Bowen Technique By Karen
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|Posted on 20 January, 2013 at 6:25||comments ()|
Today’s Therapist International Trade Journal
Issue 56 January February 2009
The Bowen Technique Panic attacks
by Janie Godfrey
Most of us are well aware of the intricate and deeply linked connections between the mind, body and spirit in the human being.
Each of our ‘systems’ supports and expresses issues and events that are happening in the other – for good and for ill. But when we feel waves of delight or excitement in relation to something wonderful happening in our lives, we don’t feel we need to seek therapeutic intervention for it!
This of course is not the case when we are struggling with the upsetting, alarming and seemingly inexplicable symptoms of panic that are the body/mind’s response to a trauma of some sort.
The Bowen Technique is thought of as a mainly as a therapy that deal with the aches, pains and injuries of the body, but it also has a remarkable ability to deal with the emotional level in its gentle non intrusive way.
Just recently 16-year-old Annie was brought for Bowen treatment because of a history of panic attacks that were now impacting on her life very significantly. The first signs of any panic responses from her began 10 years previously when, as a little girl of 6 she had broken her arm at the elbow and was in hospital for six days immediately after the break and then for two further days later to remove a plate.
For about a year after those experiences, she ‘woke’ screaming with night terrors and began sleepwalking. (Night terrors can occur in children usually between the ages of 3 years and 8 years and they seem to be caused by unresolved psychological conflicts, traumatic events or fatigue. They are characterized by episodes of abrupt awakening, usually with a panicky scream, and accompanied by intense anxiety, confusion, agitation, disorientation, unresponsiveness, marked motor movements, and total amnesia concerning the event.)
Annie’s recent history (last few years) was of frequent panic attacks, characterized by heart rate increase and a feeling of terror rising up from stomach to head. She was also suffering from a number of phobias, such as the dark, crowded places and claustrophobia. She was having trouble staying at school for more than a few hours at a time without at least a small panic attack and when she had major ones (at least once a week) she would have to be picked up and taken home.
In addition, her sleep was constantly disturbed and she had trouble dropping off to sleep. She had, of course, been taken to her doctor a few years earlier and her mother told me that the doctor had said that the NHS couldn’t do anything for Annie until she turned 18, so “go away”! Hard to believe, but that is what was reported.
In the meantime, Annie had connected with a counselor and had been seeing him once a fortnight for some months before her first Bowen treatment. Other interesting things to note: Annie reported that she virtually never drank any water if she could avoid it, as she disliked it. She was also eating up to 4 packets of crisps per day and used artificial sweetener for anything she wanted to sweeten.
After her first treatment (in late September), the most noticeable response to Bowen was that Annie’s aversion to water changed dramatically: she was immediately very thirsty and drinking tons of water completely off her own bat. Her sleeping patterns also changed quickly and she was going to bed earlier and sleeping well. She had some small panic attacks in the week after her first Bowen and a longer lasting one was not as intense.
After treatment number two, she was definitely seeing a big change with many more panic free days and being able to do more with friends and family outside the house and was remaining in school more.
This pattern of good improvement carried on week by week with only a few regressive wobbles that were not too serious. Annie had seven treatments between late September and the very end of November and will now only return if she has any relapses or feels the need to ward any shaky feelings off.
And Annie is a changed girl: she is staying at school all day with no problem, is a regular at band practice, is able to go out to shops and to lunch with friends, and is still voluntarily drinking plenty of water, sleeping well and hasn’t touched crisps in weeks!
Annie’s experience provides a good example of how Bowen can work at energetic and emotional levels. A great many of the moves in Bowen do go over acupuncture points on meridian lines and seems to be able to break some of the distressing mind/body links that result in such things as panic attacks and other emotional disturbances such as phobias.
Also, we know that Bowen often makes people thirsty when they are not drinking enough, and this was a big feature of Annie’s response. Some dehydration was likely involved with her lack of well-being, in addition to the chemicals and salt that came with her diet of crisps.
When she first came for Bowen, Annie asked me not to shut the treatment room door during her Bowen sessions (even though her mother was always in the room throughout the treatments). At the final Bowen appointment, she didn’t even notice that, out of habit, I had closed the door.
Janie Godfrey is a Bowen Technique practitioner in Frome and has been in practice since 1999. She also works part time at the European College of Bowen Studies office.
Contents provided by the European School of Bowen Studies (ECBS)
|Posted on 20 January, 2013 at 6:11||comments ()|
The Effect of Bowen on Pain and Anxiety
By Alastair Rattray Bowen Teacher and Therapist
Tom Bowen, an Australian living and working in Geelong, New South Wales, developed his remarkable technique over some 35 years. He described himself as a “muscular-skeletal” therapist and regarded himself as an osteopath though he had never had any formal medical training.
