Re-Thinking Functional Movement: The Sling Systems of the Body

The Sling System of the Body

In order to understand how the sling system works, it is necessary to first have some basic understanding of human anatomy. A brief overview will be given here:

Human Anatomy:

Anatomical Structure of the Human Body:

A Brief Overview Of The Human Skeleton (Skeletal Muscle) :

Muscle Tendon – Tendons are long thin fibrous structures that connect muscles to bones. They allow muscles to contract and relax. Muscles are made up of many different types of muscle fibers, each with their own type of fiber composition. Fibers make up the majority of skeletal muscle tissue. Muscle fibers are composed primarily of fast-twitch (fast twitch = short) muscle fibers and slow-twitch (slow twitch = long) muscle fibers.

Fast-twist fibers produce force quickly while slow-twists produce force slowly. Slow-twists are used during low intensity activities such as walking and running while fast-twists are used during high intensity activities like lifting weights. There are two main types of tendons: Type I and Type II. Type I tendons attach to the bone at the top of your leg, while type II tendons attach to the bone at the bottom of your leg. There are many different types of tendons in the human body, however, in this discussion we will only focus on the major groups of muscles and their respective tendons.

Muscular System:

The muscular system is a group of organs located throughout the body that produce force (muscles) to create motion. The muscular system contains two main types of muscles: skeletal muscles and smooth muscle.

Skeletal Muscle:

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The skeletal muscle is the voluntary system of muscles that allow humans to move around. Skeletal muscles are sometimes called voluntary muscles because you can control their movement at anytime (unlike the heart or lungs). The skeletal muscles are attached to bones by tendons. When muscles contract they pull on tendons which cause movement of bones. There are two types of skeletal muscles: Striated and Non-striated.

Striated Muscles:

The striated muscle is the common skeletal muscle that most people think of and is what is found in meat. The striations (dark bands) contain an alignement of interlocking myofibrils that create force.

Non-Striated Muscles:

Non-striated muscles are another form of skeletal muscle that produce force and movement. There are three types of non-striated muscles:

1. Cardiac muscle (heart)

2. Respiratory muscle (for breathing)

3. Smooth muscle (blood vessels and other places)

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Smooth Muscle:

The smooth muscle is a type of non-striated skeletal muscle that is found in the body in places such as the walls of blood vessels and the gut.


Ligaments are fibrous white tissue that connect one bone to another.

Ligament Attachment

Muscles have different attachments based on their fiber type and where they attach to bones. The common attachment found in skeletal muscles is the single-joint muscle. These muscles are found in places such as the shoulders, fingers, hips and knees. The other main attachment is the multi-joint muscle. These muscles are found in the body in places such as the neck, trunk and legs.

Some examples of these muscles are the pectorials (chest), the gluteals (buttocks), the abdominals (abs), and the erector spinae (low back).

A Musculoskeletal Connection:

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Knowledge of the muscular system is important in the cook because you may get cut or burn your hands. Knowing the difference between a tendon and a ligament may also help you decide on the best way to immobilize an injury or bone out of place.


The smallest living things that can still survive on their own and contain all the necessary parts for life.


A type of cell that contains a nucleus and other organelles surrounded by a membrane. All human cells are eukaryote except for red blood cells.


A type of cell that does not contain a nucleus or any other organelles surrounded by a membrane. Bacteria are prokaryote.

Krebs Cycle:

A process that occurs in the mitochondria of cells that creates much of the ATP (energy) used to power cellular functions in the body.


Adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, is the main energy source for all cells in the body. It is created by the krebs cycle and other sources. ATP is often called the “molecular unit of currency” in biological systems (incase you ever have to make that analogy in an essay :).


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Special chemicals that increase the rate of chemical reactions in the body. All enzymes are proteins.


A substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction but is not changed or used up during the reaction.


A vitamin is a organic compound that an animal (including humans) needs in small amounts for the proper functioning of the body and to maintain health but cannot synthesize itself.


Minerals are inorganic compounds (not produced by living things) that an animal (including humans) needs in small amounts for the proper functioning of the body and to maintain health but cannot synthesize itself.


The set of processes that build complex substances from smaller ones in the body. Anabolic means “building up”.

Kilocalorie (Calorie):

A measure of the energy content of foods. One large pizza has about 3000 kcal.

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The set of reactions in the cell that convert glucose to pyruvate, which in turn is converted into ATP for energy


The set of reactions in the cell that breaks down complex substances into simpler ones. Catabolic means “to break down”.


The science that studies muscles and their functions.


Tendons connect muscles to bones and are used to increase the force applied by the muscle on the bone so that the bone moves.


Sheaths of collagen fibers that surround groups of muscles, blood vessels, nerves, and sometimes organs in the body. They are similar to tendons except that they do not move joints.


