Bowen Technique By Karen
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|Posted on 19 April, 2014 at 11:14||comments (2)|
Maternal & Newborn care
The Bowenwork offers unique and exciting possibilities in optimising the outcome of both mother and baby in the preconception, prenatal, labour and delivery and post partum situations. This article by Sandra Gustafson highlights how and why this technique is so successful.
History of Bowenwork
Tom Bowen was born in 1916 in the state of Victoria, Australia. Tom did not receive any specific education in healing arts. Higher education was a luxury item for most families in those days, picking up the pieces after the 2 world wars. Tom developed his own understanding of how the body reacts to disturbances and what facilitated its healing, he also had a very strong sensitivity for tissue tension patterns in the body, and how to reset them
He never named his work “Bowenwork” - that was acquired posthumously. He called himself a “Manipulative Therapist” because he was not recognised by any of the bodywork/chiropractic associations of his time. However this did not deter clients from seeking his help.
In 1973, a national survey was done in Australia to determine how many people sought therapy outside the conventional medical systems, and Tom
Bowen’s clinic was recorded as having 13,000 clients per year, an average of 60 people per working day.
Tom was married and had 2 daughters and a son, but none of his family learned the work, or were involved in his practice. In 1974 he met Oswald Rentsch, and Osteopath from a nearby town. Ossie expressed his interest in learning from Tom, and he was invited to attend the clinic in Geelong.
Up until this time, all the work that Tom Bowen did was intuitively derived; he did not have any notes or documents to explain it. It was Ossie Rentsch who followed Tom around and documented his moves. Tom Bowen did not have the academic vernacular to explain his work, and many times he did not know the anatomical names of muscles, so Ossie spent two years interpreting and documenting what we now know as The Bowenwork.
Ossie and his wife Elaine spent a great deal of time with Tom Bowen understanding and perfecting the technique, and then rearranged their own massage clinic to do Bowenwork exclusively.
A little about me…
I am a Registered Nurse who trained and specialised in Intensive Care Nursing in South Africa and then travelled overseas. On my journeys I encountered many forms of traditional medicine that caused me to question the standard medical paradigm in which I had been trained, and my career turned 180 degrees. I became far more interested in traditional, culturally based medicine that had sustained people for centuries before our current systems were developed and I decided to investigate their validity and efficacy, and found myself undertaking another 4 years of study, to become a Naturopathic Practitioner.
I felt more empowered as a practitioner in the field of preventative and natural health care, and ran my own naturopathic clinic in Cairns, next to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. I still nursed on a very part-time basis in order to keep my skills up, and keep in touch with the Conventional System!
So just what is this technique?
Bowenwork has often been touted as “the most exciting form of bodywork that is revolutionising health care modalities around the world!” Quite a profound statement, but I have come to see it integrated into all sorts of health care arenas (allopathic and traditional healing facilities) and believe it to be so.
In short, Bowenwork is a soft tissue relaxation technique that restores the body’s innate ability to heal itself. It is performed by doing short gentle moves over specific points on muscles and tendons, in a specific order, and then followed by mandatory delays to allow the body to process the information it is receiving. It is used to relieve stress, acute and chronic pain, inflammation, and conditions of congestion, headaches and respiratory difficulties, postural problems and many other health complaints. The results are usually long lasting, and often only require 2-3
treatments to be effective.
Due to its relative infancy in the health care arena, there is little documented research on the work, but credible inroads are being made as practitioners take the work into a variety of therapeutic practices. Most of what I share with you today will be anecdotal, based on Tom Bowen’s achievements, my experiences as a natural birth support person, using Bowenwork in my office as well as in attending births at home and in hospital settings.
I shall also include reports sent to me by a group of midwives using the
Technique in a maternity hospital setting in Lancaster, England.
Starting with pre-conception, the work is effective for regulating menstrual cycles and enhancing fertility (in both men and women). It has been said that many a time a child was called “one of Tom Bowen’s children” because up until being treated by him, a couple had been unable to conceive!
In the first trimester, Bowenwork has been useful in managing nausea of morning sickness, fatigue and emotional fluctuations and helping the body adapt to its new state of pregnancy.
As the pregnancy progresses, it has been very helpful in relieving lower back pain, sciatica, hiccoughs, respiratory problems, even asthma and gastric discomfort such as heartburn and reflux, often eliminating the need for medications that may adversely affect the foetus.
I have also used it in helping to arrest preterm labour by effecting relaxation of the pelvis, and often causing the foetus to shift away from the pelvic inlet and reduce the pressure on the cervix.
