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Swedenborg’s Interpretation of the Human Body in the Light of Recent Research – Part II (reprint)

Pages: 32-36
Dr. Ida Rolf Institute

Bulletin of Structural Integration Ida P. Rolf



The healing arts deal with universal principles, understandable, balanced, relatively unchanging, orderly, constructive, consecutive and true. Man and all things below him are consecutively created for uses on whatever plane or degree they occupy: mineral, plant, insect, animal and man. A know ledge of what is to be is inherent in the seed; the soul or form being the intermediary between the universal order and the instrumental order. In other words, we are receptacles of Divine Love and Wisdom. Man, the highest creation, has a body, mind (his analytical instrument) and spirit to work with the Creator. All of these are one whole manifestation of uses on different planes.

The problem arises in perception of the whole, when we observe that it is composed of elements or organs which show much the same kind of wholeness as the organisms which they constitute. In cellular physiology we learn that a microscopic cell, whether a microbe, or one cell or a higher creature, has knowledge of its function and how to utilize it in the easiest way, in harmony and in order. All this knowledge is inherent in the nucleus and nucleolus. For example: each organ has its own function in relation to the body as a whole or unit, as well as its relation to its surrounding tissues and organic connections for the body is woven like a piece of tapestry. When one looks at it from a distance, or externally, none of this is evident, but when one’s viewpoint is sufficiently sensitive, as in cellular physiology, the relationship of cell to cell, fascicle to fascicle and fiber to fiber become apparent. To understand what the pancreas is, one has to comprehend what system it is a part of, of what type of tissue it is composed, what tissue or organ comes before it and after it. Any other “understanding” cannot include its use, and the reason for its position in the body.

When asked What is fascia, one has to know a great deal about where it is found, why and what are its uses, how it is created, and how woven. Fascia: Stedman’s Dictionary says: ”Fascia, a bandage, fillet, roller or ligature, aponeurotic expansion of muscles binding parts together.” Sheaths of nerves, vessels and muscles are made up of fascia. It is generally understood, physiologically speaking that, according to the area in which one is studying or working at the time, the fascia is so named, e.g., fascia lata, pelvic, visceral and so on.

Let us go to the brain and see if there is a similar tissue there for it is in the brain that man starts his life, the brain controlling everything in the body. It is of glandular structure. Hippocrates said of the brain, “There is no other tissue like it in the body.” Its cells, known as cortical or heart-shaped form the simple fiber which form the nerves that weave the body. These form the blood vessels and combined, form tissue. Is not this the DNA and RNA origin?

All glands secrete, the brain is no exception to this rule, and it secretes several fluids, according to the findings of many researchers. The brain, like all other structures has three or more coats. The first of these is the piamissima, created by the fiber and the secretions of the cineritus substance. This has a very fine transparent and film like coat formed by the secretions of the brain cells and called piamissima. This invests the individual substance of the cortex which at last escapes sight and loses itself in the cell. This thin membrane, proper to the brain and known as the piamissima, is most universal and perfect, being closest to the brain but forming the inner table of the pia mater, which is laminated. The outer layer is the arachnoidea. The piamissima is the carrier of nutrition to the brain cells. In respect to universality it is more extensive, being more perfect and distinct. The pia mater connects the individual parts of the brain yet leaves a full measure of action to each individual arc, for it is pure, elastic, yielding, obedient and passive to the inmost forces of the brain. If there be any obstruction of the pia mater by viscidity, ichor or serum the sense becomes blunted, memory becomes infirm, understanding is obscured and stopped, for it couples the individual parts together and obliges the brain to obey the soul and the body the brain. Thus we see that the pia mater derives its origin from the individual parts of the brain and again from the individual parts in the body. We find the pia mater a double membrane and of a triple order by the addition of the arachnoidea. The inner surface is rough and covered by a certain mucous1 while the external is polished and smooth. This is true of each covering of the brain pia mater, arachnoidea and dura mater. Here then is a fascia. The pia mater not only overlies the cortex, but is continually interposed between it and its different masses. It introduces itself in a serpentine manner into septa between the windings of the cerebral folds, and in a falci form manner between the folds of the cerebellum, thus forming by its continuity a plexiform appearance. We find the quantity of the blood so great that the pia mater can be called a vascular coat rather than a membrane. It is covered by the archnoid coat which is like a spider’s web in delicacy. This layer sinks down into the singular gaps of the brain, yet does not enter the sulci or clefts. Therefore when it is removed the quality of the cerebrum appears and manifests the difference in appearance of the cerebrum an cerebellar tissues. The archnoidea is a perennial and continuous covering of the whole encephalon which also conjoins individual parts of the brain in a general manner but it is limited to their surface. This is a true function of fascia.