A stomach located in the digestive tract before the intestine in birds and reptiles. It is used to grind up food.

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Part of the digestive system consisting of a long section of spiral shaped hollow tubes. The small intestine is about six feet long and is where absorption takes place. The large intestine then takes unabsorbed material and breaks it down before excretion.


A substance that is harmful or fatal in small quantities.


A general term for a poisonous substance produced by plants, animals or bacterial.


To relieve in some way.


An inability to control the release of bodily waste.


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To take into the body through the mouth.


To break down or rot.


To soften by soaking.


A cleansing agent that removes grease.


To reduce friction.


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To allow a liquid to fall in drops.


An animal that eats dead and decaying organic matter.


Tiny one-celled animals. They appear as little round circles and need water to live. Bacteria are not multicellular and can not be seen without a microscope.


A chemical that kills bacteria or stops them from reproducing.

Lymphatic system:

The body’s defense against disease involves the identification and elimination of foreign invaders called pathogens. This identification is carried out by white blood cells in the lymphatic system. The fluid surrounding the immune cells is called lymph, the part of the body where this takes place is called the lymphatic system.

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A species of bacteria that can cause boils, pneumonia and food poisoning.


An illness caused by a virus that spreads through the air. It starts with a high fever and then causes a skin rash. It is serious in malnourished children and can lead to pneumonia. It can kill an infant.


Proteins that are made by the body to fight invading disease.


A viral disease that usually strikes children under 5 causing paralysis. It can lead to death when the patient can not breath because of paralysis of the respiratory muscles.

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Big Bang:

The sudden appearance of the universe.


The theory that species change over time as they adapt to their environment. This means they have mutated and become a new species. The main branches of the evolutionary tree are primates, mammals, mammals, marsupials, and the crown group.

Pleistocene era:

The geologic period 2.5 million to 12,000 years ago. It is sometimes called The Ice Age.

Spiral Staircase:

A winding stairway that has a tight circular shape.

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The ability to endure; the ability to keep going for a long period of time.

Tectonic Plates:

Large moving plates that cover the surface of the Earth. They allow for the surface of the Earth to change over time.

Asexual Reproduction:

When an organism clones itself to reproduce.

Pleistocene Extinction:

The mass extinction of animals about 12,000 years ago. All the large mammals died off except for the tiny mammals that scurried under the earth, the bats that flew away, and the birds that could fly to safety.

Waste Treatment Facility:

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A place where people can dump their sewage and other waste. From there, it can be used as fertilizer on farms.


The raw materials that a person, community or country uses to produce goods and services.


A common type of rock made up of quartz, feldspar and mica. It can be polished and is often used for counter tops in kitchens.

Machu Picchu:

The ancient Incan city located high in the Andes Mountains. It was long thought to have been only a legend until it was actually found in 1911.

The Great Wall of China:

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An ancient wall that stretches from one end of China to the other. First built in the 500s B.C.E. by the Warring State Era rulers to keep out northern invaders, it was rebuilt and extended many times since then.

Great Barrier Reef:

An enormous coral reef off the coast of Australia. It is so large that one can only see part of it from the surface. It extends down as far as one can dive down into the sea. It is home to many different types of tropical fish and marine animals, some of which have been found nowhere else.

Victoria Falls:

A waterfall located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. It really is an enormous waterfall that one can only see part of it from the surface. It stretches for over a mile and almost 2,500 feet wide.

Dead Sea:

A lake located in Jordan. It is so saline that people can easily float on top of the water. No fish or other aquatic life can be found in it, hence its name. No rivers flow into the lake or out of the lake. Most of the water comes from rainfall or underground springs.


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A state in the United States located on the Pacific shores. It has only been a state since 1859. Its largest city is Portland and its capital is Salem. Oregon is one of the richest states in trees. There are many different types of trees that can be found there, such as redwoods, Douglas firs, hemlocks, pines and cedars.


The country located in Eastern Asia. One of the oldest civilizations on Earth, it has a history of over 4,000 years. Its current leader is Xi Jinping and its capital is Beijing. It is one of the four nations that controls access to the poles, along with the United States, Russia and Canada.


A structure that is placed on the floor of the ocean, or sea bed. It can be used for a number of different purposes, such as research, exploration or even tourism.

Permanent Fund:

A fund of money, usually held by a government, that is used to pay for a variety of projects. The government will often take money from the fund to use for other projects and the money in the fund is then replaced with mining or other ventures.


The largest telecommunications company in Australia. They have the most extensive landline and mobile services in the country.

The Ghan:

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A passenger train that runs from southern to central Australia. It is named after the Afghan cameleers who traveled across the centre of Australia with their camels hundreds of years ago.

