What’s the Story and Why is it Important?
( if you haven’t already please read my blog on fascia)
If you are on this website I can presume that you are searching for something! I believe that knowledge is a helpful precursor to experiencing, hence I feel it is beneficial that those that I work with have some very empowering information about the way they are made, I know that it has made a big difference to me. So below is some information about BioTensegrity, I hope that you find it helpful! (Go to the end for some images to experiment within yourself.)
We are moving more rapidly into the technological age which is great in many ways but in others not so good, for example, we are becoming far less physically active and our whole body is not being fully engaged in our lives anymore. Our range of everyday movements is being slimmed down by all the energy saving gadgets that we have, we go to movement places (the gym) or classes to move and then go back to being very static. This is very detrimental to our mental-emotional and physical wellbeing. We need to get back our physical intelligence which requires prioritising our physicality.
Most of us start this inquiry because of an injury, that is what woke me up, knowing about BioTensegrity enables a whole new level of understanding and potential to resolve these wake-up issues, and enhance our future wellbeing.
Balloon Body – Buoyancy
I believe that with wellbeing postures and movements all the forces of movement are balanced in such a way as to enable maximum safety and adaptability for your soft tissue and joints.
To improve your dynamic balance and alignment, therefore, requires the ability to tune into your body and sense how much effort is there and can you “do” less so that over time you naturally will “do” less. So rather than imagining yourself as a building block person perhaps use the image of a multiple balloon body with bones just the spacers that aid and maintain the shape and therefore a body, does this image create a different feeling inside or sense of your whole self a natural inner buoyancy perhaps?
If you view you are constructed in a building block, levers and pulley type model that will give one type of experience of your “self”. In the BioTensegrity model, however, I feel that it gives a much more freeing dynamic sense, with its tensile-compression, holding the upright form by creating a balance between elements that resist being compressed and those that resist being elongated. It is a far softer comfortable resilient, existence with far more potential to change and change with ease, with its rolling, flowing or tumbling like actions. It’s like we are made of microscopic trampoline, clear, fluid like fibres.
BioTensegrity is the balance of the body determined by the tension in the soft tissues, in the whole-body fascial system . In other words, if you want to re-position the bones you need to address the soft tissue. Even the bones are soft fibres – when seen under a microscope it is easier to understand, otherwise, how can the delicate bones of the heel, for example, take the compression from walking let alone jumping.
I call on expert John Starkey to explain further
“In the BioTensegrity model, the limbs are not a collection of rigid body segments. The upper and lower limbs are semi-rigid, non-linear, viscoelastic bony segments. These segments are interconnected by non-linear, viscoelastic connectors including cartilage, joint capsules, and ligaments, with an integrated non-linear, viscoelastic active motor system, the muscles, tendons and fascia (connective tissue). BioTensegrity counters the notion that the skeleton provides a frame for the soft tissues to hang upon. Instead, BioTensegrity structures are integrated pre-tensioned (self-tensioned) continuous myofascial networks with floating discontinuous compression struts (skeleton) contained within them. A column whose centre of gravity is constantly changing while its base is rapidly moving horizontally would require forces too great to consider. The forces become incalculable if the column is composed of several rigid bodies, hinged together by flexible, virtually frictionless joints.
A rigid column needs to be base heavy to support the incumbent load above. Internal shear forces are created by the weight of the structure, which in turn would be destabilizing. Energy would be required in large amounts to keep the structure intact. Humans are Omni-directional, as are all biological organisms, in order that the tension elements function at all times in tension regardless of the direction of applied force, while the compression elements in biological structures “float” in a tension network (Levin 1995)”.
Exploration with Movement and Imagination
I was lucky enough to attend the Biotensegrity Pre-conference Day in May, all of the speakers at this tremendous workshop wanted us to understand that BioTensegrity is a behaviour, tension and compression are always present and it takes a leap of faith to get onboard with this, so perhaps use your imagination with freeing images that can give freeing experiences, and knowing now that – what we are made of; rolls, flows, tumbles and morphs naturally so perhaps we can enhance that by consciously engaging it in activity.
When you consider this new system can you begin to see this different idea, that bones float in a sea of soft tissue? Your brain doesn’t organise a movement in terms of parts, it’s a response of the whole body when you move, so you have an intention to kick a ball and a system made up soft tissue with multiple little engines completes it, how wonderful is that!
Can you now see that bony manipulation will only stay put if you address the soft tissue? If you go back to sitting in their same chair in the same way, for long periods of time, what was done won’t help. So we need to address changing habits. You can make changes yourself by putting in more movement in your day, stand more, walk more, the more transitions the better.
So if we imagine perhaps folding layers of trampoline fabric,
the structure of an orange, sections upon sections inside just like the orange,
or water-filled balloons in a water-filled plastic tub,
or the soapy bubbles that you made as a child one after the other connected within folds of soapy fabric that is us in BioTensegrity everything inside all 7 trillion cells, that originated from one, aren’t we all amazing!
Go for a walk, cycle, swim, whatever movement you do where you can get “inside yourself” more, and for the time of that practice- whatever it may be- let go of ideas of yourself as a collection of parts, and see if you can think about yourself as 7 trillion cells that are together. Cells that are morphing, rolling, tumbling, flowing, you can explore if this little mental shift changes the experience of your “self”.
Another concept to explore go for a walk and think of yourself as a BioTensegrity system, with every step you take , your whole body will absorb some of the impacts, through tiny stretching and give of the tensile elements. Imagine all the joints ankles, knees, hips, pelvis, spine, shoulder girdle allowing a minute amount of give with every stride, like a trampoline body could.
Just simply think of yourself as an aligned string of balls (netballs, footballs)that ease their way through life, it is easy for them to realign and balance if they get out of support of the whole.
I hope you find this interesting and will it for yourself….Enjoy!
If you want to be amazed watch this short animation, it is incredible and shows how incredible ever cell is please click on the link below.
The inner Life of a Cell Animation by XVIVO and Harvard http://www.xvivo.net/animation/the-inner-life-of-the-cell/
It reminds me of the film The Matrix and a matrix is a great analogy for BioTensegrity
Cheeta slow motion for more inspiration on this topic , click
Picture of my tensegrity model taken by Lizzie Feltham