Probably 95% of Tom’s clients were suffering from some form of muscular-skeletal problems. He was evidently very skilled as it was estimated in 1974 that he was treating thousands of people a year, often fixing the problem in one to three treatments.
What has become apparent as we work on a greater variety of cases than just those suffering from muscular problems is that Tom’s therapy seems to work on three different levels.
The first one is obviously the muscular and skeletal level. Many a bad back and misaligned pelvis has been sorted out successfully using Bowen. A research project on frozen shoulders concluded that Bowen was very successful at relaxing the muscles around the shoulder even when they had remained in spasm for 8 years or so. Children with asthma respond very positively to Bowen. Some research on lymphodaema cases showed that many responded well to this gentle treatment. So that level could be regarded as the “base” level at which the Bowen Technique works.
At a second level could be regarded the body’s systems. In more than one case, we have experienced a remarkable turnaround in chronic infection for instance. In one, infection had remained constant for over 18 months with antibiotics being prescribed every 3 months which merely had the effect of reducing the infection from “100%” to 70% before it would steadily return to its maximum state. Yet one week after the first Bowen treatment it reduced to 50% and a week later to nil and has not returned in two years.
At this level the effects of the treatment seem to be affecting much more than just the muscular systems.
In another case, chronic infection of the right sinus for over two and a half years was resolved in about four weeks where the client had been taking 6 Anadin a day. She stopped the medication almost immediately.
At this level, the body’s systems seem to gain a boost to get the immune system balanced and working properly to defend the body as it should.
The third level could be described as the emotional level. At this level, it is not that the relief of pain brings emotional relief but that the emotions are affected even when there is no pain at all.
It is quite common for clients to say how very relaxed they feel after a Bowen treatment. But the effects of the treatment at this level do not stop there.
Working for over two years at the Blenheim Project in Portobello Road, West London which provides support and a “drop in” centre for people with drug and drink problems, it has become very clear over a number of cases that the effects of Bowen on the emotional level can be very marked indeed, and last for a long time.
In one case, a client of the Blenheim for many years, the management realised a very marked change in behaviour and social contact had taken place after only two Bowen treatments. This client was described as one “everyone avoided” and yet suddenly they found they could have a rational discussion with her. This state has continued for over two years. The client also reduced her intake of valium to nil over a period of some eight months with regular Bowen treatments.
In another case, a woman who had chronic back pain, which had been increasing over a 12-year period, also suffered from deep depression and was often ill. The back pain was resolved in two treatments. The frequent periods of illness also stopped immediately and after some months she wrote, “ the Bowen treatment seems to have had a marked effect on my general health, with practically no illness all winter, and also my mental/emotional health is also much better. I don’t have the down days and depression that I suffered with for years”.
One of the most common statements clients at the Blenheim make after their first treatment is that they may have suffered the same levels of stress during the week but that they had been able to cope much better and could “see what had to be done, and did it whereas I would usually do nothing about it”. This has been seen often with other types of cases.
A client suffering very severely from “Panic Attacks” to a level that any crisis would mean her being off work for two days or more, (she was the Company Secretary with legal responsibility for the company). After two Bowen treatments, she was very much brighter and coping better. After about three treatments she arrived to say that she had had a big crisis in the morning and had thought “well, I had better deal with it then!”. In total, she made six visits to make sure she was fine. She came back about six months later during a personal crisis for a couple more, but has been fine for a year now.
A couple came for Bowen treatment to help them through the crisis, which had just engulfed their lives. The husband had been diagnosed with a cancerous growth, about the size of a large lemon, on the edge of his ribs. Diagnosis had taken over 8 weeks and radiotherapy could not be scheduled in less than another two months. Both were in a high state of anxiety over the situation.
During the first visit, the wife burst in to tears during the treatment as the pent-up tension over the previous months was released. On their next visit, they both said that they had found they were coping much better and were able to discuss the situation together without emotional collapse. When they came for their fourth visit, they explained that he had just had a scan, prior to having a week’s chemotherapy to try to stop the growth getting any larger. Quite extraordinarily, the hospital could no longer identify the location of the growth as it had disappeared except for a very small spot. The only treatment he had had was Bowen.
Cancer can disappear of its own accord in this way, but this obviously was outside the hospital’s experience according to the couple. It may be that the calming effect of Bowen allowed the immune system to fight back, but we will never really know.
One thing is certain; they are both very much calmer and coping very well with the situation. So far, no further sites of cancer have been identified and all treatments for the disease have been completed.
The Bowen Technique is a very gentle therapy where the therapist makes gentle moves over muscles or tendons in very specific places on the body. It is not like any other technique though there are sometimes similarities in the sites where the therapist works.
