The great thing about beginning an exercise program is that, as functional movement returns, the person's desire to be more active steadily increases. I'm always warning my clients not to go off and do too much if they feel better in a few days, but more often than not the next week they come in with a story of too much gardening, or going back to the pool or gym or running too early. This is one of the reasons I try to give my new clients a call after a few days, to remind them not to do too much.
Returning to proper design, or functional, movement, doesn't happen overnight. With regular Bowen it may take a few weekly treatments, longer solely with the exercise routines I promote - 2-3 months. It takes time for the muscles to drop previous patterns and re-educate themselves to the new, more functional, normal after each Bowen treatment, or exercise session.
So what is proper, functional movement? It is movement in line with how we are designed to move. Our body is meant to be symmetrical left to right, and balanced front to back. Our body has vertical, horizontal and parallel alignment of load-bearing joints (ankles, knees, hips and shoulders), on top of which the head sits above the S-curve of the spine which is perfectly designed for the most efficient and effective use of energy for our movement.
Bones go where muscles tell them, and each muscle has specific jobs to do. If a muscle is unable to perform that job, other muscles step in to cover for it. But those compensating muscles aren't designed for that job so don't do it as well, and they have their own job to do too so they get tired more quickly, leading to increased poor job performance.
Only functional movement, how we are designed to move, restores health. Body building or strenuous workouts can never replace or activate lost functions. All the stair climbing in the world wouldn't help Sally from yesterday's blog. Her disengaged quad that haven't been used for years, will not be available for work until she convinces her adductor muscles (on the inside of the upper leg) to butt out from bringing her leg forward during walking. In fact any active physical exercise that Sally does will strengthen the compensation, further reinforcing the dysfunctional pattern.
No wonder Sally is experiencing knee pain. The quadriceps are responsible for bringing the leg forward in a vertical line. When they can no longer do their job, the body has two options. It can recruits the adductors (muscles on the inside of the leg), or the abductors (muscles on the outside of the leg) to bring the leg forward. In so doing, they are placing more of a pull on the inside or outside of the knee respectively, and without the stabilising force of the quadriceps the bones in the joint don't slide and glide past each other easily. Long term this may cause damage to the bone or cartilage, and the person will experience pain.
During my time as a parent of boys at a private school in Sydney, I watched with concern as some of the boys from all the competing schools toiled through their compulsory Saturday sporting commitments. These were boys with poor posture (they lacked vertical, horizontal and parallel alignment), and had noticeable dysfunctional movement. As they were more awkward and weak than their counterparts, invariably they were playing in the lowest grades of rugby union or soccer, or did long distance running. Imagine the reinforcement of dysfunctional movement and the force of improper pressure on joints of a lad with a head forward posture, rounded shoulders and upper back, and legs turned out (that's where the "duck feet" come in) who trains to , and runs, 4-6km every Saturday for 4 months of the year.
Making sport compulsory is an honourable thing to do, encouraging a habit of fitness and health in all students. However, unfortunately they are unwittingly setting these young men up for future lives of pain and ill health. It would have been wonderful to see the school assist the students to correct their posture early, restore functional movement and only then participate in the compulsory sporting program.
It is possible to systematically restore the ability for muscles to work in a way that will result in proper movement, and to maintain a fully functional musculoskeletal system. Ensuring that this new state is stable before active exercise recommences, and that active exercise is introduced slowly is essential, otherwise the weaker muscles will tire quickly and the previous dysfunctional patterns will resume.
Once functional movement is sustainably restored, then breathing, digestion and all the other systems will begin to improve, and the feeling of wellbeing has the potential to return to the body.
If you're thinking of starting an exercise program and you have some pain, movement or postural issues I encourage you to consult an experienced and recommended bodyworker and exercise therapist to restore proper design movement so that your exercise will be as effective as possible in restoring and maintaining optimal health. If you think that Bowen Therapy and Egoscue exercises may assist, please call me on 0427 143 743.
Sally is an accountant who has spent most of her life sitting down: first in a school room, then at a computer for her tertiary education and now her work, in the car, sitting for meals, and on a lounge at night watching TV. Her major muscles assigned to the task of walking are no longer able to do so efficiently and effectively. For the most part, these muscles have been shut down hour after hour, and the body has redirected its resources elsewhere.
