Category Archives: The Bowen Technique

Explaining Bowen Therapy

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 result for image fascia system

(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

www.pennymichaels.com

Scoliosis and Bowen Therapy

fab 2016 bowen 045seventy year old client ended up on my table for a Bowen treatment- only because a neighbor touted my work that kept him from having a knee replacement. This client had spent most of her life literally trying to unravel her body which had a serious scoliosis distortion in 3D.  She had worked continuously on her own and with therapists of several modalities- with very limited success.

Enter Bowen Therapy- First treatment nothing unusual.  Second treatment her body started “unwinding”- for an hour and a half.  Third treatment her body “unwound” for three and a half solid hours on my table!  Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it.  Astonishing really.  What I mean by “unwinding” is literal- her body “contorted” quite unusually with the right shoulder and left hip going up at the same time, hanging out there and then relaxing followed by the same on the opposite side, followed by the ribs undulating, and it went on and on and on.  At the end of the treatment, her spine was COMPLETELY straight and she had a lumbar curve which she says she hasn’t had for many years. She commented that she did a yoga “cat-cow” and thought her belly was going to hit the floor:)

Working with her has been a huge education for me.  I have always known that the body has unlimited capacity to heal itself, but how it goes about that is a truly amazing process.  I simply give it vibrational signals and it does the rest. We are not done yet , it is a process, and an amazing one.  She has grown nearly 3/4″ and her posture has completely changed.

The point is: no matter how long a distortion pattern has been locked in the body, “IT IS POSSIBLE TO UNWIND ITSELF”!! So, for those of you out think “it’s always going to be this way”, don’t give up! Bowen Therapy may be the answer!

Yogis Know About Balance!

yoga_three_panel

The other day I was in an absolutely delicious yoga class.  The instructor was educating us on the importance of balance in the muscles and connective tissue- front to back and left side to right side.  She was singing my tune!

In Bowen Therapy, we talk about something called “tensegrity”:

ten·seg·ri·ty (ten-seg’ri-tē)

A concept of muscular-skeletal relationships based on the work of architect Buckminster Fuller; refers to the forces of tension (provided by muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia) pulling on structure (bones and joints) that help keep the body both stable and efficient in mass and movement.
[tensile integrity]
During a Bowen treatment, mucles, tendons, and ligaments are lightly “strummed” by the practitioner in a sequence of movements.  These movements effectively tell the brain to balance opposing structures in the body.  This is extremely important– if the body is out of alignment, imbalanced, there is no longer perfect form or perfect function.  The result is first pain, and if left unchecked a distortion pattern gets locked in the body leading to dysfunction and deterioration.
It often happens that new clients come in at their wits end, about to allow invasive procedures because they cannot take the pain any longer and/or they cannot perform whatever activity they desire. Many times within a few sessions, balance, “tensegrity” is restored, function returns, and pain is eliminated.  I see the look of bewilderment in my clients faces.  They marvel at the fact that they didn’t have to go through more pain or undergo any invasive procedure to correct the problem.
This is why I am a Bowen Therapist.  Bowen Therapy is an amazing not yet clearly understood science.  But it works. I help people feel better everyday- and that is a really good feeling.
Yoga On!

Pet Therapy- A Client’s Testimonial

For this blog, I’ve decided to let one of my clients speak to Bowen Therapy for dogs:

My golden retriever, Sundance, turned 9 in April. I noticed he was slowing down on our walks and I attributed it to his age. Soon I realized climbing stairs was challenging, almost impossible, and our home is elevated. Our veterinarian added a steroid and pain killer to his regimen but that made him sleep all day. We visited Penny Michaels and I brought his condition to her attention for advice. She diagnosed the problems which were related to tendons and ligaments in his hind legs. He was walking with his right hind foot turned out. Penny performed Bowen Therapy that day. His sleep was restless that night however, the next day he walked with feet straight, no limping. Over the next week I saw improvement to the point my golden is now getting up to greet me in the morning like his usual self; he is climbing to the second floor to sleep in my room at night, which he has not done in six months. He is happy and most important, he takes no medications. I witnessed the relaxing of these tendons immediately. I can testify how much better the quality of life my pet is experiencing. I am very impressed with Bowen Therapy and Penny’s skills. We aren’t finished and will be back for a few more treatments. I am confident he will be walking with pep for quite a while. Thanks Aunt Penny!!

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Our Beloved Pets

Our Beloved pets sometimes have issues too. And they often cannot tell us what is wrong.

Many times the animal’s condition can be helped with Bowen Therapy without any drugs or traumatizing stimulation to the animal.  Bowen Therapy is a wonderful tool for correcting imbalances or dysfunctions in animals.  Musculoskeletal problems are often easily remedied with Bowen Treatment.  Even emotional distress can be alleviated and digestive issues corrected.  By the end of the session, the animal is relaxed and feeling better.

Bowen Therapy on your companion animals is a very gentle and relaxing therapy for you dog or cat.  Most times during treatment the animal is so relaxed it naps for a bit.  For animals that get regular treatment, they come running when they see me coming!

Bowen Therapy is not something that needs to be an ongoing thing for most pets- I do enough treatments to correct the dysfunction, recommend an occassional “tune up” and that’s it.  Often if the dysfunction is acute (meaning a recent occurrence) the condition is corrected in about 3 sessions or less!  Chronic issues take more time.

Animals LOVE Bowen Therapy!

Housecalls are available as are office visits.  Simply call 772-643-5199 to set up an appt. Your pet will love you for it!

*I always recommend conversing with your vet regarding your pet’s condition.

 

The Bowen Technique Explanation

bowen imageThe Bowen Technique seems very oddball at first glance.  But it is any thing but oddball when you take a closer look:

The Bowen Technique can be described in terms of acupuncture- without the needles.  Acupoint theory and associated techniques like acupuncture and shiatsu have been studied and applied for thousands of years.  Acupuncture is an accepted practice by virtually all medical societies of the world.  It is based on the energetic system of the body.

This is where the beginning of the resistance to “energywork” begins.  We are not accustom to thinking of the body in terms of energy.  We see, feel, experience our body  as a dense, physical, moving and feeling structure.  But what makes that structure function? Energy.  And what is that energy? Where does it come from? How does it work?

We do not have widely accepted  answers to most of these questions but the fact remains- we are energetic beings.  Our bodies are energetic bodies. If we didn’t have energy running through our bodies we would cease to exist- death would occur.

The Chinese spent thousands of years studying and mapping the energy system of the body.  The meridian system was developed.  The meridian system is like a freeway system with points being intersections of the various roadways.  Just like when intersections on a roadway are jammed , traffic does not flow- so it is with our body- if the meridian points are jammed, our vital energy cannot flow and musculoskeletal problems (dysfunction) or disease happens.

These meridian points tend to be located where nerves enter a muscle, the midpoint of the muscle, or at the enthesis where the muscle joins with the bone.  This is important.  This is why Bowen Therapy works.

The technique involves stimulation of various points on the body (depending on the issue at hand)- often at or near meridian points.  These points are part of the autonomic nervous system that runs our body- that cause the body to function properly (or not if disease or dysfunction are present).  When these points are stimulated by movement or pressure, signals are sent to the brain alerting the brain that there is a problem in this area. The brain responds with chemicals that cause the muscle or tendon to move/change tension allowing a more free flowing of energy through this area thus restoring the body to proper form and function.  Our physical bodies heal.

The science is complicated.  The Bowen Technique itself is not.  It’s safe.  It’s painless. And it works.  Visit one of the world’s 30,000 practicing Bowen Therapists and find out for yourself how amazing this form of physical therapy is.