How to Memorize Anatomy with a Memory Palace

| Learning, Podcast

Illustration of ear for MMM Podcast and blog on memorizing Human anatomy with a memory palaceHuman anatomy isn’t exactly linear, is it?

I mean, we love using the term “from head to toe,” but…

When it comes to everything that happens between these two parts…

There aren’t a whole lot of straight lines.

That’s why we need a dedicated Memory Palace strategy when it comes to learning how to memorize human anatomy.

And even if the human body is ultimately a whole unit, it is built from multiple systems.

That’s great because the Magnetic Memory Method operates from the basis of multiple Memory Palaces.

(I prefer to think of these Memory Palace systems as “networks” because of how one Memory Palace strengthens the other.)

Here’s the raw truth:

If you’re using just one Memory Palace, you’re not even close to the awesome power of multiple locations optimized for memorizing information like human anatomy.

But first things first:


Why Use A Memory Palace For Memorizing Human Anatomy?


When you look at the alternatives, the most direct and honest answer is this:

Because Memory Palace systems and mnemonics are quite simply more fun.

More fun than software.

More fun than flash cards.

More fun than the stress and strain of forgetting the words again and again (especially if you have medical exams looming).

But the reality is this:

Not All People Love Using A Memory Palace
For Human Anatomy!


And you know?

As shocking as we mnemonists find this to be, it’s totally normal.

You don’t have to enjoy the process to get results.

But it certainly helps.

And you’ll probably find that the reason you don’t like using memory techniques for human anatomy is simply that you find it a boring topic.

If that’s the case, then it’s not the mnemonics to blame. And it’s probably time to start thinking about how to live a life worth remembering.


What Is A Memory Palace?


Assuming you’re on board to use memory techniques for human anatomy whether you love mnemonics or not, it’s useful to know exactly what we’re talking about.

Unfortunately, the term “Memory Palace” is poorly misunderstood. This leads to a lot of questions, for which “yes” is usually the answer.

Yes, you can reuse Memory Palaces (just watch out for the Ugly Sister Effect).

Yes, a Memory Palace is something that you create in your mind.

Yes, it is ideally based on a place that you’ve seen before.

Yes, you can make virtual Memory Palaces (or even Memory Palaces based on movies and TV series).

But at their core, Memory Palaces are really just points in space. You are turning spatial coordinates already known to you (thanks to a free resource called spatial memory) into mnemonic devices, one Magnetic Station at a time.

You can even use your body as a Memory Palace, as I show in my discussions of memorizing the carpal bones and the ulna and radius.

The Goal With Proper Memory Palace Creation Is Simple:


You use your spatial memory to help create efficient Memory Palaces that REDUCE cognitive overwhelm.

This point is significant because most people create Memory Palaces in ways that INCREASE cognitive overwhelm.

That’s because they’re trying to imagine the Memory Palaces at the same time as the Magnetic Imagery used in Memory Palaces.

And that, Magnetic friend, is a huge no-no.

(More on avoiding that huge no-no in a bit.)


How to Memorize Anatomy with a Memory Palace


The topic is best learned with some Memory Palaces up on the screen and a “homework” assignment. Just click here to get started:

Magnetic Memory Method Free Memory Improvement Course

Once you’ve taken the free course and submitted your assignment, the only thing left to do is create multiple Memory Palaces and use them.

How To Know How Many Memory Palaces You Need


To create your Memory Palace networks in the best possible way, it’s good to decide how many Memory Palaces you need in advance. Here’s help with that:

To put this part of the art of memory into the context of human anatomy, let’s say you’re going to become an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist.

I’m not a specialist myself, but even without invoking Digital Amnesia by using Google to hunt down some info, it’s safe to guess that I’ll want to memorize the anatomy and systems related to the:

  • Inner Ear
  • Middle Ear
  • Outer Ear
  • Nose
  • Throat
  • Mouth
  • Skull

So, keeping it simple for the sake of creating an example, that’s at least seven Memory Palaces.