A unique feature is the two-minute breaks between sets of moves to allow the body to begin its work. The “disturbances” caused by the moves are unusual and cause the brain to investigate the area and to release tension which may have built up in the muscles for some reason.
However, the effects of the technique go way beyond just treating muscles in spasm and affect other levels of the body’s systems. As it is the body itself which is doing the work, usually, once something is fixed, it stays fixed as the therapist is not manipulating, nor imposing their will on the client.
A feeling of well-being is probably the most common sensation felt by clients after a treatment. It follows, therefore, that this well-being affects the level of anxiety felt by all clients to one degree or another in a positive way.
It is also a feature of the Bowen Technique that the re-balancing, which is started by the treatment, continues throughout the following week, and often well beyond that as has been seen by some of the cases referred to in this paper.
While we may be treating a bad back, for instance, we are also affecting other levels of the body’s systems even to the level of how they feel generally and how they even behave.
It is no small wonder, therefore, that the technique is being used in an ever-widening range of cases. It is totally safe and easy to use on anyone whatever their condition or their age which is probably why more and more professionals, including doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, osteopaths, chiropractors and other therapists have been coming to learn the Bowen Technique.
Alastair Rattray has held the Football Association Treatment of Injury Certificate since 1972 and was Club Physio to semi-professional clubs Amersham Town and then Chesham United FC for 10 years.
He is a qualified masseur and has used the Bowen Technique since 1997. He teaches for the European College of Bowen Studies in London, the South East and Essex, and practices both near Tonbridge and in London.
Contents provided by the European School of Bowen Studies (ECBS)
|Posted on 13 January, 2013 at 15:01||comments ()|
Today’s Therapist International Trade Journal - Issue 51 Mar Apr 2008
The Bowen Technique - A lump in the throat
by Janie Godfrey
Feeling emotional and having to hold back the evidence of it is so common that we describe such instances as times when we had ‘a lump in my throat’. The sensation usually passes when we either have a good cry or a good rant or the situation changes.
But quite a number of people are bothered with a very frequent or even constant ‘lump in the throat’. They describe it as feeling like a golf ball, or even a fur ball (the cat lovers!) being stuck in their throat, or that the tie is too tight, or as if they are being strangled.
Often the severity of the feeling fluctuates throughout the day, being better in the morning, worsening as the day goes on. Swallowing is often very difficult and some people cannot even contemplate swallowing something like meat, so choose only soft or liquid nourishment. Stress aggravates the symptoms.
Medically, this common condition is called a cricopharyngeal spasm. The cricopharyngeus (CP) muscle is the lowest horizontal band-like muscle of the throat. The esophagus begins just below the cricopharyngeus, which acts as a one-way valve. It remains tight and closed to keep stomach and esophageal contents from coming back up into the throat during straining or bending over. During a swallow, it temporarily relaxes to allow food to pass. As mentioned above, the very term ‘a lump in the throat’ can be a way of saying you are experiencing deep emotion.
A cricopharyngeal spasm is also a graphic way of stating, “I can’t swallow that”, i.e., a situation is something you are not willing to ‘take in’ or ‘digest’. So here we see a manifestation of the mind-body connection appearing in a symptom, often a very persistent symptom.
Lynne, a woman in her 50’s came for Bowen treatment for a variety of aches and pains and it came out in the medical history that she had suffered from a very tight, ‘lumpy’ throat for decades.
She managed it by avoiding situations, if she could, which she knew would be stressful and taking tranquillizers when it was bad. She was very seldom free of at least some slight sensation of tightness.
In discussion, she realized that it started when she was still living with her parents and the existence of an on-going tense, difficult and unresolved situation was not to be spoken of.
Her throat symptoms embodied the idea that things needed to be pushed down, clamped and not referred to.
Bowen treatment had a wonderful effect on Lynne’s habitual anxiety levels and became a very welcome and effective tool in her management of these long-established patterns of coping.
It is quite common for people to say, usually after their first Bowen treatment, something like, “I don’t know what it is, but I feel so much better in myself”.
Anxiety levels do seem to decrease and, if the stress factors are still there, the person feel much more able to cope with them. It follows then, logically and experientially, that symptoms of stress and anxiety such as the lump in the throat will also diminish or disappear.
Bowen had the same effect on another woman, 40-year-old Olivia. A single mum of two small children, juggling work and home and child-rearing along with trying to limit the frequently negative emotional impact of the ex-husband’s visits, Olivia was worn to a frazzle.
She paid many visits to her doctor, insisting that he get to the bottom of what was causing this throat problem that had been going on for more than a year. She was sure there was some sort of growth that needed to be taken care of.
As a consequence, she endured a number of unpleasant investigations and scans. No physical problem was revealed.