The dura mater is also formed of lamina, the inner lamina being soft, forming the next tendonous structure, the details of which are a subject in themselves. The dura mater has several lamina attached to and blended in with the cranium, which is a doubled limited structure at birth. Later in life it forms tables with air space between, revealing the laminated structure of the cranium. At birth the bones of the cranium are mostly cartilaginous. The bony fibers are generally in the form of rays from center to circumference, to allow the brain’s growth.

The dura is composed of several lamina which expand its functions throughout the body as an elastic membrane, limiting expansion. These lamina or outer layers blend with the cranium: the inner with the outer lamina of the pia mater, the arachnoidea. Thus we see how degrees of tissue combine to form another tissue, the fascia which binds, connects, covers and keeps the brain informed in detail of what is going on in the body. The fasciae of the dura mater, arachnoidea and pia mater follow every nerve that leaves the cranium. They surround the spinal cord and are not attached at its terminal ending until the second sacral segment.

The archnoidea carries the arteries, but does not dip into the tissues as specifically as the pia mater. Here is where our first body fascia is discerned. These form connective tissue as well as the transparent and fine fascia of the body: even the amazingly strong aponeurosis is the united fascia of many fibers beyond the fleshy or muscular tissue.

Perception of the life process is complicated not only by the whole ness of the organism’s parts but by the participation of these lesser wholes in activities normally viewed with respect to the entire organism.

Every cell in the body moves with the respiratory cycle; expands, contracts and rests. This is particularly evident in the cells which compose muscular tissue. Fascia join and cover all tissues individually and bind them into larger wholes, so it is fascia that are to some degree responsible for our concept of the “parts” of which the body is composed, much as the thin inner skin of oranges gives us the idea that oranges are composed of segments.

Cells are made of collagens and an amorphous ground substance called hyaluronic acid or chrondroitinsulphate. In fascia there are a number of cells, a lot of intercellular substance, mostly collagen fibers and hyaluronic acid and ground substance. Tendons have less intercellular substance but cartilage is the same but with fewer cells and still less intercellular substance. Bone is essentially like cartilage except that there is calcium deposited in the intercellular substance. Fascia connects everything in the body and follows all nerve fibers into the muscles, as we get closer to their ends: there is only fascia which changes into a tendon, the tendon subtly becomes cartilage or subtly merges with bone merely by the arrangement ofcells, fibers, intercellular substance and ground substance. Hence there is no real end of bone and beginning of muscle. So we see the body is unified and the fascia the means of communication between its parts. Hence one can see how every part of the body knows what is happening everywhere else even without the specific nervous system.

Fascia in a nutshell

Tissues in the body are produced successively. e.g., the cortical substance of the brain produces a secretion and sends out the fiber, the nerve fiber produces the muscle by filling in fleshy tissues and this is surrounded by the fascia, the union of the two coats covering the nerve, then the inner or arachnoidea blends with the dura and the dura extends to the area of attachment to the bone or aponeurosis where it is attached and where it meets the tissue it is to be attached to. It blends with this tissue, imperceptibly changing its own structure until it forms an entirely different tissue.

There is really no beginning and no end to any tissue, each is a succession to some other state or degree of tissue. All things are formed in their own order. First the cineritus substance which secretes a fluid, then the fiber, the piamissima, pia mater, arachnoidea and dura mater, all in lamina ted tissue and lastly, bone. A student in medicine has caught the truth, and I quote him, “Fascia, tendons, cartilage and bone all come from the same type of precursor cell, all secrete the same kind of intercellular substances.”

All of my articles are based on Swedenborg’s interpretation of the human body as taken from the research of men of specific interests and talents who are as yet not recognized as authorities in their fields.

1 Mucous the liquid portion of the neuroglia or nerve cement which is intermediate between the pia mater and brain substance.

Key and Retzius, Vol. 1 Studien in Der Anatomie der Nervensystem.Swedenborg’s Interpretation of the Human Body in the Light of Recent Research – Part II (reprint)

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