What is the Bowen Technique?


The Bowen Technique is an holistic therapy, which simply means viewing and treating the body as a 'whole', not focusing on specific conditions or symptoms.  
During a Bowen treatment the whole of the body is addressed.  Other aspects of daily life could be contributing to a presenting issue such as our job, how we sit, stand, our hobbies and home/work environment can all impact on our health.

Is it important to understand how the body (whether human or animal) works, and is put together. Our skeleton is held in place by soft tissue, there is nowhere within the body where bone connects directly to bone.  Bones are connected to each other via soft tisse i.e. ligaments, tendons and muscle.  All our muscles, tendons and ligaments are connected to one another and enveloped in a connective tissue called 'fascia'.  
A problem within soft tissue creates a problem with the skeletal structure,   As an example, tension in the muscles, tendon and ligaments around the lower back / pelvis after a simple slip or trip can put uneven pressure on the skeleton. In time, if left, this  can pull the pelvis out of alignment slightly, this in turn can cause sciatica, lumbago, hip and knee pain, and even problems further up the spine into the neck and shoulders.
This is where the Bowen Technique, as an holistic therapy is so very effective.  Although we do have 'condition specific' moves or procedures, which we would add as a course of treatments progresses, a general  all over treatment will address the whole of the spine, legs and neck.  This is often enough to ease the lower back pain a person has arrived with.

The brain emits something in the region of 600,000 signals per second.  These signals are sent out to the body and and return to the brain in the form of information.  A signal may leave the brain to tell the left arm to be raised, the information returned to brain will confirm  if and how this has happened and what to do next.

The Bowen moves interrupt this line of communication, and creates a new line of communication which the brain registers and has to respond to.  Re-sending information back out to the entire body which explains why Bowen not only helps people and animals with muscular skeletal problems, but also conditions of the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, endocrine and neurological systems.  It is a bit like reprogramming a computer.

The Bowen therapist will sit with you and ask questions about your medical history, not just the problems you may be arriving with, but previous accidents, illness, surgery etc.  All this infomation helps build a clearer picture of how the body is functioning, and help the therapist decide upon the best approach to the treatments to follow.  
The therapist will then have a look at how you sit, stand, walk and observe range of movement you have through your arms, neck before you will be asked the step up onto the treatment couch.
Bowen can be performed through light clothing so, unless the person is happy to undress to underwear, a loose fitting cotton t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms will be suitable.  *no jeans please!*
The Bowen moves consist of a gentle, rolling type action made with finger and thumbs. These moves are made on precise points of the body, and the pressure can be varied according to the client and their conditions.  Generally the level of pressure is very light, with Bowen we do not apply a heavy amount of pressure, it is not necessary to achieve the results we are aiming for.  This is why the Bowen Technique appeals to the elderly, frail, very young or those with debilitating conditions.  
The moves are made systematically over the body and we are working on muscle, tendon, ligament and connective tissue called fascia.

The moves are interspersed with short breaks to allow the body and brain time to process the information and begin to make tiny subtle adjustments.  
One of the unique parts of the Bowen Technique, are the breaks.  When treating people the therapist will leave the room (unless the client specifically asks the therapist to remain, or when treating a young or vulnerable person).  When treating horses, we leave the stable, and dogs often put in their own breaks and walk away!
Bowen is trying to encourage the body to make it's own adjustments and responses.  The moves are applied in such a way that the brain has  to acknowledge that something different or unusual is happening to the body, and it needs time to figure it out.
Imagine trying to listen to 4 radio stations at the same time, it would be very difficult to focus on one, and eventually you would probably switch off.  This is the same for a treatment, the body needs to be left for a few minutes between each set of moves to process the information and decide upon a response.   
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