Bowen Technique By Karen
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|Posted on 24 May, 2014 at 13:29||comments (0)|
Your News: The Bowen is a technique like no other
by Louise Dunthorne
The Bowen Technique is a form of body work unlike any other where the therapist is not in constant contact with the body, this is normal and an important part of the treatment.
Imagine, lying face down on a treatment couch where gentle rolling movements are being applied to different parts of the body; warmth or a tingling sensation is often felt over the area just worked. The therapist leaves the room for a few minutes (the breaks). A deep sense of relaxation is felt. The therapist returns and applies more of the moves and disappears again. This pattern continues, turn on to your back and the treatment resumes in a similar style. Often clients may feel like drifting off to sleep this is OK.
‘The breaks’ are fundamental: a dialogue has started between the brain and the body’s systems so the body can heal itself, Bowen therapists work on the fascia, the connective tissue that wraps around muscles, which they believe can become twisted and cause pain – often somewhere else as the body compensates for the original injury.
Most clients visit their Bowen therapist for muscular-skeletal problems: such as, frozen shoulder, back pain or sporting injuries. It is also beneficial for asthma, arthritis and migraine sufferers, to name a few. It is recommend to try Bowen for almost anything.
Sometimes a client will visit their Bowen Therapist about a particular problem to find that a different ailment has disappeared. Bowen therapists are finding that the body priorities what it wants to heal first. An example of this is when seeing a gentleman with a bad back who failed to mention he had suffered with eczema all his life and suddenly realised after a week his eczema had disappeared. Now how many people would say that was just a coincidence, what would you think?
Have at least 3 sessions to allow your body to hold the changes taking place. Most clients will visit their therapist once a week for two or three weeks then like to have a ‘top up’ between four to eight weeks some manage to go longer between a treatment.
After a first treatment most clients will get up and say. ‘Oh is that it! or, that was really weird but extremely relaxing’!
Children respond very well to Bowen they only need to have a short treatment it can help with poor sleep patterns, growing pains, baby colic, eczema and all sorts of child related problems. Children’s Bowen Clinics are popping up all over the country and many therapists will treat children at a reduced rate.
Depending on the tensions the body is holding, changes take time, don’t expect instant relief, have patience the treatment will continue to work for about a week after a session and the changes can be subtle.
There are now a thousand practitioners in Britain, and it has a diverse fan base, including celebrities such as Elle Macpherson, footballer Dwight Yorke and adventurer Bear Grylles.
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|Posted on 24 May, 2014 at 13:11||comments (1)|
Brain Mapping and the Bowen Technique
by Alexia Monroe , Bowenwork Instructor
I became inspired to explore brain mapping and its connection to the Bowen Technique through V.S. Ramachandran’s book, Phantoms in the Brain. Dr. Ramachandran explores the fascinating research into different centers of the brain responsible for our “body image”.
The research began in the 1940′s, during brain surgery performed by Dr. Wilder Penfield. Brain surgery is often done on fully conscious patients, because the brain contains no pain receptors. Patients would spontaneously tell Penfield what they felt or remembered when different centers were touched, and he noticed there was a consistency to these patterns. He formalized his experiments, and throughout the 40′s and 50′s, he produced the first “brain maps” detailing sensations, emotions and memory in each area of the brain.
It is now understood that these brain maps are universal. Every square centimeter of skin surface has a corresponding nerve locus in the brain, and there are networks of maps throughout the brain’s lobes. There are 30 maps for vision, alone. Interestingly, the maps do not reflect the proportions or order of the body’s form. For example, the areas in the brain corresponding to our hands and face are huge in comparison to other areas of our bodies. And in terms of order, the receptors for the foot are located directly next to those for the pelvis, not the leg ( a reason beyond the obvious for Bowen’s direction to address the pelvis for foot problems?). Receptors for the hand are located directly next to those for the face, not the arm.
Ramachandran did groundbreaking research into amputees’ phantom limb pain, and through his experiments, developed more “maps’. He found there was a detailed, sensory replication of a man’s missing left hand on both his left face and shoulder. That is, when he stroked tiny areas of skin on the face, the man would report, “that is my left index finger”, “that is my left thumb”, until a missing picture of the hand could be drawn. The stroking of the skin located another replica of the hand on the man’s shoulder. The research indicates that, in an absence of stimulation from the amputated limb, the brain sent new neurons into adjoining areas, thus overlapping receptor sites.
Apparently we are born with a fully functioning holographic pattern of our bodies, which is the blueprint that directed our formation as an embryo. Over the course of our lives, our sensory input, including injury and trauma, is etched over that blueprint, creating new pathways in the brain. When the brain directs a body part to move, but it does not respond, as in the case of an amputation or an injury, “a kind of ‘learned paralysis’ is stamped into the brain’s circuitry”. Could it be that Bowen movements, which stimulate the brain through the body’s internal nervous system (the proprioceptors), effect the ‘resetting’ we speak of by actually reawakening the brain’s original, holographic blueprint?
