Major Breakthrough for ABR!
BioTensegrity and Cerebral Palsy

BioTensegrity meeting in Rome

My sincere apologies for neglecting the blog for so long…

Once there is an interruption – it’s difficult to get back on track. When writing the new posts is more or less consistent – say, weekly, – I develop a certain routine and flow. But after several weeks of interruption it seems that returning back to writing has to happen with a “bang” –by producing some major post that goes above the routine. At the same time delivering something major require preparation, which leads to postponement – and so it goes…

Fortunately, finally there is a major reason – so I am relieved to be back to the blogging and hopefully I’ll manage to stay on course (surely having comments and questions – greatly enhances the experience and puts the pressure on me to keep writing :-).

I spent the last 5 days in Rome participating in the invitation-only event called 2nd annual Bio-Tensegrity Group Meeting, which is a mastermind group with participants of diverse backgrounds – researchers; biomechanics scholars; bodywork practitioners – who contribute to the ongoing development of Bio-Tensegrity paradigm and study  various avenues  applying it in practice.

Bio-Tensegrity has been originally formulated by now legendary Dr. Steve Levin in the late 70s –you can find more about it at his website  Steve is a truly remarkable example of breaking the mold – he started his practice as an orthopedic surgeon in late 50s and gradually grown disillusioned with the primitivism and dogmatism of the profession – by the end of 70s he became a renegade and experienced over 20 years of ridicule and neglect by all sorts of “scientists”– from doctors to engineers – until finally by the beginning of 2000s the tide has changed. More and more people finally started to pay attention and every year the dissemination of Bio-Tensegral views grows larger. For example, today, all of the major osteopathic schools in U.S. have a course on Bio-Tensegrity.  

He is 78 but until today maintains a remarkable energy and sharpness of mind. Usually I am rather stingy with the compliments but in his case I can only say that I wish I am able to retain such an intellectual shape when I am 78 myself :-) 
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Among other notables was Dr. Robert Schleip – universally regarded as the leader and one of the main driving forces behind the entire Fascia movement that became such a groundswell in the last few years. He was a key person behind 1st and 2nd Fascia Congresses; Fascia Research week in Ulm, Germany that I went to in March and tons of other events. Robert is quite an amazing person who manages to be equally comfortable and insightful everywhere – from  a research lab to dealing with New Age ‘healers’. He is probably one of the most genuinely likeable personalities that I’ve ever come across in my life –  he radiates most sincere interest to whatever the others are doing and embraces the new ideas without a hint of a prejudice. His newly found fame and importance did not get into his head at all – he is one of those rare people who manage to warm up the room and ease tensions everywhere he goes.Robert Schleip_IMG_5837_red eye reduction
Altogether around 30-40 people altogether were invited for this think tank meeting from around the world but as usual half of them can never make it to a given place at a given time. So the group was around 20 people and the meeting held place in the osteopathic school headed by Dr. Paolo Tozzi – bright, energetic, superbly articulate gentleman, whose teachings are in high demand all over Europe (look for the most elegantly dressed person on the right side of the photo :-).   Select_BIG_Biotensegrity_Group_zoom_IMG_6184

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Left to Right: legendary Dr. Steve Levin; charismatic Dr. Robert Schleip; ever energetic Dr. Danielle-Claude Martin; yours truly (no doctorate to claim :-)

Dr. Danielle-Claude Martin – a smiling French lady on the photo –holds a Ph.D. in physics while being a martial arts expert at the same time. Danielle is the engine behind the BioTensegrity group who brings everyone and everyone together.

A big boost of interest in BioTensegrity developed in the last 2-3 years once she has managed to design the experiential classes for teaching how to assemble biotensegrity models.     
That turned out amazingly powerful – the transition from half a page-long formulas that were difficult to connect with reality to hands-on assembly of tensegrity models made understanding far more accessible and at the same time far more advanced and connectable to the modeling of musculoskeletal deformities. Regulating the stiffness, tension, attachments of the tensile elements has an amazing influence on the stability and behavior of the entire structure.

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The picture above shows my early flawed attempts – an unstable and twisted construction (resembling the appearance of deformities in a quadriplegic child). The picture below – is a far better product that I eventually managed to deliver.  

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 Of course, more advanced people are able to produce a lot more complicated models

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Mind it – the gatherings like this biotensegrity mastermind meeting are far from the glitz and glamour of ‘CSI Miami’ where all the labs are chrome, glass, shine and ultra-modern super-powerful machines keep churning answers.

Real science is done by people and their brains – often enough in an environment that is very simple and by the methods that are rather crude. Actually this year’s Nobel prize in physics is an excellent illustration. These two Russian physicists who work in England – started their experiments by sticking a scotch tape to the graphite pencil’s core – it’s hard to imagine something more crude…

The range of presentations at the BioTensegrity gathering was very diverse but the most valuable part is obviously the availability of free-flowing discussions. That’s one of the key reasons why the mastermind group is kept small and invitation-only despite the rapidly growing interest in BioTensegrity. Even 50 people put together require a much larger venue and managing a round table discussion becomes impossible – instead of the back-and-forth flow of  ideas the model changes dividing into ‘presenters’ and ‘audience’…

By this time you might be already asking: ‘Well, Mr. Blyum – have you made any valuable contributions or were you just a part of the passive audience?’ – I guess, knowing me that would be hard to imagine :-)

I had such a positive and mind-stimulating experience during these several days in Rome that I thought it makes sense to share some appreciation for the people I’ve met and to give you a bit of the atmospheric feel instead of going straight to ‘tooting my own horn’.

My presentation was titled “Using BioTensegrity framework in interpretation of multiarticular distortions in Cerebral Palsy” and I’d dare to say it was quite an eye-opener for the audience.

Even though most of them had some periodic experiences with Cerebral Palsy kids but it was never on a scope even remotely close to the attention to detail and thoroughness that we have in ABR. At the same time for people who either work in the lab or treat ‘regular’ patients – it is still not easy to visualize the manifestation of the BioTensegrity principles on the organismic macro-level often lack enough visual clarity.

I would not go too much in details – I’ll post the video in a few days anyway.

 So these are the most recent news and sure if you want to know more about how does better understanding of BioTensegrity applies to our improved ability to help your kids – feel free to ask questions.