Tom Bowen’s Birthday-April 18

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‚Äôt 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.

  1. There’s literally NO contraindications. Bowen is for everyone: kids, infants, adults, in hospital, in hospice… everyone.
  2. To create a personalized treatment plan, you will be asked about your medical history.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 ūüôā
  7.  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! 

Bring your headache here!

HeadAchesandBowen

Headaches. ¬†There are so many “kinds”. ¬†WebMD says there are 150 diagnostic headache categories. The cause of headache can range from a “bump on the head”, to emotional, illness, hormone imbalances, inflammation, medication, chemical, stress, fluid levels, activity levels, allergies, and the list goes on and on. When you have a headache, it’s sometimes hard to ignore. It’s difficult¬†to think or concentrate, even soft noises seem too loud, and slight irritations become a huge pain in the what-i-sit-on.

If the cause of the headache is known, then it’s much easier to address. ¬†This is usually the case with acute pain–the source and result are closely linked by time and the detective work¬†to a solution¬†is clear.

But what about when pain is chronic and/or unresolved?

Bowen Therapy can address headache and migraine intensity, duration and frequency.

Bowen Therapy, also know as Bowenwork in the US, uses a series of gentle moves on structural tissue (muscles, tendons and ligaments) to affect the fascia and nerves. Treatment at pivotal locations in the body, neck and head relax the internal mechanisms that propogate headache and migraine, reducing and shutting down the stress and myalgia.

The first Bowen session is generally about assessment and bringing the body to a sort-of “ground-state” of balance on which to build further work, including treatment of the loudest issue that is presenting at session time. ¬†It is important to commit to at least three Bowen therapy sessions, a week apart, to give the body and brain time to work any adjustments and corrections in the body structure and function. ¬†Each¬†additional¬†session further informs the body’s intelligence to identify any imbalance or misalignment that is¬†locked in as chronic pattern(s). ¬† This work will process through the body over the course of 5 days, correcting and adjusting itself back to it’s “healthy” state, or as close as possible. ¬†After three sessions is a good point to review the overall progress. ¬†The total amount of time for treatment and recovery depends on personal history and healing tempo.

This link is to a Bowen Migraine Study in the UK

If you suffer from Headache or Migraine, please try Bowen Therapy. You won’t regret it!

Fascia, Fascia, Fascia

It seems that I can’t see it or hear it often enough: Fascia is amazing. ¬†It holds us together. ¬†It is our body’s silent¬†communication system, more rapid FasciaImbalancesthan nerves. It transports fluid between muscle, organ and circulatory tissues, keeping them supple. ¬†It collects fluid around damaged tissue like a bandage. ¬†Think of healthy fascia as a¬†series of fine¬†net stockings¬†or cobwebs that surrounds every fiber, bundle of fibers, groups of bundled fibers, tissue groups, organs, separating body compartments in large sheets or diaphragms, supporting and holding everything in it’s place. It’s everywhere. ¬†It’s pervasive.

Fascia can be physically damaged by injury or as a byproduct of some medical procedures, just like any other tissue. Fascia also reacts to our emotions by contracting over the trauma that is energetically held in the body like a bandage.

“Damaged” fascia is not the fluid flexible net of fibers that functions fully. ¬†Injured fascia is tense, jumbled¬†and convoluted, like a fisherman’s net that has gotten balled up and tangled. ¬†Over time these areas, will become tightened, knotted and kinked, stiffening into armor like hardness.

In this compromised condition, fascia can not transport fluid nor relay messages as is normally found.  The tissue is it supports become dry and brittle and incommunicado from the rest of the body.

Injured fascia can cause severe, disabling, chronic muscle pain.  It affect not only the tissue that is armored, but all muscles and tissues that have to work differently because of this restriction.

Click here for another great video explaining why fascia is important

When there is a restriction in one area of the body, there will be compensation on the other side of the body in a diagonal direction. That “overworked” area will cause another area, diagonally across the body to compensate.

Pretty soon there is a zigzag of stressed body areas. So often what hurts is not the originating point of the problem.  Neck injuries can become hip and leg issues and vice versa.  Ankle issues can show up in the shoulders. So what needs help the most? Where it hurts now or the original injury?

Bowen to the rescue!

Bowen works with fascia as it’s target. ¬†When skin, muscles and tendons are moved, the fascia they are connected to moves. ¬†If gently and methodically done, the fascia will again separate into it’s beautiful web-like structures. The armor will soften, the tissues are hydrated and the information highway is connected again.

On the other hand, tissue and it’s associate fascia is moved ¬†quickly, hard and fast–it resists and stays in it’s armored state. ¬†Remember the corn-starch and water experiment?¬† If you handle it with¬†too much force,¬†it resembles a solid brick. ¬†But if you handle it slowly, it feels more like sand or liquid. ¬†The same is true of fascia–the slower and gentler the better.

In my opinion, almost all all chronic pain announces an underlying fascia issue.  The longer the pain has been in place, the more compensating patterns have been erected. And the more hardened armor, locking it into place will be present.

A series of Bowen session will unwind these patterns. By gently manipulating fasical sheets through their connections to other tissues, the elasticity is returned. ¬†Relaxed fascia loosens it’s grip on muscles, organs and other tissue allowing the communication and fluids to flow at more appropriate levels. ¬† Oh, what a relief!