<<carefully stepping over Clark's gray matter...>>
I can't add anything to a scientific analysis. However, someone might find the following useful, in regards to thinking of the body as a collection of tubes, particularly the torso (hips on up).
This isn't exactly what I'm practicing from a visualization standpoint, but it's the best I can come up with from a "feel" perspective (at least for now). If your torso is a collection of tubes, try imagining incoming or outgoing forces/stresses as a pinball. The tubes can be curved or straight, as long as there are no right angles or kinks. If I keep too much tension all the way around my waist or in one spot, the tube will be so constricted that the pinball will simply stop, as it can't get through.
The concept you are articulating is more commonly called the "funicular curve" (the shape assumed by a cable or chain with arbitrary loads suspended from it) -- which also works inverted as an arch-ish form. Gaudi designed cathedrals this way. The shape supporting only its own weight is a catenary.
is Coulomb's self-supporting catenary arch of tangent spheres illustrating the very point you have suggested, in slightly different imagery, and intensely more precarious and critical geometry.