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Bowen Therapy Is Science!

Did you ever study physics? Boy, I did! I hold a B.S. in Materials Science & Engineering from North Carolina State University- trust me, I studied lots of physics and the like. I may hurt your head if I listed the classes I took. I make this point to assure you I have a very analytical mind.  Perhaps that is why it took me years to become a believer in Bowen Therapy.  It took me years because it is not taught as a physics course, or a mechanical engineering course, or an Electronic Structures of Atomic Orbitals course. (You get my drift),  It was taught as a ‘manual therapy that resets the body,’ Now, truly, what does that mean?  It wasn’t until I realized that what I was dealing with here is that I truly delved into Bowen Therapy: Physics and Piezoelectricity.

#1) Physicsleverwheelampaxlepulley-1-728

Physics is involved because the body is a kind of levers and pulleys system- at least the soft tissues part.  A pulley works because you pull down on one side and the other side has to come up, or vice versa.  If the load is equal on both sides, then the system is in neutral- balance. If the load on each side of a joint is not balanced then quite literally one side gets compressed and the other side is now in constant tension.  Why do you think the LCL the ligament on the outside of the knee got damaged as opposed to the MCL ligament on the inside of the knee? Why do you think disc herniations take place?tensegrity2

Lack of balance in tension in the “soft tissue structures” – the muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia- that surround the joint itself.

For example: if one hip gets hiked up then the other hip is going to push down creating more pressure in that kneeSo primarily what I do when using Bowen Therapy is balance the soft tissue structures in the body so that this kind of scenario does not present itself; or, if it has, can be corrected before too much damage has occurred.tensegrity1

#2)Piezoelectricity:

Piezoelectricity  is the electric charge that accumulates in certain solid materials (such as crystals, certain ceramics, and biological matter such as bone, DNA and various proteins) in response to applied mechanical stress. The word piezoelectricity means electricity resulting from pressure. (wikipedia)

This means that when you apply pressure to something that is made with a material that has this characteristic, an electrical charge is emitted.  This is important because this is part of the reason why Bowen Therapy works.  Collagen displays piezoelectric properties.  Guess what fascia is made up of? You guessed it. Collagen.  From here it goes something like this: the pressure I exert here and there sends an electric signal to the brain alerting the brain to do a system check.  It is now known through videos taken during live surgeries that when the fascia has pressure applied to it, a host of changes occur- things that are solid turn to liquid, new capillaries appear, gazillions of chemical changes occur.  In response to the pressure that was applied to the fascia, an electrical signal was sent to the brain, and the brain responded with these changes to the structure that the pressure was applied to.

This is how me strumming across a muscle or tendon results in a change in tension in that muscle and its surrounding structures creating balance in the body and getting you back out onto the tennis courts!

Here is where we start marveling at the complexity of the body and its innate capacity to create change leading to healing. And we begin to understand why and how Bowen Therapy works.

At Your Service,

Penny

Immediate Gratification…

 

I LOVE Bowen Therapy- I think it is brilliant and I KNOW it works.  There is no but…But…we are an impatient population.  We have sort of gotten used to the practice of immediate gratification.    Make me feel better right now.   Then I don’t have to think about it anymore- for now.  We are busy, right? Who has time for anything else?  When it comes to aches and pains-pop a pill, cut it out.  Eliminate the pain now!  When it comes to injuries popping a pill is only ignoring the problem til the pill wears off, then there is another pill and another…all the while not even addressing the problem.  Or we take the route of invasive techniques- it’s “broken”, we gotta fix it!  Not even giving the body an honorable mention for being able to fix itself with a little help.

I honor all manual/natural therapists- massage therapists, physical therapists, acupuncturists, and the list goes on- our goal is to help your body return to pain-free health with our craft- our skills and talents.  We often accomplish amazing things, simply because our bodies WANT to heal and so with a little encouragement they often do.

Here’s the thing: manual and/or natural therapies and remedies for the most part do not afford us immediate gratification.  It takes time and patience.  The result though, is a body that has returned to optimum functioning in its original state.

