Scoliosis – New Hope
Scoliosis – the word itself connotes a morbid sense of deformity and finality. The twisted frame, the unsightly humps – reminiscent of Quasimoto, the Hunch-Back of Notre Dame. Throughout antiquity, this distortion of the human body has stigmatized and brought suffering to its victims, and challenged the acumen of legions of skilled – and unskilled – practitioners of all stripes. It appears to develop mysteriously, predominantly in pubescent females, and often results in progressive deformity as well as pain and visceral compromise throughout life.
In my 24-year career I have encountered a number of individuals with this condition and have valiantly sought to ease their pain, as we all have. I was never so bold as to assume that I could alter the essential pattern of accentuated curvatures and vertebral deformation reminiscent of this spinal condition, however I tried to release some of the profound tension in the spinal muscles associated with it. It seemed that all my efforts, no matter how much sweat poured from my brow, were casually rebuffed by this tenacious and relentless condition.
Over the course of my determined study to understand the underlying patterns of human biomechanical dysfunction, I have uncovered certain truths, which have proven themselves to me. In recent years I have found, what I believe to be a process of determining primary sources of tension, wherever they may be found in the body – joints, muscles, bone, fascia, meninges, viscera – and a method of releasing these disturbances at the molecular level. This is the essence of what I refer to as Matrix Repatterning.
Matrix Repatterning is an objective, biomechanical method of determining the primary sources of restriction within any of the tissues of the body. This is determined by a comparison of tissue resistance – literally tissue play – from one part of the body to another. I have found that secondary areas of apparent resistance – often the site of pain, for example – will literally melt away when the area of primary restriction is challenged, wherever it may be in the body.
This phenomenon is explained by a recently discovered unifying model of organic tissue, referred to as the Tensegrity Matrix. The term tensegrity was originally coined by Buckminster Fuller to describe the interlinked truss systems he developed in the field of architecture (e.g. the geodesic dome). This has now been applied to organic tissue, since it has been shown that it is composed of a similar matrix. The fact that pressure or tension in one area of the body creates a pattern of strain throughout the entire organism – instantaneously – is now supported by hard scientific evidence.
The Tensegrity Matrix model of the body, composed of interconnected tension icosohedra (see Figure 1a, below), was first postulated by Stephen Levin, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon, to explain the unusual properties of tissues that he observed in clinical practice. Donald Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., a Harvard researcher, has provided the hard scientific proof of the existence of this structure.
"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 [and all, interconnected internal fascial structures] are the tension-bearing members.”
When an area of the body is strained or impacted, the tensegrity matrix responds at the molecular level by shifting electrons to a higher valence, thereby creating a rigid structural pattern. This molecular lesion translates into the tissue restrictions we observe clinically. No amount of pulling, stretching, prodding, snapping, surgery or medication is going to reverse this – unless, by some fortunate accident the practitioner happens upon the primary site of the molecular response – and then proceeds to apply the precise force required to release abnormal state. Intramolecular forces, as we know, are enormous, and resist forceful attempts to disrupt them. This is one of the reasons I believe that most therapies have only short-lived effects, since, in essence, the tissues naturally resist the imposed forces attempting to restore their normal length and resiliency.
Part of what has been remarkable in my discoveries with Matrix Repatterning, is how it has opened my mind to the possibilities of how injury actually effects tissue. I read an article when I was a chiropractic student, some 26 years ago. The report described a study involving the use of pigs in simulated automobile collisions. These animals were subsequently assessed for any and all tissue injuries. The primary effect on the test subjects to impact trauma was tearing of the pericardium! For some reason, this information stuck with me. I had no idea how profound its implications would become for me in future years.
What I have come to understand about injury is how it transmits force throughout the entire tensegrity matrix. This structure is like one continuous piece of fabric and any force is instantly felt throughout its entire length. Injury forces are translated into kinetic energy, which is transferred from atom to atom and from molecule to molecule. In the body, the tensegrity matrix encounters certain other substances and structures, which can alter the effects of these forces. It is a simple physical property of matter which determines that the more dense a material, the more its molecules will respond – energetically – to the effects of mechanical deformation and force. The most dense material in the body is water. The second most dense material is bone. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that the areas in the body that react most vigorously to impact trauma are the structures which contain the greatest amount of water or the densest and heaviest bones.