Sensory information follows a path from the sense organs to the limbic system, which is our emotional system. The information is passed to the thalamus and hypothalamus, which distributes information to the autonomic nervous system (including blood pressure), the pituitary (controlling the hormonal system), and the parietal lobes (where the “body image” is stored). Bowen’s minimum two minutes’ wait between moves allows the sensory information to be processed and allow these systems to respond. Neuroscience supports the reasoning behind longer waits if the area has been traumatized or limited, in a “learned paralysis”, for a longer period of time.
Ramachandran’s experiments on body image showed that our brain’s “body image” is highly flexible, operating on an assumption of possibilities. As Ramachandran says, “Your own body is a phantom, one that your brain has temporarily constructed purely for convenience”. It can be convinced that the stroking of one’s own hand, hidden from view, in synchrony with a table surface within one’s view, can only mean that the table is part of one’s body. If the table is suddenly whacked after this “melding of body image” has occurred, a galvanic skin response monitor would register trauma in the brain far greater than usual.
Evidently human beings routinely extend our “body image” into our surroundings, to encompass our cars, our homes, and our loved ones. The study of immune system disorders reveals a common history of car accidents or other physical emotional trauma, either recent or long-term, before the onset of symptoms. No wonder our immune systems break down after a car accident, or a burglary, or a loved one’s trauma– to our brains, it is an attack on our own bodies!
This understanding of body image can be useful to a positive effect as well. It offers support to the Bowen Therapy’s ability to heal through surrogates, or to aid healing of an individual by working on the entire family group. One of the most mysterious reports of Ramachandran’s was on epilepsy. Evidently epileptics whose seizures center in the limbic system commonly exhibit an unusual profound, personal feeling for God. During the seizures, the “feel they are gazing directly into God’s eyes”. Among those whose epilepsy centers in the temporal lobes, many report feeling spiritually “awakened”, and that this feeling remains with them even between seizures.
Dr. Ramachandran writes, “Many a patient has told me of ‘a divine light that illuminates all things’. No one knows why this happens, but it’s as though the repeated electrical bursts inside the patient’s brain permanently ‘facilitate’ certain pathways or may open new channels.” He asks, “Could it be that human beings have actually evolved specialized neural circuitry for the sole purpose of mediating religious experience?” He goes on to explore possible Darwinian reasons why we may have evolved the circuitry, as he observes that organisms only have traits if they serve evolutionary reasons. He notes that they may lie dormant, but be reawakened when needed.
I found myself thinking, “So we are hardwired for God?” We have all seen how Bowen can align all aspects of physical health. Many of us have noticed in our clients and ourselves a mental, emotional and spiritual re-balancing, too. Neuroscience is an area of study in its infancy, compared to many. And my understanding of it is very elemental. Yet what I have learned indicates to me that Bowen Therapy truly may “turn on the Light in the brain”.
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|Posted on 24 May, 2014 at 12:43||comments (0)|
My sceptical visit to a Bowen practitioner
By Carolyn Jarman
I had tried doctors, chiropractors and physiotherapists (each helping in some small way), but my back problems increased to the point of desperation. If I forward even slightly from the perpendicular, I fell flat on my face as my back gave way.
Progressing to back spasms (every couple of days) made me cry out in pain before I collapsed on the floor yet again. My husband had to put my shoes and socks on for me and often help me to dress. I couldn’t sit in a car for more than 30 minutes without a walk to ease the pain and stiffness.
Despite this I was moderately active at home for short periods between 9am and 3pm, once I loosened up after the many and varied stretches I did. During the night I changed position every hour and ran through my stretches again (sending my husband to another bed). The three mattresses I trialled made no difference to my comfort and by 5am I rose – to lie down was no longer bearable.
My lady doctor eventually referred me to a GP who practised Bowen (I would not have the suggested spinal operation – I saw too many failures of this procedure in my own family). She had recent positive feedback from other Bowen patients but admitted to not knowing much about it herself. The initial cost of $30 (2004) a session squeezed my otherwise tight budget.
As I waited my turn at the clinic, I watched faces enter in agony and smiling faces leave – my hopes soared. Photos of the slender, elderly doctor competing in marathons lined the walls in the waiting room of the remodelled timber house. Some patients sat in the morning sun on the patio with a peaceful view of the native garden.
“Mrs Jarman?” The doctor shook my hand and in a quiet, smiling voice introduced himself. I watched his eyes follow the last patient leave. “I am still awed by the difference in their strides”, he said. I sat in his office, while he listened to my problems, wrote notes, and then explained the Bowen modality to me. He led me to one of the treatment rooms, which held only a divan bed, a chair and a reverse cycle air conditioner. Left to undress in bra and undies, I laid on my stomach on the bed with a quilt covering me.
Doctor returned, rubbed his cold hands for my benefit and began some very gentle, unique massage type movements down my spine for only a few minutes before leaving me to rest. A note was made on a memo pad attached to the door. He closed the door and went to another patient.
