Solar Plexus

I have recently started a new combat class.

I haven’t fully divulged my past TKD experience and I haven’t disclosed I am an anatomist (why would you, these things don’t come up)

This week though my questions almost gave me away. We were looking at solar plexus strikes and I asked the question ‘and where are you saying the solar plexus is?’ I sometimes struggle with the solar plexus because its not an anatomical feature and yet, as anyone who has ever been hit in it can tell you, it does exist.

Most anatomists have assumed that when people talk about the solar plexus they are talking about the Celiac plexus – a complex combination of nerves that is made up mainly from the greater and lesser splanchnic nerves with parasympathetic innervation from both branches of the vagal nerves. It is surrounded by 10 secondary plexus so you can understand the idea that this is a central nerve plexus with radiating nerves that affect multiple parts of the body – hence the name solar with nerves radiating out.

Kudos to any non anatomists who can see the circular structure with radiating nerves in this picture!

One of the troubles that I have with the solar plexus is the mixture of worlds. If you google solar plexus then you may get one link to an anatomical site but the majority of the sites are about chakras and blocking and unblocking energy paths. I guess that is my problem with being in two social worlds that view the world differently; are you striking an energy source or an anatomical structure?

The second problem I have is that the bundle of nerves is at the back of the body just in front of the spine. To have an effect on it then you must have compressed everything in front of it. We know that can happen because we all know people who have had the wind knocked out of them – that is a sign of a blow to the solar plexus and yet we struggle with massage therapists who claim they can release the psoas by massaging the front of the body.

The body continues to pose problems for us to ponder

Author: Anatomy Fundamentals

Janet Philp has spent a lifetime exploring fitness and wellbeing. Starting in group exercise, travelling through rugby to representing the UK at martial arts before including Yoga, meditation, Budokon and personal instruction. Her passion is anatomical function and educating people to use their bodies to their full potential.

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