Biotensegrity and the Flea

Fleas

Biotensegrity, in the words of John Sharkey, is “the model that binds“. We might say it explains the fabric of the fascia (meaning “binding”) as an architecture that is bound; i.e. held together, held apart and moved around the way we can and do.

Biotensegrity challenges many traditional biomechanical notions of stacked bones, levers, pendulums and shear forces running through joints. What is more, you don’t move around (in Descartes’ famous words) “like any other automaton“.  Apart from your unique presentation of your human form, your fascial architectural organisation can readily do something (from a very early age)  that doesn’t get talked about very much in the general scheme of healthy biomechanical theories.  Like any self-respecting flea, you can jump.

Indeed, so too can we spring, bounce, recoil and dance the night away more like spring-loaded recoil mechanisms than hinged ironing boards, with knees (which would be how we walk left to some linear theories).  This model that binds, is also bound to return to earth – but it isn’t stuck to it.  We are living force-transmission systems that call for some much more multi-dimensional explanations, to fit the multiple dimensions we move in. Our blueprint is far more sophisticated than a lever system (a 2-bar open chain) can account for.

Biotensegrity offers too compelling an explanation to be ignored in the paradigm shift currently causing a sea-change in the world of human anatomy, structure and motion. It may indeed be the “flea in the ear” of classical theories, but it declines to be ignored. As “non-linear biologic systems” we are perhaps honour bound to enquire further and remain curious about this emerging science that actually explains our natural movement patterns. No doubt some of the mass of ideas and misinformation will become something of a Flea Circus to navigate over the coming years; but watch this space for the latest events and blogs from the Biotensegrity Interest Group (B.I.G.) – founded by Dr Stephen Levin (Orthopaedic Surgeon and “Father” of Biotensegrity).

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