ANOTHER WAY TO DESTROY FASCIAL ADHESIONS
When I say I used to be a powerlifter, I don't mean that I was really a powerlifter, and certainly not in the Donnie Thompson sense of the word. I was long, lean, and scrawny (personally I'd rather you refer to me as "ripped" or maybe "shredded"). I became intrigued by weightlifting my senior year in high school as a way to get bigger and stronger, having just built my own weight bench in metals class, complete with a lat tower and squat rack (when I graduated HS I weighed about 150 at a height of 6'2''). As the years progressed I found myself increasingly addicted to powerlifting, particularly heavy deadlifts and squats (I never was much of a bencher).
Donnie, like my friend JARED, is an elite level strength athlete. Donnie's accomplishments in the strength world are rather impressive (INSANELY IMPRESSIVE would be more accurate --- he's the only person to total over 3,000lbs), but that's not what interests me most about him. As I sat here yesterday morning recovering from my second HERNIA SURGERY in six months --- right and left (yeah, I'll be back seeing patients on tomorrow morning), trying to figure out something I might be able to do so that these never have to be repeated, I came across some of Donnie's Devious Devices. Obviously this guy's mind is always on overdrive.
Thompson, like many other brilliant thinkers, stumbled onto something so revolutionary, yet so simple, that it made me stop and take notice. Almost a decade and a half ago, thanks to his incessant badgering, a group of Donnie's training partners realized that he was onto something big. After using KETTLE BELLS to roll people's bodies out since 2004, a few years ago Donnie started creating "devices" specifically meant to work in a similar capacity to FOAM ROLLERS --- only imagine foam rollers made not of foam, but out of heavy steel. Really heavy steel. With the X-wife weighing in at a whopping 135lbs (and an 'X-husband' that weighs??????), it's obviously not for the wimpy or faint of heart. Why do I bring all of this up in today's post?
It seems that even though there is not much research on Donnie's novel method of BREAKING FASCIAL ADHESIONS, not only have he and his lifting mates seen some fantastic results using his creations, but it's catching on elsewhere as well. Named "Body Tempering" by Thompson, there are actually a significant number of elite strength athletes using his creations, as well as several NFL and NCAA Division I football teams. What's the method behind Donnie's madness? I guess in many ways it's not so much different than something I recently ran across in an old coffee table book I own, Chiropractic, An Illustrated History. Here's a quote from someone writing about the famed British sea captain and explorer, Captain Cook, after he found his way to Tahiti in the 1700's.....
Twelve giantesses immediately fell upon him pummeling and squeezing unmercifully with their plump, lively hands, until his joints cracked and all his flesh felt like misused blubber. After fifteen minutes of this, the released victim got up. To his astonishment he felt immediate relief.
As a pencil-necked geek on the outside looking in, what's my opinion these rollers? I haven't tried it yet but honestly; PDC (pretty darn cool)! Firstly, I love Donnie Thompson's entrepreneurial spirit. I admire small businessmen in general, and sincerely wish him even more success than he's already had. Secondly, I love the way he thinks, as well as his creativity and outside-the-box way of looking for novel solutions to common problems. One of the more amazing things I saw on his site was Donnie taking his invention, the "Fat Bells" (ball-like semi-solid hollow dumbells that you actually put your hand inside of), screw two of them together (it took him less than 5 seconds), and then using the resulting mutant creature in similar fashion to an X-wife. All of which begs the question, how do these things really work?
I've talked at length on my site about DAVIS' LAW of TISSUE DEFORMATION (HERE as well). H.G. Davis was a renowned Civil War-era surgeon who rightly realized, like Dr. Wolf did with bones before him (see links on Davis for info on Wolf), that soft tissues would remodel themselves in response to mechanical stresses put upon them. The problem is, if there aren't enough of these mechanical stresses running around (or if the stresses never really change), then the tissues will inevitably shorten --- a common phenomenon that I refer to in my clinic as "TETHERING". What else do we know? If you are putting the kinds of mechanical stresses on MUSCLES and other connective tissues that Donnie and his crew are on a regular basis (LIGAMENTS, FASCIA, TENDONS, etc), said tissues are forced to adapt --- they have no choice. These adaptations are not anything novel and aren't much different than the physical adaptations that occur from lifting weights or engaging in other forms of training (it's known as getting in shape).
Comparing the effects that elite athletes try and achieve by training at altitude (peer review shows that high altitude training leads to increased EPO production, increased hematocrit, increased hemaglobin, etc, etc); in his piece called The Complete Guide to Foundations & Fallacies of Tissue Regeneration, Dr. John Rusin talked about things like BIOTRANSFORMATION and vasodilation, as a couple of the numerous ways that the body would try and adapt to Body Tempering (he likened it to RBFT or Restricted Blood Flow Training).
"Tissue tempering stimulates specific changes/adaptations due to its progressive and direct compression to the tissue. As with all forms of mechanical compression and shear, a reduction of tissue tightness involving fascia, muscle, veins, organs and nerves have been observed both scientifically and anecdotally. The specific changes seen with tissue tempering can also be extrapolated from recent well documented studies of occlusion training showing increased blood flow and circulating growth factor hormones that stimulate protein synthesis following treatment. An agreeable yet not documented finding with occlusion training such as tissue tempting is that it may in fact aid in ridding toxins specifically from the fascia, veins and nerve encasement’s by means of increasing vasodilation, NO2 production, and local hyperemia."
While some of these effects are vascular and/or endocrine, others are undoubtedly due to the mechanical nature of the training itself, which results in something called MECHANOTRANSDUCTION (turning mechanical energy into electrical impulses). Interestingly enough, mechanotransduction also happens to be (along with TENSEGRITY) the property that allows fascia to act as a second nervous system (HERE) --- a tough yet elastic PROPRIOCEPTIVE POWERHOUSE if you will. Bottom line, whether you are an elite athlete or AN ATHLETE WANNABE like me, there are some interesting principles at play here that Donnie Thompson had the vision and wherewithal not only to notice, but to harness and market as well. Oh; I almost left out the link to DONNIE'S SITE as well as a link to a list of my 150+ articles on fascia (HERE). Enjoy!
Dr. Schierling completed four years of Kansas State University's five-year Nutrition / Exercise Physiology Program before deciding on a career in Chiropractic. He graduated from Logan Chiropractic College in 1991, and has run a busy clinic in Mountain View, Missouri ever since. He and his wife Amy have four children (three daughters and a son).