Biotensegrity – The Mechanics of Fascia

Stephen M. Levin

Fascia is the fabric of the body; not the vestments, covering the corpus, but the warp and weft of the material. The other tissues, muscle and bone, liver and lung, gut and urinary, brain and endocrine, are embroidered into the fascial fabric. Remove all other tissues from their fascial bed and the structure and form of the corpus remains, ghostlike, but clearly defined. The fascial system is a continuum, (Guimberteau et al 2007) a structure that evolved hierarchically from the one cell embryo to the organism, and it is constantly adapting to new stresses to meet the structural demands of the organism. Fascia without stiffeners would be as limp as a rag doll; remove the hydroxyapetite crystals from bone, and the form of bones remain, but soft, as if the starch has been removed from a stiff shirt. Wolff (Wolff, J., Wessinghage, D. 1892) recognized that bone is stiffened in response to compression stress and what must happen is that the support structure of the body, the fascia with its enmeshed bony stiffeners, evolves in accordance to physical laws.

… The concept of biotensegrity not only offers a theoretical foundation to body mechanics and dynamics, it is also appropriate for establishing a concrete base to develop a process that can be seen as an internal fascial training. We propose mental motor imagery involving visual representation and kinesthetic awareness suggested by the principle of biotensegrity to support movement.

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