A New Perspective on the Treatment of Athletes
Written by George Roth, D.C., N.D.   
Thursday, 30 January 2003 00:00

I have worked with many elite athletes over the years and have always found the experience challenging and enlightening.  I say challenging because of the level of excellence they demand.  It is not good enough simply to get a top-level athlete out of pain.  The demands they place on their bodies require that every part work at its optimal level.  Joints, muscles, ligaments and bone are required to perform at or near the limit of their tolerances, and are continually being subjected to tremendous forces of strain and impact.
I have found that, in order to meet these challenges and provide for the needs of these patients, it is essential to address the fundamental causes of structural imbalance.  Disturbances of muscle tone and fascial tension asymmetries are time bombs waiting to explode in the form of muscle and ligament tears and serious joint injury.  These events can destroy an athlete’s career and, in my opinion, they are highly preventable.

Health at the Molecular Level

Dr. Stephen Levin, an orthopedic surgeon, noticed some unusual reactions in certain muscles and ligaments he was repairing, while performing surgery, which he could not explain.  Not long after this he happened to visit the Smithsonian Institute.  He noticed a large skeleton of a dinosaur and wondered how the massive structure could possibly support itself against the force of gravity.   Coincidentally, just across the hall, there stood a remarkable sculpture by Kenneth Snelson.  The sculpture consisted of rigid struts suspended in space by tensioning cables.  Snelson was a student of Buckminster Fuller.  When the famed architect and engineer saw the way these structures supported themselves in space, he conceived of the term tensegrity—meaning held together by tension and compression—which he then went on to incorporate in his now famous structures, such as the geodesic dome. 
It struck Levin that the tensegrity form could explain not only how the dinosaur held itself up, it could also account for his observations during surgery.  From these realizations he developed the concept that the tension icosohedron (the basic element of the tensegrity structure) was the basic structure of all organic life. 
In the January 1998 issue of Scientific American, a feature article entitled The Architecture of Life appeared, outlining the research of Dr. Donald Ingber, the Harvard cell biologist.  His studies and other research using powerful electron microscopes and other computer-based techniques have been able to confirm that tensegrity is the structural basis of all life on the planet.  It has now been proven that the underlying structure of all life on the planet is actually a continuous, tension and compression arrangement of molecules and protein strands, very similar to the sculptures conceived by Kenneth Snelson in the 1940’s. 

The Molecular Framework of the Body

The concept of tensegrity implies that the bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, organs, the nervous system—every cell, right down to the level our DNA—the blueprint of life itself—are interconnected with every other cell as one continuous fabric.  I have referred to this microscopic framework as the Tensegrity Matrix.  This stable and flexible structure links everything together into a unified whole.
Abnormal tension on this fabric or matrix may arise due to injuries, such as falls, and/or motor vehicle accidents, and the presence of scar tissue, and may become trapped within the molecules of a particular area of the body.

Matrix Repatterning

Matrix Repatterning (MR) is based on this new understanding of the molecular structure of the body.  It is able to detect, with a high level of precision, and permanently release the deep underlying restrictions associated with injuries, scar tissue or other forms of stored tension in the body.  The primary restrictions may be painless themselves, but represent the primary sources of tension leading to strain patterns in many other areas of the body.  The strained tissues, which arise due to the primary restriction, are often the location of symptoms, such as pain, swelling and abnormal movement and function.  The Matrix Repatterning practitioner is trained to locate and correct these patterns at their source, gently and permanently. 

Case Study 1: An Athlete Finds a Second Lease on Life

I was contacted by a chiropractor working in a large sports medicine facility.  He contacted me to assess a frustrating case.  Despite repeated treatment, using state-of-the-art methods, the patient was not progressing.  In my examination, I found that the patient's thigh muscles and hip muscles were seriously imbalanced.  Indeed, the other members of his treatment team had discovered the same problems and had valiantly tried to stretch and goad these muscles into some semblance of symmetry.  Unfortunately, they had been unsuccessful. 
I found that the primary restrictions were actually within the bones of the patient's hip and femur, and proceeded to release these tension patterns.  With one treatment, I was able to restore balance to the muscles of his hips and thighs. 
The decathlete, Mack Cunningham, had progressed significantly and, with a few more treatments, was able to fully re-enter his training program.  He is now preparing for the 2004 Olympics.

Case Study 2: They’re at the Post!

The young veterinarian had heard of me through a patient.  Dr. David Jamieson had taken many other seminars to help him treat his favorite animals—thoroughbred racehorses.  As the seminar proceeded, I kept pondering how in the world he would be able to adapt my technique to these rather large animals. 
Shortly after the seminar, I received a call from Dr. Jamieson, requesting I meet him at the racetrack.  He led me to one of the barns and introduced me to Doris Day, a beautiful bay.  He explained that, two months before, she had been rounding a turn and had been forced by another horse into the rail.  Something snagged—perhaps part of her saddle—and she was flipped onto her rear end with a powerful jolt.  The rider fell off, and both animal and human had to be helped off the track.
The horse had never been the same since.  She was obviously in a lot of pain and could not tolerate anyone mounting her.  Dr. Jamieson mentioned that she was now very “girthy”, a term used to describe a horse whose trunk has expanded beyond its normal dimensions.  The horse appeared to be very skittish, with a wild, fearful look in her eyes.  Dr. Jamieson was quick to point out that she was normally a very calm, manageable animal. 
We found a process of testing and treatment that work very well for these animals.  We were able to quickly detect the primary areas of restriction, which proved to be centered in the large organs of the trunk, as expected.  Treatment quickly released these areas and Doris Day was immediately restored to her normal sexy figure.  Within a few days, she was able to begin training once again and she was returned to her productive racing schedule within several more weeks.
Treating other horses proved to be equally successful and Dr. Jameison, under my guidance, has been able to resolve many other injuries.  Many of the horses treated using Matrix Repatterning have astounded both the trainers and the jockeys.  They have found these animals are now much more balanced and consistent in their performance.  One of our goals for the future is to develop a training program for veterinarians and other practitioners to be able to treat animals more effectively.