I thought, “That can’t do anything. He must be a quack”.
I then felt a warmth run up my spine and I almost nodded off before he entered again and worked on my neck and legs, each time for just a few minutes, allowing a 10 minute rest between treatments. About 40 minutes later, I dressed and left with the doctor’s warnings not to use any heat treatment or hot showers; no massaging or rubbing (as one does to any sore spots); no sitting still for more than 50 minutes and to make an appointment for the following week.
Sitting in the passenger seat of the car as my husband drove off, I looked back, out of habit, to see if the traffic was clear. My head turned further than ever before. I didn’t realise I had any neck problems previously, but this was a new range of vision!
On arriving home I got out to open the farm gate. Grinning from ear to ear, I did a jig and told hubby, “I feel like dancing”. Unbelievably, the sun had set before I stopped working at weeding and clearing dead banana plants – carrying the long trunk pieces to the mulch pile (well, the doctor did say there were no restrictions on exercise)! I slept well and continued my new life throughout that week.
On my second visit I gave thanks to my new super hero doctor. He treated me but said I would not need any further sessions. I didn’t feel nearly as good but put it down to the cold weather. A week later, quite sore again, I made another appointment.
The Doctor apologised for my discomfort and questioned me further, finally realising that I had used my electric blanket. Apparently, any heat negates the treatment in the first 10 days. “Heat switches it off”, he said. “We don’t fully understand how Bowen works, but it does work.”
Yes it does, I was 90% better for 6 months. A problem in my groin sent me back for one session but the doctor told me he was not always successful for that area but gave it a try. That made him human to me – he, or Bowen, could not fix everything but it was worth a try. The groin did improve and released in time. I only had one other overhaul of my entire body 12 months later and now (2007) I am 100% fit and healthy. I walk 4.5km daily, plus work around the farm including filing the feet of my five miniature ponies.
An equine Bowen practitioner works on an injured pony of mine now, with great success. So it is not mind over matter or quackery, as many crippled horses also recover to lead useful lives. I recommend Bowen to everyone.
By Carolyn Jarman
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|Posted on 24 May, 2014 at 12:23||comments (0)|
A day in the life of James Ellison BSB (British Super Bikes) Rider
A day in the life of…
So now that things have settled down a little I thought id write a blog to let everyone know what I’ve been up to recently. The first round at Brands Hatch Easter weekend was certainly one I will remember for many reasons, one of them being it was the first time id had a double podium since 2010, we had somewhat of an up and down season last year so to bag a double podium at my first meeting with a new team and a new bike gave me a heap of confidence, especially considering I got the first podium from 16th on the grid and with an injury sustained in qualifying that later turned out to be a cracked pelvis with internal muscle bleeding and bruising!
Myself and Stalker gave Lloyds British GBmoto Kawasaki their first BSB podiums (both in the first race) so that was something else it will be remembered for.
Going into the second round at Oulton Park I wasn’t so sure that we would be able to maintain the the fantastic start to the year as my injury became really painful in the days following Brands Hatch, I continued in the gym as normal and managed just one hour testing at Oulton Park the week before the race before I finally gave into it and took some medical advice.
Friday after the test I met with Circuit doctor (Dr Martin) and he along with Heike Romer managed to get me booked in for an MRI scan in liverpool the evening of the Oulton test.
Once I found out what was wrong and they docs said pretty much to rest up before the race the following weekend I hit the road for a looong drive down to Plymouth where I had a Appearance Day at GT Motorcycles for new sponsors McAMS, it was a great day and I got to spend it with big Bro Dean who I rarely get to hang out with so really enjoyed it, plus I was getting the rest from training that I needed.
That evening I drove to Leicester for a bit of home cooked food, then it was another early start down to Aylesbury for he On Yer Bike Appearance Day for Kawasaki UK. It was another good turnout and I even got to hang out with TT Legend Ian Hutchinson…..and buy his lunch (you owe me Hutchy).
I enjoy the Appearance Days because at a race weekend we can seem a bit aloof to the fans as we really don’t have time to just stop for a chat while we are at the races with having so many responsibilities and most of the time our minds are preoccupied, so its nice to give something back to the fans and answer any questions they may have or just sit and bullshit with them.
So after that it was a race (driving at the speed limit of course) to get back to the house in time to watch MotoGP and see the family, I managed to get there with 15mins spare after being let off early from the dealers and got to watch it with Sarah and my little Boy who seems to only sit still when bikes are on (he’s 5 and a half months old so slightly worrying, but great all the same)
The next 5 days leading up to Oulton Park was spent in the Hyperbaric Chamber in Heysham in the mornings followed by the gym and some BowenTechnique treatment all aided to help speed up the recovery of my injuries. For those who haven't tried or even heard of Bowen Technique (Bowtech) you should check it out at www.pridehealthandfitness.com , I have been using it for years and its nothing short of magic!