Sometimes invasive techniques are required- the knee truly is blown out, the structure of the hip is so damaged that it cannot repair itself.  Thankfully this country is full of very talented surgeons.  I appreciate them too.  Even after surgery though, the body could use some help restoring the best possible balance. Before or after surgery I encourage using manual therapies to help along the way. This gives our blessed bodies the best chance we can for full and complete recovery.                                                            At your Service~

 

Old Injuries Contributing to New Injuries?

Yes! This can definitely be the case. This is especially so if those old soft tissue injuries were never properly addressed- which is often the case. Say, for instance, you broke your ankle years ago, and the bones were properly taken care of but you had to wear a boot for awhile.  Wearing a boot of course throws off your hips a bit- one leg and hip contracts (the one with the boot) as if you have a shorter leg. So the hips gets stuck in this unevenness so you unwittingly are walking around with a “short” leg and down the road – maybe even years later- you develop back pain or sciatica.  The muscles and other soft tissues (for example, the fascia) need to be released after the boot is removed to bring the hips and therefore the legs back into proper alignment. You have probably heard that “muscles have memory.”  The body is brilliant at protecting itself and sometimes in doing so, is a bit over-zealous.  Signaling the brain to reset the tension in all of these areas will ensure that the body is back in proper balance, avoiding issues down the road. Bowen Therapy does this easily and efficiently.

There are many scenarios – too many to list.  The bottom line, though,  is a new pain in one area can be attributed to an old injury in completely different area. Yet another reason to visit your very own Bowen Therapist!

I’m here for you~

Penny

 

New Info on Knee Surgery- From the Experts

 

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The  Treasure Coast Newspaper TC Palm (6/1/17) published an article that was in response to a doctor writing in about his experience with knee problems-specifically arthritis and mensicus tear-  with  subsequent meniscus tear surgery being ineffective.  He found relief  with medical massage and acupuncture.

Two citations were made in response to this doctor:

#1- The Journal of American Medical Association cited a study (pub 5/16/17) stating that STEROID INJECTIONS INTO THE KNEE WAS NO BETTER THAN SALINE INJECTIONS FOR ARTHRITIS RELIEF. AND, KNEES EXPOSED TO STEROID LOST CARTILAGE MORE QUICKLY.

#2- The British Medical Journal (5/6/17) states:  SURGERY PROVIDED NO LONG TERM ADVANTAGES OVER CONSERVATIVE MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES!!! A GROUP INCLUDING SURGEONS, PHYSIOTHERAPISTS AND PATIENTS HAS JUST ISSUED GUIDLEINES DISCOURAGING ARTHROSCOPIC SURGERY FOR KNEE ARTHRITIS AND MENISCUS TEARS (bmj, 5/10/17)

(can you see me jumping for joy?)

THIS IS HUGE!!   It takes what it takes, and if if takes surgeons to say out loud these things we bodyworkers know from daily experience, so be it.  I will stop here and just let this marinate for awhile.

Today I am celebrating what I do – Natural Healing Therapies may become a mainstream term. Hallelujah!

Penny

What Your Shoes Are Telling You

When is the last time you looked at the bottom of your shoes? Take a look.  Are they worn unevenly? How they are worn on the bottoms tell you  much about the state of your pelvic girdle (hips, and therefore the stress and strain on the legs, knees, ankles).

If your shoes are wearing unevenly you will inevitably have an issue with low back pain, knee pain, or a bunion forming on one foot or the other.  Typically this happens as a result of an imbalance in the hips.  And typically these imbalances are in the tension in the soft tissues (fascia, muscle, tendon, ligament) somewhere, often several places along the way from the hip to the foot.

Once we get these imbalances corrected through Bowen Therapy, it is imperative that you lose those shoes!  Shifting and balancing the tension in the soft tissues (fascia, muslces, tendons, ligaments) through Bowen Therapy allows the hard structures (bones) in the pelvic and so forth to shift to neutral position, creating a more balanced positioning of the feet.  If you put those unevenly worn shoes back on, you are walking unevenly on your feet and now have now undone all the work.

