PAIN IS EXHAUSTING. Chronic pain is even worse. It robs us of the joys of life and makes us wonder if we will ever feel vibrantly alive and happy again. I have been there! And I can certainly empathize with all of you that are going through it right now.

My work addresses musculoskeletal and nerve impingement pain in all its forms. Back pain, joint pain, all forms of nerve impingement whether it be sciatica, tennis elbow, plantar fascitis, or TMJ just to name a few.  When it comes to these kinds of problems in the body nothing, and I mean NOTHING, works like the form of Bowen Therapy that I practice.

Nobody knows better than I do as a practitioner in the USA that this work deviates completely from the Western understanding of how the body works. Here in the US if the knee hurts it is the knee that is the problem. And the answer is to address the knee. This is an example only, simply to demonstrate a point. So the knee is treated.  An MRI probably happens. A diagnosis is made,  There is deterioration in the knee. The knee needs to be repaired.  Maybe physical therapy is recommended- again targeted at the knee. Physical therapy does not resolve the issue and you end up in an orthopedic surgeon’s office to determine the options. Surgery is typically the answer. So you get arthroscopic surgery to repair some damage. Or a total knee replacement is recommended. When surgery and rehab are completed, you find yourself having other problems: either the pain has moved to the other knee or to a hip. You see where I am going with this: one problem becomes another and another and more surgical interventions are recommended. And the saga continues seriously affecting your quality of life.

What if the knee wasn’t the problem? Could it be that the knee is just taking the brunt from some problem somewhere else in the body? This is where Eastern and western medicine go in different directions. Western medicine looks at the body as compartmentalized pieces and parts. If the knee hurts, it’s the knee. It is not looked at as intimately connected with the rest of the body. The idea that a problem in the neck can serve to disturb the function of the knee is ludicrous. From an eastern view although all parts are connected intimately- one part serves another regardless of how far apart they are. So, with this in mind- yes, a pinched nerve in the neck can and may well affect the knee (or other distant areas of the spine).

In Bowen Therapy (which was developed by an Australian Osteopath that studied acupressure and Meridian theory, Thomas Ambrose Bowen) one learns just how intimately widely distant areas affect each other. For instance, connections in the jaw and just under the jaw are directly connected with the opposite end of the spine- the coccyx or tailbone. Western medicine does not recognize this. I like to use the analogy of a wet towel being wrung out and clamped at both ends. As long as the clamps are on the remainder of the towel remains twisted. Releasing those clamps, the rest of the towel (or spine) can unwind. Therein lies the “magic”. Release both ends of the towel (ie spine) and the whole thing unwinds! Nerve impingement is released,  bones and joints are allowed to move to their neutral position, function is restored, and pain is no more.

The other beautiful thing about this work is once it’s done, it’s done! Maintenance is always a grand idea. but once the dysfunctional pattern is eliminated from the body (and we have visual and tactile assessments for this), it is done! There is no need for weekly (or more often) treatments.  Given the proper signals in the proper locations, the body most readily responds.

This is what I do and it is my passion! It is brilliant remedial medicine and I thank my mentor physician Graham Pennington in Australia for enlightening me and showing  me how to help people restore form and function and live happy lives everyday.

God Bless.

Client Testimonial 2/2021

Bowen Therapy is one of the most incredibly amazing treatments that I have ever received. The following is a text message that I sent to Penny Michaels who is my Bowen therapist after my third session with her:

Hi Penny it’s Jill T. I just wanted to thank you for helping to make me feel so good today. ❤️ I feel like a new person, the pain in my hip is totally gone right now, I hope I can keep it that way. I slept like a rock too. Bowen always does that for me, gives me a good nights rest and a deep sleep.

I forgot to tell you yesterday, after the previous Bowen treatment that the range of motion in my right arm and wrist has increased incredibly. For example if I bend my elbow and reach behind my back, my mobility is 10 times what it was. That is such a nice feeling and even being able to flex and bend my wrist is such a blessing.

