Viewing The Body as A Tensegrity Model

I recently taught a continuing education course in massage and in my explanation of how Rolfing and Structural Integration work, I resumed my education in the late 1980s at the Rolf Institute. We were taught the concept of the Buckminster Fuller tensegrity model to explain our view of Dr. Rolf’s approach to massage therapy. R Buckminster Fuller was an architect who pioneered the geodesic dome concept.  Body Massage in Naif

As we discussed earlier in a previous article, a tensegrity system is characterized by a continuous tension network (tendons, in our case as bodybuilders) supported by a discontinuous set of compressive elements, or struts. The concept of tensegrity provides a conceptual link between the structural system and the energy information systems.

When we apply the concepts of tensegrity to the myofascial system that we palpate in a specific way that we deem appropriate for the client’s needs, we gain insight into our body’s ability to absorb physical impacts without damage. The force flows from the place of origin of the impact through the network of tensegrity.

If the absorption system is flexible and well-balanced, it will be able to absorb various impacts more easily than a rigid system. Then we can speculate on how our work can help reduce injuries among athletes and other high-performance athletes.


So take that for a moment, if there is disorganization in the fascial system, tensegrity explains how that brevity affects other parts of the “model.” If, as a masseur, you learn to deal with the stiffness of one part of the frame, these positive changes will affect other parts of the frame.

In Tom Bowen’s work “The Bowen Technique”, the masseur “pinches” the tendon creating a vibration throughout the system that is interpreted by the homeostatic mechanism and adjusts the entire tensegrity system accordingly. This is due to the vibratory continuum of the tensegrity system. Then we can hypothesize that the mechanical aspect of the system cannot be effected without affecting the energy system.  Massage Center in Al Jafiliya

In Sacred Cranial Therapy, you have the ability to affect the entire structure by the simple fact that we are a liquid crystal matrix where all parts vibrate. Donal Ingber says a lot about how biochemistry is affected by physical forces. So he can extrapolate how we as masseurs have the ability to affect an individual’s biochemistry. I loved the expression on the student’s face when she realized how powerful her touch could be on another human’s body!

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