Thoroughbred racehorses are like other elite athletes, in that they are pushing the limits of their physical structures on an ongoing basis.  The lessons learned by treating these magnificent creatures have helped me develop even better approaches for human athletes and have also served to confirm for me the power and value of Matrix Repatterning and tensegrity matrix as viable and consistent frameworks for understanding the structural basis of health and life. TAC

For more information about Matrix Repatterning, contact Dr. George Roth at 905-880-0101, Fax: 905-880-0550, e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit www.MatixRepatterning,com.

The Graston Technique: Changing the Treatment of Soft Tissue Injuries
Written by Karen Wilczewski   
Saturday, 30 November 2002 00:00

A clinically researched, innovative treatment modality is changing the way chiropractors are treating soft tissue injuries—including the most difficult repetitive stress diagnoses.  The mode of treatment, the Graston Technique, offers expanded options for treating all chronic and acute disorders.

In less than a year since its introduction to the profession  (November 2001), more than 300 chiropractors nationwide have been trained in the technique.  National University of Health Sciences academians and clinicians have given the modality their blessing by adding the Graston Technique to the curriculum this fall.

The technique has made advocates out of skeptics.  “I never believed that the sensitivity of my hands could be enhanced.  I do now,” says renowned soft tissue expert Warren I. Hammer, MS, DC, DABCO.  Hammer, author of Functional Soft Tissue Examination and Treatment by Manual Methods, finds the Graston Technique “indispensable in his approach to soft tissue problems.”

Internationally-known sports chiropractor Thomas E. Hyde, DC, DABSP, says the Graston Technique is “one of the most innovative soft tissue forms of treatment to come along in many years.”  In addition to improving patient outcomes, Hyde believes that “doctors can add longevity to their careers by using the Graston Technique.”

The cornerstone of the patented Technique, developed more than ten years ago, is a set of six stainless steel instruments.  Use of these specially-designed instruments is a key element of the treatment protocol.  Skillfully trained clinicians use the Graston Technique to help prevent acute soft tissue injuries from becoming chronic, including conditions such as low-back strain, neck, wrist and foot pain.  The technique helps the clinician identify, evaluate and treat injured tissue better and more thoroughly, thus returning the patient to normal function sooner.  The instruments also eliminate nearly all stress on the clinician’s hands and upper extremities.

It is true that necessity is the mother of invention, as the instrument development bears out.  David Graston sustained a knee injury while trick skiing in 1987.   Surgery left him with very limited range of motion that conventional therapies failed to resolve.  Together with Andre Hall, an elite collegiate athlete, the two combined their knowledge of the musculoskeletal system with Graston’s experience in the tool and die industry to create the first instruments.  They, along with businessman Michael I. Arnolt, formed TherapyCare Resources, Inc., and an outpatient clinic in 1994.  Arnolt is president of the company, which today focuses on teaching, training and licensing the Graston Technique.

Initial research of the Graston Technique was conducted at Ball Memorial Hospital and Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, in 1991-92.  Clinical data gathered from outpatient clinics, over seven years substantiated that more than 80% of soft tissue conditions treated resulted in attaining increased function and decreased pain.  Douglas G. Perry, Ph.D., at the Indiana University School of Informatics, conducted the study.

“The results of the study were significant,” according to M. Terry Carey, MS, PT, MTC, Assistant Clinical Professor, Indiana University School of Allied Sciences.  Many of the subjects were treated with other modalities, according to Carey, “but nothing worked as well as the Graston Technique.”  Carey has been treating patients and training instructors in the technique for eight years.

Currently, the Graston Technique is the subject of three independent randomized controlled clinical studies—including studies at Texas Back Institute and New York Chiropractic College.  Results of these clinical trials should be completed within the next year.

The Graston Technique is an interdisciplinary treatment that has a wide following in the outpatient market, and in industrial, academic, professional and collegiate sports arenas.  Included in the network of Graston Technique-licensed organizations are Community Hospitals of Indianapolis and more than twenty professional sports teams, among them the Seattle Supersonics, Philadelphia 76ers, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Bucks, Colorado Avalanche and the Miami Heat.  Nationally, many universities use the technique, including the University of Michigan, Indiana University, University of Wisconsin and the University of Illinois.  Major corporations, including Subaru-Isuzu Automotive, Navistar and SuperValu, use the Graston Technique to keep employee insurance claims and lost productivity to a minimum. TAC

The Graston Technique website,, is an excellent resource for additional information and research on the applications and success of the technique.  Information can also be obtained by calling toll-free 866-926-2828.


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