Also after that previous Bowen treatment, I would periodically feel adjustments in my bones taking place, without even trying or barely moving. In fact yesterday when I got home and got out of my vehicle I felt an adjustment take place. Thank you again so much for all that you have done so far and I look forward to more wonderful things to come in the future!

I hope you have a blessed day my very talented and intuitive friend!❤

Jill T

** I would like to add to this conversation, that I also felt incredible changes take place and results even after my very first visit. In fact you see, even during the sessions I can feel openings being created in certain parts of my body and it’s almost as if though there is a rush of adrenaline that occurs within. I always tend to sleep better and very deeply after Bowen treatments. My nervous system seems to calm down and I don’t feel as tense and over anxious about things, in other words, I am at peace within myself. I’m sure anyone can relate that when you are in pain your body is always tense and all you can think about is your pain, so Bowen Therapy not only relieves the pain but also the tension and anxiety that comes with it that takes over your central nervous system. So in turn I am also able to think more clearly. The benefits that this treatment and along with Penny’s amazingly incredible intuitive talents allow me, are above and beyond. There are so many aspects of the treatment that allow the body to heal on many levels. I have been suffering for several years with this debilitating neck pain that was causing issues down my arms and into my hands and also back, groin, knee and hip pain. Penny has helped me to relieve so much of my pain, that at one point I was taking sometimes 4 to 6 Advil a day (prior to seeing her)and after my 2nd visit, I was literally able to stop taking the Advil all together.
It is so very interesting how Bowen therapy affects the body. At least for myself I can describe it as such. Sometimes after a session of treatment, my muscles will be very sore almost as if though I did an intense work out after not having done one for a long time. But the following day I will feel like an entirely new person and all my pain will be gone. Then I describe it as an unraveling. Before you can get your next session which would be seven days after words, I will feel the areas where I had pain come and go. Almost as if though they are opening up and then dissipating. I know it sounds strange and hard to conceive of, however it’s almost miraculous how this treatment works. I urge you not to hesitate trying Bowen Therapy treatment with Penny Michaels, you won’t regret it! ❤😊

Case Study #5

I chose this case because it turned out to be quite complicated and took me more sessions than is normal- 6 total. Usually done 1 week apart sessions are unique- whatever presents the day of the session is what we address, This case showed me how the same symptoms can be caused by widely varying distortion patterns in the body:

60 yr old female client was bed-ridden with severe “sciatic-type” pain after traveling on business. She had had 2 knee replacements in which during  one surgerygthe quadriceps was cut through to pull the hip down,

The first session assessment showed left short leg with symptoms appearing not only in hip and leg but opposite shoulder pain as well. Patient had severe pain on standing.  During treatment knees showed no response until more lateral palpation was done. In addition, palpation of right mid deltoid showed significant adherence. Appropriate maneuvers were employed.

On the second session different areas of the shoulder showed problems and were treated as well as ankles. pelvic, and knees.

The third session the client reported pain less, hip better, but pain in ankles.. No sciatic type pain. The client showed tonal symmetry. The shoulder pain had moved to the anterior deltoid. Appropriated protocols were employed including ankles and knees.

The fourth session included more ankle work. At this point there was no sciatic type pain and the client was moving around more comfortably for short periods of time.

The fifth session included 1/2 hour deep tissue massage for continuing shoulder restrictions.

At the sixth session the client presented with no pain and complete functionality- able to walk and resume normal activities including tennis. A final “tune up” session was performed and the client has been totally functional and pain-free since the, – checked 5 months later.

Brief Definition of Bowen Therapy

So for those of us that are not in the business of bodywork, here is a brief description of Bowen Therapy:

Bowen Therapy is a form of physical therapy governed by the massage profession. It is a hands-on technique for the purpose of eliminating pain and restoring function.  It is mostly a very light touch to release restrictions in the soft tissue of the body allowing hard structures to realign and nerves to decompress. Bowen Therapy is a unique and very effective modality for any musculoskeletal dysfunction or nerve impingement. Some conditions remedied by Bowen Therapy:

  • sciatica
  • TMJ
  • low back pain
  • knee pain
  • tennis/golfer elbow
  • plantar fascitis
  • neck pain
  • migraines


The Bowen Technique

The Bowen Technique is a soft tissue therapy developed in Australia in the 1980’s by an Osteopath named Thomas Ambrose Bowen. Today the technique is practiced in over thirty countries and taught in more than twenty.

