Self Experiment in Anatomy: A Personal Tour of A Human Body


The body you tour will be your own, and therefore may or may not contain the same parts. Each body is unique. Though produced by the same process initially, each will go through its own lifetime of actions, reactions and incidents that produce its present form. Each experience will be unique and have different results. Each individual will come to this exploration with his or her own predispositions, life experience, and emotional state. Each experience will be affected by the timing and events surrounding the life of the person inhabits during execution. It is all together. There is no separating the physical and sensual from the mental and emotional. Maybe that is why I wanted to try this, to touch and move each part of the physical shell, moving that concrete information to a place where it can relate to more abstract aspects of me. Maybe the more the abstract me knows the physical me the more I will be able to inhabit my life in a more complete way.

Each human body is a miraculous organic conglomeration of tissues, structures, and processes that we cannot hope to understand completely how it came to be and how it works, but we each have one to explore. It is the one physical thing that belongs to us  from the beginning to the end of our lives. The body you have is unique to this world and yours alone to discover in this personal way, the explored and the explorer inhabiting the same moment of experience.

Part 1

The Head and Neck

Run fingers over the top of the head, noticing the underlying dome of bone very near the surface. Note the color, density, and location of hair and the skin of the scalp.

Move a hand to the back of the head, proceeding down over the knobby protuberance at the base of the skull.

Walk fingers along the ridge at the base of the skull, noticing where the muscles of neck attach to the skull.

Grasp the back of the neck between fingers and thumb and rotate the head, note the amount and change in tension in the muscles.

Now, feel the swelling of bone on either side behind the ears, continuing forward to the base of outer ear around the lumpy bone surface covered thinly by skin.

Grasp the shell-like part of the external ear, tracing the outer rim to the lobe hanging on the lower part.

Feel the stiff projection just in front of the ear hole, pressing it firmly causing the cartilage to shift under the skin.

Push these projections back over the ears to cover the ear holes and hum, sing or recite a short poem to hear the voice that travels in vibrations through bone.

Next place two fingers on temple in front of the top of the shell of the ear, feel the pulsations of the artery that ascends in between the skin and bone to supply blood to the scalp.

Press the fingers firmly in the space between ear and cheek to feel the hinge of the jaw in motion through the muscles and skin.

Move fingers onto the bony arch of the cheek feel the skin of the face bunch and stretch as the muscles underneath contract and relax as expressions change.

Place the hands over the eyes feel the lashes against the palms as the eyes blink.

Squeeze the eyes shut tight and open them wide, and feel the movement of the eyebrows against the hand.

Trace a finger around the entire margin of the bony socket noting the spongy duct just beside the nose.

Place the pointer finger and thumb of one hand on the outside of the eyebrows on either side of the face and slide them together coming into a pinch at the uppermost part of the nose.

Slide them down the nose over the bridge to the fleshy tip.

Next pinch the middle between the nostrils gently and spread the finger and thumb out noting the flexibility of the structure.

Pull and twist and fondle the bulb of the nose.

Then slide one finger down into the groove above the center of the upper lip and down, continuing around the lips to the lower lip noting the border between lips and skin and the difference in sensitivity.

Move your tongue over the surfaces on the inside of the mouth noting and counting teeth, exploring the spongy floor and hard ridged ceiling and as far back in the throat as possible.

Use lips and tongue to create popping, clicking sounds changing the sound and resonance by changing the shape of lips and cheeks.

Place foods of different textures, shapes and flavors. Chew and swallow paying attention to function of each part of the mouth and throat.

Drink both with and without a straw, swishing the liquid around and swallow again paying attention to the role of muscles and structures as well as the sounds and sensations produced.

Purse the lips together into a small hole and blow air through to produce a whistling sound try to control the pitch by changing the size of the opening.

Move fingers down the fleshy part of the cheeks under the eyes, pressing to feel the hardness of teeth and gums underneath.

At the bottom, grasp the lower jaw from underneath with fingers on the outside and thumb under pushing up into the soft space in back of the chin.

Move fingers up and down the jaw line from the chin to below the ear, tracing the lower jaw.

Place fingers around the side of the neck to the back where the small bumps of the upper spine join the skull and move down to where the vertebrae begin to bulge out at the top of the shoulder blades.

Move fingers around the base of the neck noting the cable-like structure in the of muscles and tendons.

Grasp the chin between index finger and thumb,  while stretching the mouth into a wide grimace, puckering the lips and frowning  feeling the change of shape at each contortion.

Pinch down along the lose flesh under the chin moving down to where it curves into the neck.

Place a finger and thumb gently on either side of the voice box and speak, sing, cough, swallow and laugh feeling the vibrations and shifting of the whole structure.

Whisper, talk, sing a song, shout and scream.

Listen to the voice that comes out, noting its range of pitch and  loudness as well subtler textures and timbres produced by slight adjustments in the positioning of oral structures, air pressure, and loosening and tightening of the larynx .

This entry was posted in All part of the process, bodyworks, paying attention, Self-Experiments, thinking in words and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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