Posts Tagged ‘Tensegrity’

The Secret to Building the Practice of Your Dreams

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Could you sum up all the secrets to success in practice and perhaps even life in two words? I think I can… And I am going to tell you on this page, without the need for you to subscribe to my free e-report, or register to a cheap tele-seminar, or commit to twelve months of direct debited coaching: Instead you are going to receive 100% free, unconditional wisdom!

Here is the first word – but before I tell you I’d like to introduce you to my life changing program: Just kidding – The word is “Relationships”. Everything you do in life and the outcomes of your thoughts, beliefs and behaviours comes down to this one complex biochemistry term.

Invest time and energy into healthy relationships in any domain of life and you will achieve success in that area. Ignore, abuse or neglect this facet of life and I guarantee that any success will be short-lived, hollow and most likely lonely.

Now I am not just talking about human relationships here – this principle can be applied to EVERYTHING!

Let’s break this down first – to a microscopic level. Would your DNA, RNA and enzymes function if the relationships between the C, N, O & H are incoherent? You could have a soup of the individual atoms, or even nucleotides, but unless the relationships between the components are aligned then organic chaos will prevail.

On a human level health and wellbeing depends upon healthy relationships between every single cell. To understand this in technical terms one should spend time researching the topics of Tensegrity (see tensegrity-and-chiropractic/) and Neural Holography (see holographic-brain-model-and-chiropractic/) . As chiropractors we have simplified this down to the model that the central nervous system controls and regulates every cell in every body. To claim this requires greater understanding beyond action potentials and perhaps our pioneers were closest to the truth when coining the term “mental impulse”.

Now I know some vocal contemporary chiropractic academics dismiss the mental impulse as nonsense, but these same authors fail to supply a modus operandi for chiropractic beyond pain transmission and a shallow hypothesis that stimulating proprioceptors inhibits C fibres, and that’s that. This may be an accurate small picture, but as always there is a bigger picture – and an even bigger idea.

Within a family, relationship is pivotal –when relationships break down, families decay. And we could continue to illustrate the vitality of relationships within groups, organisations, cultures and populations. Let’s face it crime and war are the most pathological manifestations of relationship breakdown.

Which brings us to the second foundational word for success in all things = “Communication”. Relationships only work when communication flows. Relationships are like the structure and communication the function. Why would RNA be so important to human existence? Because it communicates the message stored in DNA. Why do we dare to claim that the nervous system is the most important system of the body? Because it is the means of communication in the human body – afferent and efferent. Relationships within a family are only sustained by communication. Why do entertainers get paid such ridiculous wages? Because they are perceived to be the masters of communication…

Now let’s bring this into the realms of chiropractic practice.

At our most prehistoric level we propose the importance of the relationship between adjacent vertebrae, and how the disruption of these relationships leads to at least pain and perhaps also bodily dysfunction. And the relationship between adjacent vertebrae hinges upon communication – Biofeedback between neighbours that enables coordinated alignment and movement.

Many use Xrays to analyse and demonstrate these relationships between neighbouring bones, but a more instantaneous and non-invasive assessment tool is postural analysis. The downside of postural analysis is that if you lack technology to measure and record postural relationships your assessment will be too subjective to mean much: But when in ownership of technology that objectively illustrates the breakdown in postural relationships a chiropractor possesses a tool that can be meaningful to his clinical decision making, a practice member’s comprehension of need for care and progress under care, and has the added bonus of being able to demonstrate clinical necessity and efficacy to a third party (see Posture-Pro-Software.htm) .

Posture is the most global expression of relationship and communication in a person – why would someone carry their head which weighs as much as a bowling ball more than two inches in front of their shoulders when this uses more energy and creates more stress on all the supporting structures? Because of breakdown in relationship between the head and the torso, and an obvious disconnect in communication about where that person’s head is located in space. Why would someone carry their head too far forwards – because they don’t know it is there!

Healthy relationships between human cells, tissues and organs depend on this same dance between relationship and communication. And chiropractic knows better than every other healing profession that this all flows up and down via the central nervous system. Jay holder describes chiropractic as “communication through touch”. When we are analysing someone’s spinal and neural state we are asking the person’s body pertinent questions – “where do you want to be adjusted and how?” That is if you have ownership of a technique that teaches you these questions – if not then you must be imposing some external recipe of when and how to adjust.

And then your adjustment needs to be healing communication – “a correctional vector with intent” – are you adjusting each person in the way that their body is giving permission to be adjusted, or are you imposing your will on the baddest, stiffest, crookedest bone or joints? (See Torque-Release-Discount.htm) I hope that you possess the technical skills that give you clear communication from a person’s spinal column about where the vertebral relationships have become disconnected and the best approach to communicate the need for adjustment to that person’s nervous system.

Now look at the person from a wider view and if you can comprehend the definition of Subluxation as a “separation from wholeness” – then you will start to see how breakdown in the relationships within the Cranio-Spinal-Meningeal-Functional-Unit results in interference with communication within the central nervous system which will include disorders in pain, emotion, coordination and regulation. And suddenly the intent of each adjustment you deliver takes on wider and deeper implications for the individual and the community that surrounds them.

Then the other side of the formula are the human relationships and communication that either build or shrink your practice numbers. The only problem that I have with scripts in practice management is that they are usually uni-directional and that reeks of relationship deficiency and communication minimisation: The only scripts I endorse are questions – relationship builders and communication initiators. Take a look at your own scripts and see if there is some way that you can rephrase them as questions.

I can sense some of you cringing at this point – “if I ask my practice member’s a question I don’t have time to stand around waiting to hear the answer.” Here is my advice to you – be very good at hiring great team members – team members who will compensate for your own inability to build deeper relationships, and nurture meaningful communication! Sounds harsh but could be the best advice I could ever give to you?

Now what are the symptoms in your practice that you need some adjustments to your relationships and communication?

1) Insufficient new patients – The Universe will supply you as many new patients as you have the capacity to develop relationships and communication pathways with. If you want more new patients, before you invest huge amounts of money into a marketing campaign, investigate how you can increase your capacity to initiate a relationship and effectively communicate with a larger patient base.

2) Poor patient retention – If people are dropping out of care prematurely then it is time to investigate your ability to maintain ongoing relationships and to keep communication pathways open. As soon as a practice member smells any degree of disinterest or misunderstanding between you, they will leave. The skills of developing a lasting clinical relationship are not the same as those needed to maintain a long lasting romantic relationship so don’t make the mistake of thinking that I am suggesting you have to become everybody’s best friend.

3) Poor team morale or high staff turnover – If your staff aren’t especially happy to be at work, or they leave for something better not long after you have finished training them then you may need to work to build better relationships and communication within your team.

I understand that this piece may be sounding hypothetical or at least metaphorical but I hope that you can contemplate the applicability and simplicity of these two concepts – Relationship and Communication. And if you are willing to invest some time to brainstorm this in your own life circles I believe you will find a holistic way of prioritising your energies. For example – your technique – take a look and review of your “treatment” system is improving relationships and communication in your practice members’ bodies? And do you have the means to determine that you are achieving this? And are your team members aligned in their procedures to maximise relationship and communication within your office? And when you finally leave your office are you investing adequate time and energy into all the other key relationships in your own body and community?

Here are some concepts to explore…

  • So what is the role of an initial consultation = to build a relationship.
  • What is the role of an initial examination = to determine the relationship and communication status in that individual’s biology.
  • What is the role of the report of findings = to communicate your perception of the state of their body’s relationships and communication, and express how you believe you can help them improve these.
  • What is the role of your care = to improve the person’s spinal relationships and communication via their central nervous system.
  • What is the role of an office CA = to support and enhance the human relationship and communication within the office and to facilitate the practice member’s compliance with the agreed program of care.
  • What is the role of a technical CA = to support and enhance the human and clinical relationship and communication within the treatment room/s and to facilitate the practice member’s participation with the agreed program of care.
  • What is the role of a progress exam = to review the level of success of the agreed plan, to celebrate positive progress and in the case of null or negative progress to amend the understanding of the relationships and communication.
  • What is the role of an office educational process = to maximise communication, deepen relationships and to encourage and facilitate the best possible program of care.
  • What is the role of an office procedural manual = to clearly communicate the methods utilised to perfect the development of win-win relationships between team members and towards practice members.

When I teach a Torque Release Technique Program one of my intents is to improve each clinician’s ability and intuition to perceive the state of relationship and communication within each practice member’s nervous system –I like to think of it a conscious intuition… Find out more about the next TRT program at


Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

There have been some fascinating analogous breakthroughs occurring in seemingly unrelated technology fields which help to elucidate chiropractic principles that have been with us for decades, have been neglected and ignored due to a perceived lack of reinforcing and validating evidence, and because as a profession we have suffered from low self-esteem and have displayed an increasing tendency to adopt other health care models when we believe that our models are somehow unacceptable compared to an invisible “best practice”.

One concept that is an absolute must-study for chiropractors is that of Tensegrity:

The word tensegrity (a contraction of tension and structural integrity) was coined by Buckminster Fuller (an American architect, author, designer, inventor, and futurist, born 1895, died 1983) in 1948 to describe a class of structures first invented by the artist Kenneth Snelson (a contemporary sculptor and photographer, born 1927). Snelson’s sculptures, which are often delicate in appearance, depend on the tension between rigid pipes and flexible cables. This is achieved through “a win-win combination of push and pull”.

