- What is the Bowen Therapy?
- What is involved in a treatment?
- Is there an importance to where the bowen moves are made?
- What is the history of the Bowen Therapy?
- How does it work?
- How often are treatments recommended?
- What are the ways I can optimize my Bowen treatment?
- If I have pain in one area of the body will the technique impact only that area or will I feel an impact on the rest of my body also?
- Is there a connection to pain in one part of my body to another?
- Does stress have an impact on pain?
- How safe is the Bowen Technique?
- Is there any contraindications?
- Can I use other therapies with the Bowen Technique?
- How do I know if a practitioner is qualified?
- Can this technique be useful to animals also?
- To Book An Appointment Click Here or Call 613-829-7100
The Bowen Technique is a very gentle physical therapy that supports the body’s inherent ability to heal. It involves a gentle rolling motion over muscles, tendons, and ligaments at key points of the body to release energy flow and fast track healing.
Typical treatment sessions are between half an hour and an hour long, with patients lying comfortably on a massage table. Several Bowen moves are done, followed by a period of rest to enable the body to integrate the information.
Bowen is a whole body treatment- helping to relieve headaches, chronic back injuries, female hormonal concerns such as PMS, post-delivery, as well as acute physical traumas such as sprained ankles.
What is the Bowen Therapy?
The Bowen Therapy is a gentle, fast, effective treatment for sporting injuries, musculo-skeletal symptoms, stress and tension discomfort, organic conditions, body balancing, bronchial symptoms, and much more. Bowen is a dynamic system of muscle and connective tissue therapy. It is a gentle, effective pain-relief technique and a support to aid healing for most health conditions, from acute and chronic injuries to chronic internal ailments. Bowtech’s unique system produces rapid and lasting pain-relief that amazes practitioners of all disciplines. The technique, which can be performed on anyone from the newborn to the aged.
What is involved in a treatment?
An individual is recommended to arrive 15 minutes early for their appointment and relax in the treatment room before the appointment begins. Once treatment begins The therapist will apply her fingers or thumbs on the body and draw the skin lightly away, and a gentle challenge is made in areas of the body such as the muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia and joints where there are high concentration of proprioceptors exist. This challenge is held for a few seconds before a‘rolling’ move is made over the muscle itself. This allows the body to use it’s innate healing and rebalancing abilities to elicit a therapeutic response and restore optimal function. There are significant pauses between each series of moves to allow the body’s response, integration and healing. There are variations and combinations of moves for each section of the body depending on your individual health concerns . It is similar to homeopathy in that it stimulates the body to heal itself with a minimal amount of intervention involved in the healing process.
Bowen produces an integrated body response that improves circulation, lymphatic and venos drainage, helping assimilate nutrients….
Thus, it addresses physical, mental, and emotional imbalance. The patient does not have to be unwell to benefit from Bowen. It is an ideal therapy to help the body function at an optimal level of health and efficiency.
Is there an importance to where the bowen moves are made?
Bowen moves are made at key structural points in the body, which the brain uses as natural reference points to determine the body’s posture. As a result certain Bowen moves have a huge effect on the way that the body holds itself.
It is common for people to feel mild sensations of heat, tingling, numbness, cold and or changed emotions during the treatment or shortly after.
What is the history of the Bowen Therapy?
The technique was developed by Tom Bowen in the 1950s. It has been used for over 40 years to successfully treat thousands of people suffering from a multitude of maladies. Bowen therapists strongly adhere to a professional code of ethics.
How does it work?
The Bowen treatment may benefit the whole body and addresses the muscle and fascia relationships that are holding the spine in a particular position. The facia surrounds all muscles and it allows flexibility and movement between various parts of the body. This allows proper structure for the body and allows us to maintain an upright posture. By changing the way in which the muscles and fascia relate to each other, a change in structure becomes inevitable, allowing the spine to adopt an optimal position.
As the challenge is placed on a muscle and the muscle is gently stretched , the stretch receptors begin to send sensory information along the nerve pathways to the spinal cord. During the treatment , a stretch on the muscle is maintained for several seconds before the actual move and this sends further sensory information via the nerves to the spinal cord. For work in the tendons the sensory nerves in tendons are sensitive to resistance versus stretch. After the sensory information induced by the Bowen move reaches the spinal cord, it passes through the nerve pathways to different centres of the brain. Here the information is shunted backward and forwards via a complex, self- correcting mechanism. Following this the information is sent back down the spinal cord to individual muscles.
Research shows also that the stretch in the fascia initiates a small electrical charge. Studies in the US have identified them as being created by the tiny collagen fibres that make up the bulk of the fascia. It has also been established that these electrical impulses further impact the healing capacity of the body.
How often are treatments recommended?
