You are on page 1of 2 Search inside document George Coghill, Serge Gracovetsky and the Spinal Engine theory For nearly 40 years, from the beginning of the 20th century until his death in , biologist George Coghill studied salamanders. See George Coghill His goal was to find the origins of response and movement in a vertebrate organism. He made many important discoveries, among which was his finding that salamanders have innate reflexes governing locomotion. In salamanders there is a spinal movement that enables swimming, which appears very early in development.
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Serge Gracovetsky graduated from the nuclear physics program at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in , and he earned his doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of British Columbia in Gracovetsky went on to become a tenured faculty member at Concordia University in Montreal where he taught for 27 years in the department of computer science and software engineering.
In the course of his career, Gracovetsky has studied subjects ranging from the injury process experienced by military jet pilots during emergency ejection to the reasoning process of physicians in making a diagnosis for low back pain. He has founded and directed four companies devoted to developing technology to measure spinal function, based on the concept of the spine as the primary engine driving the pelvis during gait.
Gracovetsky is well known for his pioneering research on spine biomechanics and the Spinal Engine theory. He currently serves on the scientific advisory board for the European Rolfing Association.
The human species evolved to avoid carrying unnecessary muscular masses that do not directly contribute to locomotion. The law of conservation of angular momentum essentially describes a mechanism to transfer the action of one muscle to a distant part of the body. The motion of one limb generates an angular momentum that must be canceled by the displacement of another limb so that the sum of the angular momentum of all the parts of the entire body remains zeroed at all times.
This law has numerous consequences for human locomotion. Consider the motion of the pelvis during gait. Suppose that the pelvic motion is due to application of forces produced by the legs. Conservation of angular momentum implies that a counter-torque must be applied to the ground by the legs. This is done in some circumstances, such as skiing, when the foot forces the ski to turn in deep snow. However, activities such as walking on tiptoes or running on ice do not transfer any torque to the ground.
In other words, since little or no torque is applied by the legs to the ground, then little or no torque can be applied by the legs to the pelvis. Somehow, the spine generates the necessary forces to drive the pelvis. The need to explain how the spine generates this force was the reason developing the spinal engine theory. You may be interested to know that in , two years before she passed away, Dr.
Ida P. In such walking, each step is initiated at the twelfth dorsal vertebra, not in the legs; the legs move subsequently. Let us be clear about this: the legs do not originate movement in the walk of a balanced body; the legs support and follow. Movement is initiated in the trunk and transmitted to the legs through the medium of the psoas. This popular hypothesis has been accepted with little substantiation.
In light of the numerous observations contradicting this view, an alternative hypothesis has been proposed in which the spine and its surrounding tissues comprise the basic engine of locomotion. This theory is consistent with available experimental data which suggest that the motion of the spine precedes that of the legs.
Indeed, the variations in the power delivered to the pelvis by the spine are strikingly similar to, but slightly ahead of, the variation in power at the hip. Share this:.
In Search of Excellence – Body Physics – The Spinal Engine
Mishura George Coghill, Serge Gracovetsky and the Spinal Engine theory The mechanism by which such rotations are achieved is one of the core concepts of enggine spinal engine theory. The Problem Of Spinal Modelling. However, no one today would dare describe an entire animal in mathematical terms. Now, of course, we cannot create the spinal movement that should be behind the movement of running. The Muscle Relaxation Phenomenon.
Energy transfers in the spinal engine.
Clearly a part of training to be a high level competitive dancer is to become an outstanding athlete. Training to develop as an athlete and dancer as well as coaching athletes and dancers requires a reasonable understanding of functional anatomy and biomechanics in order to prevent injuries, and optimize performance. Often we see the precise usage and functionality of legs or the torso in its sub-components as in ribcage and pelvis or sides, and of course the usage of arms discussed. Rarely though is there deep consideration given to the complexity and actual functionality of the spine. Yet a big part of the complex picture of human movement, if not the central part, involves the understanding of the functionality and purpose of the spine.
Spinal Engine Theory