The week before Tom’s birthday is traditionally International Bowen Week, so that we may remember and celebrate his work.
As a bodyworker and healer, I’ve found that it’s often the simple techniques that have the most reach, the largest effect on the body. Frequently we try to over complicate what is really simple.
Most of my new Bowen therapy clients come to my office after trying literally every other option they can find. Bowen is not widely known in my area, so it takes a determined searcher to find me sometimes. By the time they reach me, their issues are chronic and complicated by years of compensation patterns. I find this a delightful challenge that Bowen can certainly meet.
Bowen works with the fascia, our connective tissue, to re-tone and re-tension the whole body, from muscles and organs to bones and hormones. Fluids carrying nutrients and waste, in and out of our deepest recesses, are facilitated by fascia and disturbances to these pathways may also be addressed by Bowen’s gentle moves.
Bowen is a series of short stubby strokes or Moves, as specific locations on the body, executed in predetermined “sets” or procedures as prerequisites to future procedures in the session, with short Waits between the procedures. AKA: I do a couple moves in a couple places, leave the room for 2 or more minutes, come back, do a couple more moves in a couple places and leave the room for 2 minutes, etc. The Bowen Moves give instruction to the fascia, to examine itself, it’s tension and alignment, both near the move and in any fascially related tissue, which can range from head to toe or deep into the body. The Wait is required by the fascia–it needs time, 90-sec to 2-min, to react. So it’s gentle, slow work that accommodates the natural form and timing that the body needs to process information is a whole and complete way.
Sessions are generally an hour long, sometimes shorter or longer, depending on the work. The first session is generally about balancing the whole body and getting all the fascia to soften. Hardened fascia, called “armoring” is generally present in chronic cases and our goal of flexible, elastic fascia will bring on much needed relief to the body.
“While experts still aren’t quite sure how or why it works, research into Bowen therapy by the University of Lancaster found that 70% of volunteers with a frozen shoulder gained full mobility after undertaking a series of Bowen therapy sessions. 100% of participants reported better mobility with daily activities and overall lower levels of pain.”
Bowen is known to
- Reduce neck, shoulder and back pain
- Decrease stress and fatigue
- Help with repetitive strain injuries, digestive issues and reproductive issues
- Decrease headaches including migraine intensity and frequency
- Reduce bed wetting and assist with bladder problems
- Regain mobility from frozen shoulder or assist with knee, hip or mobility issues
- Assist healing athletic and sports injuries
There are a few things you should know before you trying Bowen.
- There’s literally NO contraindications. Bowen is for everyone: kids, infants, adults, in hospital, in hospice… everyone.
- To create a personalized treatment plan, you will be asked about your medical history.
- Bowen works alone. The body can only process a given amount of information at a time. Too much information–like touching a person from head to toe– may cause a brief respite, but within days all the instructions are tossed out. Bowen gives discrete instruction to the body and then we stop for 5 days and let that information work its way through the body. No further treatment by anyone for 5 days–no Bowen, massage, acupuncture, chiropractic, etc.
- Drinking water is critical. Because the fluid pathways are affected, we drink lots of water, to keep everything flushed through and out of the body as much as possible.
- Processing the information can result in short periods of tension in muscles, over the next five days. This is normal, although not a universal experience. If it happens, it usually only last 20 minutes or so.
- Most people with chronic cases will require 3-5 sessions to see huge improvement. Sometimes, mobility and strength are increased right way. Each client and case is different. We generally say to plan for 3-5 sessions and then are happy when its effects are seen much sooner 🙂
- Light exercise in the five days following Bowen, like gentle walking or yoga, can increase success of the treatment. This physical activity can help reeducate the muscles and other soft tissue as they find new life in their reconditioned fascia environment.
Try Bowen! You wont regret it!
As a first-adopter, I’m happy to spread the news, to explain again and again what Bowen is and how it can help. I’m grateful to Tom for being the person to bring this special combination of move, location, sequencing and tempo to bodywork.
Happy Birthday, Tom!