So as you can imagine rocking up to Oulton Park I wasn’t brimming with confidence as I didn’t know how everything would hold up, but to my surprise I felt great on the bike I just couldn’t move around as much as I would have liked in the twisty stuff as my leg was still weak. After the first session I went to see the CJ Riders Fund Physio’s at the medical centre and they worked on getting my mobility and strength back over the weekend also giving me strengthening and stability exercises that i did every morning and night until the race.
We came away with another two 3rd place podiums and although we dropped 1 point behind Brookes to 3rd in the Championship I will take that after the way I felt just one week before. We also had a few issues over the weekend with bike set up in the faster corners like Cascades, Island and Druids where I seemed to lose out to both Shakey and Brookes but we have since pinpointed the problem and that will be number one priority at the next race in June.
As many of you know already my wife Sarah is from Texas and whenever we have a break in the season (usually middle and end) we like to go back to the states to see the USA side of our family so we are over here now catching up with everyone for a few weeks. It’s great for me as I have a motocross bike, mountain bike and gym membership over here so I can carry on training as I would if I was back in the UK (the only difference is that its about 30 degrees hotter over here!) My leg is nearly back to full strength now and with plenty of time to get back up to full fitness before Snetterton I’m confident that we will be straight back out at the sharp end fighting for more podiums.
Thank you all for taking time out to read this, I'll check in again next week!
Ride safe and keep smiling, J.
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|Posted on 24 May, 2014 at 10:37||comments (0)|
Thursday 30th January 2014
Dad thanks NHS after being able to walk
A DAD with acute and agonising sciatica may be able to return to work and can now walk without a stick thanks to complementary therapy while he waited for a cure on the NHS.
Justin Willis, aged 42, of Beauchamp Road, Malvern, was in such pain he felt he was being ‘stabbed’ and collapsed up to four times a week, sometimes in front of his distressed daughter, Tyler, now aged six.
Mr Willis has been signed off work at Foster Care Co-operative in Malvern his GP since last October but now, thanks to the two Malvern-based therapists, feels the worst may be behind him. ditching his stick a month ago. He has an appointment with his GP on Thursday and hopes his doctor will be able to give the green light for a phased return to work.
Mr Willis has received help free-of-charge from Tim Willcocks, a Malvern-based practitioner of Bowen Therapy, who had read of Mr Willis’s ordeal in your Worcester Newsand sister paper the Malvern Gazette. Meanwhile, he was spotted by Julie Spriggs of Julie’s Complementary Therapies in Morrison’s in Malvern and she also offered to help him free-of-charge on the spot, using Reiki.
Mr Willis said: “There has been an improvement. I am certainly a lot better though I’m not out of the woods. I have seen the two therapists and the pain has definitely dissipated.
"I’m taking painkillers as well. I really appreciate what they have done.”
He is expecting another nerve root block injection on the NHS but said he had yet to be given a date for an appointment. He hopes the injection will stop the pain completely.
He said: “I’m hoping to go back to work next week (at a foster care agency in Malvern). There are a lot of people who dismiss the alternative stuff but I have done it and found it to be extremely relaxing.
"While waiting for the NHS there are other routes that people can try. Some people say it’s a load of poppycock but it has certainly helped me. You’re just waiting endlessly on the NHS.”
Mr Willis said the feedback from the NHS was that his condition was not life-threatening but said he had felt like he was ‘at the bottom of the pile’. He said: “It does completely mess your life up.”
Mr Willis’s ordeal began in October 2012 with a prolapsed disc in his lower back which may have been caused by him lifting a guitar amplifier.
Since then he has been under the care of the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. He has had MRI scans and has had acupuncture, a pain-numbing nerve root block injection and painkillers.
Mr Willcocks said when he first saw Mr Willis it was ‘even painful for him to draw breath’ but believes Bowen treatments have played a large part in his recovery.
Mrs Finch said: “He seems like a different person now.”
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|Posted on 21 March, 2014 at 6:02||comments (0)|
Really interesting article about posture and the way we sit.
By Bonnie Berkowitz and Patterson Clark,Washington Post
We know sitting too much is bad, and most of us intuitively feel a little guilty after a long TV binge. But what exactly goes wrong in our bodies when we park ourselves for nearly eight hours per day, the average for a U.S. adult? Many things, say four experts, who detailed a chain of problems from head to toe;
|Posted on 18 March, 2014 at 7:58||comments (5)|
Bowen in ‘Neighbours’
Bowen recently got a mention in the Australian soap ‘Neighbours’ when a character says "I’ve got to get to my Bowen Therapy appointment”.
You can watch it by going to;
Or by Googling episode 6823 and fast forward to 15min 50s.
Great news for Bowen!
|Posted on 20 January, 2013 at 9:04||comments (16)|
24th April 2007
Adventurer Bear Grylls' battle with back pain and high cholesterol by MOIRA PETTY
To the outside world, the adventurer Bear Grylls epitomises supreme fitness. The man who catapults himself into alien, life-threatening environments, surviving on his wits alone, practically bursts with good health - or so it seems to the viewer watching him on television from the comfort of the sofa.
