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Bowen Therapy is a hands-on, soft-tissue body work
It uses small gentle painless manipulations on muscle, tendon, and nerve points to help restore the normal tone and function to muscles, joints and organs. It is useful for relieving pain, restoring function to the body, and for a variety of conditions. It is likened to acupuncture without needles in its use and ability to treat multiple symptoms.
The Bowen Technique helps the body remember how to heal itself. The gentle yet powerful Bowen moves send neurological impulses to the brain resulting in immediate responses of muscle relaxation and pain reduction. The moves create energy surges. Electrical impulses sent to the nervous system remind the body to regain normal movement in joints, muscles and tendons. This helps relieve muscle spasms and increase blood and lymph flow.
The Bowen Technique affects the body primarily through the nervous and the bio-energetic systems, to bring it into a state of balance.
How Bowen Works
AUTONOMIC NERVOUS SYSTEM RE-BALANCING
The autonomic nervous system controls over 80% of bodily functions (cardiac, respiratory, peripheral circulation, reproductive, endocrine, gastrointestinal) and is very susceptible to stress and emotional tensions. For healing to happen, the body needs to shift from sympathetic (fight/ flight mode) to parasympathetic (regenerative mode) dominance. For this to happen, it needs time and space to literally unwind and “digest” physical and emotional stress. The Bowen Technique facilitates these positive shifts.
Most Bowen moves are done either at the origin, insertion or belly of muscles, where the Golgi and Spindle nerve receptors are located. These receptors inform the nervous system of the state of tension, length or stretch in the muscles and tendons and are stimulated during the rolling part of the Bowen therapy movement.
All Bowen moves done around a joint directly affect the joint and ligaments, which are richly innervated with proprioreceptors, those nerves that sense the position of your body.
The Bowen Technique stimulates lymphatic circulation and drainage.
Many of the Bowen moves are performed along the spine over the erector muscles (two thick columns of heavy muscles on either side of the spinal column which run from the base of the pelvis to almost the full length of the spine). These moves produce referred reactions to other areas of the body. Often people will mention that conditions were addressed, other than the one for which they originally sought consultation, – even though the practitioner didn’t specifically address them (e.g., improved digestion, elimination circulation or sleep).
The fascia, sheets of connective tissue, connect everything in the body; muscles, bones, internal organs and central nervous system. They play a major role in muscle coordination, flexibility, postural alignment and overall structural and functional integrity. Bowen moves free the relationship between the fascia and the nerve, muscle or tendon being addressed.
ACUPUNCTURE POINTS AND MERIDIANS
The Bowen Technique stimulates circulation of energy and clears energetic blocks. Coincidentally, several of the moves are located along acupuncture meridians or on specific acupuncture points; which are known to stimulate and balance the body’s energy.
How Bowen works: What to expect after a treatment? What to expect during a treatment?
Your practitioner will ask you about your health history and reason for the visit to find out if there are any moves or procedures that are contraindicated for you, the best procedures to apply and how much of the work your body is likely to be able to assimilate without overloading you.
The hands-on work usually lasts between 15 and 45 minutes.
The pressure used by the practitioner is almost always less than you would expect. On occasion, you might feel a momentary twinge. Be sure to tell your practitioner if you are uncomfortable at any time.
Application of the technique involves stimulation of precise points on the body, in groups of 2 – 8 points at a time.
Your practitioner will leave the room between groups of moves, to allow your body time to assimilate the work.
Points generally progress from the torso/core of the body outward. In most first sessions, the points used are on the back, buttocks, hamstrings, shoulder, neck, and knees.
Additional points may be added in areas where you have symptoms and/or elsewhere throughout the body.
The most common reaction to Bowen is a deep sense of overall relaxation and lessening of muscular tension and pain. This results in the body’s balancing and improved flow of internal energy due to activation of the parasympathetic nervous system. The restorative process begins once the body is relaxed. It is common for people to fall asleep during a session.
Each person’s response to the Bowen continues for several hours or days, as his or her individual body allows. The benefits will be enhanced by following the simple guidelines given by the practitioner. The most common include: not overdoing things for the rest of that day, with regard to exercise or exertion when getting out of a bed or chair or car, having the weight transfer equally onto both feet increasing the intake of pure water, to encourage the body’s ability to eliminate toxins released by the muscles and connective tissue during and after the Bowen session in some cases: not remaining seated for longer than half an hour at a time (in the case of lower back pain and other conditions related to lower back imbalance), not overworking the jaw after jaw imbalance is addressed, etc
The number of sessions required varies greatly from person to person. Many conditions are effectively and permanently changed within 3 – 5 sessions. Musculo-skeletal symptoms generally change the fastest; neurological symptoms the slowest. Some
chronic or degenerative conditions may require ongoing maintenance sessions. Many people choose to have monthly or quarterly maintenance sessions (“tune-ups”) once their initial complaints are addressed.
CONTRAINDICATIONS There are no contraindications that would keep a person from receiving Bowen sessions. Bowen is safe and beneficial, from immediately after birth to just before death.