First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

Portland, Oregon's Cancer Survivorship and Bodywork Zine by Compassion Arts PDX, LLC

Tensegrity got rhythm

Nature doesn’t move as one. A myriad of elements form and reform in every moment, in complex, ever-shifting patterns. Every leaf on a tree flutters and dances, influenced by the wind… every moment, unique and complete as it is.

To take in the whole, we soften our gaze. We soften our hands. We soften our mind.

What does a spiderweb sound like?

Our bodies are a complex, arachnid world within, entwined in the neuromyofascial web comprised of strands of glycogen that stretch and contract with every movement, every breath, with every heartbeat. We share the spider’s sensitivity to the vibration and sound of it’s web. Only, our inner web departs from the single plane of the common spider web and forms connections in every direction. Myofascial mechanoreceptors note every complex movement, in a system that responds faster than the nervous system.

There are far more sensory receptors in our fascial system than any other sense. Robert Schleip says this about fascia…

“It plays a crucial role in muscular force transmission and is a sensory organ. Actually, our richest and most important in terms of body perception.” -Robert Schleip

Much of our knowing of self, our proprioception, our interoception, our kinesthetic observation of the body, comes from this continuous, intertwining soft tissue.

There’s this word kicking around the massage field that’s redefining how we look at the body. The term tensegrity comes from a contraction of “tensional-integrity”, popularized by Buckminster Fuller, an architect who designed the first geodesic dome structures. Though, Kenneth Snelson, a sculptor, had insight into the concept of “floating compression” a few years before ol’ Bucky.

Tensegrity has sway and recoil, vibration, shape and strength, created by prestressed tensional and compressional elements, kinetically linking all in the body, from the macro scale to the micro scale. Donald Ingber calls this mechanotransduction. Mechanical movement on the gross has an affect on the intracellular.

From Ingber’s abstract on Tensegrity and Mechanotransduction:

“Cells sense mechanical forces and convert them into changes in intracellular biochemistry and gene expression – a process called “mechanotransduction”. This work has revealed that molecules, cells, tissues, organs, and our entire bodies use “tensegrity” architecture to mechanically stabilize their shape, and to seamlessly integrate structure and function at all size scales. Through use of this tension-dependent building system, mechanical forces applied at the macroscale produce changes in biochemistry and gene expression within individual living cells. This structure-based system provides a mechanistic basis to explain how application of physical therapies might influence cell and tissue physiology.” -Donald Ingber

Every level interacts with every other level, reaching deep to the cellular. Fascial connections interact with the integrins surrounding a cell, creating a mechanical deformation of the cell. This has an influence on intracellular biochemisty and gene expression?! Freakin’ cool! This is stuff we just didn’t know until very recently. 30 years of reseach on fascia is beginning to reward us with a clearer abstract of the body’s biomechanics.

Photography by Hamid Shibata Bennett

My mentor, Til Luchau, says we work with “intelligent tissue.” This extra-cellular matrix, our fascial network, holds a wisdom of adaptability, function, beauty, memory, emotion, pain, trauma, memory, grief, joy. We are creatures of thought, perception and compassion. The totallity of our life’s experience is reflected in our gestures, our smile, our triumphs and shame… our posture, our walk.

We create shapes. New possibilities. Through dance, through movement. Through breath. Through the variability of combinations available to us within our tensegrity system.

Tensegrity rocks!

And, we’re just beginning to understand how this applies to our bodywork.

Hamid : )

Just finding First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog? Deep dive with massage articles, photography, video and music in Stumptown’s Massage and Bodywork Zine!

Bringing massage to cancer survivorship
To the moon… Robots, bodywork and proprioception
Myofascial mechanoreceptors

psst… Like First of Nine on Facebook!

psst… psst… Follow Hamid on Twitter!

16 comments on “Tensegrity got rhythm

  1. Pingback: Myofascial Mechanoreceptors | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

  2. Pingback: Myofascial Mechanoreceptors Class | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

  3. Pingback: Tensegrity principle and gene expression | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

  4. Pingback: Pendulation rhythm and standing client positioning | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

  5. Pingback: Myofascial pregnancy massage | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

  6. Pingback: Eights years and bone broth update | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

  7. indian head massage Bristol
    November 2, 2012

    Hello, all is going perfectly here and ofcourse every one is sharing facts, that’s in fact excellent, keep up writing.

  8. Pingback: Compassion, brainwaves and haptic perception, plus September’s Taking Care Portland | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

  9. Pingback: A massage therapist goes to NCNM | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

  10. Opal
    April 21, 2013

    My relatives all the time say that I am killing my time here at web, but I
    know I am getting know-how every day by reading such fastidious articles.

    • Opal… I hope to bring you more and more fastidious articles. I invite you to read through the site. I would appreciate reading about insights. Be well, Hamid : )

  11. Pingback: Oncology Touch from a Myofascial Perspective, starting in June! | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

  12. Katlyn
    May 22, 2013

    I will immediately grasp your rss feed as I can’t in finding your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any?
    Please allow me recognize so that I could subscribe.

  13. Pingback: Biotensegrities and an old school Apple user | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

  14. medicinewoman1
    September 7, 2015

    Reblogged this on WellnessRising and commented:
    Fascinating, applicable, exciting, forward thinking. Advancements in education and experience may prove this to help my patients more than mainstream “massage”.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Compassion Arts PDX, LLC

Hamid Shibata Bennett, LMT, CAMT (OBMT #301)
Advanced massage therapy and bodywork
3810 SE Belmont ST
Portland, Oregon 97214

%d bloggers like this: