Today I finished Graham Scarr’s fantastic book on biotensegrity, Biotensegrity - The Structural Basis of Life (Scarr, 2014). In his book, Scarr deftly outlines the history, theories and functional implications (therapeutic and performance) of biotensegrity. It’s a must read for the therapist and exercise professional alike.
Near the end of the book, Scarr’s chapter entitled, “Biotensegrity: a rational approach to biomechanics,” includes “A new reality.” In this section, he proposes that the old terminology, traditionally used in the study of human anatomy and biomechanics has, through its lexicon, “reduced human anatomy down into a collection of distinct ‘parts’ which are then regrouped into functional units.” (Scarr, p. 102). He argues that these regrouped units are well-meaning but misguided efforts, leaving out many important structures (e.g. connective tissue, blood vessels, etc.) that have important roles in human locomotion and stability.
Scarr then proposes a term credited to Stephen M. Levin, MD and himself, mesokinetics. (Levin & Scarr, 2012). Mesokinetics, he says, is a term that is much more inclusive of structures involved in human locomotion, and it also describes their origins and functions.
The term Meso refers to the embryonic mesoderm from which connective tissues (fascia and bone) and muscles evolve. Kinetics is the branch of mechanics concerned with the study of bodies in motion.
He then goes on to state, “The mesokinetics system as the ‘organ of movement’ then becomes the inclusive structural and functional entity upon which the biomechanics of tensegrity can now proceed...” (Scarr, p. 102)
As a student of Voyer, this term - mesokinetics - instantly appealed to me. Voyer, at his roots, is a traditional Osteopath (as is Scarr). His therapeutic and exercise interventions are based on the idea that all structures - muscles, fasciae, tendons, ligaments, organs, etc. have equal importance as they are part of a connected whole. Pathological structure precedes pathological function and vice versa.
Voyer’s methodologies also respect and follow the ideas of biotensegrity. Voyer, like Scarr, speaks of how biotensegrity and complex systems go hand in hand. The result of this pairing is that there are no therapeutic or exercise algorithms. The body is a complex system and as Voyer states - all is possible.
Treating and prescribing exercise in a biotensegritous, complex paradigm demands that the practitioner has a command of detailed relational anatomy and a commitment to real-time problem solving, as treatment and diagnosis happen almost simultaneously. This model is not easy, but it lends itself to undeniable, long lasting results rooted in Scarr’s ideas and outlined in his new reality term - mesokinetics.
When something is right, you just feel it.
Brian Murer, DC/SMTh, is the co-founder of the Evolutions Institute of SOMA Instruction. EISI is a school based on the work of Guy Voyer, MD/DO and is committed to training the next generation of manual therapist and exercise professionals. To learn more about EISI and their course offerings, go to www.evolutionsinstitute.com