What is a Holistic view?
The importance of a Holistic view
So what is Tensegrity?
The relevance of Biotensegrity
Biotensegrity - absolutely everything is connected
Biotensegrity in pregnancy example
- the lumbar back curvature (lordosis) increases
- the posterior portion of the legs becomes longer/tighter (hamstrings, calfs)
- the anterior upper legs become shorter/tighter (quads)
- the thoracic back curvature (kyphosis) increases and shoulders tend to sit further backwards/posteriorly
- Head carriage may then also sit further forward/anteriorly.
The impact of shape change more than skin deep
Historical trauma, healing, adaptions, biotensegrity
As discussed biotensegrity relates to forces affecting the human body as a whole, be they internal or external. Our bodies are constantly subjected to multiple forces daily, including gravity. How are bodies cope with such forces depends on a wide variety of interrelated variables. Examples may include:-
- Force Application - type, level, duration, direction, speed
- Tissue Type - muscle, ligament, tendon, bone, fascia
- Tissue Condition - hydration, diet, previous injury (trauma), healing, medical conditions, activity levels (conditioning), adaptions
- Habitual behaviours (postural loading)
- Stress (physical and emotional)
It is all too common to see tissue adaptions as a result of unresolved childhood injuries in a clinical setting. In some cases, treating such dysfunctional tissues can result in both a physical release of forces and even an emotional one. Hence, it is particularly important to establish what previous injuries or traumas have occurred. Unresolved past traumas can lead to problems later in life, due to the changes in biotensegrity and internal tensile forces. The longer there has been unresolved trauma within the body, the more time there will have been for the body to adapt and create multiple tissue dysfunctions elsewhere. It can sometimes take years before a subsequent problem becomes apparent. Typically, our bodies will try to avoid pain, which frequently occurs with dysfunctional or injured tissues. Pain is one of many types of “stressor”, which can keep initiating the human “fight, flight or freeze response”. Our bodies will frequently adapt and change the way they move, to avoid pain. Such adaption(s), prevents the pain but creates dysfunctional movement patterns, which become learnt or “normal”. Such movement patterns typically remain after the injury has healed and continue to result in a change in biotensegrity.
Quite often, a patient may purely wish to resolve the pain associated with an injury or condition. It may be possible to reduce pain in just one or two treatment sessions. However, purely just removing the pain does not necessarily resolve the underlying issue, or any other historical and unresolved tissue dysfunction. Also, removing the pain does not address the adaptive and learnt dysfunctional movement patterns or the impact of these on other tissues and structures. Hence, practitioner’s tend to recommend a course of treatments for a specific ailment and not just a single treatment, along with aftercare advice to address the dysfunctional movement patterns. Aftercare advice is at least as important as the actual treatment.
Biotensegrity and relevance in a self-treatment context
The vast majority of self-treatment aids that exist are often loosely based on specific musculoskeletal therapy techniques. Just because a self-treatment technique seems to be popular, does not mean that the inventor/seller of the method has any understanding of the original musculoskeletal therapy technique. Also, there are times when it is safe to apply a type of therapy and times when it is not. Some methods could be “globally” contraindicated, meaning that it is not safe to treat a particular individual at all, due to a specific condition(s). In other cases, it may be “locally” contraindicated, meaning that it is unsafe to apply a technique to a particular area of the patient. It is easily possible to make specific conditions far worse by using the incorrect method in the wrong context. Also, many musculoskeletal therapy-related techniques work better and are more pleasant to receive as a patient if the body is relaxed. In a normal treatment context, a patient will be on a treatment couch/plinth and areas can be propped accordingly during the treatment. Patient positioning allows tissues to be treated in a relaxed state or to enable the release of muscles spasms with minimal discomfort. Biotensegrity is highly relevant when self-treating as one usually has to change or hold a given position to access tissues and apply a technique. Holding positions and trying to utilise tools in a self-context can make it extremely difficult to treat tissues effectively. However, that is not to say that self-treatment is pointless and it can be reasonably good, though sometimes one should see a professional. Please see the related articles on self-treatment with a Foam Roller (see article) or Self-Trigger-Point-Therapy for further details.
Sometimes we need a little outside professional help
There are many treatment modalities within the field of physical medicine or musculoskeletal medicine. Some of the better know ones might be, Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Physiotherapy, Osteopathy, Remedial Massage, Sports Massage, Sports Medicine, Sports Therapy etc. Each professional will have slightly different training, personal interests, knowledge and philosophy. Hence, two professionals from the same educational institute may work quite differently. The author is a qualified McTimoney Chiropractor and trained Sports and Remedial Massage therapist, he has also taught at advanced diploma (myotherapy) level in Australia. Experience has taught him that some techniques are better for dealing with “structural” aspects of the human body, and others are better at addressing “function”. The McTimoney Chiropractic technique takes a “holistic view” of assessment and treatment and works exceptionally well with “structure” and to some extent “function”. Soft tissue therapy techniques tend to work exceptionally well with “function” and to a lesser extent “structure”. Hence, a combination of methods works exceptionally well with the “structural” and “functional” aspects of treatment. Aftercare advice then works well with relearning what is “normal” and creating further functional change, once the “structural” work is complete. Aftercare, advice also helps build patient confidence to challenge tissues and not be fearful of specific movements. It is possible to create a great deal of change throughout the entire body and in a relatively short space of time, with a combination of such techniques.
Self-awareness and frequency of any necessary maintenance treatment
Athletes, tend to be a little different as their ability to compete has a considerable amount to do with being attuned to one's body "self-awareness". Professional athletes tend to know when something is not right early on and usually deal things before they start to affect training and compromise performance. A significant part of aftercare is helping patients understand how "normal" feels. Such a process is not instant, and patients need providing tools to help develop self-awareness. The frequency of any maintenance treatment can ultimately vary from one person to the next, due to a vast number of variables involved including; previous injury history, activity levels, types of activities, habitual behaviours, diet, hydration, medications, medical conditions, self-maintenance activities, level of self-awareness etc. We all do things in life that have consequences regarding adaptions and biotensegrity. That said, the benefits of doing many activities far outweigh the effects. Some activities may involve an element of risk, though they have numerous benefits. Benefits could relate to fitness, personal enjoyment, stress relief, a sense of purpose, social interactions etc. Such benefits certainly outweigh the need to get some occasional maintenance treatment.
The Corporate Wellness, Musculoskeletal and Chiropractic Specialists