A New Paradigm in Health Care
The Biotensegrity Matrix
the Fabric of Life
By George B. Roth, B.Sc., D.C., N.D.
dr. stephen levin
In 1993, I met Dr. Stephen Levin, an orthopedic surgeon. We were both teaching at a physical medicine conference at a university in Toronto. His lecture described a new, radical theory that the body was actually composed of microscopic, molecular sub‐units, forming a continuous structural framework, which he referred to as biotensegrity1.
I immediately realized that his theories could explain many of my clinical observations up to that point. I immediately incorporated these concepts into my research.
Over 30 years of clinical experience and verification by numerous clinicians, researchers, radiographic, neurological and laboratory evidence, appears to support the concept that the biotensegrity structural model is a congruent and scientific framework for understanding the consequences of injury.
It has also provided the basis for a system of treatment to effectively and efficiently resolve the effects of injury at a profound level, which culminated in the development of a treatment system called Matrix Repatterning2.
The successful application of these methods by many other practitioners around the world, appears to confirm the validity of this approach.
when physics meets biology
From the moment we try to stand as toddlers, we begin our encounters with the law... the LAW OF GRAVITY or the LAW OF MOMENTUM.
An object that is in motion tends to stay in motion... until of course, it encounters an immovable object... like a floor, a wall or a piece of furniture! There is no way to evade the law.
As we learn to walk and attempt more and more challenging activities: climbing playground equipment, riding a bike, skating, skiing, various sports, to say nothing of getting behind the wheel of a car, we begin our venture into the unforgiving world of physics.
In most cases, we survive the encounter. We get up and bravely continue: get back on the bike, back in the game, or back in the driver’s seat. Over the course of time, however, it seems to get harder and harder to get back up and keep going.
We may notice increasing stiffness and pain, or that simple activities trigger pain.
In fact, the bumps and bruises we may have encountered on the road of life, may have taken a toll on the structural balance at a much deeper level.
Current research has demonstrated that these common mishaps can have an effect deep inside our body, right down to the molecules inside our cells. Injuries, such as strains or impacts, are a form of mechanical energy, which is absorbed predominantly by certain parts of the body. Minor injuries can be easily overcome, due to the fact that the body has built‐in shock absorbing capacity. Muscles, ligaments, skin and even bone, have elastic properties, that allow them to bounce back with no lasting effects. However, if the injury is more serious, the consequences may be more significant. Depending on how much force is involved, certain parts of the body may be overwhelmed, and not be able to fully recover. Research has revealed that injury can affect the molecular structures inside of our cells, causing them to change shape. And, when it comes to our cells, it appears that shape is everything!
deep, hidden injury
It appears that the much of the force of any injury, such as an impact, fall or strain, may be absorbed by the deeper denser parts of the body. In the case of an impact, the fluid‐filled compartments of the body, such as the trunk and the head, much of this force is absorbed into the fluid itself, which reacts as you might imagine a water balloon would respond to being thrown to the pavement.
Just like the balloon, the dense, water‐like fluid, expands rapidly outward, exerting force on the organs themselves, including the brain, as well as the surrounding bony structures, namely the cranial bones, rib cage, spine and pelvis.
Bone itself, due to its dense crystalline structure, is also vulnerable to direct impact and mechanical stress, leading to significant changes in its structure.
These changes in bone, was one of the first clues I had, over 40 years ago, that there was more to the story about how the body responds to injury.
During my studies in radiology and during my time as dissection lab assistant, I often remarked that the bones on one side of the body were larger than the ones on the opposite side.
As it turns out, recent research has confirmed these observations3, and it may point to a smoking gun that has eluded researchers and clinicians as to the underlying cause of many conditions (Figure 1).
it's all in the cells
Research by Donald E. Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., a Harvard‐based cell biologist, verified the cellular basis of biotensegrity, by demonstrating the existence and mechanical properties of a protein framework inside each cell (cytoskeleton), which extends all the way down to the level of the DNA4 (Figure 2).
In addition to the cytoskeleton, every cell of the body is bound to surrounding cells by a continuous fabric of proteins and carbohydrate chains called the extracellular matrix or ECM (Figure 3)5.
According to Dr. Ingber, mechanical stress due to physical injury, as well as electrical or neurological stimulation, may alter the physical properties of the cellular and intercellular elements of the matrix, causing it to change from a flexible state to an expanded and rigid state.
everything is connected
the good news and the bad news
On the positive side, the cytoskeleton and the ECM, the basis of the biotensegrity matrix (or simply the matrix), work in tandem to provide stability, strength and flexibility and a framework for optimal function for the entire body, maintaining cell structure, metabolism, organ function, circulation, movement and growth.
Injury however, can lead to disruption of the matrix, which now appears to be an underlying factor in many structural disorders and other conditions.
Figure 4 - Strain Patterns
I refer to these areas of tissue/cellular/molecular injury as primary restrictions (PR’s).
Due to the interconnectedness of our cell structure, primary restrictions create strain patterns (Figure 4), which cause muscles, ligaments, joints and other pain‐sensitive tissues to function abnormally and become strained, painful and restricted.
For example, you can feel this if you clench your fist and notice how it can instantly be felt as an increase in tension somewhere else in the body, such as the neck and shoulders.
This illustrates how a source of tension in one part of the body, due to a primary restriction (in this case represented by the clenched fist), can result in strain and pain in another area.
These symptomatic areas are often blamed for the condition and usually become the focus of treatment.
This may provide short‐term relief however, since the source of the injury, within the deeper core structures, has not been addressed, the condition tends to return or become easily re‐injured. This is why a fall on your left hip may create a source of tension, which alters the way your right shoulder is able to move, resulting in shoulder pain, even though you’ve never directly injured your shoulder.
In this way, the body tends to accumulate layer upon layer of injuries (primary restrictions) over the course of a lifetime, resulting in structural imbalance, pain and other health issues.
Matrix Repatterning is founded on the scientific principles of biotensegrity, based on the research of Dr. Stephen Levin, and incorporates objective and reproducible methods.
It has been clinically proven to help resolve many of the underlying sources of structural imbalance at the cellular level, in an efficient and effective manner, through a series of gentle treatments.
It is our goal to share these discoveries with practitioners from around the world, and through them, to provide real solutions for those suffering from a wide range of painful and limiting conditions.
- Levin S, Lowell de Solorzano S, Scarr G, The significance of closed kinematic chains to biological movement and dynamic stability. J Bodyw Mov Thera 2017; 21(3): 664‐672.
- 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.
- The Matrix Repatterning Program for Pain Relief, GB Roth, Wellness Systems Inc., New Harbinger Books, 2005.
- Fantner GE, Hassenkam T, Kindt JH, Weaver JC, Birkedal H, Pechenik L, Cutroni JA, Cidade GA, Stucky GD, Morse. DE, Hansma PK , Sacrificial bonds and hidden length dissipate energy as mineralized fibrils separate during
- Ingber DE, The Architecture of Life, Scientific American, Vol. 1, 1998.
- The Extracellular Matrix and Ground Regulation, Basis for a Holistic Biological Medicine, A Pischinger, North Atlantic Books, Berkley, 2007.