Gravity is one of the most significant yet least understood influences on the structure and function of living things. An appreciation of the ways the body is affected by gravity is important for vritually all bodywork and movement therapies. Classic studies by Goldthwait concluded that chronic illness is a consequence of misalignment of the body with the vertical. Goldthwait's successful non-drug approach to chronic disorders provides a conceptual basis for a variety of modern therapeutic approaches. To Goldthwait, it was obvious that the vertical body is more efficient and energetic. A scientific basis for this concept is emerging from modern research on the properties of the support and movement systems of the body, which are responsible for maintaining verticality and for motion in the gravity field. The tensegrity concept of Buckminster Fuller explains how therapeutic approaches simultaneously interact with the biomechanical supporting systems and vibratory energy systems of the body. Ida Rolf developed an understanding of the plasticity of the body and explained how emotional states and structural balance continually interact. Young described how ‘memories’ of the ways the body has been used or abused form as patterns of connective tissue fibre deposition in response to stresses. Part B considers how some therapcutic approaches affect the gravity/movement/energy systems of the body.
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