First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

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

To the moon… Robots, bodywork and proprioception

For but a moment, I faced the eyes
Of a fox
Running down a tree lined avenue
Under a super moon.

The coyote
She trotted 20 yards behind
And on the other side
Of the street.

A skunk and two deer were crossing the road
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.

All of the above is
A true story.

As far as any story
Holds truth.

That mad mystic Osho pointed a finger up and said…

“A finger points to the moon, but the moon is not at the tip of the finger.
Words point at truth, but truth is not in words.”

I wonder what parts of the brain light up,
Crackle and spark
As I plunk out these words

Pointing to the moon?

A finger points to the moon. Photography by Hamid Shibata Bennett

I’m trying out ByWord app on the iPad. I’ve been using the quite wonderful iA Writer for every entry of your First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog, thus far. ByWord is super slick and I’m quite enjoying the writing flow. The swipeable toolbar, with 4-direction arrow keys, frees up some screen real estate for just the right amount of visible text. I am quickly falling for this DropBox syncing word processor. Minimalist design and singular functionality is my preference for creative writing environments.

I’m noticing a good bit more accuracy with the iPad onscreen keyboard. I’m honing in, slowly but surely, on the zesty words per minute I express on a physical keyboard. The touch typing experience is getting good! The subtle screen clicks provide just enough auditory feedback to inform my haptic perception. In the immortal words of Jim Spaggs, of Stumptown’s cable access lore… It’s a far out, groovy scene, man!

It’s a beautiful summer day in Portlandia, doing massage and hanging with the pups at Earth Body. I entered the front doors this morning, bent down to inhale the sweetness of a peony in a coke bottle on the table. By golly, it’s a lovely day for bodywork!


I dig the tilde. One of the loveliest gestures in written language. That was the very first tilde I have typed on the iPad 2’s keyboard. I am so fascinated by this device and it’s multi-potential use via swipe and gesture. I hear Apple is looking into haptic feedback, as touch and textural change, excuse the pun, go hand-in-hand.

Pacini corpuscles have high concentrations in the hands. Standing bodywork at the Myofascial Mechanoreceptors workshop in Portland, Oregon. Photography by Cammie Toloui

Technology is teaching the world to sense and respond to us.

Take robots, for instance.

The neurophysiological processes underlying gait function in humans and animals is being closely studied by the robotics and prosthetics industries. There is a recent example of a robot demonstrating human-physiologically accurate bipedal locomotion, using sensors mimicking the Golgi tendon organ complex within a strap (think tendon). It’s not even close to the autonomy of C3-PO’s waddling gait function, but it’s a start.

By the way… 3PO, your outward rotators in your pelvic girdle are a bit on the tight side. Ya might want to try some yoga and an oil bath. Just sayin’.

The study of proprioception and mechanosensing seems like a natural cross-over for the robotics industry and the advanced massage and bodywork community. We humans have far more ways of sensing our environment, our equilibrium, our interoception, our selves than the current state of the neural networks of robotics. Beyond the Goligi tendon organ complex, we are highly sensate critters, with our Pacini mechanoreceptors and smaller Pacinian corpuscles (lots of these in the hands, eh?) in our myofascial network, informing our proprioception and our vast and varied possibility for movement.

Simply put, the human being is amazing.

For more info on mechanosensing, check out First of Nine’s summary of Robert Schleip’s research on Myofascial Mechanoreceptors.

Interested in robotics? Check out some fascinating examples of how far we’ve come…

Honda’s Asimo has walking down pretty darn well, plus many other movements!
How robots see the world. Totally surreal!
• My favorite self-aware, open-source little friend, Qbo! Give Qbo a hug!

Oh! This is me! Nice!

Hamid : )

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

Self-care and massage therapy
Mentoring in the massage community
iPad apps for massage therapists: Pocket Body

psst… Like First of Nine on Facebook!

psst… psst… Follow Hamid on Twitter!

4 comments on “To the moon… Robots, bodywork and proprioception

  1. Pingback: First contact… and, sound therapy for cancer survivorship | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

  2. Pingback: The proprioceptive run | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

  3. Pingback: Bone broth: a rebuttal to The Onion | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

  4. Pingback: Tensegrity got rhythm | First of Nine: Tensegrity Blog

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Compassion Arts PDX, LLC

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

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