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Planes of the Body

Body Planes


We are 3-dimensional beings.
We have height, width and depth.
We move in all sorts of different ways and directions.

To be able to explain and record these various movements and directions the body has to have a reference system that is accepted by all.
These are described as planes.
We have 3 planes:

  1. sagittal
  2. coronal or frontal
  3. transverse or horizontal

Think of each plane as a sheet of glass.

Sagittal Plane

If you look at the sagittal plane then this plane describes anything that is ‘front to back’.
The plane lies vertically from front to back or back to front.
The name comes from the Latin for arrow – imagine being shot by an arrow from directly in front. The arrow flies towards you (and sticks out of you!) in the sagittal plane.
Like an arrow, the sagittal plane it can dissect you from the tip of one shoulder to the tip of the other – it’s not just in the mid-line.

Coronal or Frontal Plane

CaesarIf you look at the coronal plane then this plane describes anything that is ‘side to side’.
The name coronal comes from the Latin for crown.

If you look at the old Roman coin you can see that Roman Emperors wore their crown almost vertically on their head – that is why this plane is called coronal.
It runs vertically from side to side. It gives us front and back, anterior and posterior or ventral and dorsal (they all describe the same).

It is also moveable from the back of your body to the front – not just through the middle.

Transverse or Horizontal Plane

Strangely enough this plane is not vertically aligned but surprise surprise horizontally!
A flat table top lies in the transverse plane.
The transverse plane lies in the same way and gives us top and bottom and superior and inferior.
This plane is also moveable from the base of your heels all the way up to the top of your head.

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