She still has to go to the bathroom, and out to get lunch, so Sally must walk at least a little bit. These brief walks aren't really enough to maintain musculoskeletal function. Sally's body ends up borrowing other muscles and bypassing the quadriceps, the major muscle group on the front of the thigh. Normally the quadriceps stabilise the knee and position the hip. The peripheral muscles aren't designed to do the job of the quadriceps - they have another job - and don't do their extra job quite right and they tire easily.
Unsurprisingly, Sally developed knee pain some years ago. She blames it on the jogging that she used to do, but the real cause is long term lack of functional motion. No longer running because of her knee pain, her diaphragm, the major muscle involved in breathing, also didn't get enough motion and it is no longer in a state to enable her to breathe correctly. So now Sally's sedentary lifestyle has not only interfered with her ability to walk, but it has also undermined her capacity to breathe. Other muscles in the torso, even those whose primary function is to move the arms, head and spine, take over the diaphragm's job of taking in oxygen, but once again are less effective and they tire easily doing a job for which they're not designed.
Major postural muscles are not the only ones to progressively degenerate when they are not used. All muscles, and even all living tissue, share the same characteristic, hence the saying "Move it or lose it." The body recognises when a muscle isn't being used, so puts its resources elsewhere, meaning the unused tissue does not receive the optimal amount of nutrition and oxygen.
Due of her decreased capacity to breathe properly, Sally develops dizzy spells as her brain, which uses about 40% of the total oxygen intake of the body, begins to starve. The body deems the brain one of the most important organs of the body, so it doesn't let itself starve unnecessarily. The brain has already diverted oxygen to itself from less essential functions, like moving, posture, digestion, white blood cell production (that's your immunity) and more. Meanwhile, joints and muscles that don't get enough oxygen can't function properly, no matter how much they are drugged, manipulated or altered by surgery, and chronic pain settles in. All the other systems in the body suffer as well.
Sally's complaints will slowly escalate over the years. Her life of sitting causes her to stop jogging because her knees are sore, then "I can't walk because of my knees," "I've lost my appetite," "My stomach hurts," "I can't sleep at night," "I feel dizzy," "I have high blood pressure," and so on. Does this sound familiar?
Sally's husband, Tom, is a farmer. He spends most of his life sitting too - on the tractor, in the header, in the ute, on the quadbike, bending over shearing and crutching, sitting for meals and watching TV at night in the arm chair. He used to play rugby in the local club, but found that his back was too stiff and sore when he got out of the car travelling to neighbouring towns to play games, so he gave that up.
Tom's deep hip flexors are accustomed to being short because he spends so much time with his hips at 90 degrees or less. Now Tom's walking around bent over like a half opened pocket knife, and his knees don't fully straighten. He's already noticing that he's getting out of breath easily, thinks he's depressed, and he's tired nearly all the time which he puts down to the fact that he doesn't seem to want to eat as much as he used to. Because he doesn't like going to town, he hasn't seen a doctor in years and Sally is worried that Tom also has high blood pressure.
So was it inevitable that Sally and Tom are in their late 50's and in this state of health? Is there something that can be done which may make the rest of their lives look a little more enjoyable? And if you're in your 20's or 30's and reading this, thinking that Sally and Tom may be you and your partner in a few decades, I bet you'd like to know if there's something that can prevent your future looking like theirs.
Of course there is, but it takes personal effort and commitment, and a belief that you are worth that effort so that you make it a priority over your job and your family for the rest of your life. It should be a no brainer - if you don't address the issue, you won't be able to do your job or take care of your family and enjoy it.
Here's what you can do. First of all, go and see someone who can help you correct the primary cause of the dysfunction that is causing the problem(s). If you are older, go now. If you are younger, go when you first notice pain setting in (Sally noticed her knees were sore when she was jogging in her late 20's and Tom's back was stiff after driving in his late 20's too). Go to the doctor if you need some serious pain relief, but before you resort to asking them to help you fix the problem, go to a good bodyworker with a sound reputation and a good track record. Alexander Technique, Rolfing, Chiropractic, Osteopathy, Bowen Therapy are all good modalities that I believe can assist, and there are probably others. Of course I would encourage you to choose Bowen Therapy because that is what I understand the best, and I have helped hundreds of people sustainably recover from chronic pain and not spiral into conditions that the doctors say "Well, what do you expect at your age?", but I'm sure Bowen is not the only answer available.