In the third trimester, I found it became even more valuable to the mother as the pelvic discomfort increased. A pregnant woman can be worked on as often as she needs relief, and can be lying down on her side or seated. Tom Bowen never charged pregnant ladies with sciatica, he had an open door policy where they could just come in as needed, four small moves around the sacrum, within 5 minutes and their pain was relieved.
I have had great success in relieving the discomforts of increased pelvic pressure resulting in varicose veins, haemorrhoids, cramping or aching in the feet, legs or groin, constipation and bladder irritations.
As far as the developing babies go, I have had reports that the babies’ activities settled down into a more resonant rhythm with the Mum’s and appeared to relax as the sessions were in progress.
One of the most important effects that have been achieved with the work is in optimising foetal positioning prior to birth. I used to work with an independant midwife who did mainly homebirths, and she would send her clients to me before 36 weeks, especially if the foetal lie was transverse or there was a breech presentation.
Rick Minnery, one of the Lancaster midwives in England with whom I have
collaborated, sent this anecdote to me on the subject:
“A colleague (midwife) asked me if Bowen might help to turn her baby round (she was carrying her baby breech at 35+ weeks) and was anxious to avoid possible caesarean birth or run the risk of a vaginal breech delivery. I gave her one treatment session with the pelvic procedure, and she phoned two days later to say the baby had flipped over, into a cephalic (head) normal presentation. She was delighted – I was gobsmacked!”
Occasionally the midwives at the local hospital where I worked in Australia would call me and ask me to come in when a woman presented in labour with a posterior presentation. By helping to relax her pelvis it would facilitate the baby rotating to the anterior position, thus preventing the awkwardness of a back labour.
How does it work in facilitating labour?
Bowenwork performed on a woman in labour, helps the process by relaxing the pelvic muscles and ligaments, allowing the baby’s head to enter deeper into the birth canal and stimulate effective labour.
During labour, Bowenwork is particularly helpful in managing the pain associated with the increased pelvic pressure. As a birth support person, I spent most of my time doing moves around the lower back and sacrum and upper anterior thighs to relieve the discomfort and encourage the birth of the baby. Once the second stage was reached and the cervix was fully effaced and dilated, there is a specific move that can be done around the coccyx to stimulate more efficient uterine contractions.
All Bowenwork moves can be repeated as often as required during the birthing process.
In the third stage of labour, the coccyx move can be used in facilitating the delivery of the placenta. Once it has been expelled, coccyx move or the perineal move will help to stimulate uterine involution and help relieve perineal pain.
In the early stages of extra uterine life of the baby, Bowenwork can be lifesaving in helping the infant to expectorate any fluid or mucous it may have inhaled. Again, I shall quote a couple of experiences from Rick Minnery:
“The anecdotes with newborns are simply endless - I got the reputation on the post-natal ward of being the midwife who settled the babies with a special “cuddle” (you know what I mean). The colic procedure had given me god-like status amongst some new mums!”
“Two special instances come to mind. First was a 10 minute old baby whom I’d delivered, suddenly became cyanosed – I was sure it had aspirated some mucous.
The colic moves were performed and a few short seconds later the baby produced a huge “blob” of mucous and straight away, pinked up again – I was astounded but couldn’t really relate what had happened either to colleagues or the parents. It was a special private moment for the Bowenwork and me.
As was the second occasion with a newborn, when I was performing a routine examination of a newborn at 5-10 minutes after birth. The baby was crying lustily and appeared somehow “angry”.
It had been a long difficult labour and the baby had not been in the ideal position to deliver easily (occipito-posterior). On observing the baby’s jawline – it was very apparent that the jaw was out of position which I’m sure was contributing to the baby’s look of anger.
Without any great expectation of a speedy response, I performed the TMJ (temporo-mandibular-joint) moves, and before my eyes, over the space of 1-2 minutes the baby’s jaw re-aligned itself, much to my astonishment and the baby’s – who looked up at me with a look as if to say “what the heck did you to do to me?”
What about the Mum and baby after the birth?
In post partum, the work can be applied to promote healing after caesarean or for perineal wounds and pain relief. I try and work with a mother as soon as possible after delivery, to help reset the pelvis to its natural state and promote ambulating.
There are specific moves that can be used to promote lactation and involution of the uterus, too.
Another story from England: “I’ve lost count of the number of times that lactation problems have responded to the breast procedure. It works well to sort out either under or over production.
I cite the example of my colleague Jean Ogden (midwife and Bowen Therapist) who attended a friend and client who was a mother of a 7 month old and wished to continue breastfeeding, but feared she would have to give up due to insufficient lactation. One breast procedure and in Jean’s words – “next day she could’ve opened up a dairy!”