So, Happy Shoe Shopping!

Until Next Time,

Penny

 

Bowen Therapy: funny story #1

A Funny Bowen Therapy Story

So. Not much time to write – it’s been a beautifully busy week here at The Boulevard!

So, I’m going to simply share a funny story with you that along the way tells you a bit more about why Bowen Therapy works.

So, a long time client of mine who over the years came (abeit reluctantly) to believe in Bowen Therapy sent a friend of his to me.  Now this gentleman hailes from Chicago and I only had one chance with him- and he couldn’t turn his head and was in significant pain.

I gave him the appropriate treatment and sent him on his way.  The next week when my long time client came in, he said the two of them had gone to dinner the night of his friend’s treatment and the friend exclaimed: “what was that lunatic doing?! I told her it was my neck and she was working on my legs”!  (This is where I start laughing)

The next morning the two gather to play golf and the friend exclaims: “I feel GREAT! I can turn my head and I have no pain”!

I’m still laughing. Bowen Therapists are used to this.

The technical point of this funny story is as follows:

EVERYTHING is connected! Honestly, what might hurt in the neck could very well be a problem in the rear end! Why? Because FASCIA , in short, the connective tissue that runs through and wraps around every bone, muscle, and tendon (plus much, much more) weaves this way and that and criss-crosses here and there and what starts out in the toe can end up at the top of the head or elsewhere.  So this “lunatic” is telling you the problem may be far, far away from the pain!

And so it is in the World of Bowen Therapy!

Have a Fabulous Weekend!

Penny

A Little Bit About Reiki…

All of the aspects of my work are based on natural healing- hands on techniques to help you feel better.  Sometimes this looks like massage which is restorative to the mind and body, stretches, and “unsticks” restricted places in the body, relaxing the mind, opening the breath, and resulting in a a more relaxed  state of mind, and a more comfortable body.  Bowen Therapy is much the same but results from a completely different approach. Bowen Therapy really excels when it comes to chronic dysfunction and deterioration, and neurological issues.

Another system of healing I use is Reiki.  Many of you I’m sure have heard of it.  It may seem to you one of those “airy-fairy” things that new-agers like to tout.  To be sure there is some of that- perhaps even a lot of that.  That being said, there is  much more tto Reiki than giving new agers something “new” to grasp onto.  There is scientific evidence that it works.  The mechanism of action is somewhat vague, but the fact is- it makes a difference in how a person feels- it makes a difference in their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. And it makes them heal faster.  This comes directly from the National Institutes of Health(NIH) who call it a “Biofield Therapy.” According to the NIH, people undergoing any type of medical intervention whether surgery or a pharmaceutical protocol- those receiving Reiki tolerate the protocol better and heal faster from surgery.  They get out of the hospital faster, they require less medication- the whole ordeal is much less of an ordeal for them.

Recipients often report improved sleep and digestion, and a greater sense of well-being.  Unlike conventional medicine, Reiki does not attack disease.  Rather, Reiki supports our well-being and strengthens our natural ability to heal by encouraging balance.  The practitioner laying her hands lightly on the client is not channeling her own energy- she is channeling the energy that runs through all of us- call it chi, qi or prana- it is all the same energy that gives us life.  Sound weird? Perhaps, but given the fact that 35% of the hospitals in this country have Reiki programs in place for their patients- well, that’s enough for most people to stop and take notice.  This is what is called “integrative healing”- using the best of both conventional medical practices and natural (referred to as “alternative”) healing practices.

And as with every other healing modality I employ in my practice, I teach Reiki as well, and I use it on myself- EVERYDAY.

Here’s to your Exuberant Well-Being!

Namaste’,

Penny

Some Clarity On What Is Really Going On With Injuries And Joints “Wearing Out”

Image result for image fascia system

I feel the need to explain what is going on with most people that are hurt or in pain.  And I must say this carefully to not step on any toes or go outside my scope of practice.  Many different sections of the medical industry approach things VERY differently depending on their specialty.  For example, chiropractors adjust the spine itself manually.  Surgeons do just that- surgery.  Bowen Therapists address the soft tissues of the body- tendons, muscles, ligaments, fascia- that are ALWAYS involved when there is pain, dysfunction, and deterioration in the body.

