Bowen Technique By Karen
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|Posted on 20 January, 2013 at 8:04||comments ()|
Today’s Therapist International Trade Journal - Issue 33 Mar Apr 2005
The Bowen Technique - Strokes
by Janie Godfrey
When the mother of Bowen Technique practitioner John Clarke suffered a stroke, as a family member he was able to be at her bedside in the immediate days and weeks following the event.
As a Bowen practitioner, he was able to give her small Bowen treatments on a daily basis, individually tailored to her needs and with her responses closely observed. This was much sooner than most people would be able to receive a Bowen treatment following a stroke.
For John’s mother, the Bowen treatments first of all decreased her anxiety levels, calming and comforting her, which in turn gave her body’s systems a better chance at healing the damage caused by the stroke.
In addition, the gentle promptings of the Bowen treatments stimulated the nerve pathways back to the brain and seemed to speed up the healing. John treated her at least twice a week and sometimes more often in the initial stages and they saw rapid progress with regaining her swallow reflex, her voice and the use of her arms and hands.
John’s opinion is that the sooner a stroke patient can be treated with Bowen, the better and quicker their recovery is going to be. But he stresses that that does not mean that if you can’t treat someone in the immediate aftermath of a stroke that you’re not going to get a good response with Bowen.
Michelle Marr is a physiotherapist in the sub-acute rehabilitation ward of a hospital and she sees stroke patients after a few weeks of stabilising, when they have the energy for an hour or so per day of rehab.
A common consequence of stroke is hemiplegic shoulder pain, which can slow down functional recovery and subsequently lead to disability. It can begin as early as 2 weeks following a stroke but it more typically occurs within 2-3 months after a stroke.
Michelle finds Bowen particularly useful for patients with a lot of pain, especially hemiplegic shoulder pain, which traditionally is difficult to manage with orthodox physio. But she has been seeing good results with Bowen within 1 – 4 treatments.
The patients may have had a shoulder problem for days or months – it doesn’t matter: Bowen works very well. She says that she would now choose the Bowen Technique over everything else for any shoulder problem: tendon injury, realignment problem, tendonitis, rotator cuff injury, tennis elbow, nerve lesions, post-operatively and especially in stoke for hemiplegia.
To maximise the effect of the Bowen treatment good postural alignment of the body should be a major consideration in the days following treatment, as this promotes good circulation, lymph drainage and joint articulation.
In addition, Michelle also uses The Bowen Technique if a patient is not sleeping well at night because she finds that within one week of the first Bowen treatment, 80% of neurological patients are regularly sleeping better, and this resolution lasts. As a result, patients appear to have more energy during the day and ability to withstand greater therapy levels, which in turn speeds their recovery.
One potential difficulty of treating stroke patients with Bowen is modifying their position. In an ideal Bowen treatment, the patient should begin the treatment by lying on their stomach and then turn on to their back. This can be difficult for stroke patients for many reasons but Michelle has found that even if the Bowen moves are applied while the patient is sitting up or lying on their side, the treatment still seems to be effective. And, as John Clarke emphasises, if you can’t treat someone in the immediate aftermath of a stroke it does not mean that Bowen will not be helpful.
Bowen therapist and teacher Joy West treated a man four months after a very severe stroke in which he had lost the use of one side and there was no improvement in this until he started Bowen.
In his case, it took longer to get responses and they were very small improvements but they were nonetheless very welcome improvements. For instance, before the Bowen, he had no ability to grip anything with his affected hand. With Bowen treatment, he achieved both holding and moderate gripping functions.
It is always important to remember that it is not the therapist who is the hero in any improvements the application of a therapy may bring about.
The therapist just gives the body a pattern of stimulation that it then responds to by changing its energy pathways as it interprets what it needs to do to fix itself.
Janie Godfrey is a Bowen Technique practitioner in Frome and has been in practice since 1998. She also works part time at the European College of Bowen Studies office.
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]