Newer Scientific Models applied to ZB
Jo Hale, Michele Doucette
Jo Hale and Michelle Doucette both shared an interest in bringing to light contemporary scientific models which complement and expand the current teachings and principles underpinning Zero Balancing. Jo facilitated a discussion of how the concept of Biotensegrity can augment our teaching and principles. She led a donkey lean exercise, based on this model, which was structurally, energetically, and theoretically expansive for all. Michele described the physiological process of interoception (the body’s conscious awareness of self) and its essential relationship to touch, as well as the superconductive nature of connective tissue and its relevance to ZB teaching.
Jo Hale shared an interest in bringing to light contemporary scientific modelling and understanding which both complemented and provided a healthy and open-minded critique of the teachings and principles which underpin Zero Balancing, as developed by Fritz Smith MD. Post-modern, multi- disciplinary appreciations of the human bio-dynamic system, utilised by other successful up and coming body/mind modalities, might best facilitate the flourishing of Zero Balancing in twenty-first century context.
Jo Hale shared her fascination for Biotensegrity, a ‘structural design principle that describes a relationship between every part of an organism and the mechanical system that integrates them into a complete functioning unit’. Pioneered by Orthopaedic Surgeon Stephen M Levin, and grounded in his professional experience and observation, this model explores and expounds the dynamic interrelationship of biological ‘compression and tension’ body stresses. Dynamic ‘balancing’ is thus seen as an integral part of a healthy system which has the capacity to ‘self-reference’ and ‘self-adjust’ with respect to context and experience on macro through to micro levels. Jo referenced Osteopath Graham Scarr’s recent book (2014) – Biotensegrity, the Structural Basis of Life, which skillfully unfolds a deep appreciation of biomechanical forces in biological life, thus challenging pre-existing top down/gravity dominated models of structural mechanics, and opening up a vista of biological forms as spacious and coherent multi-dimensional phenomena.
The talk was followed by donkey ‘leaning-in’, embracing inspiration gained from contemplating Biotensegrity. This focused and deliberate ‘consciously embodied’ exercise provided a heightened sense of self as multi-dimensional, alive, adapting and communicating.
Delightful – great fun!
Michele described the physiological process of interoception, and how touch receptors in connective tissue play a crucial role in the the body’s ability to sense and recognize self, to develop conscious awareness of self and environment, and to experience resilience in emotional and behavioral responses. Recent research has shown that humans have a unique neurological tract for self-awareness. Uniquely in humans and some primates, touch receptors throughout the connective tissue matrix, which respond to slow and purposeful touch, are directly connected to the pre-frontal cortex through the spinothalamic tract, without travelling through lower brain centers. This wiring help the human perceive tone, meaning, emotional context, self and environmental awareness, and personal consciousness, and is mediated through touch, stretch, pressure. This may be a new explanation of how the ZB touch effects consciousness. Research shows that a “noisy” interoceptive pathway, where there is too much sensory firing is directly associated with anxiety, depression, addiction, and irritable bowel syndrome. Do we quiet the system in
ZB…as we touch gently and purposefully, and hold at stillness, so the quieter nature can be perceived? For a more in-depth understanding of the mechanism than can be explored here, see Chapter 2.3 in the book Fascia, The Tensional Network of the Human Body by Schleip, et al (textbook).
Michele also discussed the superconductive nature of the crystalline matrix of connective tissue and how that supports the holographic model relative to ZB. It’s a fascinating realization that humans invented superconductor technology that is actually a reflection of the organic technology of our bodies, before we even knew that was what we were. We have created technology in our own image. Biblical? What else will humans create and learn from our own bodies. This is a beautiful reason to continue to
have our hands on the primary source of intelligence: the matter, the energy, the spirit, the form, the mystery, the magic of these bodies.
Lastly, the concept that scientific inquiry has now proven that touch is not optional for human development.