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Tensegrity

Tensegrity…what is it? It is a critical feature of our body’s fasical system. It’s an intrinsic feature that makes facial tissue the amazing tissue it is. Without this characteristic feature this amazing tissue would be nothing.

Our body, unlike earlier notions of thought, are not like compression structures such as a multi story building wherein the integrity of the building lies within the compression forces beginning at the smaller elements at the top passing down to larger elements on the ground. Our skeleton is not a stack of bones, like a stack of checkers – a continuous compression structure – with the individual muscles hanging off each bone to move it. In the actual skeleton the bones float in a sea of soft-tissue…the fascia or connective tissue. It connects every part of us to every part of us…it’s global. It’s everywhere in our body and it is a tensegrity structure.

To gain a better understanding of the dynamic complexity of the myofascial tissue network please go to the video link below for a demonstration using a Tensegrity Model. Fascial continuity suggests that the myofascia acts like an adjustable tensegrity around the skeleton – a continuous inward pulling tensions network like the elastics, with the bones acting like the struts in the tensegrity model, pushing out against the restricting ‘rubber bands’.

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Read ” Did you know? ” ( Fall 2010 ).

If the body’s biochemistry alone is insufficient to meet the speed requirements for the spread of activating processes throughout the body…. then what could?  Remember, the neural system of active potentials is fast ( slightly over 20 – 100 meters per second ) but relies on biochemical reactions to work – and that is just too slow.

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“… that the living organism is not a mere biomechanical machine, the traditional paradigm. A living organism is dynamic and fluid with all components in instant and continuous communication. This kind of instant, system-wide communication cannot be produced by the traditional view of solely physical and chemical interactions among molecules, genes, cells and organs. The speed with which activating processes spread throughout the body makes reliance on biochemistry alone insufficient. ” (John F. Barnes, physical therapist, author)


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There are three important aspects to any human being – the mind, the body, and the spirit. Although they each have a unique role to play in making us humans, they are inseparable and interdependent. Unfortunately, over the years, there has been a tendancy for large segments of society to try and separate these three and to treat any problems with them individually so the body has become the domain of the doctors, the mind the domain of the psychiatrists, and the spirit the domain of the clergy. What needs to be understood is that when one treats a human being, they are treating a triad that is intricately intertwined. The whole person needs to be taken into consideration to as great an extent as that person allows. True health and well-being can only be achieved when all three are healthy.


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What is Fascia?

” Fascia is a tough connective tissue which spreads throughout the body in a 3-dimensional web from head to feet without interruption. ”  All other body parts, such as the bones, muscles, organs, blood vessels and veins are enveloped by the fascia which “makes room”  for everything else. Fascia is as prevalent in our bodies as is the wax in a candle.

Trauma ( injury, surgery ), inflammatory responses ( injury, surgery, infection ), or habitual postures can create a binding down of fascia, resulting in myofascial restrictions as the fascia dehydrates. These restrictions can produce excessive pressure on nerves, blood vessels, muscles, bones and organs – ” pressures of approximately 2,000 pounds per square inch. “

” Since many of the standard tests such as x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, electromyography, etc, do not show the fascial restrictions, it is thought that an extremely high percentage of people suffering with pain and/or lack of motion may be having fascial problems, but most go undiagnosed.”

The fascial restrictions causing the symptoms must be treated, NOT the symptoms. Treating only the symptoms does nothing to reduce/eliminate the ” straight-jacket ” effect of pressure caused by the restrictions. That is why so many people have short-lasting results and never seem to get better by using more traditional therapy. Medications only cover up the pain, allowing the fascial restrictions to persist and gradually worsen.

Check the video out below to see the actual tubules and microtubles of fascia just under the skin. Note how dynamic they can be, always ready to change and adapt to various forces applied to them; as well, note how delicate they appear.

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