The four basic tenets of Osteopathy may be summarized as follows:

1-The human body functions as an integrated, interrelated whole unit.

2-Structure and function share a reciprocal relationship.

3-There exists in the human body an innate capacity for self-regulation and healing.

4-Therapeutic intervention is based upon an understanding of these three points.

Structure and Function

In his book A Textbook of Bowen Technique Mr. Graham Pennington, Australian Bowen therapist, Naturopathic physician, and Acupuncture physician writes:

From the perspective of a Bowen therapist, we are particularly interested in recognizing the interrelationships that exist between the nervous system, muscle tension and the skeletal system, and how the interplay of these factors can create or compromise the structural integrity of the spine and its related structures. The following points illustrate this complexity:

-The tension within a muscle or tendon is produced by the nerve which supplies it. The nervous system is ultimately responsible for the tension of the muscles and tendons.

-The muscles and tendons exert force upon the bones and joints and thus abnormal tensions in the body may lead to joint dysfunction.

-Joint dysfunction at the spinal level (vertebral subluxation) may result in changes in the way the nervous system operates. The resulting nerve dysfunction may generate abnormal tensions in the muscles and tendons…and so the cycle continues.

-On the one hand, the structural integrity of the spine may be disturbed by the presence of a vertebral subluxation, but, on the other hand, dysfunction of the related tissues can result in the development of a vertebral subluxation.

The relationship between function and structure is particularly important to the Bowen therapist, who seeks to identify and correct dysfunction within the various systems of the body. Observation of symmetry forms the basis on which the therapist can develop  specific therapeutic interventions and target them to resolve any abnormal tissue tensions. Correctly applied, these interventions restore function and associated symmetry.1


Fascia is currently being widely researched as it is now evident that it plays a key role in the structure and function of the body.  French surgeon Jean-Claude  Guimbertear’ s ground breaking discovery that fascia, due to its piezoelectric nature, governs thousands of processes throughout the body- a true engineering system. ‘Strolling under the skin’ 2, a documentary made by Dr. Guimbertears and his colleagues, visually depicts the tremendous array of processes that occur in the human tissue simply due to the pressure of the scalpel. Blood vessels disappear and others appear, fluid exchange occurs- all due to the piezoelectric nature of the fascia.

The Bowen Technique relies heavily on this fascial system.  Piezoelectricity is defined as the electric polarization in a substance resulting from the application of mechanical stress.  The fascia consists mainly of collagen and elastin- both peizoelectric materials.   For bodyworkers this translates to the application of pressure applied to the fascia creates an electrical impulse that is sent to the brain.  The brain in response sends a host of chemical messengers back to the origin of the electrical impulse with the result being the restoration of homeostasis. During a Bowen session the client is visually and tactally assessed.  Functional asymmetry is determined followed by treatment.  At the end of the session a reassessment is performed to determine that functional symmetry has been restored.  Structure and function have been restored.  Pharmaceutical and surgical intervention is no longer required.

The work of Tom Myers , author of the book Anatomy Trains3, maps out the main fascial lines in the body teaching us the important connections throughout the body.  In recent years due to several important discoveries it has become evident that the meridian system may in fact run through these fascial lines.  This work is evolving our knowledge of how the human body is put together and how it truly functions on an anatomical, mechanical, chemical and energetic level.

As Mr. Myers quotes in his book, “the close relationship between acupuncture and  similar meridians and the anatomical basics of these continuities is inescapable.”   Significant overlap between fascial lines and energetic continuities of the various meridians are obvious. Additionally, Mr. Myers states that Dr. Helene Langevin and others have shown that connective tissue winds around the end of the acupuncture needle when it is rotated in place, creating detectable mechanical tissue effects.  3Drawing these fields of study together we find a “unified field” theory appears and we begin to understand the intricacies of the body’s self-regulation with proper mechanical stimulation.

