Tag Archives: fascia

Explaining Bowen Therapy- Take 5

Image result for tom myers anatomy imagesWhen it comes to explaining Bowen Therapy, one size does not fit all. I can explain it to some in a simplistic manner,  to others in a technical manner but so far not one description works for everyone.  Given  the fact that as a society we are not used to the idea of fixing a body by attending to the soft tissues in a manipulative but very light touch kind of way, and add to that the truth that we have only just begun to understand the functioning of  the connective tissue systems in the body, it gets difficult to comprehend pretty quickly. It is just foreign to us.

THAT BEING SAID, IT WORKS BEAUTIFULLY.

 I will continue to offer different approaches to explaining why Bowen Therapy works as they come to me.  Eventually there will be enough documented science of the inner workings of the connective tissue-the fascia in particular-that some brilliant anatomist will be able to successfully explain it to everyone.

In the meantime, I will use some images from my very favorite anatomist, Tom Myers to help give you a visual.   The book by Tom Myers, Anatomy Trains, is  far the best book on functional anatomy to date.Image result for tom myers anatomy images

Think of the body as put together via ropes and pulleys (think bringing a pail of water out of a well- pull down on one side of the rope causes the other side of the rope to shorten bringing up the pail of water).  Same with connective tissues in the body. Image result for tom myers anatomy images You pull something tighter over here and the opposite end – or the antagonist muscle HAS to shorten.  (Remember those toys some of us had that were put together this way? push on the bottom of the feet and the whole thing collapses?) On a superficial level, this is what we are doing in Bowen Therapy.  We are telling the brain to tighten this one, loosen this one and so forth, balancing the tension in all of these opposing soft tissue structures.  This imbalance in the structures is what causes us much of our pain and  our parts to not function properly.  In addition, once an imbalance is present in one area, guess what? Eventually other structures get imbalanced as well BECAUSE ALL STRUCTURES ARE CONNECTED.  There is actually, a “rope” of muscle that connects from the heel, up the back and around the top of the head!

Image result for tom myers anatomy imagesIt gets more complicated than that.  The connective tissue called fascia that wraps around and through everything actually has 10 times the nerve endings as muscles do!  So when you say your bicep hurts, it’s probably the fascia surrounding the bicep that is actually givinig out the pain signals.  The fascia is the super highway of communication between the muscles and so forth and the brain.Here is what it looks like:

Image result for tom myers anatomy imagesA spidery web of collagen.  Collagen happens to be a piezoelectric material which means you put any strain or pressure on it and it sends out an electrical signal- to the brain. Follow me?  This is why Bowen Therapy works- we send signals via pressure to the fascia which sends electrical signals to the brain to tell the brain something is out of whack in this area, and please fix it.

That’s probably far enough for today…hopefully the visuals help!

Thank you Tom Myers!

At your Service~

Penny

plantar fasciitis

Illustration showing plantar fascia and location of heel pain

On the internet the Mayo Clinic described plantar fasciitis as one of the most common causes of heel pain.”It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes (plantar fascia).”  The article goes on to say that the cause is not known and that it can lead to back and hip problems. (address of the article: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/plantar-fasciitis/symptoms-causes/dxc-20268536).

In the world of Bowen Therapy (Osteopaths get this), we see the body as a whole, not pieces and parts. For us, everything is connected and therefore intimately involved with everything else.  When someone comes to me with plantar fasciitis, the first thing I am going to address is balance in the hip structures.  A “conventional” medicine person would probably not look above the ankle.

You see if the hips are out of balance, it causes one leg to appear shorter than the other, and you end of putting much more pressure on the “long leg” foot thereby straining the muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia on that leg.  All of those soft tissues transfer weight/pressure/strain to the foot causing tightening of the fascia in the foot.  You can massage that foot all you want (and this is good! don’t get me wrong) but you are not fixing the initial problem in most cases.  You have to address balance in tension of the soft tissues from the hips down, and sometimes from the neck down.  It’s all connected!

So, if plantar fasciitis is a problem for you- come see me!

 

 

This will Blow Your Mind! How intelligent our Fascial network is

Attached is a youtube video showing very clearly the importance of and incredible function of the Fascial system.  THIS is the system that we are addressing during a Bowen Therapy session.  Enjoy actually SEEING how incredibly complex and intelligent the tissues of our body are ! Bowen Therapy is incredibly difficult to define and you can see why as this is just the tip of the iceberg so to speak.  We are truly just now gaining insight into the incredible complexity of the connective tissue system and its intelligence.

The bottom line to the trained observer is that  even the slightest pressure to the connective tissue  sends signals to the brain and a multitude of changes in the structure begins to happen!  This is EXACTLY what happens during a Bowen Session that results in amazing changes to the structures of the body- simply with light touch, things move, shift, balance, and heal.  Enjoy.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW0lvOVKDxE

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