Fuller’s most famous outcome of this model is the geodesic dome.

Where tensegrity provides a better framework for chiropractic than traditional biomechanics is by explaining why all living forms are structurally stable yet flexibly adaptive, yielding but with a great resistance to damage.

In other words human bodies at both macroscopic and microscopic levels don’t follow normal engineering, mechanical and architectural principles – they follow tensegrity principles.

According to Snelson, weaving is the mother of tensegrity: “Weaving and tensegrity share the same grounding principle of alternating helical directions; of left to right; of bypasses clockwise and counterclockwise.” Similarly living tissues whether talking muscle or connective tissue, or the microscopic structures that form cells, are woven together and not just cemented together at their ends and corners. It is this very principle that makes living tissue flexible while enormously resistant to compression and strain.

In a tensegrity sculpture, individual tension lines (strings, wires or rope) are attached to the ends of struts so that each assembly comprises a closed system of tension and compression parts. Each tension line connects individually to the ends of two separate struts and the lines are made taut so that they bind the struts, connecting them as a continuous tension network. The forces introduced by the tightening are permanently stored in the structure, a state known as prestressing. The solid components resist compression while the elastic components resist tension. Now visualise any joint in the human body and you can start to see that the bony struts don’t actually completely meet at their articulations but are prestressed by the surrounding ligamentous and connective tissues creating a naturally formed tensegrity sculpture.

Because all tension lines (string, wire, cable, ligament, tendon, muscle) have some degree of elastic stretch, tensegrity structures themselves are elastic and springy depending on the tightness of the prestressing and the characteristics of the tension material and the structure’s geometrical form. If you apply a compressive or distractive load the structure will yield and adapt – distort. But as soon as the external forces are removed the structure will spring back to its original state.

Now if we shrink our viewpoint to the microscopic cellular level then we similarly find that “living cells stabilize their internal cytoskeleton, and control their shape and mechanics, using a tensegrity architectural system.” (See Tensegrity in a Cell: Click Here… )

Ingber and colleagues have even approached questions relating to how mechanical distortion of the cell and cytoskeleton influence intracellular biochemistry and pattern formation, by combining the use of techniques from various fields, including molecular cell biology, mechanical engineering, physics, chemistry, and computer science. They have shown that contractile microfilaments in the cell’s molecular skeleton, or cytoskeleton, act like stretched rubber bands as they compress hollow cytoskeletal fibers called microtubules and pull on molecular pegs that anchor the cell to an underlying scaffold – the extracellular matrix. Moreover, they have found that physical distortion of the cell and cytoskeleton can alter cellular biochemistry and even gene expression.

Don’t skip over the last statement because if you read slowly you literally see a parallel for the chiropractic model for how mechanical dysfunction can lead to physiological malfunction and how correction of this might direct towards expression of maximum human potential!

In other words, trying to re-establish a physical view of biology, Ingber has shown that cells, far from being formless blobs, use tension to stabilize their structure. And he has demonstrated, through two decades of experiments, that tensegrity not only gives cells their shape, but helps regulate their biochemistry.

Ingber says that cells have “tone,” just like muscles, because of the constant pull of the cytoskeletal filaments. Much like a stretched violin string produces different sounds when force is applied at different points along its length, the cell processes chemical signals differently depending on how much it is distorted.

One of the most ignored models of vertebral subluxation is the tonal model but if you take the time to investigate this alternative biomechanical and neurological idea you see that the spine resembles a tensegrity model (Artists have recreated spinal columns and pelvic girdles with their sculptures). And that the biomechanics of the spine cannot be isolated to intervertebral movement and its influence on the intervertebral foramen at an isolated intersegmental level; but the spine and all of its surrounding soft tissues, including the meningeal and nervous tissues form a linked closed system where change in tension and distortion influence the entire functional unit and change the degree of tension in the spinal cord, thereby modulating tonal frequency in the central nervous system.

What this literally means is that a subluxation at one level influences the entire system: And from this point of view a subluxation, especially with meningeal attachments to the spinal cord has a global impact on the physiology of the nervous system.

To paraphrase Ingber the spinal cord processes chemical signals differently depending on how much it is distorted.

Torque Release Technique offers a practical application of this model and trains participants in how to detect the site of initiation of mechanical and hence tonal distortion in the spinal column – this is known as the primary subluxation. Contemplate the primary subluxation as the source of distorting force on the spinal tensegrity model which leads to maladjustment of the tonal frequencies of the neurospinal system - abnormal sensory perception and motor output being the outcome. But because distortion at one point creates distortion of the entire system, an advanced methodolgy is required to differentially diagnose the “epicentre” of the problem: This methodology is known as the protocol of Torque Release Technique.