Meridian Theory

Graham Pennington’s evolution of the Bowen Technique resulted in his most recent class titled “Targeting Primary Dysfunction” in which he introduces meridian theory  into the technique.  As an acupuncture physician he understands how deeply connected these bodies of work are.  As he states “meanwhile East and West continue to collide…”   Many scholars now believe the meridians of Chinese medicine are actually ‘pathways’ through the fascia.  In his book, A Textbook of The Bowen Technique,  Mr. Pennington declares that fascia serves to provide structures which transmit mechanical tensions, whether generated by muscular activities or external forces through the body.   Andrew  Taylor Still “Philosophy  of Osteopathy” (1899)….”all… nerves go to and terminate in that great system, the fascia.”  Osteopathic theory holds that, in a state of health, fluids  flow freely from one fascial compartment to the next states Mr. Pennington.  As a result of traumatic injury the fascia may twist, constrict, and compress.  The exchange of fluids through the fascial medium becomes compromised.  Osteopathic treatments (as in the Bowen Technique) attempt to unravel these fascial strains to re-establish fluid continuity throughout the body.

By its action (the fascia) we live and by its failure we…die” Andrew Taylor Still, founder of Osteopathy

The Bowen Technique

Many Bowen therapists follow a standardized approach to treatment. Today however, the technique has evolved because of some brilliant therapists such as Mr. Pennington. Mr. Pennington teaches these advanced techniques worldwide and has a handful of students who also teach his work. The first vast difference between the original Bowen method and today’s technique used by Mr. Pennington and his students is the visual assessment which allows for a more intelligent approach and effective outcomes. Fascial strains occur in the body and result in asymmetrical patterns. These asymmetries can be seen visually as leg length discrepancy. Leg length discrepancies are a key aspect of this visual assessment. As we now know the fascia dictates the stresses and strains put on the various tissues. These stresses and strains result in functional asymmetry throughout the body. Mr. Pennington’s technique uses this information to determine where in the body the restrictions are so that they can be targeted and released using the Bowen “move.” The Bowen “move” is unique in its simplicity and complexity. It is a very simple move across muscles and tendons yet the complexity comes with palpation skills which develop over time with intention and practice. This tactile recognition skill is the second difference between the original technique and that used by Mr. Pennington and students. Tactile recognition is the ability to delineate between various conditions of the tissue being palpated. The condition of the tissue determines the speed and depth of the Bowen move that is required. Tissue that has become hardened or stuck requires more time and depth than tissue that is soft and pliable. Differences in temperature of the tissue also lend information. The quality of the move determines the quality of the electrical signal sent to the brain and Central Nervous System. Every “move” is an assessment. Continual assessment during the treatment is a must to determine the course of treatment. Being able to put the pieces of the puzzle together along the way during treatment is what allows the therapist to determine the appropriate approach to treatment and to achieve desired results. Applying these skills to the practice exponentially increases the success of the therapy.  Once identified, the asymmetry can quite simply be remedied using The Bowen Technique. Important fascial connections are addressed in a hierarchal order and the body is systematically brought back into balance, aka symmetry.

“We seek to find the site at which we can deliver a targeted intervention that will activate and benefit the nervous system and illicit a profound healing response from the body.” –Graham Pennington

The pathology (examples: disc herniations, torn meniscus, tennis elbow, plantar fascitis, migraine, back pain, knee pain) results from compressions in the fascial system clamping down on nerves creating pain, dysfunction and deterioration. Restoring symmetry using The Bowen Technique balances the tensional forces in the various planes of fascia and releases the compression on various nerves eliminating pain. The result visually is leg length symmetry validating the therapists success in restoring symmetry to the body. The number of treatments required to remedy a chronic or acute situation vary but often a handful of treatments is all that is necessary to remedy the condition. This is another remarkable trait of The Bowen Technique. Once a client comes in for treatment (once per week typically) with no pathology and visual assessment shows symmetry is still in tact, the condition is remedied. The pathology no longer resides in the body and the condition no longer exists. There is no need for further treatment. This distinguishes The Bowen Technique from virtually all other therapies. Most therapies in practice today provide only temporary relief treating symptoms but never accomplishing healing. With The Bowen Technique a true remedy is accomplished. Maintenance appointments are encouraged to keep the body in alignment.