Olivia had two or three Bowen treatments and, for about 8 or so weeks, they were either very mild or gone completely. After the ‘lump’ had returned for some months she came to Bowen again and, again, after one or two treatments, the throat tightness virtually disappeared. She finds it hard to believe that such strong physical symptoms can be manifestations of pressure and stress, so it is difficult for her to take firm steps in changing the stresses in her life to the extent that she reasonably can, given the responsibility she carries.
Physical symptoms that are so closely connected with stress very often respond well and quickly to Bowen treatment. It seems to assist all the parts of a person - body, mind, spirit, situation-perception, circumstances, strengths and weaknesses - to work together in coping with what life throws at them rather than carrying the burdens around like unwanted baggage.
© E.C.B.S Janie Godfrey is a Bowen Technique practitioner in Frome
Contents provided by the European School of Bowen Studies (ECBS)
|Posted on 13 January, 2013 at 8:55||comments ()|
Today’s Therapist International Trade Journal - Issue 40
May June 2006
The Bowen Technique Children – anxiety and behavioural problems by Janie Godfrey
It is always very upsetting to see children struggling with anxiety, panic and worry, often expressing their turmoil through difficult behaviour. This only compounds their problems as it alarms and annoys those around them and they are often excluded from peer groups.
There can be many causes for this state of affairs from undiagnosed physical illnesses or conditions, family tensions or break-up, bullying, school or performance pressure, abuse, etc.
It has become very clear over a large number of cases from many practitioners that the effects of Bowen on the emotional level can be very marked indeed, and last for a long time.
One of the most common statements adults make after their first or second Bowen treatment is that they may have suffered the same levels of stress or anxiety during the week but they had been able to cope much better and could “see what had to be done and did it” whereas the usual previous pattern had been to do nothing about stressful, worrying or difficult situations and therefore experience them as anxiety with all its physical and psychological symptoms.
There has been a great increase in the use of The Bowen Technique to address these problems in children with some very good results.
Children are very open to Bowen because it is gentle and non-invasive and the experience of a treatment is very calming and relaxing to receive – and if a child is very agitated and restless, it has been shown that Bowen can be adapted to still give an effective treatment.
Bowen practitioner Angela Casey has treated a number of children with these problems.
11-year-old ‘James’ improved dramatically in four treatments. About a year previous to his Bowen treatment, around the time of his SATS exams at primary school, ‘James’ changed from an easy-going relaxed boy to feeling generally anxious and panicky, sleeping poorly, with attacks of claustrophobia.
He found himself getting very anxious being left with a sitter when his parents went out, worrying about accidents, illness, germs and other disasters. School assemblies and church services became an ordeal, and he had to sit near the door to lessen the feelings of panic. His parents had been worried enough to ask their G.P. for a psychiatric referral, which was in the pipeline at the time he started Bowen treatment.
After the first treatment he felt an increase in energy and released a lot of anger. A similar picture followed the second treatment. During these two weeks he had no panic attacks, and felt a reduction in anxiety about being away from his parents. Assembly had become less of an ordeal, and after the second treatment his parents were aware of much improvement on an emotional level.
After the third treatment there were only small pockets of anxiety remaining, and when ‘James’ came for his final treatment, his mother said he was so much improved she had decided to cancel the psychiatric referral.
Another child who benefited greatly from Bowen treatment was 9-year-old ‘Anne’. She was feeling anxious about school, having nightmares, difficulties with concentration, and making odd repetitive movements with her arms which other members of the family were finding irritating. Sessions one and two produced considerable improvement in general anxiety and behaviour.
By the third session she looked much happier and more relaxed. School friends commented on how much better she was concentrating in class, and she herself found she was able to get on with schoolwork much faster.
After five sessions, all odd arm movements had stopped; she was sleeping well, rarely having bad dreams.
Bowen is best known as a treatment for musculo-skeletal problems but this consistent reaction to Bowen in the emotional area has to be taken on board. We don’t doubt there is a mind-body connection when someone blushes, for instance, and treating the body as a way into an emotional blockage or problem appears to be valid in the clinical experience of many Bowen therapists – and other therapists too, of course.
In 1997 the book entitled Molecules of Emotion: the Science behind Mind/body Medicine was published. Its American author, Candace Pert, Ph.D. researched "new paradigm" healing at the Georgetown University Medical School where she was a professor of Physiology and Biophysics. Her research reveals how the "bodymind" functions as a single psychosomatic network of information molecules which control our health and physiology.
It is a fascinating book and connects the biochemistry of the body with the mind/emotions very clearly. Reading her conclusions, it is no wonder that in treating the body, where anxieties, fears and traumas can become lodged, the effect can ripple through to the non-physical source of these problems and effect a change in the way they are perceived and dealt with.
Contents provided by the European School of Bowen Studies (ECBS)