis, dermis, and the hypodermis or superficial fascia.

The epidermis is the outer layer of the skin.  The cells on this layer are further from the blood supply so they are constantly being shed and replaced by new cells.  There are cells in this layer called melanocytes that produce the pigment that makes up our complexion.  The dermis is a thick middle layer of skin.  Blood vessels, hair follicles, sweat glands, oil glands, and lymph vessels are found in this layer of the skin.  The deepest layer, superficial fascia, contains fatty tissue that stores energy, protects the organs lower in the body, and insulates the entire body.


Urinary System

The urinary system excretes unwanted substances and maintains fluid balance in the body.  If blood pressure is too high or there is too much water the kidneys will secrete water from the body.  This system consists of the kidneys, bladder, ureters, and urethra.  The primary organs are the kidneys which regulate blood pressure, filter the blood, remove toxins, and creates urine.  The kidneys create 180L of waste a day.  This waste or filtrate is composed of glucose, water, ions, electrolytes, excess salt, and hydrogen waste.  If the body is in need of any of these substances they can be reabsorbed within the kidneys before the filtrate moves into the ureters.

Once the kidneys have produced the urine it’s sent through the ureters to the urinary bladder.  The bladder stretches to store urine until it’s ready to be released by the body through the urethra.


Certain herbs can help with urinary issues.

Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system helps the body with fluid exchange from the blood vessels, absorbs and transports fats, and removes pathogens.  The lymph vessels run alongside the blood vessels in the cardiovascular system.  These small vessels contain lymphatic fluid that circulates when the body moves, since there is no organ pumping the fluid through like the heart in the circulatory system.  It is important to move the body so that disease can be removed from the body.

The lymph fluid flows through the lymph vessels to lymph nodes that are found throughout the body.  The lymph nodes encapsulate any toxins or foreign pathogens and send them out of the body through sweat or excretion.  When a lymph node is dealing with a foreign substance it may become swollen and sensitive to the touch.  Common locations of lymph nodes include the throat, armpit, and inguinal area.

The spleen helps the lymph system by functioning as a large lymph node and filtering out toxins.  The thymus produces lymph cells called lymphocytes that support the lymph organs.