Symptoms, especially in chronic conditions, are often the result of the compensatory tensions and stresses created within the body in response to a primary site of tissue injury. The primary lesion is often asymptomatic after the acute phase, as the brain adapts to the continuing background stimulation. This is what occurs, for example, with the fracture of a bone in the leg.
Shortly after the cast is applied there is a significant reduction of pain in the immobilized area. Within a few days however, the person begins to experience pain and discomfort in other areas, such as the knee, hip, lower back or neck, as these structures attempt to compensate for the loss of mobility originating in the immobilized limb. The resulting altered range of motion creates patterns of strain in the secondary sites, resulting in painful movement and inflammation. As many clinicians have realized, diagnosis and treatment based on the area of symptoms, is often frustrating and fruitless, since it acts only on the peripheral effects of the primary condition.
Matrix Repatterning is a revolutionary manual approach, which addresses the primary sources of tension in the connective tissue-fascial system in an efficient and effective manner. It incorporates objective and reproducible methods, based on the new, proven model of structural pathophysiology. Treatment is gentle and painless, and can often result in global reorganization and postural stabilization, encouraging the body towards normal, pain-free function. It is currently in use by physical therapists, chiropractors, physicians, osteopaths, athletic trainers, massage therapists and veterinarians on five continents and ten countries around the world.
The Tensegrity Matrix
Matrix Repatterning is based on a revolutionary, new model of the underlying structure of organic tissue – the Tensegrity Matrix – which explains the complex interrelationship of all the structural components of the body. It extends the basic concept of the tissue response to injury, beyond the level of joint, muscle and ligament, to include all structures of the body as potential sources of dysfunction.
"The word 'tensegrity' is an invention: a contraction of 'tensional integrity’. Tensegrity describes a structural-relationship principle in which structural shape is guaranteed by the finitely closed, comprehensively continuous, tensional behaviors of the system and not by the discontinuous and exclusively local compression member behaviors. Tensegrity provides the ability to yield increasingly without ultimately breaking or coming asunder."
The tensegrity matrix model of the body, as elaborated by Stephen Levin, M.D.2 and Donald Ingber, M.D., Ph.D. 3, holds that the body tissues are composed of interconnected tension icosohedra (complex triangular trusses), which inherently provide a balance between stability and mobility. This structural model explains many of the observed phenomena related to body support, movement, response to stress and trauma, as well as the effects of various therapeutic interventions. This theory has been verified by several studies in recent years. According to Ingber, a key investigator who has proven the existence of this structural model at the cellular level:
“The principles of tensegrity apply at essentially every detectable size scale in the human body. At the macroscopic level, the 206 bones that constitute our skeleton are pulled up against the force of gravity and stabilized in a vertical form by the pull of tensile muscles, tendons and ligaments. In other words, in the complex tensegrity structure inside every one of us, bones are the compression struts, and muscles, tendons and ligaments are the tension-bearing members.”
When the force of an injury enters the body it is rapidly transmitted throughout the tensegrity matrix and thus throughout the body. Moderate forces are easily dissipated due to the elastic properties of the matrix. Excessive force, beyond a certain threshold, may potentially be absorbed by the matrix, causing the molecular elements to be raised to a higher energetic state (see: Figure 2). When force is transmitted through the tissues and encounters a dense surrounding material – such as water or bone – the energy may become even more focused and trapped locally. This focusing of force (or energy) is illustrated by the circle in the center of Figure 2. The small black dots represent the increased concentration of molecules inside a dense visceral structure or bone. This focusing effect is like a magnifying glass that tends to concentrate the mechanical energy of a strain or an impact into the molecular elements of the matrix, within or surrounding the dense ground substance.
The goal of the assessment is to precisely locate the primary restrictions. The process relies on the interlinked nature of the entire fascial structure of the body. A primary restriction in one location will transmit a certain amount of tension throughout the entire body, producing a background level of tension we refer to as the tissue barrier. Changing the primary restriction should, in turn, change the tissue barrier.