Yet despite appearances, Bear has been plagued with back pain for over ten years - for which he only recently found an effective treatment. More worryingly, he also suffers from high levels of cholesterol, caused by a genetic disease which killed his father and grandfather - and which poses as much of a danger to him as his Boys' Own exploits.
Adventurer Bear Grylls may throw himself into some of the most uninhabitable places on earth but the super fit action man suffers from a genetic condition which means he suffers from very high cholesterol levels.
Bear's father, former Tory MP Sir Michael Grylls, died suddenly of a heart attack at 66 in 2001; his grandfather also died prematurely of heart disease.
But it was only six months ago that Bear had a cholesterol test. He was staggered to find that he had a reading of six-and-a half, which is very high for someone of his age and fitness. "I had been in the SAS Territorial Army and spent my life on physical challenges. Even when at home I exercised six days a week, alternating circuit training, running and yoga," says Bear, now 33.
Without these high levels of activity his reading could have been even worse; his older sister, Lara, had an even higher reading of eight. Doctors recommend that cholesterol levels are under five and even lower for patients at particular risk of heart disease.
Bear appears to suffer from a hereditary predisposition to dangerously high levels of cholesterol, which clogs the arteries and can lead to heart attacks and stroke.
The condition - hypercholesterolaemia - affects seven people in 1,000. Men with the condition are at greater risk of heart attack: 80 per cent will have had their first heart attack by 60, but many will suffer one in their 40s or 50s. Although the condition is not caused by a bad diet, it can be improved by one low in fats.
Despite the warning given by his father's and grandfather's heart attacks, Bear had enjoyed a diet rich in animal fats, especially meat and milk which he thought necessary to sustain his high-octane and physically strenuous existence. But soon after his cholesterol test, he came across The Rave Diet, written by American filmmaker Mike Anderson, who had seen members of his family die of cancer and heart disease.
Based on fruit, vegetables and wholegrains with as much raw food as possible and no animal fats or vegetable oils, it is a Spartan regime, but Bear has embraced it enthusiastically. "After I read this, the links between the heart disease which killed my father and grandfather, my high cholesterol and my fatty diet became startlingly clear. My mother fed my father butter and cream all day long. "It breaks my heart that my father never knew my children. He should have been around for another 25 years."
Bear has learnt that the key to his survival may lie not in his awesome ability to live off hostile landscapes, but in adhering to the sort of lifestyle advice promoted in every GP's surgery. "I am planning to have my cholesterol tested again soon. But I think my new diet is the answer." Bear, his wife Shara and two sons (aged four and one) now eat neither meat nor fish, but get their protein from nuts, seeds, pulses and quinoa (a protein rich grain which can be used like rice or as a porridge). They also drink oat milk (made from oats mixed with water and other grains and beans; it is high in fibre, vitamin E, folic acid and phytochemicals, which fight cancer and heart disease).
"We're not bonkers about it - if we go out, we eat what's available. And when I'm on an expedition I eat what I have to in order to stay alive. I've eaten sheep's eyes, the still hot meat from a zebra killed by a lion, and maggots which give you 70 calories to the ounce."
As well as his risk of heart disease, Bear also suffers from chronic back problems. Twelve years ago, aged 21, he broke his back when training with the SAS after his parachute failed to inflate at 16,000 feet. "I should have cut the main parachute and gone to the reserve but thought there was time to resolve the problem." He landed on his parachute pack, which was like an iron bar, and fractured three vertebrae.
It was extraordinary that he was alive, let alone not paralysed - but incredibly the spinal cord, which channels messages between the brain and all parts of the body, had not been severed.
Bear was treated at Headley Court, the defence forces' rehabilitation centre in Surrey. "The doctor said I was a miracle man. I had come so close to severing my spinal cord. Because of my age and my fitness, they decided I could avoid surgery."
Instead, he underwent ten hours a day of physiotherapy, swimming, stretching and ultrasound treatment - a programme designed to help servicemen get back to active duty, but rarely available to civilians.
The alternative - and one offered to most people in a similar situation, but without Bear's peak fitness - is surgery to fuse the broken vertebrae.
'I had nightmares for months. Still, I was lucky to walk away without surgery - but ever since, I have suffered twinges and pains."
Deep massage helped, but he says he always felt physically 'unbalanced' by his injury.Then a year ago his wife suggested he see a Bowen therapist.
The Bowen technique, developed in the 1950s, involves using rolling movements over muscles, ligaments and tendons.
This is said to send impulses to the brain to trigger the body's own healing system.
Precisely how it works is a mystery, but many professional football clubs maintain a Bowen therapist as it has been shown to be very effective in realigning the skeletal structure.
"I was sceptical, but wanted to keep an open mind," says Bear.
He went to see East Sussex based Bowen therapist Sarah Yearsley.