Each person is individual so your therapist will help determine the optimal frequency for you. Sessions commonly last between 30-45 minutes. Generally Bowen treatments are recommended on a schedule of 3 treatments 5-10 days apart. By these 3 sessions we can see how well Bowen will help particular concerns. Some patients may require only one treatment, finding immediate relief. Some require the full 3 sessions and others may require a more long term approach . A common approach to long term prevention is a treatment once every 4-6 weeks.
What are the ways I can optimize my Bowen treatment?
The ways to optimize treatment is to ensure that you are in a comfortable lying down position and conversation is kept to a minimum as that is when the brain is processing the least amount of information and the self corrective system is most able to re orient without disturbance.
- Drink plenty of water ie half your body weight in ounces per day
- It is recommended to avoid sitting for more than half an hour post treatment . Thus if you need to sit it is suggested to stand and stretch every half hour.
If I have pain in one area of the body will the technique impact only that area or will I feel an impact on the rest of my body also?
The key to effective treatment is to understand the source of the concern. For example a knee injury may be due to a weak toe joint or a pelvic imbalance that is putting increased stress on the knee. Similarly headaches may be due to an old fall on the tailbone. There are many factors that relate to posture ie birth, dental work, whether a baby is bottle or breast fed .
Is there a connection to pain in one part of my body to another?
When someone has an injury to one area of the body it is very important to remember that parts of the body act as a team versus in isolation. With that relationship if one part of the body is injured other parts of the body will adjust to compensate. This leads to a cascade of physical and emotional effects. These relationships often change dramatically after a Bowen session. Not only do the tight muscles let go but the relationships between the structural holding patterns change.
Does stress have an impact on pain?
Interestingly when the body is under general stress there is a common posture that can develop ie weak neck muscles lead to tight upper back muscles, tight upper chest muscles lead to weak mid back muscles , weak abdominal muscles lead to tight low back muscles, tight hip flexors lead to weak gluteals. Anywhere there is a weakness the body is at increased risk to pain.
How safe is the Bowen Technique?
The technique uses a very gentle level of touch it is considered to be one of the safest therapies. This means that the technique is ideal for people of all ages including newborns and the elderly.
Is there any contraindications?
Caution needs to be observed for those who are pregnant, have implants ie breast implants, post surgically for jaw and TMJ areas
Can I use other therapies with the Bowen Technique?
The Bowen Technique is complimentary to many other forms of treatment including acupuncture, chiropractic, massage and physiotherapy. Many find that treatments with the Bowen assist the other therapies hold longer. It is recommended that you have the bowen therapy first and then follow with other techniques after a minimum time of 48 hours.
How do I know if a practitioner is qualified?
Practitioners registered with the Bowen Association are entitled to use the letters BTA or BTAA after their name.
Can this technique be useful to animals also?
The technique has been refined for animals and is known as Equine Muscle Release Therapy ( EMRT) ™ and Cat and Canine Muscle Release Therapy ( CCMRT) ™.
To Book An Appointment Click Here or Call 613-829-7100
What are the conditions that can be treated with the Bowen Therapy?
Commonly treated conditions are:
- Anxiety and stress related conditions
- Back pain, sciatica and spinal problems
- Frozen shoulder
- Neck restrictions
- Repetitive Strain Injuries
- Joint concerns ie knee, ankle, elbows
- Migraines, headaches
- Gynecological disorders, PMS, Fertility, Fibroids
- Post Dental trauma- TMJ
- Digestive and Bowl Concerns
- Fibromyalgia , CFS, ME
- General muscle stiffness
- Improper gait
- Asthma, Bronchial symptoms
- Newborn baby concerns ie colic, feeding concerns, sleep related concerns
- Post Op recovery
- Sports injuries
For any physical treatment arrival 15-20 minutes before your appointment is recommended. Feel free to let us know you are here and then head right into the treatment room to relax before your session. Relaxed muscles will provide for a more effective treatment .
The ways to optimize treatment is to ensure that you are in a comfortable lying down position and conversation is kept to a minimum as that is when the brain is processing the least amount of information and the self-corrective system is most able to re orient without disturbance.
- Drink plenty of water i.e. half your body weight in ounces per day
- It is recommended to avoid sitting for more than half an hour post treatment . Thus if you need to sit it is suggested to stand and stretch every half hour.
What about the Research?
Exciting research is emerging from all around the world on the therapeutic effect of Bowen Therapy and the physiological changes that take place in the body. These evidence-based projects cover some of the wide range of conditions as Bowen Therapy has been shown to assist . While some of the results have been published, other work is in the form of unpublished theses, data collection or evaluations. Modern health care is implemented on the basis.
Research by the University of Central Lancashire, shows that the Bowen Technique is very effective for treatment of frozen shoulders. It was shown that only after a few sessions, frozen shoulder sufferers showed significantly improved mobility and pain reduction.
Other research projects underway include the treatment of pelvic pain during and after pregnancy and post- mastectomy recovery.
