Debunking Body Tensegrity (Video)

Alexander Technique teachers aren’t alone among somatics practitioners in thinking that tensegrity is a good model for the musculoskeletal system. In this 20-minute talk first given to Australian Alexander Technique teachers during their 2018 Science and the Alexander Technique Webinar, Patrick Johnson goes in-depth on tensegrity. He shows that the tensegrity is biomechanically suspect and that articles promoting tensegrity are riddled with faulty reasoning, bad references, and a nearly total lack of experimental data.

2 thoughts on “Debunking Body Tensegrity (Video)

  1. Thank you very much, Patrick, for this clear presentation. I appreciate how you both acknowledge the attraction of tensegrity as a pedagogical tool for AT professionals— for example, how you separate the use of a tensegrity toys as a teaching tool as a metaphor for spring and bounce for our students from the reality of our actual musculoskeletal anatomical systems. What I take away from your clarifications in a nutshell is: 1) tensegrity structures exist; 2) ‘biotensegrity’ as a theoretical explanation of our musculoskeletal system is false. To me, this embraces both how human beings need — and crave! — metaphors, images, and ‘stories’ to stimulate, activate, and retain learning, while at the same time we can acknowledge that these are indeed useful acts of imagination, if you will, that motivate and enliven us.

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