"With the slightest squiggle of her fingers, it felt like petrol was being put back in my tank and I could feel all the stress seeping away. More importantly, after my back accident, my spine and pelvis had lost alignment, so I felt unbalanced."
Sarah explained that Bear's pelvis was slightly twisted - and that this would cause endless problems and backache.
Most fans of Bear's Born Survivor series will not have noticed anything wrong, yet a subtle misalignment - visible only to the expert eye - can impact on total health. For Bear, who is often jumping out of planes, having complete structural alignment is even more important than for the average person.
Bear describes himself as now 'hooked' and has treatment every month.
It has helped him prepare for his most perilous challenge yet.
Next month he is attempting a powered paraglide over Everest's 29,035ft summit.
"I am scared I could black out in the click of a finger." If this venture seems inconsistent with his desire to lead a healthy life, Bear has an announcement.
"This is the last of my big expeditions or challenges. They're getting too dangerous. I'm not on the Ranulph Fiennes road of trying to beat the last expedition." Sir Ranulph has been an inspiration to Bear all his life.
As a boy, Bear climbed the bell tower at Eton, where the baronet had also once been a pupil. "In the lead lining, I found the initials RF. I put BG next to his," he recalls.
But while he is 'full of dreams and ambitions,' he also has a family and a long-suffering wife at home.
In fact, relaxation is vital to Bear, who says, somewhat surprisingly: "I don't thrive on stress. I love lying on the deck on our houseboat reading a book.
"I'm terrified of walking into a room full of people. Sitting down at a dinner table with 15 strangers brings me out in a sweat." Yet, he says, fear isn't the reason not to do something.
"I'm scared of heights, yet I've just abseiled 770 feet off Canary Wharf for charity.
"But the folly of youth is that you think you're immortal. Losing my father and having my children has brought me to my senses. I want to be around to love and guide my sons for a long time."
Contents provided by the European School of Bowen Studies (ECBS)
|Posted on 20 January, 2013 at 8:57||comments (2)|
from the GEELONG ADVERTISER
Saturday, 3 April 1999
H E A L I N G H A N D S
Nearly two decades after his death ‘the Bowen Technique’ is being taught to final year osteopathy students at both RMIT and VUT and is expected to become part of the chiropractic curriculum. KAREN MATTHEWS delves into the history of a remarkable man.
“I expect to pass through this world but once; Any good thing therefore that I can do, Or any kindness that I can show to any fellow-creature Let me do it now; Let me not defer or neglect it For I shall not pass this way again.”
John o’London’s Treasure Trove (1925) A verse by which Tom Bowen lived.
Perhaps Tom Bowen may not pass this way again, but the gift he left behind, after more than 30 years working in a profession in which he was never formally qualified, will live on.
Today, 17 years after his death, he is still remembered as a naturally gifted, self-taught osteopath who through his own special technique managed to help thousands of people overcome or learn to cope with a wide range of injury, illness and disability.
According to those who knew him best, there were many facets to his character. He could be gruff and certainly had a low tolerance of fools. Yet he was humble to a fault, a compassionate man who never pretended to be anything he wasn’t, never judged people, expected anything from them or ripped them off. On the contrary, he rarely charged battlers - and children never.
Tom Bowen was born in Brunswick in 1916, one of four children in a working class family at a time when a boy needed only enough education to get him a job. In September 1941, he married Jessie McLean and the couple moved to Geelong where Tom landed a job with a milk carter called ‘Whistler’ Lee.
Later he worked on the wharves, as a general hand in a local woollen mill and eventually the cement works where he developed a keen interest in treating the various aches and pains of fellow workers - in particular bad backs.
He became friendly with a man called Ernie Saunders who had an excellent reputation in Melbourne as a ‘manipulator’ and Tom would visit his rooms regularly to watch him work and listen to what he had to say. Before long he had developed his own technique and was putting it to good use on his workmates.
Other good friends were Stan Horwood and his wife Rene, who opened their home so Tom had somewhere to treat people of an evening. According to Tom’s older daughter, Pam Trigg, after working at the cement works all day her father would go home, have tea and get changed before going to the Horwoods to treat people often until late at night. “When Stan died in the early 1960’s, Dad decided to leave his job at the cement works and with Rene’s assistance, open his own clinic in La Trobe Terrace,” Pam said.
“Over the years the clinic had a number of different locations, eventually settling in Villamanta Street.” Word of Tom’s successful technique spread and the clinic quickly built up into a very busy practice.
Saturday mornings once a fortnight were devoted entirely to children with disabilities and every Saturday night Tom opened his clinic to injured football players. No appointments were made and the lights didn’t go out until the last player had been seen.
“There were times as children when we barely saw Dad because he was so busy,” Pam said. “And although we would get angry about this, we remained a very close family. We all got along well with Dad but as children we know nothing about his technique. He gave so much to others and as a young person I couldn’t understand that - I certainly can now. Everyone today is grasping for money but Dad was different, that wasn’t what he was about at all. In fact, at one point we were all afraid he would be closed down, but he saw the need in people and had a very giving attitude towards life.”
