OK. Never heard of it. What is it? The technique is named after its "creator" Tom Bowen. It is a very young therapy compared to others as Tom started using it in the 1950's & 60's. The technique is a soft tissue therapy. It is gentle, yet firm. It is NOT a massage. The thumbs and fingers are used to perform a series of single, rolling moves with the skin over underlying soft tissue. Every split second of the day our bodies have to respond to external input and have to decide if the input received spell DANGER or if everything is A-OK. That is in fact how we stay alive.
The Bowen moves create just such input. The body is now "obliged" to "have a look" at the input received, and HAS to decide on plan of action. If the state of the underlying tissue is registered as being "incorrect" in any way the body will HAVE to respond to try and rectify the situation. Exactly the same way your body has to respond and follow protocol for example when you've accidentally cut yourself, or burn yourself or broken/fractured a bone etc The treatment is extremely gentle as any pain caused will kick the body into a "protective" rather than a "fixing" mode. It's definitely not a "no pain, no gain" situation.
Then there are the "breaks"...
After a few Bowen moves have been performed, the therapist will leave the room and give the person/body chance to respond to the "input" received. These breaks are roughly 2mins long and will follow a series of moves.This will be the pattern for the duration of the treatment. Initially, this for most people will be the most difficult concept to grasp. In fact, this was the most difficult part for me personally to accept as I have originally been trained in deep tissue massage Now, to date we have yet to find a volunteer who'd be willing to stay concious whilst being poked and pierced by needles and electronic equipment, giving pain feedback, in order for us to try and figure out why and how the body responds the way it does. What we do know is that the body will respond. During these breaks people will often report feelings of "heat", "humming/buzzing" in specific areas or "all over".
The treatment is basically aimed at resetting soft tissue sticking points and shifting structural strain away from overloaded areas - your area(s) of aches and pains. It is up to the therapist and his/her experience to decide where the moves will be performed in order to create optimum benefit for the client during the treatment.
What do we treat?
We treat your body, and we treat it as an active, constant changing UNIT. Frozen shoulder, back pain, a stiff neck, knee pain etc are merely names given to aches and pains relating to over-loaded structural stress points.
At Oxford Bowen we will always start with a postural assessment & case history in order to determine possible "over loading" points on your body. We will then use the "moves" to create awareness in your body, allowing it to reset "incorrect tension" in the soft tissue. It's amazing what will start happening to your aches and pains and "problems" once your body starts functioning more efficiently as a unit. And it can happen very quickly. We normally suggest all clients to receive three treatments over a period of 3-4 weeks in order to work through the body from all angles, creating structural change.
Think about it...
If you think that you are "held upright" by your skeletal structure....think again. There is nowhere in our bodies where bone touches bone. Our skeleton is completely suspended within our soft tissue and it is the tension in our soft tissue that keep us upright ( Do we stay upright when we faint?).
Therefore, incorrect tension in our soft tissue caused by injuries, posture, emotions and countless other influences will start "moving our bones around" and leave us "mis-aligned", leading to different kinds of aches and pains and even internal problems.
I always explain to my clients that our bodies are like tents. Held up and kept stable by the tension in the guy lines - increase the tension in the guy lines on one side and the pegs will eventually "pop out" on the opposite side. In our bodies the "popping out of the pegs" are basically where we will be feeling pain - the problem is more often than not the incorrect tension of a guy line (soft tissue) on the opposite side.
In other words, for successful treatment of your X, Y, or Z condition, the balance and alignment of the whole body needs to be looked at.
Start asking your therapist some questions if they only treat your shoulder for "frozen shoulder", if they only treat your neck for neck pain or "whiplash", if they only treat your foot for "plantar fasciitis", only your elbow for "tennis elbow" or only your lower back for "sciatica" etc All these are merely names given for problems and areas where the "pegs are popping out".
We use Bowen to influence the soft tissue tension throughout the body
Once again. The Bowen technique is not a substitute for essential medical treatment. Consult your doctor before coming for treatment. We do not treat specific conditions.
Bear Grylls - '...it felt like petrol was being put back in my tank and I could feel all the stress seeping away'