I have had many baby Bowenwork experiences, particularly to do with feeding difficulties, reflux and colic, successfully addressed by doing tiny little moves on the baby. I have even used them on infants who were incubated and ventilated inintensive care, to help them cope with the stressful situation, and facilitate weaning off the ventilator.
The possibilities of using this amazing technique are endless and very exciting. It is the most wonderful tool I have as a practitioner. It is completely safe, is not known to have any undesired side effects, and can be used in nearly every health condition to improve the quality of people’s lives. And best of all, once you have it in your hands you will be able to apply it in all sorts of places and situations from birth to expiration!
by Sandra Gustafson BSN, RN
Senior Instructor of the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia
|Posted on 20 January, 2013 at 7:01||comments (0)|
N2N Nurse to Nurse Vol 02 Issue 08 June 2002
The proactive interactive nursing magazine, produced by nurses, for nurses
THE BOWEN TECHNIQUEremarkable results with respiratory problems
By Alastair Rattray and Janie Godfrey
“Bowen has changed my life. I no longer live with back pain and do not have to worry about asthma attacks with my daughter or watch her fight to get her breath.” - B.C. Feb 2000
It was mid-July 2000 when thirteen year old Helen’s mother called Bowen Technique practitioner Alastair Rattray asking for an appointment. Her homoeopath had recommended trying this new “Bowen” treatment.
Helen had suffered from asthma since she was a baby. She frequently missed school through illness, catching anything that was going, which often initiated an asthma attack. To add to her misery, over three years previously she had also developed chronic sinusitis.
Helen’s first appointment was on 1 August and she was relieved to find it did not include the use of needles. In fact, she was very surprised to find how gentle it was. By the end of her first treatment, she felt her face clearing for the first time in a long time. Helen’s sinusitis completely cleared soon after and, since that first day, she has not had a single asthma attack.
The Bowen Technique was developed by an Australian, Tom Bowen. He set out to treat musculo-skeletal problems and was so successful that, by 1974 it was estimated that he was treating 13,000 people a year. They usually only needed between one and three treatments to solve their problems.
The phenomenal number of patients that Tom Bowen treated per year was possible because of the 2 minute breaks that occur throughout a Bowen treatment, enabling a practitioner who has several treatment rooms to treat more than one person at a time.
The essence of Tom Bowen’s technique is to make small, gentle rolling-type “moves”, using thumbs and forefingers, across muscles or tendons at specific points on the body. These moves stimulate the body to heal itself by rebalancing the energy and causing gentle muscle movement in the various systems of the body to restore its healthy functioning.
This stimulation is enhanced by the recurring short breaks throughout the treatment, which give the body a space in which to absorb the prompting and begin to respond.
During the breaks, patients commonly report feeling warmth or tingling or “things moving around” and their stomachs often rumble as their bodies respond to the moves.
Unlike most other treatments, it is the body that makes the decisions on the repair, rebalancing and healing that takes place. The treatment and/or therapist do not force it. So, when something like Helen’s sinusitis is fixed, it stays fixed.
Respiratory problems come in many different guises.
The interesting thing about The Bowen Technique is that the results seem to be consistent when applied to children. Adults tend to have other stresses, which can have a bearing on what is really going on. So results in adults, while often good, can take longer to achieve and be more varied.
Rachael, who works as a restorer of antique rugs and carpets, received Bowen treatment. She was using “puffers”, sometimes every hour, and looked terrible - black rings round her eyes, no energy and a grey complexion.
It was discovered during treatment that she was highly allergic to wool and course dust. She had to seriously consider whether she could continue with her chosen career after years of study and apprenticeship. This was 5 years ago. Rachael started having weekly Bowen treatments and was often sick after the Bowen asthma moves but felt better for it.
She now has maintenance Bowen treatments every four to six weeks. Although she still has asthma it no longer plagues her life and her use of “puffers” is minimal unless she is treating a really dirty rug. The only treatment that Rachael has is Bowen.
Bowen therapist, teacher and sports coach, Paula Esson, has found the Bowen Technique to be an invaluable tool with athletes. She tells the story of a young woman's response to Bowen.
Katharine is a member of the England Junior Basketball Team Member and was involved with the multi-stage fitness test used to analyse an athlete’s aerobic performance. A standard is expected at this level and the peer pressure to achieve the necessary grade is immense.
Katharine was struggling for breath soon into the test causing some concern early on. Determination kept her going until she had to stop because she could not gain a breath at all and had commenced a panic attack, which complicated the situation. Katharine was removed from the concerned crowd and Paula carried out the Bowen emergency asthma move. Immediately, a normal breathing pattern resumed and after 30 minutes Katharine carried on training with no further symptoms.