1. Graham Pennington, A Textbook of the Bowen Technique, 2012, A Comprehensive Guide to the Practice of Bowen Therapy.

2. Dr. Jean-Claude Guimbertears, “Strolling under the skin”, 2015 ,

3. Thomas W. Myers, Anatomy Trains, 2014, Myofascial Meridians & Movement


About Penny:

As an engineer, educator and bodyworker for thirty seven years Penny Michaels brings a unique combination of science, technology, and bodywork skills for an intelligent conversation on the state of bodywork. She teaches nationally as an NCBTMB Approved Provider for Continuing Education to massage therapists through The Cortiva Institute. She holds private practice in Vero Beach, Florida. Visit her website at www. to read more of her articles and email her.

Case Study #4

A sixty year old woman presented with severe low back pain and ankle pain. She had strained her back lifting a kayak. Using visual assessment techniques her left leg appeared short (due to the hips being pulled unevenly through soft tissues strains) and the test for cervical involvement showed positive. Palpation of the cervical and jaw area revealed adhesions in the right TMJ which were released using The Bowen Technique. Further palpation of the spine revealed a dislodged coccyx (to the left)- this was released and the client was left to rest for a few minutes. Reassessment showed the legs even and a negative test for any further cervical involvement.

The client returned a week later stating that she had had so much pain the day after treatment that she went to the Emergency room and was given pain medication. During the second session again the coccyx deviated to the left and there was a positive test for sacroiliac joint dysfunction. These issues were addressed using The Bowen Technique and the client was instructed to return in a week.

On the third session the client stated that she had been feeling much better and was able to resume most of her normal activities. The client presented with the same deviations in the right jaw and left coccyx. Appropriate techniques were used to release these restrictions along with secondary protocols for the pelvis and ankles.

During the fourth and final session the client stated no pain during the week and a return to normal activities. She presented with complete tonal symmetry therefore a standard basic protocol was used and the client was released.

I used this case study because the client had such a rough time after the first treatment. This happens on occasion as the body is shifting, attempting to rebalance and release all of the soft tissue restrictions. In traditional Chinese medicine this is referred to as a healing crisis. It happens with about 20% of clients and is typically short-lived, a couple hours to a day. We consider a healing crisis a positive thing as we are being shown that the body is self-regulating.

Distance Healing


To most of us the idea of being able to heal or be healed by someone who is not physically touching us is strange. It is difficult for us to wrap our heads around the idea as we are physical bodies. We only identify with being physical flesh and bone. Consider for a moment, though, that energy moves through our physical body. Movement of energy through our body is what allows us to digest food or run a marathon or heal from an illness. Even if we are taking medication for an illness that medication as it runs through our body is exchanging energy with what is already there inside.

Our energy also extends beyond our physical body. Have you ever felt somebody behind you in the line at the grocery store before you ever saw them? This is evidence that you feel them energetically. An energy field exists around each of us and if we are in close enough proximity to another person we can feel them.

Many practices and traditions exist for manipulating energy through intention. Prayer is one that everyone knows and is comfortable with. Reiki, Shamanic practices, therapeutic touch, quantum touch are a few others. Mass meditation has shown to be a powerful tool and no one is touching anyone. Intention is incredibly powerful. If you intend to get well, for instance, your chances of getting well are much better than if you stayed in a fearful state.

In quantum physics space and time don’t mean much. In studying the quantum field it becomes quite clear that things aren’t as they appear in the physical 3rd dimension. Physicists have determined and shown experimentally that two particles can exist in two different locations at the same time. How crazy is that? Without going too deep down the rabbit hole, you can see that everything is energy.