Here is how we see things in my field:

Bones are held in place by the soft tissues of the body.  If it weren’t for the fascia, muscles, tendons, ligaments our bones would literally be a pile on the floor.

So.  If these soft tissues are not held in proper, balanced tension, the bones are pulled this way and that, the joints are compressed, the bursa (the fluid-filled sacs in the joints) also get compressed often causing leakage or rupture and nerve compression/pain.  If left untreated the joint begins to deteriorate (and this is just an example), more pain and dysfunction ensues and often people run to the nearest surgeon.

My point?  It is a very frequent thing that a client comes to me saying “I’m going for a knee replacement” to which I reply “give me three weeks.”  So very often it is simply (or not so simply) a matter of balancing the tension in the surrounding soft tissues- pain goes away, proper function returns, things repair.

My last point- it is much easier and faster to restore balance and subsequently proper function BEFORE it’s been years! And BEFORE  a joint replacement! If you are in pain, if you cannot function as well as you would like, do yourself a favor and call your nearest Bowen Therapist.  It may be a different approach to things but it works!

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!

Ozzie The Miracle Dog and his Mom’s Story

 

I work on people and sometimes I get to work on animals too.  This is an extraordinary story of my friend and client, Ozzie…Enjoy!

april 2016 ozzie 066

 

My client, Ozzie, is the most fabulous Newfoundland mix.  Here is his story according to his Mom, Pam:

 

 

 

Ever wish you could have a “do over?” A chance to say, “If only I’d chosen a different path.”  Well we got that chance with Ozzie, a 7 year old Newfoundland/Labrador/Golden Retriever mix who spent his first 6 months at the Fort Pierce Humane Society. 

Ozzie has always been a very active, wonderful, “special” dog.  One of my college roommates Cyndy and I were talking the other day, describing, if you are lucky, in your life you’ve had a special dog or maybe even two.  This is the type of dog who, when you call him from a long distance, looks up as if to say, “Me? Me?  Oh are you calling me??  Oh great!!! I’m coming, here I come, I’m so happy that you called me!! I’m running as fast as I can! Here I am!”  And lands on your feet in a big blast of fur. A special dog almost has human overtones, and eyes that follow you, a tail that wags continually, and a heart of gold, a dog who wants to do nothing more in life but to please. Ozzie is our special dog. 

About a year ago, out of nowhere, Ozzie experienced, as our canine Neurologist at The Animal Emergency Clinic in Melbourne described, a stroke on his spinal cord. After a relatively short recovery period, paralysis followed by weeks of physical therapy, he bounced back to an almost normal gaited dog, which is relatively common in the recovery with this diagnosis. Oddly 6 or so months later, he very quickly began to lose the use of his legs and began “knuckling” on his front legs.  Within 2 days, he was back at The Animal Emergency Clinic, completely paralyzed. The wonderful doctors at the clinic who I adore, explained that Ozzie now had a combination of significant problems with his spinal cord, not only one diagnosis this time and surgery was then performed. After the procedure, unfortunately Ozzie did not function well, he did not respond to much of anything, he was very lethargic and continued to be paralyzed.  It was at this point that I knew that I should probably face having him put to sleep.  As I looked into his eyes while they followed me around the visiting room when I’d make the daily trip up to Melbourne from Vero, I questioned myself if the time had come.  It was crushing to have to leave him at the end of each day to return home, but after a week of zero improvement I wondered if I was making the right decision to keep him alive. However, the option to take him home after a very weak but positive response to a toe pinch reflex test made our decision easy.  Our family of one husband and two teenage college bound boys and I, made that decision despite the fact that the prognosis was both guarded and poor. The process of recovery was very bleak; that he may never recover, never gain the use of his legs or walk, and that we would be dragging a 90lb dog outside several times a day.  And if he WAS able to recover enough to walk, that it could take up to a year or more. 