Geelong chiropractor Romney Smeeton was one of six men who trained under Tom Bowen and still remembers him as a man with great empathy towards his fellow man.
“He had no formal training for the work he did but was greatly influenced by a group of Melbourne practitioners,” Romney said. “He had a lot of people wanting to learn from him over the years and he didn’t beat around the bush if he thought it wasn’t going to work out. “Someone might work with him for three or four days and he’d just say, ‘Look, you just haven’t got it son’. And that would be the end of that.
“I’m not sure he even knew how potent his treatment was because so much of it was intuitive. Everything Tom did he expected to get a result from and so he was never surprised when it happened. He was very hard of hearing and loved a joke and I remember that if the noise of a crowded room ever became too much for him he’d simply turn his hearing aid down and smile.
He also had a whole pile of funny little remedies for gout and sinus that worked, and a special ointment called ‘white magic’ which had camphor, whisky and gin in it - don’t ask me in what proportions or how it worked, but it was a great liniment for foot injuries.”
Romney said that while Tom used his hands to heal there was also an aura of positivity about him. “He may not have officially been an osteopath or chiropractor, but he certainly did all the things expected of one and had far more talent than a lot of those practising,” he said. “Tom knew he had powers of healing that were way beyond anything we could do, but unfortunately his lack of education meant he simply didn’t have the terminology to be able to describe exactly what muscle he was adjusting.”
According to Romney, during the 1970’s, the Government Report into Complementary Therapies, titled The Webb Report, found that Tom was treating 13,000 people a year and at one point seeing 100 clients a day, despite his own health problems with diabetes.
In 1981, after 30 years of practice, Tom applied for acceptance by the Chiropractors and Osteopaths Registration Board under what was known as the ‘grandfather’ clause, which allowed automatic registration of chiropractors and osteopaths without formal qualifications on four conditions.
The applicant had to pay the appropriate examination fee, have successfully practised osteopathic or chiropractic pursuits for at least five years, proven professional competency by undergoing a clinical assessment, and be of good character.
Tom passed three with flying colours but his lack of formal education was no match for the clinical assessment set down by the board-appointed committee and he subsequently failed the examination.
“In the end, he was allowed to go on practising, but only if he found a new title for himself, so he called himself an alternative therapist,” Romney said. “It made absolutely no difference to his patients, who continued to flock to him for treatment, but he was disappointed because he wanted them to be able to claim medical benefits and unless he was registered they couldn’t.”
Romney said Tom’s teaching had had an enormous impact on his own work as a chiropractor. “He gave us a technique and procedure - a direction to follow and we should be very grateful for that,” he said. “But there is so much that he has taken with him. What I miss most about him is his immense knowledge - and even then we only scratched the surface.
Important to me is the fact that Tom passed on his knowledge for free - that he didn’t charge us anything for it. And I hope that his philosophy about helping people, the way he went about his work and the spirit in which he did it won’t be forgotten in years to come.”
Geelong osteopath Kevin Ryan also trained under Tom and described him as an osteopath in the true sense of the word despite having had no formal training in that field. “He was an incredibly generous man in the sense that with his clinic for the disabled, he never charged a fee for children, and the droves of kids who came to be treated all called him ‘Uncle Tom’. Because of his poor hearing he used to lip read so it wasn’t unusual for him to switch off to adults. However, whenever he was working with kids he wouldn’t take his eyes off them in case they said something and he wasn’t able to know what they were saying. He lost a grandchild with cerebral palsy and I believe this was a big force in his life. He felt terribly sad that he’d been unable to do anything to help his little granddaughter and so he put a great deal of energy into helping those he could.”
According to Kevin, he had been attending Saturday clinics where Tom had been working on a young girl with a withered arm. “After working on it for some time, the arm began to grow and became more useful,” Kevin said. “I was fascinated and asked if I could come along and watch what he was doing. Tom agreed, and I stayed with him for three years.”
Kevin said Tom was often called out by Geelong police to treat injuries, visited the then Geelong Training Prison where he treated inmates, and attended to Animals with as much care as his human patients.
He had an energy and passion for his work that couldn’t be dampened even after losing a leg through diabetes and when a horse he was treating one time stood on his prosthetic foot he thought it was hilarious. It was the first time he’d ever had a horse stand on his foot and it hadn’t hurt a bit.
Tom Bowen died at Geelong on 25 October 1982, and his funeral was standing-room only - a fitting farewell for a man who had helped so many throughout his life.
Since then his work has been recognised in a number of ways, put into practice by those he taught, plus the formation of the Bowen Therapists Association of Australia in 1997.
But the greatest recognition by far of Tom Bowen’s work is that The Bowen Technique is now being taught to final year osteopathy students at both RMIT and VUT and is expected to become part of the chiropractic curriculum.
