Flow and Mechanics

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We’ve all seen athletes who move through space like their bodies are made of taffy. Ball players that wind up to spike the ball like their bodies are made of one continuous spring-loaded substance. They’re as powerful as sling-shots, and can seem like they’re floating. 

Well, bodies are springs.  We are designed from head to toe to compress and expand powerfully as we move through space.  

This natural spring motion is not only an incredibly efficient way to store and spend energy, it’s also how our joints and tissues stay lubricated and mobile.  What we actually are are beautifully intricate and highly efficient pumps. 

If we look at our bodies through the eyes of R. Buckminster Fuller, the inventor of many brilliant designs based on mechanisms in nature such as the geodesic dome, we can apply his term “Tensegrity” to help illustrate just how brilliantly designed bodies really are.  

Tensegrity refers to the web-like interdependence of dense, or “compressive”  elements, such as bones, and stretchy or “tensile” elements such as the softer tissues.  

We are made of intricately interwoven and contrasting elements that sum to one big springy web.  As though we’re one single cell. One integrated unit of function, as osteopathic doctors love to say.  Almost more verb than noun.

We are in fact so mechanically integrated that in a sense if any cell is affected, every cell is affected.  There is no such thing as an isolated injury, and there is no such thing as unlocking one joint without affecting every other. 

Why?  Because bodies are brilliant.  Why would we be stuck and not spread out the burden as homogenously as possible?  And why wouldn’t the body be as mechanically blended as possible, such that we’re as coordinated as possible should we need to perform an elaborate feat to catch our dinner or escape a lion?

In a fairly literal sense bodies are fluid.  We certainly start that way as babies. And to the extent that we can realize our fluid potential, we can self-correct as needed.  Fluids don’t hold distortions or strains, they equilibrate to steady state. Bodies can do this, at any age.  

Enter “The Zone” — Flow As Medicine!

This link takes you to some simple and enjoyable flow-inducing practices: