The Muscular System Copy


Our muscular system includes all the muscle tissue in the body. It provides movement, maintains posture and is vital for the function of the organs of the body, including the heart and digestive system.

The muscular system has several functions:
■ Movement: Movement happens as a result of the shortening (contracting) and the lengthening (extending) of muscle tissue.
■ Posture: Some of the muscle’s fibres are always contracted even when the muscle is at rest. Otherwise the body would not be able to function. This is essential for maintaining posture. This muscle tone is weakest when we are sleeping and in a relaxed state. Muscle tone makes sure enough blood supply reaches the muscles.
■ Creation of heat: Muscular activity creates heat in the cellular tissues.
■ Assists with blood flow and lymphatic movement: Muscular movement squeezes the blood and lymphatic vessels which helps to assist both blood flow and lymphatic movement.
■ Protection: Some muscles also help to provide protection for some of the abdominal organs.

There are three types of muscular tissue:
1 cardiac muscle
2 smooth, involuntary muscle
3 skeletal, striated or voluntary muscle



The muscles of our face define our facial characteristics and features. They give us expression and show our age. You will find it particularly helpful to know the location and action of each muscle during facial massage treatments.

Muscle movement

Each muscle has an origin at one end and insertion at the other end. When a muscle contracts, movement takes place at the insertion. Some facial muscles insert into the skin so when the muscle contracts, the attached skin moves across the direction of the muscle fibres. This is how facial expressions are produced. When muscles insert into the bone there is movement at a joint, e.g. the Masseter inserts into the mandible (lower jaw) and the action is to raise the jaw.

As we get older the facial expressions that we make every day start to produce lines on the skin, for example frown lines.


Muscle tone

When a muscle is relaxed, a few muscle fibres remain contracted to give the muscle a certain amount of firmness; this muscle tension is referred to as muscle tone. Muscle tone is what keeps the body upright. The amount of muscle tone or tension also decreases with age. You will see this when you carry out your facial analysis on clients. Facial massage will help to improve the general muscle tone of facial muscles. How is your muscle tone? Do you have any lines of expression?


Muscles of the head and face

There are two groups of muscles:

Muscles of mastication (used in chewing) These muscles are the temporalis and masseter. These muscles are responsible for the movement of the lower jaw (mandible) when chewing and are called the muscles of mastication.

Facial expression These may be attached to skin instead of bone. These muscles are frontalis, occipitalis corrugator, orbicularis occuli, procerus, nasalis, zygomaticus, orbicularis oris, mentalis, triangularis, depressor labii inferioris, risorius, buccinator, quadratus labii, caninus.

Most of the muscles located in the face are extremely small and insert into either facial skin or other muscles. When muscles contract they create facial expressions.


Muscles of the back

  • trapezius
  • latissimus dorsi
  • errector spinae

Muscles of the neck and chest

  • sternocleido mastoid
  • platysma
  • pectoralis major
  • pectoralis minor

Muscles of the arms and shoulder

  • deltoid
  • biceps
  • triceps
  • brachialis

Muscles of the thorax

  • external intercostals
  • internal intercostals
  • serratus anterior
  • diaphragm


The effects of massage on muscles

  1. The increased circulation feeds the muscle tissues bringing with it fresh oxygen and the waste products are absorbed more quickly. When muscles are working they need a greater supply of oxygen and more waste products are produced, (the waste products accumulate after strenuous exercise. When the muscles relax stiffness may often occur). Massage will help relieve muscular fatigue by removing the lactic acids that build up in the tissues.
  2. Muscles that are tense and contracted can become relaxed after massage has been carried out. Regular massage will help muscles to function to their fullest capacity.
  3. Muscles work over joints. If the movement of the joints is impaired by adhesions, for example the shoulder joint, then the full range of movement will be prevented. Massaging this area can help loosen and release these adhesions, gaining more mobility in the joints, more movement in the muscles and therefore increasing the range of movement

Tip: Never massage over muscles that are extremely painful.