The Bowen treatment used for asthma in young children is very easily given and consists of some 8 gentle “moves”; 4 on the child’s back over the erector spinae and 3 on the front, two over the rectus abdominus at the costal margins and the third being a simple “holding point” just below the sternum. The total time to carry out this simple procedure on a young child is some 30 – 40 seconds, depending on the level of cooperation from the child! However, case after case has shown that the effects can range from good to dramatic.
Typical of some of the child respiratory cases that Alastair Rattray has seen are a brother aged 6 and a sister aged 3 who were both prescribed Ventolin. The boy had been having regular, severe attacks rather like asthma, where he would eventually be very sick. He had been on Ventolin for over a year. His sister had had a persistent cough for about 18 months and her “puffer” for a month. In spite of the medication, there was no change to either situation.
The two children received one Bowen treatment only, the girl’s lasting about 40 seconds and the boy’s about 5 minutes where other Bowen moves were also given to try to re-balance more of his body’s systems. Within 3 – 4 days, both children changed completely and the conditions cleared up. The boy had no further attacks and the girl stopped coughing. The parents decided to stop the medication immediately, though this had not been suggested by the therapist. Ten months on, both remain in good health.
These results are consistent with other cases such as that of Piers, aged 18 months, who was also on Ventolin and always became very wheezy, sometimes developing into an attack, when he had a cold. Two weeks after his first treatment, he had a cold but, as his mother reported, it was just a “normal” cold with no additional side effects such as wheezing, which had always happened previously.
It does not seem to matter whether the child is taking medication or not. The results appear to be totally consistent.
In the case of Tiger, then aged 2 ½, who had just been prescribed an increased dosage of steroids due to the strength and frequency (often every two weeks) of her asthmatic attacks, the steroids were stopped by her mother because she had reacted so badly to them. Hearing about Bowen, she brought her for a treatment. Her persistent wheezing stopped almost immediately, and she has not had another asthmatic attack in over two years. While she becomes wheezy from time to time, another Bowen treatment seems to settle the situation quickly. Her mother, who suffered increasing back, neck and leg pain for over 12 years and had had this resolved with only two Bowen treatments, wrote: “Bowen has changed my life. I no longer live with back pain and do not have to worry about asthma attacks with my daughter or watch her fight to get her breath.”
An asthmatic attack is usually caused by the muscles controlling the lungs and breathing going into increasing spasm. The triggers for such an attack can be various, such as a cold or illness; an allergy such as those causing hay fever; or other lung related diseases. The probability is that the muscles involved, such as the diaphragm and the smooth muscle around the bronchioles, appear to be slightly in spasm as though ready to cause the respiratory system to go into spasm at the slightest hint of a problem. As soon as a trigger is detected, the spasm increases.
Hence, one of the first signs of the increasing problem can be wheezing, sometimes there all the time. In an acute asthmatic attack, the patient can breath in but is unable to breath out as the diaphragm is in full spasm. This can be illustrated by the fact that the stomach appears to collapse inwards.
The Bowen emergency procedure for one of these acute attacks is to do a reasonably strong downwards movement with the thumb starting about 1½ inches below the xiphoid process. The procedure is started by gently pushing the “skin slack” upwards to make room for the move, then applying a reasonable amount of pressure and moving the thumb downwards over the diaphragm.
An important centre of energy is at this point of the body and the move releases this pent-up energy that is holding the diaphragm in spasm and an immediate release of air from the lungs is achieved. It is very effective.
Much success has been achieved with hayfever and especially sinusitis. In one case, a lady who had suffered from chronic sinusitis for 14 years, had had four operations with the last one making matters much worse. After a course of Bowen treatment the condition completely cleared and she has remained clear without any further treatment for some 15 months.
In a similar case, infection of the right side of the sinus had continued for a year and a half and a third operation was scheduled. Within a short time after commencing Bowen, the infection stopped and the sinus cleared soon after. This patient had been taking 6 Anadin a day for the whole period of infection. By the end of the Bowen treatment programme, she needed none.
When the Bowen treatment is given, this part of the treatment often produces an immediate positive response to the sinus blockage. Once started, it does not then seem to re-block. However, with the chronic cases, clearing this area can take a number of treatments which must continue, without a break, every seven days or so until the blockage is clear. This can take more or less 6 weeks and sometimes more. Once cleared, however, it seems to stay clear.
Contents provided by the European School of Bowen Studies (ECBS)
For further details about the Bowen Technique please contact Karen on 01954 260 982 / 07714 995 299 or email [email protected]
|Posted on 13 January, 2013 at 8:55||comments (0)|
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)
For further details about the Bowen Technique please contact Karen on 01954 260 982 / 07714 995 299 or email [email protected]