No other chiropractic technique has offered a live, non-linear and non-invasive method to determine exactly where and how the human body wants to be adjusted. Hope to see you at our next training program – check out upcoming dates at

Sources and Essential Reading:

The Architecture of Life. Donald Ingber. Scientific American. January 1998. Click Here…

The Mechanical Cell. Nancy Fliesler. Dream, The Magazine of Possibilities. Spring 2004. Click Here…

Tensegrity I. Cell structure and hierarchical systems biology. Donald Ingber. Journal of Cell Science. 2003. Click Here…

Tensegrity II. How structural networks influence cellular information processing networks. Donald Ingber. Journal of Cell Science. 2003.  Click Here…

The Geometry of Anatomy. The Bones of Tensegrity. Tom Flemons. Intension Designs. Click Here…

Weaving. Mother of Tensegrity. Kenneth Snelson. Click Here…


Monday, September 15th, 2008

The brain is sexy! Let me put this another way – Talk about the brain and how to make it work better, and people sit up and listen.

Let me illustrate this with three examples: I contribute health related articles to a number of online magazines and forums, and I have to tell you that it is hard work finding topics and content that pulls readers. You probably already know this as a Chiropractor – especially if you have run regular “spinal health” workshops, covered your coffee table in health brochures (which gather dust), or grappled with how to get people to line up at your booth at a health expo or shopping centre? On one site that I contribute to my articles usually get just over 100 hits with about ten comments. This disappoints me as I believe the message I share is applicable to everyone searching the net – and when you can log onto YouTube and see some chick in knickers getting millions of hits. But to put this in context, most of the other contributors receive 60-80 hits to their offerings. Recently however I ran a piece on “how do you keep your brain healthy?” I posted this a few weeks ago now and it is still running with over 1,000 hits and 50 comments.

I regularly send in article submissions and short health tips to the local media, with the all too common cold shoulder response – “we had too many other news pieces to run this week”, “we didn’t think this would appeal to our readership”, “if you’d like to run a half page ad I’m sure we could get that article included”. Recently I promoted a “healthy brain workshop”, and received a number of “bites” and coverage from the local media with much larger than normal attendances to my workshops.

In May I was privileged to be invited to train a group of Chiropractors in Johannesburg in Torque Release Technique. The organiser had struck up a conversation with a PhD Psychologist who specialises in Brain EEG mapping, and when he had suggested to her that he believed that a chiropractic adjustment changed brain function, she had politely snubbed him based on her scientific experience. When he asked me what to do I suggested that he invite her to our program and ask if she would be wiling to do pre and post exams on the Chiropractors that were adjusted at the end of a long day of training. She happily accepted the challenge. We only had time to do a limited (“statistically insignificant”) number of trials, and afterward when we asked her what she had observed she commented that each participant had experienced a “shift” in their brain function. Most of us being EEG novices we pressed her further to explain this – apparently it usually takes approximately 6 months of neurobiofeedback to achieve this phenomenon – not bad response to the carefully selected delivery of 1-3 primary subluxation adjustments? Her response was to demand that I adjust her before she left – I think her scientific opinion had been shifted.

Some research supports this observation that chiropractic adjustments change brain function (1-3): Hang on a minute – don’t skim over that statement – CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS CHANGE BRAIN FUNCTION. Do you own that statement yourself? Do you comprehend the implications to the community IF that statement is correct and consistent?

Let me propose two shifts that may need to occur in our profession for this secret to get out to where it needs to be heard:

1) Our comprehension of the spine as being ligaments, muscle, discs, joints and biomechanics; needs to mature to neurones, neuropeptides, tensegrity, brain holography and quantum physics.

2) Our model of analysis, adjustment and communication needs to shift from a bone/back focus to a nerve/brain focus.

Are you ready to make this shift yourself? Torque Release Technique training provides you with comprehensive training in the Art, Science and Philosophy of adjusting from a more neurological, quantum physics and vitalistic model.

Check out the next training program at

1) New Technique Introduced - EEG Confirms Results: (Jay Holder. ICAC Journal, May 1996.)

2) The effect of the Chiropractic adjustment on the brain wave pattern as measured by QEEG. A Four Case Study. Summarizing an additional 100 (approximately) cases over a three year period. (Richard Barwell, D.C.; Annette Long, Ph.D; Alvah Byers, Ph.D; and Craig Schisler, B.A., M.A., D.C.)

3) New Science Behind Chiropractic Care sensorimotor integration with cervical spine manipulation. Haavik Taylor H and Murphy B. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics. Feb 2008.