Correcting Scoliosis by Accident!
When I first encountered an individual with significant scoliosis, since having discovered some of these basic principles, I had no intention of performing any miracles. A 32-year-old, Caucasian mother of three children, presented herself with complaints of low back, hip and neck pain. She also had a previously diagnosed 40° right lateral curvature of the mid-thoracic spine and a compensatory lumbar curvature, resulting in the typical S-shaped deformity.
On the first visit I performed my usual assessment and proceeded to treat her for the primary areas of dysfunction. This involved the correction of tension patterns in the right kidney, the Glisson’s capsule of the liver, the left pelvis and femur (articular and intraosseous – within bone – lesions). Her range of motion improved immediately and she reported less pain with motion. I then asked her to lie down on the table, so that I could recheck her for further areas of involvement. As she lay down on the table, she exclaimed, “What did you do to me?” Well, you can imagine what went through my mind. I hadn’t done anything traumatic, but it flashed in my mind, momentarily, that she had suddenly lost all sensation in her legs!
Feigning calm confidence, I reluctantly inquired as to the nature of her exclamation. She responded, “I have never been able to lie flat on a table before. What did you do?” I inquired further into how she felt. Did she have any pain? She reported that she did not. I proceeded to have her stand up, and much to my amazement, her previously obvious spinal deformity was now non-existent!
I was both shocked and delighted! I had encountered some remarkable results using Matrix Repatterning, however, I had not seen such an extreme case of spinal deformity – apparently structural in nature – disappear, literally before my eyes. I followed her case for some time after this, following up with some minor fine-tuning. To date, one year later, she has not had any noticeable return of her scoliosis. Currently, I am trying to persuade her to have some follow-up radiographs to confirm the change in her condition. She is however, reluctant due to having received so many X-rays as a child when the condition was first diagnosed.
Correcting Scoliosis – On Purpose!
A second case of scoliosis presented itself at, of all places, a seminar that I was teaching in the spring of the following year. A chiropractor, a 42-year-old Caucasian female, mentioned that she had been helped by Matrix Repatterning (however, she felt that she could not be totally well, since she had a significant scoliosis. I was feeling rather bold that day – or perhaps, foolhardy. I decided to gather the class together – it was an advanced level seminar, so they were hopefully a friendly group, with whom I had already established a certain level of credibility.
I then proceeded to assess the women’s curvature and her patterns of restriction. Treatment was rendered and the whole process took no longer than ten minutes. When she was asked to stand up, we reassessed her and found that her scoliosis was largely gone. On follow-up by phone, the subject reported that the curvature had remained stable one month later. Three months post-treatment there was some degree of recidivism, however, no follow-up treatment had been rendered, and being an active individual, it is possible that some re-injury had occurred in the interim. Several other cases have been followed, with mixed results and I am pursuing further study in this area.
Scoliosis may be the result of falls and other impact trauma incurred during adolescence – the individuals I have encountered admitted to being tomboys in that phase of their lives. These largely undetected effects of injury could, in theory, lead to the type of spinal deformity known collectively as scoliosis. Based on some limited experience with this condition, I believe that there is some real hope that this, and many other structural conditions, may be resolvable. Recent evidence suggests that certain patterns of tension may be attributable to emotional issues during puberty.
Matrix Repatterning represents a significant breakthrough in our understanding of the body and its response to injury. In my opinion, it validates much, which has been successful in the field of structural medicine, while at the same time, explaining why we may not be as successful in certain cases. I believe this new understanding of the underlying structure of tissue and its response to injury and therapy, at the molecular level, opens up new horizons to overcoming the many conditions and much of the pain that we encounter in our practices.
Ingber, DE, The Architecture of Life, Scientific American, January, 1998.
Levin, SM, The Importance of Soft Tissues for Structural Support of the Body, In: Positional Release Therapy: Assessment & Treatment of Musculoskeletal Dysfunction by D’Ambrogio, KJ and Roth, GB, Mosby-Harcourt, 1997.
Roth, GB, and D’Ambrogio, KJ, Positional Release Therapy: Assessment & Treatment of Musculoskeletal Dysfunction, Mosby-Harcourt, 1997.
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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