I’ve been practicing Bowen Therapy for years-and for just as long I have been struggling with explaining Bowen Therapy in a way that actually makes sense to people. One of my instructors, An Australian Acupuncturist/Bowen Therapist, doesn’t have this problem. That is because in Australia, the UK, and much of Europe, Bowen Therapists are as abundant and well-known as chiropractors are here. Unfortunately, this is not the case (yet) in the U.S. I think that is about to change, and this is why: Tons of research regarding fascia that has been conducted over the last decade is being published everywhere you look! Fascinating research that explains much of what Bowen Therapists see everyday.
What is fascia? Well, again, that definition is in flux. It is getting more complex everyday with more and more information becoming available. From Anatomy Trains author Tom Myers regarding fascia: “Fascia is the biological fabric that holds us together, the connective tissue network. You are about 70 trillion cells – neurons, muscle cells, epithelia – all humming in relative harmony; fascia is the 3-D spider web of fibrous, gluey, and wet proteins that binds them all together in their proper placement. Our biomechanical regulatory system is highly complex and under-studied – though new research is filling in the gap. Understanding fascia is essential to the dance between stability and movement – crucial in high performance, central in recovery from injury and disability, and ever-present in our daily life from our embryological beginnings to the last breath we take”.
(image from MacKay Center for Health and Healing)
So how does this help in explaining Bowen Therapy? When a Bowen Therapist puts her hands on people and lightly manipulates “pieces and parts”, she is directily manipulating fascia. Fascia to me is like the communication superhighway of the body. Every signal sent through it through direct pressure, sends signals back and forth between the brain and the rest of the body. This is how we “tell” the brain to change tension in various muscles, tendons, and ligaments. And this is how we restore the body to balance; thereby eliminating pain and dysfunction! And voila! Our clients are no longer in pain, no longer have to look to invasive procedures or drugs, and they return to their normal activities.
The other part of fascia that I want to talk briefly about is how it runs through the body. The reason for this is it is an odd thing to come to a therapist for a frozen shoulder say, and have them working on your knees! I know! More than once people have thought ‘what the heck is this lunatic doing’? The explanation is that every part of our body is connected to and affected by every other part. How? FASCIA. It runs through and wraps around virtually every piece of our body, oftentimes criss-crossing along the way. So, when you say to us during a treatment, “uh, I told you it’s the LEFT shoulder” (as we work on the right)- yeah we know:)
So, there you have it- My latest attempt at explaining our trade. My hope is that at least some of this is starting to make sense to you. I will continue my efforts until everyone says – “Yay Bowen”! Like my clients do! (And by the way, be careful in promising your house to your Bowen Therapist if she fixes your ailment!:)
Until next time- health and happiness to you!
Penny Michaels, Bowen Therapist