Glossary

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With the goal of being as objective as possible in our descriptions of anatomy, location, and movement, we may use some unfamiliar terms. If you have trouble understanding language used in the Alignment Data Sheets, Group Classes, or Private Sessions, you may refer to this page for answers.

Terms of Location

Anterior - Towards the front of the body
Posterior - Towards the back of the body
Ventral - Towards the front of the torso
Dorsal - Towards the back of the torso as well as on or towards the back of the hand or top of the foot
Medial - Towards the center or midline of the body
Lateral - Towards the outside or away from the midline of the body
Peripheral - Towards the outer surface of the body
Inferior - Below or towards the bottom of the body
Superior - Above or towards the top of the body
Proximal - Towards the center of the body or another structure
Distal - Away from the center of the body or another structure
Longitudinal - Vertically, along the body
Transverse - Horizontally, across the body
Sagittal / Median - Towards the plane that divides the left and right sides of the body
Coronal / Frontal- Towards the plane that divides the front and back halves of the body
Axillary - Towards the armpit
Caudal - Towards the buttocks
Cranial / Cephalic - Towards the head
Inguinal - Towards the groin

Terms Used to Describe Movement

Flexion - Decreasing the inner angle of a joint
Extension - Increasing the inner angle of a joint
Abduction - Moving away from the midline of the body
Adduction - Moving towards the midline of the body
Lateral Flexion - Sidebending of the neck and torso
Rotation - Rotating or pivoting around a long axis
   Internal  - Inward
   External - Outward
Circumduction  - Circular movement
Dorsiflexion - Flexing the ankle with the foot moving upwards
Plantarflexion - Flexing the ankle with the foot moving downwards
Eversion / Pronation - Turning the sole of the foot laterally (outward)
Inversion / Supination - Turning the sole of the foot medially (inward)
Pronation - Rotating the forearm with the palm turning inwards or facing down
Supination - Rotating the forearm with the palm turning outwards or facing up
Elevation - Draw upwards (shoulder and hip)
Depression - Draw downwards (shoulder and hip)
Protraction - Draw forward (shoulder)
Retraction - Draw back (shoulder)
Horizontal
   Abduction - Moving the arm in a horizontal plane away from the body
   Adduction - Moving the arm in a horizontal plane inwards across the body
Radial Deviation / abduction - With the palm facing forward, hand moves from wrist, away from the body
Ulnar Deviation / adduction - With the palm facing forward, hand moves from wrist, towards the body
Nutation - Rotation of the thick base of the sacrum forward
Counter-nutation - Rotation of the thick base of the sacrum back

 

 

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