So our industry had a great idea, not a theory and not really a fully developed hypothesis, on how the structure of our body can handle forces through muscles, bones, joints and connective tissue. It was based on an idea call tensegrity,
“the characteristic property of a stable three-dimensional structure consisting of members under tension that are contiguous and members under compression that are not”
An analogy is given here on this video by Thomas Myers, using a sail boat, describing how this works in nature. Due to political reasons, its name changed to Biotensegrity.
When we try and look deeper though, we seem to hit a problem. This being that the list from pub med on the topic is low on actual references.
It gets more interesting that people then start to take this idea and apply it to body work. So they start to look at there own perception of feel when working with a client.
With a lack of academic papers (certainly that I can find), then you have to look in to what the therapists are saying. This is important, because people are doing this in our industry. (Please know that I believe that this video features a Therapist who is doing their level best for a client and they have also chosen to work in a profession that helps clients out of pain, so although I am not agreeing with this technique, or where it came from, I am in no way saying anything about this Therapist as a person or their intentions, which I respect!)
What I get from this, is that the Therapist is suggesting that they can find, through feeling tension, where the structures of the body are in tension or in compression and then they can relate that to dysfunction in the body. With the idea that adhesions cause changes in tension across the body, stop the system being fluid enough to ensure biotensgrity.
However, my problem is not with this, but with the trend to take an initial piece of information, grow it in a way that seems to have common sense, and then to keep linking other common sense concepts until eventually you end up at a place where there is no evidence and just a technique based on a guess.
For example if you build up from Biotensegrity to pain, then by adding in structure causing pain, structure being affected by hands on techniques, a way of determining the actual original pain free structure of the client then you could end up pushing clients tissue on a bench to find and interpret tissue tension as a reflection of pain.
Building from a pain perspective though, you could be taken in to everything but structure. Things such as psychology, the nervous system and much more. Even biomechanics would be ruled out to the fringes of what to look for.
However my goal is not to bag fascia, biomechanics or anything else, my goal is to share with you an instance of where I see people take something that could make sense and grow it in to a style of therapy, where no body challenges them.
My personal thoughts on biotensegrity, massage, fascial therapy’s etc, is really irrelevant, you should read the science and make some decisions yourself. However if you hear someone say the “father of” it usually means no research. When someone says here is a solution to, then they are often guessing, with the more definite the statement, the more reason to doubt them.
For my skill set, I am based in movement which is defined by energy systems, the nervous system (skills at my level) and mechanics. As these aspects of training expand, I am encountering many areas I have been told of definitive, but actually have no science behind them. This article is to share my thought on how trainers should approach any information.