To assist recovery, seek out a gentle exercise routine which will encourage functional movement. This may be well instructed Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi, Qigong or Egoscue exercises. Once again, I would encourage you to consider Qigong or Egoscue as they are the exercise routines with which I am familiar, and they have helped me maintain strength and flexibility whilst living with a permanent injury from a car accident in my teens. I also successfully use these to assist in the recovery of my Bowen clients who cannot come to see me as often as I'd like due to shift work or distance, and are being very helpful at this point during lockdown.
Then, when you are moving in a functional manner (ie. your muscles are all working correctly) get back to exercise. Adopt a healthy mixture of strengthening, aerobic and mindful exercise to get the most benefit. Make sure you choose that which you enjoy, and continue this practice for the rest of your life.
Finally, if the old pain starts niggling again, or another issue creeps in, revisit the bodyworker and therapeutic exercises to nip it in the bud early and quickly so that it doesn't get a chance to escalate and stop you enjoying the rest of your life.
The body is incredibly efficient, and once it regains balance in the musculoskeletal system it may take as little as 20 minutes of targeted exercise a day to maintain a level of functional movement that will ensure ease of movement and optimal health.
Your whole life, including old age, is meant to be enjoyable and graceful. If you start early and put in a little time and effort, the joy in later years will be so worth it. If you would like to discuss your future health, please give me a call on 0427 143 743.
Ever wondered how the orthodontist figures out where the teeth are meant to end up? I do. They take x-rays and a mould of your mouth, have really good observation skills and are educated to figure it out, right? And don't they do a great job of giving our dear ones the most beautiful smiles - the ones they were born with, before they grew those big teeth that seem to go all over the place. (That, by the way, is another story for another day!)
During my training of how to treat four legged animals I was taught that the integrity of the TMJ (temporomandibular joint, or the joint just in front of the ear that allows the jaw to move) is an important contributing factor to any imbalance the animal may have, and may effect all parts of the body. It was this fact that got me thinking and observing more about the TMJ in people.
In my Bowen Clinic I am observing that the work that I do on the TMJ affects the whole body. I integrate TMJ work to help correct problems with the jaw and the face, neck pain, back pain, arm pain, hip pain, leg pain, foot and hand pain, balance problems (such as vertigo, Menieres Disease and motion sickness), respiratory and digestive and hormonal issues, postural problems and nerve problems.
The muscles involved in how well your jaw work are connected to, amongst other things, your hyoid bone (important in balance amongst other things), and your sphenoid bone (the bone upon which your brain sits). When you move functionally your whole body works together in an ordered fashion. The muscles are all playing parts in the whole body moving flexibly so that the organs and systems of the body all get a good massage. Getting that good massage is vital to the effectiveness of our organs and systems. They need it to work properly so that we can be healthy - we were designed to work like this.
Important to this functional movement, which helps create the best internal environment for our optimal health, is that our scaphoid bone (the one that the pituitary and the brain sits on) and our coccyx (the last parts of our spinal column) are meant to move synchronistically. They both rock gently backwards and forwards in time with each other. Thinking about the sphnoid bone then, it is meant to be gently rocking our brain. This slight movement in both ends of the spinal cord is meant to occur even when we breath!
So just imagine what happens if we are tight in our lower back. Less movement in the lower back refers up into the thoracic back and all of the organs in the thoracic cavity aren't getting the massage they require to work optimally. It also refers down to the sacrum and coccyx. Less movement of the coccyx directly relates up to the scaphoid and there is less rocking of the brain, which it also requires to work optimally. This is why it is so important for our health to seek out therapies and exercises which restore and maintain functional movement. Resorting to medicines just doesn't work in the long run. Focusing on diet and sleep and immunity and hormonal balance and exercise doesn't work in the long run either unless the movement with which you exercise is functional.
I digress. Sorry, it's a topic about which I'm just a tad passionate. Back to our kids' teeth that we spend thousands of dollars on for those beautiful smiles.
