The Significance of Body Symmetry: Exploring Vitruvio and its Medical Implications

2023-08-27 17:16:20

In the constant search for perfection and balance, the image of Vitruvio emerges as a timeless icon of the symmetry and proportion of the human body. Inspired by Vitruvio’s architectural treatise from the 1st century BC. of Christ and depicted in Leonardo da Vinci’s famous drawing accompanied by anatomical notes in superimposed positions of arms and legs and inscribed in a perfect circle and square.

Some of the proportions described by Vitruvio are: The head from the chin to the crown measures one eighth of the entire body; the foot is equal to one sixth of the height of the body; the chest is equivalent to a quarter of the entire body; The navel is the natural center point of the human body (the center of the circle in the famous image). The circular figure traced on the human body allows us to also achieve a square: if it is measured from the soles of the feet to the crown of the head, the resulting measurement will be the same as that given between the tips of the fingers with the arms outstretched.

The Vitruvian image, popularized by Leonardo da Vinci in his famous 15th-century drawing, shows a man with his limbs extended in two superimposed positions: one inscribed in a circle and the other in a square. This image emphasizes the importance of proportion and bodily symmetry of the human body. However, its meaning is also important from a medical point of view.

Modern medicine has discovered that the symmetry of the body goes beyond the superficial; It is an indicator of health and well-being. Recent research has shown that greater body symmetry is associated with greater resistance to disease and greater resilience. Significant differences in symmetry, with leg length deviations or facial asymmetries, may be an early indicator of underlying problems. These observations support the idea that body symmetry is not only an aesthetic pursuit, but also a legitimate medical goal.

Advances in medical technology today make it possible to analyze body symmetry with a level of detail never possible. 3D scanners and mapping software allow healthcare professionals to assess symmetry in a more precise and personalized way. Symmetry has become an important factor in cosmetic and reconstructive surgery; where it can even have a psychological impact and quality of life of patients.

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In growing children, a change in anthropometric measurements can be an early indicator of an underlying disease that is affecting their growth, such as hypothyroidism, precocious puberty, or growth hormone deficiency. Beyond the medical consultation, the image of the Vitruvian should inspire us to consider the importance of taking care of our body in a holistic way. Proper nutrition, physical exercise and mental attention are fundamental pillars to maintain medical symmetry and physical well-being.

In conclusion, the image of Vitruvio gives us the opportunity to analyze the importance of body symmetry not only from the aesthetic point of view, but also from the point of view of the state of health and well-being.

Leonardo da Vinci, “The Vitruvian Man” (ca. 1492) (Photo: Lucnix via Wikimedia Commons Public domain)

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