Thumb Butte:

A hill near Phoenix, Arizona. It has the shape of a human thumb and is easily visible from the city.

Cape Otway Lightstation:

A lighthouse located at Cape Otway, Victoria. It is the oldest working lighthouse in Australia and is over 150 years old.

The Wedge:

A treacherous piece of road located in Western Australia. It was once voted the scariest piece of road in the world, but after making improvements to it, it no longer holds that title.

Pioneer Park:

A park located in Tucson, Arizona that was once an old graveyard. The old tombstones were used to built the sidewalk of a nearby road, but many of the tombstones had partial names on them. People would often come and search for their relatives names on the stones and hence the park became a tourist attraction. From this the city of Tucson made it into a small park for people to visit.

Mile High Marker:

A massive sign on the side of I-70 that marks the entrance into the state of Colorado. The sign is over 110 feet tall, making it one of the largest highway markers in the world. The marker can be seen from far away and helps travellers know they are entering a new state or exiting one.

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The Grand Canyon:

A massive canyon located in the state of Arizona. It is carved into the ground by the Colorado River running through it over millions of years. It is a popular tourist destination and a national park.

Guano Island:

An island located just off the coast of Peru, South America. It was once used as a mining base for guano, which is bird droppings that are rich in nitrates. It is still used as a way-point for boats travelling to Antarctica.

St Kilda:

A small archipelago located just off the coast of Scotland. It was once home to an entire civilization, but is now uninhabited. It has become a tourist destination in recent years, who come to see the beautiful landscape and climb the many sea stacks.

The Badlands:

A desolate landscape that stretches for hundreds of miles in the U.S. states of North and South Dakota. It is home to many fossil beds that have preserved the bones of prehistoric animals for millions of years. It has become a tourist destination for people interested in seeing the many fossils found there.

Cape York:

The northern most point in the Australian continent. It was named after James Cook, who Captain James Cook, who first spotted it in the late 1700s when he claimed it for Great Britain and gave it its name.

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The Flinders Ranges:

A mountain range in the state of South Australia. They were named after the explorer Matthew Flinders who was the first man to sail a ship into the Port of Adelaide.

The Hottest Place On Earth:

Could be either the Lut Desert in Iran, or the Wana Complex in Pakistan, both of which have recorded temperatures in excess of 58 degrees Celsius or (Mashhad in Iran holds the world record at 65.7 C, although this is disputed by Wana).

The Coldest Place On Earth:

Vostok Station in Antarctica, which has recorded temperatures of less than -89 degrees Celsius. Due to global warming, the coldest place on Earth is now the American Cooperative Valley in Antarctica at -63 degrees Celsius.

Largest Canyon In the World:

The Grand Canyon in Arizona, which stretches up to 29 kilometres wide and attains a depth of over 1.6 kilometres.

The World’s Deepest Canyon:

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The Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon in Tibet, which reaches a depth of over 3.7 kilometres. It is also known as the Brahmaputra Grand Canyon.

The Largest Desert In the World:

The Sahara Desert in North Africa, which is over 9,400,000 square kilometres and spans across 11 countries. It is also the world’s hottest desert.

The Largest Island On Earth:

Greenland, which is 2,161,000 square kilometres. It is an autonomous country of the Kingdom of Denmark. It is one of the most sparsely populated regions on Earth.

The Largest Mountain Range On Earth:

The Himalayas, which span from eastern China to northern India. It attains a height of up to 9,000 metres and is home to the Mount Everest, which is the world’s tallest mountain at 8,850 metres. It is also the world’s most famed mountain range.

The Longest Mountain Range On Earth:

The Andes Mountain Range, which spans from Venezuela all the way to Chile. It attains a height of up to 6,893 metres and is home to the world’s longest mountain range.

The Lava Of The Largest Active Volcano On Earth:

Puyehue in Chile, which erupted in 2011 and covered parts of nearby cities in several feet of ash and debris.

Sources & references used in this article:

What I Mean when I Say Autism: Re-thinking the Roles of Language and Literacy in Autism Discourse by S Lloyd – 2016 – Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Craft practice for sustainability. Re-thinking commercial footwear design process with a woven textile approach by BM Olivas – 2012 –

Masculinity, sexuality and the body of male soldiers by J Pinski, F Kane, M Evans – 2017 –

Beyond the sling: a real-life guide to raising confident, loving children the attachment parenting way by N Mankayi – Psychology in Society, 2008 –

The Martian Rose (2007): Exposing by M Bialik – 2012 –

The death of a child and the birth of practical wisdom by L Cinti, H Boland – Citeseer

Patient adherence in rehabilitation by AM Phelan – Studies in Philosophy and Education, 2001 – Springer

Out in public: Configurations of women’s bodies in nineteenth-century America by AL Penenberg – 2015 – Portfolio