Or is it?

I ask because it looks like the entire ear could be covered by a single Memory Palace.

Myself, I would start with the outer ear and focus on the three most important parts on most ear diagrams I’ve seen:

  • Auricle
  • Auditory canal
  • Tympanic membrane

All three could fit in a single room based on three Magnetic Stations (or less).

In the next room, I would have the middle ear, but probably divide this into two rooms because the ossicles have parts of their own: malleus, incus, stapes.

And the ossicle bones don’t stop with just 3 names! They are also called the hammer, anvil and stirrup. For that, I would probably use the Pillar Technique.

Ultimately, the exact management comes down to your experience using these techniques.


Using The Power Of Pre-Organized Structures


If you’re using the Magnetic Memory Method, you could alphabetize your Memory Palace network. In this case, it probably will not make sense alphabetize the information inside of each Memory Palace, but it is an option depending on your Mnemonic Style.

The reason the alphabet is such a powerful tool is this:

Just as you know the buildings from which you create Memory Palaces by heart, you also know the alphabet by heart.

This simple fact means that when you’re practicing Recall Rehearsal, you can easily progress through the Memory Palaces in an order.

You can also create a mnemonic hook built into the network that tells you which Memory Palace needs to be renewed next.

Again, everything begins with knowing how much you need to know so that you can get your Memory Palaces created and tethered to the information you need to learn.

From there, you can proceed based on the robust foundation of pre-organized structures in the world such as the alphabet. If you need more help, these Memory Palace books include similar details with their own nuances.

How To Use A Memory Palace For Human Anatomy


The next step involves creating Magnetic Imagery.

What is Magnetic Imagery?

It’s incredibly easy.

Let’s say you want to memorize the three parts of the ossicle (all six names).

You would next create a Magnetic Image while mentally considering a point in space in a Memory Palace.

You don’t have to literally “see” these things in your mind. And yes, you can get results from this technique even if you have aphantasia.

All that matters is that you can tap into your Magnetic Modes and start to create Magnetic Imagery that is:

  • Bright
  • Vibrant
  • Dynamic
  • Big
  • Colorful
  • Crazy
  • Strange
  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Animated
  • Forceful
  • Loud
  • Rhyming
  • Punning

And beginning to play with these terms now…

I am thinking of my own Ear, Nose and Throat specialist from when I was a kid…

In one corner of his examination room, I begin to imagine Malcolm McDowell wrestling with an eel…

Now he’s smashing the Toys R Us logo into the eel using a plastic toy “hammer”…

Like this:

Medical mnemonic example for memorizing human anatomy in a Memory Palace

Malcolm + eel + hammer + Toys R Us logo = Malleus and hammer.

Sure, that’s a picture, but I’m not really “seeing” it in my mind. I’m feeling it, hearing it, sensing it, playing with it as a concept.

Put all of these sensory elements together with your spatial memory in a Memory Palace and you will be able to encode and decode any information in a way that enters long term memory fast. In fact, there techniques are …


So Simple, Even A Child Can Do It!


Really, there’s no reason to struggle with using memory techniques for human anatomy.

You’ve just got to get your strategy sorted out.

And I know that a lot of people think it takes too much time…

Looking at the amount to be learned…

Making some projections and equations…

Creating the Memory Palaces for anatomy…

They think it’s going to be too much work.

But here’s the thing:


If It Feels Like Work… You’re Doing It Wrong!


I make no apology for this declaration. It just simply is the case that mnemonics for any subject are never hard. And they’re certainly NEVER work.

You’re at play in the fields of your mind!

You just need to understand something Tony Buzan once suggested:


The Rules Set You Free


And speaking of rules, there’s just one more set you need to understand.

Once you’ve got your Memory Palaces up and running…

Once you’re filling them up with memorable Magnetic Imagery so that you can learn and encode all the human anatomy words that you need linked with the areas of the body to which they correspond…

You need only get those words into long-term memory.