An important feature of tensegrity matrix is that the normal and the restricted structural states are accompanied by completely different electronic properties. Superimposing a normal electrical field over the abnormal field within the primary restriction will tend to shift the second field toward normal. This phenomenon, referred to as entrainment4, would have the effect of temporarily restoring normal molecular tension within the primary site, thus softening the tissue barrier of the entire body. This may be felt as an increased compliance in another part, for example the rib cage or a muscle belly. Thus, monitoring the tissue barrier at one location, the practitioner is able to systematically scan the entire body for the precise locations of each of the primary restrictions.
Matrix Repatterning incorporates several specific manipulative techniques5. The principle of treatment is the release of fascial restrictions at the molecular level. It has been demonstrated that gentle compression of tissues results in a piezo-electric effect6. This causes electrons, associated with the chemical bonds in the involved tissues, to generate a form of intrinsic current. This effect has been demonstrated in bone repair and occurs when it is placed under compression. The resulting flow of electrons may allow the excess stored charge within the restricted molecules to discharge, in the same manner as a capacitor releases excess energy. A gentle, gradual pressure, referred to as induction, or a sudden movement, referred to as directional recoil, may be utilized.
Treatments are generally painless and work in harmony with the body’s healing processes. Matrix Repatterning practitioners utilize specific, objective tests to monitor the effectiveness of treatment. Significant abnormal findings in ranges of motion and other functional tests are used as a baseline reference for structural change. The result of acting on the primary foci can be readily observed in the often dramatic and immediate changes, which occur upon re-examination.
A 31-year-old Caucasian female presented with acute low back pain and radiation into the anterior thigh on the left and into the right leg to the level of the dorsum of the foot. Pain was aggravated by sitting, flexion and lateral flexion to the right. The patient used her arms while sitting to support the weight of the trunk in order to avoid pressure on the sacrum. There were two previous acute episodes dating back seven years, including a severe fall on the “tailbone” after slipping on the deck of a boat. Chronic low back stiffness and moderate, occasional pain was present between acute episodes. The patient had been receiving regular chiropractic care over the years.
Examination revealed extremely limited flexion and lateral flexion to the right. Meningeal stretch (Soto-Hall test) aggravated symptoms. Neurological signs were nominal. The right sacro-iliac was in an ‘upslip’ pattern and the sacrum was in a state of intrinsic flexion (intraosseous). The right ilium was also compressed in a vertical pattern (intraosseous). The lumbar spine was hypermobile at the level of L4 and L5. The left knee demonstrated a positive drawer test for the posterior cruciate ligament (the patient subsequently mentioned a recurring pain in that knee on descending stairs). The mid-cervical spine was significantly rotated to the left and the ipsilateral articular processes were very tender to palpation. Visceral fascial lesions were found in the area of Glisson’s capsule of the liver and the right kidney.
Treatment was applied to the sacro-iliac, sacrum, ilium, kidney and liver fascia, and the meninges. Re-examination after the first treatment revealed a 50% improvement in lumbar motion, stabilization of the lumbar spine and the left knee and the patient was able to sit comfortably for the first time in over a week. Follow-up therapy was directed at scar tissue resulting from two previous episiotomies. After four treatments, the patient was completely symptom-free and orthopedic indices were normal.
1. Synergetics, RB Fuller, MacMillan, New York, 1975.
2. The Importance of Soft Tissues for Structural Support of the Body, SM Levin, In: Positional Release Therapy: Assessment & Treatment of Musculoskeletal Dysfunction, K D’Ambrogio & GB Roth, Mosby-Elsevier, St. Louis, 1997.
3. The Architecture of Life, DE Ingber, Scientific American, Vol. 1, 1998.
4. Energy Medicine, The Scientific Basis, JL Oschman. Churchill Livingstone, New York, 2001.
5. Matrix Repatterning®, The Structural Basis of Health, GB Roth, Matrix Wellness Solutions, Toronto, 2001.
6. Streaming and piezoelectric potentials in connective tissues. LA MacGuintie, In: Blank M (ed) Electromagnetic fields: biological interactions and mechanisms. Advances in Chemistry Series 250. American Chemical Society, Washington DC, ch. 8, pp 125-142, 1995.
Dr. George Roth, D.C., N.D. is a practitioner with over 25 years experience in the field of energy medicine. He has developed a number of leading-edge technologies to assist individuals in the achievement of optimal wellness. He lectures extensively to various groups and educational institutions and is a published author.
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