In a study of twenty patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia conducted by Jo Anne Whitaker, M.D., at the American College of Rheumatology, almost all participants experienced various degrees of relief which lasted from a few days to several weeks. Most reported immediate relief following a Bowen treatment. For some, repeated Bowen Therapy maintained complete clinical remission. The results were statistically significant and correlated with improvement of clinical well being.
A pilot study on the effect of Bowen treatments on fibromyalgia sufferers was carried out by Tim Willcocks (Bowen Practitioner and Trainer). Four participants (aged 39-52) who were diagnosed with fibromyalgia from 3 to 5 years, were given four Bowen treatments over a five week period. All four participants experienced improvement, including better sleep, ease in walking, cessation of vertigo, eased neck pain, improved balance and less exhaustion.
Effects of the Bowen Technique on the Autonomous Nervous System and Heart Rate Variability By measuring changes in the value and pattern in heart rate variability before and after a Bowen treatment, this study by Jo Anne Whitaker, M.D., demonstrated that the Bowen Technique affects the autonomic nervous system (ANS). By using Heart Rate Variability to study the autonomic nervous system, early findings demonstrated that Bowen treatments balanced the ANS.
Bowen Technique practitioner Nikke Ariff completed the Bowen Technique Migraine Research Program which studied the efficacy of the Bowen Technique in treating migraine headaches. The 39 migraine volunteers consisted of 37 women and 2 men. Thirteen of them had been suffering from migraines for 1-15 years; seventeen of them had been having migraines for 16-30 years; and nine had had migraines for over 30 years.
In all, 31 participants experienced a positive result, representing 79.5% of participants. At the end of the program, 36 of the 39 said they would recommend Bowen as a treatment to a friend or colleague.
Nikke Ariff is a Bowen therapist who, between 2002 and 2004 carried out a research program to test the efficacy of the Bowen Technique with Asthma sufferers. The research was carried out over a twelve month period. The majority of participants had been suffering from Asthma over 5 years, most for over 15 years. The results were very positive. Eighty-three percent of the participants reported a reduction in the frequency of their asthma attacks and 75% of the participantsreported using less medication than before the Bowen Research project.
Of the 24 Volunteers who completed the program, 22 reported that secondary health concerns had also improved, including back, neck and shoulder problems; knee and joint problems; headaches and migraines; hay fever; irritable bowel syndrome and digestion; circulation; insomnia; anxiety, stress, depression and energy level improvement.
A study at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill compared practitioner and patient responses on the efficacy of the Bowen Technique in treating pain. Practitioners rated its effectiveness as 85% for back pain, 88% for neck pain, 83% for stress and tension and 80% for fibromyalgia. Patients rated the Bowen Technique at 85% for back pain, 80% for stress and tension, 95% for TMJ, 80% for hip pain and 75.^% for other conditions.
Ashley Pritchard at Swinburn University Department of Psychophysiology, Melbourne, Australia, demonstrated that the Bowen Technique consistently reduced subjects’ level of anxiety, tension, anger, depression, fatigue and confusion
A research project on TMJ abnormality was conducted by Dr. John Bauman, DDS. Immediately after the first Bowen treatment, one third of the patients felt dramatic relief from their symptoms.
Jo Anne Whitaker, M.D has shown that blood chemistry changes following Bowen treatment corroborate patient reports of experiencing flu-like symptoms due to detoxification reactions lasting up to 5 days following a session.
Dr. Bernie Carter at the Metropolitan University of Manchester (UK) conducted a study of patients diagnosed with frozen shoulder who have been treated by the Bowen Technique. Initial data reveal that 77% of the study group have experienced positive outcomes from their treatment.
Midwife and Bowen Therapist Rick Minnery has begun a long-term study on the effectiveness of the Bowen Technique with maternity patients including using Bowen
- • to help reduce pain in labor
• to help reduce low back pain during pregnancy
• to treat post-natal perennial trauma and breast problems.
Joanne Figov, RN and Bowen Therapist, conducted a pilot study on a small section of patients diagnosed with a form of Dystonia called Blepharospasm, a neurological condition characterized by involuntary muscular eyelid spasms causing forceful contraction of the eyes. The results thus far have been very encouraging. Out of eight patients, one recovered completely after four treatments and all the rest experienced relief for a couple of days following each treatment.
Julian Baker and Helen Kinnear of the European College of Bowen Studies (UK) investigated the effect of the Bowen Technique on patients with long-term shoulder pain and stiffness. Results indicated that Bowen significantly improved shoulder function through increasing range of motion and reducing pain. Early evidence suggests possible benefits in the treatment of frozen shoulder, psychiatric disorders and job-related stress.
Eilish Lund, is a lymphoedema nurse who practices in North Wales. She decided to try Bowen out on as many patients as she could, starting with those with primary Lymphoedema and lymphovenous oedema. She found that most patients felt better, moved more freely and after an initial feeling of great tiredness, began to feel better.
For more information, please consult the Bowen website at http://www.bowtech.com/.
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