It’s really easy.


The Memory Magic Of Recall Rehearsal


Just revisit the Magnetic Imagery you created in your Memory Palaces.

As with how you will develop your own mnemonic style over time, you’ll also develop your own style of Recall Rehearsal.

You’ll learn exactly how many times you need to revisit the information in order for it to stick.

And you always have ways to speed up the process using the Big Five Of Learning that I teach throughout the Magnetic Memory Method trainings.

Follow these principles using your Memory Palace network and you will never forget human anatomy again.

On the other hand, fail to follow these principles, and you can hope for the best with the flash cards, spaced-repetition software and other techniques that you hate because they keep letting you down.

These tools can be good, but we must admit one thing: They are built for use in environments that create digital amnesia.

But understand this:

A Good Memory Palace And Mnemonics Practice
Will Never Let You Down!


Not if you’re using them well.

And using them well means that you’re making your memory more and more Magnetic each and every time you sit down to study.

It’s really that easy.

Again, if you need help understanding Memory Palace creation, please take the free course. And make sure you always work on improving your memory ability by avoiding all the classic mistakes others make.

Enjoy your new ability to use a Memory Palace to memorize human anatomy and talk soon!

4 Responses to " How to Memorize Anatomy with a Memory Palace "

  1. Pelle Chamliden says:

    Hello there Anthony,! Thank you for excellent episode! I look forward to next episode aleady!

    Some of my thoughts about style…
    When going impromptu:
    A method I use sometimes , is to lump together bits of information (keywords) into a “linked list” (similarity to computer science that has this basic datatype . Meaning that a keyword is linked to one or two other keys. The ends only links to its keys besides them. 🙂

    Then later on, if needeed I hook the list keys into a palace which has a design suiting m use case.

    Also if this linked list of keys(associations) need to be easily accessible by will, I prepend the linked list with an anchor association which is a context driven asdociation that lets me “find” the list more easily in the flow of thoughts. This buys me more time to design the method of loci design and hook the list onto it.

    The above linked list can be elaborated into a tree , by allowing each key(association) to link to more than two other keys. In such cases I tend to want to have a strongcontext anchor and associate the tree , and layer on hook onto a suiting method of loci object.

    This may suit some , and some not.

    I use flashcards a lot , but not in the same way as people not using a mnemonic framework. I first memorize the key(s) , have them on their loci in the palace ( I see very little use going onto glashcards practise with linked lists) before using flashcards (ankidroid actually most of times). WHY ??? Because the skillset can be increased into a spontaneus reflective level way quicker. It helps you (if you prepare the mnemonics BEFORE) to habitually practise retention and speed (not necessarily in a stressful way of course;)..

    Take care

    • Great pointers, Pelle. These are much appreciated and there is certainly much layering that can take place.

      As one of the members of my Secret MMM Mastermind group pointed out:

      “One thing I might add is that the spatial orientation also matters. What touches what, where a vessel or muscle starts and ends.”

      As you note, some things suit some people, other things not. In all cases, memory techniques create a skill set in which the more you learn, the more you can learn and the connections themselves provide more raw material for making even more connections. 🙂

  2. Tamie says:

    Do you have any ideas for memorizing sheet music for the piano? I’ve been playing for many years and still a slave to sheet music. Thanks for any advice. Tamie

    • I do indeed, Tamie, and thank you for asking.

      What would you say you struggle with the most? Remembering chords or melodies? Have you had any experience with mnemonics before?

      In addition to this discussion on music mnemonics and the resources linked to on that page (do check the comments section), there’s an FAQ section in the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass with a training about memorizing piano music and the option of personalized training if needed.

      It all boils down to whether or not you wish to use mnemonics as part of the process. The other way is straight up dedicated practice, which is discussed on the other resources to which I’ve linked.

      I hope you find them useful and look forward to your next post on the site.

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