Energy can be manipulated through thought alone. Anyone can do this. Those of us who have studied distance healing have extra tools and practices to help us with distance healing. We practice and practice and it becomes natural and normal. Our successes speak for themselves.

We all need healing on some level and these days no one is touching anyone. Perhaps the time is ripe to open our minds to the idea of distant healing.

Give me a call, I would be happy to help.

Much Love,



An Emotional Salve

Human Beings. We are flesh, blood, and bone.We are emotions and physical strength. We have abilities and desires. At the center of us though is our breath. The breath is ever present. And a good anchor for us in our physical bodies. We (at least in this country) rarely if ever pay any attention to that- we are too inclined to be busy, to move our bodies to think and do stuff.

These days, given the current world situation, we are more apt to begin contemplating more internally simply because we are forced to slow down. Slowing down our external activities forces us to be more introspective. And this is uncomfortable for most of us. Perhaps it is time to change that. Little by little when we decide to allow this slow down, this introspection, we begin to become more familiar with ourselves. We never realized before that we have been operating generally on autopilot. We never realized that inquiry into who we really are was never a “thing”. Now it is.  So who are we really? What are we all about? Is there more to us than our jobs, our family responsibilities, our activity? OH YES. And is there something we can do for ourselves to help us navigate these turbulent waters more effectively, soundly, and peacefully? a resounding YES!

Now don’t get scared this is going to go off in some woo-woo direction. This is about being in conscious contact with our bodies, and what makes our bodies run so magnificently (or not). And how to make our bodies and our mind more efficient and effective when we are under stress. And we are ALL under stress right now.

What if under all this stress we decided to try something new to help relieve the intensity of what we feel all around us today? Committing to 10-15 minutes per day- first thing in the morning, and perhaps when the anxiety starts amping up? It’s super simple, but you have to DO it. My recommendation is to sit down and just consciously breathe. Sit, get still, no distractions, silence, and stillness, and focus on the breath. Not so easy to begin with because the mind goes ballistic. Don’t care about that. When you realize the mind has gone ballistic, take a breath (no judgment) and bring your attention back to the breath- over and over and over again. I am not asking you to make this a marathon. Start with 10 minutes. If you make it 2 minutes on the first day- awesome! Try for 3 minutes tomorrow. Commit to doing it every day, say for a month- and see what happens. See how your mood stabilizes. See how little things don’t ruffle your feathers or ruin your day. Notice how your activities become more relaxed, more accomplished. Realize that you feel better.

What happens next? This becomes habit, this becomes something you look forward to, this becomes something you do every day before you even think of leaving the house!

And guess what? It’s called MEDITATION

Meditation is the single most important tool for living a happy, stable, effective life. Now more than ever, we need this tool!

Please feel free to contact me with questions or if you need help with this- more to come!



Stressbuster #2- Nature’s Cure

Here is something to think about. Nature is a stress buster. Remember when you were a kid spending all that time in nature? Remember feeling sooo happy and alive and worry-free? There is something to that. More than you realized as a kid. Being in nature is like taking a happy pill with only one side effect- feeling better. Add it to your list of anti-anxiety tools you use to bring down the angst. Make it a habit to realize the full benefit of spending time in nature.

There is a lot of talk about energy. Here I am talking about our energy meaning the Spiritual part of us- the prana, the qi- and the energy of the Earth. It may sound fluffy but it’s REAL. We are energetic beings. More so than the physical part of us, the body. And we all know the Earth has an energetic field. Trees have an energetic field. The ground has an energetic field. The air has an energetic field. Energy is at the root of our living and breathing. And there are an infinite number of frequencies to this energy that pervades everyone and everything. Lower, denser frequencies create stress and dis-ease. Higher, lighter frequencies promote health and well being.

Think about how you feel on a crowded freeway versus how you feel in a forest. Just the thought of being on a crowded freeway creates chemical changes in the brain and you can FEEL the stress and you are not even on the freeway! Same thing with being in a forest- just the thought of it for a few moments is actually relaxing. Just stare at this picture for a few moments.  It’s relaxing, isn’t it?

~Give yourself the gift of being in nature everyday!~