Contents provided by the European School of Bowen Studies (ECBS)
|Posted on 20 January, 2013 at 8:50||comments (0)|
The Daily Telegraph
HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Friday August 4 2000
Light fingers make many things work
Every summer, it’s the same. From the beginning of June until the end of August, I greet each new morning with runny nose, itchy eyes and a sneeze.
I never used to be a hay fever sufferer, but then, all of a sudden, I was, and over the past six or seven years, the symptoms have gradually worsened.
This summer was shaping up to be much the same s usual – until I went to see Jill Lebor, a practitioner of Bowen Technique, a ‘hands-on’ therapy, for quite a different complaint.
I was feeling constantly tired, a result, not doubt, of having two small children. Now, it may be coincidence, but the morning after my visit to Jill, the hay fever vanished. I telephoned her with great excitement, but Jill replied that yes, patients often report a disappearance of hay fever as a side effect of her treatment. They could go to see her for a frozen shoulder or painful ankle, but nevertheless come out cured of their hay fever.
Bowen Technique is one of many complementary hands-on therapies, in the same school as chiropractic, osteopathy and acupuncture. Like acupuncture, it concentrates on pressure points in the body, which adepts consider to be channels for energy and pain relief. Crucially, the treatment does not involve needles.
As in chiropractic and osteopathy, practitioners manipulate parts of the body. But there the similarity ends: the movements are almost absurdly light-fingered. Some of the little touches she applied to my neck and back were so insignificant, they could almost have been tickles and I was left wondering how such a delicate therapy could possibly have any effect.
My own 40-minute session if Jill Lebor’s treatment room was pleasantly relaxing: in fact, I fell asleep. The unusual thing about Bowen Technique is that during each session, the practitioner will spend as much time out of the treatment room as in it, allowing the body to set itself right between each movement. After every tiny roll on my back, thighs, knees and face, Jill left the room for several minutes.
Initially, this unsettled me, but as I became more and more sleepy, I found it relaxing. After the session, I did feel I had a little more energy but, apparently, I needed more than one visit. Also, Jill acknowledged that Bowen Technique couldn’t cure the effects of having a sleepless two- and four-year-old.
Bowen practitioners, however, do claim to treat a wide range of other ailments, including frozen shoulder, back ache, infant colic, sleeping problems, arthritis, sciatica, chest and breathing problems.
Indeed, two recent trails into the efficacy of Bowen Technique in treating frozen shoulder and lymphoedema (painful swelling in the joints) both showed the technique to have a positive effect.
Bowen Technique was devised by Tom Bowen, an Australian industrial chemist who had no medical training. He was fascinated by osteopathy, but soon abandoned conventional techniques and started treating people with his own gentle form of massage. His patients had specific musculo-skeletal injuries, but he discovered that his treatment had the incidental effect of clearing up chronic conditions such as asthma , hay fever and gastrointestinal problems.
Bowen died in 1982 without having fully explained or written down his technique, but a number of pupils were able to continue his work. Some brought the technique over to Europe and today there are more than 1,000 Bowen practitioners.
One real advantage of Bowen over other ‘alternative’ therapies is that many complaints are said to be treated after just two or three sessions, making Bowen treatment easier on the wallet.
Bridget Renwick, 48, had Bowen treatment for a frozen shoulder and, like me, found that it cured the severe hay fever which had bothered her for more than 30 years. ‘I had tried homoeopathy, but that didn’t work and I had resigned myself to taking antihistamine tablets every summer, which I wasn’t happy about,’ she says.
This summer, she has yet to swallow a single Beconase tablet. Delighted, she sent her 10-year-old daughter, who also suffers from hay fever, the Bowen treatment.
And the shoulder? After unsuccessful physiotherapy, just two sessions of Bowen put it back to normal. ‘If you add up how much I spent on antihistamine tablets, and on treatments for the frozen shoulder, Bowen works out as very good value’, she said.
Felicity Arcelli, a 30-year-old trainee nurse from Canterbury, needed only three sessions of Bowen Technique to set right a year-long back pain problem. ‘I came off my moped and dislocated my shoulder. Then I started getting little aches and pains in my lower back, which got worse over the weeks and months that followed.
‘My back was particularly bad in the mornings and some days it was difficult even to get out of bed. My sister recommended I see a Bowen practitioner after her neck problem cleared up, and I went to see Jill Lebor.’
Three sessions proved very relaxing. ‘The first was a general all-over session. The next one concentrated on my lower back and the third concentrated on my shoulder that had been dislocated.
As she is on a tight budget, Felicity was particularly pleased that she needed to see Jill Lebor for only three sessions. ‘The morning after the third session, I bounced out of bed. I wasn’t in pain. It was amazing.’ Two months after her treatment, Felicity occasionally gets twinges, but ‘nothing like before. I feel I’ve been given a new lease of life’, she says. Sarah Lonsdale
Contents provided by the European School of Bowen Studies (ECBS)