Recently, the Chanel Company launched a marketing campaign and website for their Ultra Correction Lift. Their homepage for the product says:

Taking the architectural concept of tenesegrity as a starting point, Chanel Research made a major discovery: the key role of a critical protein in the aging process — Tensin. To stimulate the production of Tensin, Chanel developed an exclusive ingredient, Elemi PFA, to naturally lift the skin from within.

If you click on “The Science” link on that flash site, you’ll find the question: What if the skin were a structure?

Since the skin is a structure, that’s an excellent question to ask! Few adults ever spend any time thinking about structure, let alone biological structures. Understanding tensegrity requires that we reexamine our fundamental assumptions about structure. Unfortunately, things go downhill from there. Clicking on that question reveals the following:

1940: Structure and Tensegrity
Tensegrity, derived from “tension” and “integrity”, is a basic architectural concept. So what is it? The integrity and resilience of any structure results from the balanced distribution of the forces of tension and compression within itself.

Tensegrity models were invented in the 1940s by the artist Kenneth Snelson while studying under Buckminster Fuller. He called them floating compression structures: the compression elements of a structure do not touch but instead have a floating relationship with each other. If that doesn’t make sense, I recommend looking at the images on Snelson’s website.
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Floating compression models are a funny thing. While they were invented in the late 1940s, they never ever caught the fancy of the public–or even science and engineering communities. Buckminster Fuller studied and wrote about these models extensively, but his studies of the geodesic dome were far more popular. Only in the decade have more than a few pioneers ever considered our bodies as a tensile network of floating bones. Even though Scientific American had an article about tensegrity back in 1998, the idea still hasn’t caught on.

In short, the body/mind workers here are learning one of the most geeked-out secrets of the 20th Century. And many of you know it far better than I do: you know this stuff in your bones.

There are vast dividends in working with this high-tech crowd into your classes and studios. These people are fascinated by technology. When they begin to realize the magic of controlling the tensional networks in their bodies, they can bring a fierce kind of loyalty to you and your studio. They’ll bring a special kind of enthusiasm to class, and they’ll think and discuss your teaching with their friends.

The trick is to be ready when they start to have questions.

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