Try a different treatment to balance your body

Posted by MaggieYang on 16. Mar 2009

The Bowen Technique is a remedial therapy tool. That is, it is used by therapists to mainly help people who are in pain or discomfort for one reason or another. It is a gentle therapy that works over the soft tissue of the client and features lots of rests in between moves to allow the body to start working with the information. Developed by Tom Bowen, many valid forms of his work exist in the world today.

How does it work?

There have been many theories put forward in the past relating to why Bowen works and many still, who with a simple naivety believe that we don't need to know. They may have a point, but these days there is much more that we can understand and acceptance from the medical community and wider use of the technique by health professionals, will come from a better understanding of what happens during a Bowen treatment. Recently the concept of the way in which the brain reacts to neural stimulus has been looked at in more detail and is the subject of ongoing research by ECBS.

The brain emits in the region of 600,000 signals per second, all of which both send out signals and in turn receive information from the body. A muscular movement for example begins from the primary motor cortex at the front of the brain and is sent, via the spinal cord, to the arm or leg where it is translated into movement. In order to gauge this however, the brain needs to receive a signal telling it what is happening and what to do next and this it does via the parietal lobe of the brain.

The effect is a kind of looping circuit traveling at massive speeds, sending and receiving information. A Bowen move which is a series of gentle rolling moves, followed by breaks at certain intervals, interferes with this signal and creates another set of parameters for the brain to examine. Once the brain starts to reorder the signals it is also able to reinterpret the information coming from other areas, an example of why Bowen will often set of reactions in areas that haven't been treated.

An example of this kind of signaling comes from Dr V. S. Ramachandran, a neurologist in the USA. In his work with amputees who suffer from phantom pains, he came across one man who was experiencing a clenching sensation in his amputated hand. By using a mirror to reflect the intact hand, the looping signal from the brain that was creating pain, was changed, as the brain 'saw' tow hands and stopped the "clench" signal to the amputated hand.

Research is continuing in this area but explains a lot of the peculiarities surrounding Bowen, especially the serendipity of the treatment, whereby areas not treated are often affected by Bowen.



How is it different from other therapies, such as Chiropractic, Osteopathy or physiotherapy?

All these therapies are excellent therapies, but Bowen differs in several respects. Osteopaths and chiropractors often use adjustments, or 'cracks' to realign the structure of the body. They will make a diagnosis of the patient and treat the area of concern. With Bowen therapy the approach is rather different. The therapist will take a case history, but the treatment does not set out to treat specific conditions or ailments. Instead the body is treated as a whole unit, without referral to named disease. For instance if someone came to a Bowen therapist with cancer, we would not claim to be able to help the cancer or even to treat it. Instead we are trying to help the person.

What will happen during a session?

As a general rule, moves will be made over the lower and mid back and legs, the upper back and shoulders before finishing with neck moves with client supine(face up). A feature of the work is that between sets of moves the therapist will leave the room and allow the client to rest. This is a key element of Bowen and is a defining aspect of the technique as well as being one of the most important. The break allows the body the opportunity to create a decision about what action needs to be taken in response to the moves given.

What will I feel like afterwards?

Reactions to treatment are not uncommon and include tiredness, increase in original symptoms, stiffness, headaches, flu like symptoms, increased dream activity. Aftercare advie give to each client will emphasize the importance of movement, the drinking of water and the return for treatments. It is vital that a client does not cease the treatment in response to a strong reaction. The moves are do subtle that if a strong reaction is experienced it demonstrates how profound the work can be and further treatments are essential if the full effect is going to be felt.

The Bowen Technique Clinic
Jing Club, 3rd to 5th floor, CITIC Building Tower C,
19 Jianguomenwai Street, Chaoyang District, Beijing
Tel: 15011474203 (Stephen Emmerson)


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