Enter Penny Michaels. I was given her name by the famous Pawprints Doggie Daycare, (I’m sure half of Vero goes there), by owner and friend Kim Conte. Kim knew Ozzie’s plight since she and her husband Sean oversaw Ozzie’s water therapy, who had now gained enough strength in his neck to at least hold his head up, as we floated him around in a pool. After explaining that she’d had great experience with Penny Michaels in the past, a physical therapist not only on humans, but also dogs, suggested I call. 

Calming, knowledgeable, confident, inspirational, and super friendly are probably the words I would use to describe Penny. Immediately I wanted to sign Ozzie up. She described the therapy that she used as “Bowen Therapy,” (which I was not familiar, but that did not matter), as basically working with the Central Nervous System, without the use of drugs. She mentioned that it was very common in the horse world, but not yet in the world of dogs, but should be. I felt so comfortable with Penny’s patient personality as I described Ozzie’s conditions that I was very anxious to begin physical therapy immediately; which I did. 

Ozzie was very responsive to Penny, day one of therapy.  Penny explained that she would work on him once a week.  During Ozzie’s first encounter, he was mesmerized.  It was very odd for me to see him react to her the way he did. Almost on cue, he would stretch his neck straight up several times in a row right after she said, “Now this might make him want to stretch.”  He’d yawn three to four times in a row, right after she’d say, “Now this will probably make him tired.”  He drooled on several occasions and Penny would say, “Yep, its working.” 

I began noticing improvement beginning the week of the first therapy session with Penny.  Ozzie began turning his head more and he seemed to be much more responsive to stimulus. By week two, he was beginning to lunge around on the kitchen floor using his shoulders. He’d scoot to his super dish even though it was only 6 inches away. Ozzie was so dedicated, when Penny came to our house for his therapies with him, he’d put his head in her lap, ignoring me, almost as if he knew she was helping him to the road of recovery. 

On about the 3th to 4th week, Ozzie would try and push up on his back legs although his front legs were not cooperating.  When we brought him home after the surgery, his front legs were as stiff as boards and stuck out completely in the air when he was lying down. His front legs  buckled as he tried to put weight on them.  During each session, Penny would say, “Okay, now I’m going to be working on his front end, (or back end, or neck or shoulders, etc), so watch for any movement there,” she’d always give me an idea what to look for and then ask for videos. 

By around the 5th to 6th week, Ozzie was up on all fours, wobbly, but nevertheless on all four legs!!  I would text videos to Penny and would be in complete shock as Ozzie began to take small steps!!  And Penny would say something like, “YAY that is so exciting,” and then, “Yep, that’s Bowen.” 

By the 7th to 8th  week, Ozzie was walking.  He was knuckling, (the foot part of him bending) about ½ the time and walking the other half, but walking. It was incredibly exciting to see him get up and walk independently. 

Ozzie is now walking, we’re in week twelve. He continues to improve.  He walks outside, eats, drinks, watches squirrels and just seems to really be enjoying life. If he’s thirsty, he walks over to the fountain for a drink, if he wants to cool down, he walks over to a shadowed area in the rocks beneath an oak tree, when he wants to come inside, he walks back in. 

I think back with a lump in my throat the size of Texas about how close I came to putting Ozzie to sleep because I thought it was the time and I didn’t think that there were any other options. With the prognosis I was given at the time, that he’d probably never walk again, and if he did, possibly a minimum of a year to see any improvement if at all, I wondered what kind of life that would have been for him. When Penny came for the first visit, I’ll never forget, she said, “Oh, he’ll walk, it’s just a matter of time.” It’s such a shame that more dog owners don’t know about Bowen Therapy and therapists like Penny. So many dogs’ lives and families would have such different outcomes; like ours. I came so close.  But I had a do over. I was one of the lucky ones.

 

To see a video of Ozzie, please click on the following link:Ozzie todayapril 2016 ozzie 061