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Sports Massage – the structural organisation of the body

Hadyn Luke posted this on Wednesday 9th of May 2018 Hadyn Luke 09/05/2018

Tags: Anatomy and physiology

structure of the body large

In previous blogs on sports massage we’ve looked at Sports Massage Treatments, Sports Massage: the effects and benefits: the lymphatic system. In today’s blog we’re focusing on the structural organisation of the body.

Personal trainers and other fitness professionals following courses on sports massage, for example a Level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage (Soft Tissue Therapy), will need to familiarise themselves with the structural organisation of the body. 

The systems of the human body

In all there are 10 primary systems, as follows:

  1. The skin
  2. The skeletal system
  3. The muscular system
  4. The nervous system
  5. The respiratory system
  6. The circulatory system
  7. The digestive system
  8. The urinary system
  9. The endocrine system
  10. The reproductive system

Each of these systems comprises many cells, some of which have specialist functions. Each organ is made up of tissue, which in turn is made up of cells and organelles.

The structure of cells

A cell is made up of two-thirds water, plus molecules (carbohydrate, protein and fat). Every cell has a nucleus and a membrane comprising cytoplasm and organelles (specialist parts of a cell with a particular function).

During reproduction, a fertilised egg begins as one cell, which then divides under a process known as mitosis. As the embryo grows, its stem cells develop into specialised cells. These combine with other cells – both of the same type and of a different type – to form the various parts of the human body, such as the skin, muscle, bone and organs.

The structure of tissue

The four main types of tissue are:

  1. Epithelial tissue – this is the membranes that line the body and form the skin, protecting tissues and absorbing or secreting substances
  2. Connective tissue – this protects and supports structures, eg bone or muscle; it also has a role in insulating and transporting
  3. Muscle tissue – this lengthens and contracts to aid movement
  4. Nervous tissue – this receives and transmits messages as part of the nervous system’s voluntary and involuntary activities


Made up of different tissues working together, organs each have a specific function and can work alone or in tandem with other organs and bodily systems. There are around 80 organs in total in the human body; the most important include the heart, brain, lungs, liver, kidneys, stomach and intestines. 


Understanding how sports massage might affect the client’s body – from blood circulation to muscle tissue – is an essential element of sports massage training. As with any kind of treatment, the practitioner should always ask the client about their general health and any medication they might be taking before starting treatment, to ensure there are no contraindications.

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