Lets say that, during the course of their childhood they have had a trauma to part of their body. It could have been a fall when they were learning to walking, a tumble off a chair, bumping their head on the corner of a table as they were running past, running into a glass door, colliding with a friend in the playground, falling off the monkey bars at school or, like most kids, all of the above. Nothing big, just normal every day occurrences. Just one of these is enough to upset the delicate balance of the coccyx or sphenoid bone, or any of the joints in between. To make everything work OK, some of the jaw muscles tighten up so that the sphenoid bone stays level so that our brain is OK. Lots of other things occur so that we stay balanced and our body remains as functional as possible. So now the TMJ, that joint in front of the ear from where the jaw moves, is not quite functioning correctly, and the teeth don't quite meet properly. Only a minor correction, no harm done, no noticeable negative impact, all good. This occurs again and again. Quite natural and normal for our body to absorb these changes to stay as functional as it can.
Let's say years later our child requires braces and off we go to the orthodontist who takes moulds and x-rays and looks and ponders and uses their years of training and experience and decides the best result of where those teeth are meant to sit. And we pay lots of money and are very happy that our child has a perfect bite and a beautiful smile.
But if we really consider what the orthodontist has done, he has taken our child's teeth and moved them into a position so that the "perfect" bite is part of a dysfunctional TMJ, one that is ever changing to the knocks and bumps and traumas of life. Now the dysfunctional muscles in the child's TMJ have to stay that way because the new "perfect" bite is reinforcing that. From what I've observed in my clinic, it is reasonable to consider that perhaps we have just set this child up for continuing dysfunction resulting in pain, illness and disease later in life.
I'm even noticing a correlation between a couple of years out of braces and kids are quitting the sport about which they were previously so passionate. I wonder if it's because their balance has been effected and they're not quite as good at moving as before, therefore have lost that ease which used to make sport effortless and fun. But they have a perfect bite and a beautiful smile.
Just a couple of stories about my own children, who have both had braces before I began thinking about all this. The first was a refluxer, and by the age of 8 or 9 a couple of his adult teeth had disintegrated because of the acid that was continually in his mouth. So his other teeth were moving around and coming down all wrong because they had the space to do so. We were sent to the orthodontist for monitoring and later 18 months of braces. Number two was a thumb sucker and we were sent to the same orthodontist about the same time for monitoring for a spacer and later 24 months of braces. During the monitoring period of about two years for the thumb sucker and four years for refluxer, I did regular Bowen treatments incorporating work on their TMJ. The orthodontist was quite flummoxed when we kept attending his appointments and the boys' bites seemed to be getting better. It was entertaining watching him looking back and forward from the mouth to his notes from previous appointments with a very puzzled look on his face. I didn't ever mention what I was doing and he didn't ever mention the improvement. One day he finally declared that the thumb sucker would not require the intervention of a spacer (huge relief!) and that the refluxer had gone from requiring braces for health to just aesthetic purposes. In the end we decided to do the braces for both boys for their amazing good looks, and I continued to treat their TMJ's on a semi-regular basis. Both had braces for only 12 months which was much quicker than the orthodontist expected.
Both are now in their early twenties and are extremely fit, active and passionate sportspeople, still taking the knocks of everyday life and playing hard at their contact sport. I tend to think that, without the Bowen Therapy work on their TMJ's during those formative years leading up to and during their orthodontic treatments, their outcomes would have been quite different.
There is a Bowen Therapist from Victoria who has worked closely with some open-minded dentists and orthodontists for many years. They have been using Bowen Therapy to ensure correct TMJ function before the orthodontist assesses the mouth prior to braces, and continuing regular Bowen treatments coinciding with checkups and when required. By achieving the perfect bite on the body's innate jawline and correct TMJ function, they have succeeded in both reducing the discomfort of the patient and shortening the treatment time. The Bowen work also allows the body to be flexible in its healing so that this new perfect bite will continue to adapt to the knocks, bumps and traumas of everyday life.
Just another funny story about our braces experience before I close off. The refluxer had his braces off one Wednesday. He was doing Year 11 in Sydney at the time, and playing in the seconds cricket team. We drove down to watch the game and soak up that new, very expensive, gorgeous smile for the weekend. We got to the game and took a seat which happened to be just behind the coach. Our team was fielding. Once we got settled and said hi to everyone, I realised that our son was fielding at silly point. I quietly tapped the coach on the shoulder and said quietly "Whose decision was it to put that $6,000 smile so close to the bat?" Poor man.
Dental and orthodontic advice and treatment are incredibly important to our health, and I think they can be more effective by addressing the important aspect of a functional TMJ. If you would like to talk about the potential of Bowen treatments supporting your child before, during and after orthodontic intervention please give me a call on 0427 143 743. I look forward to talking with you.
Cheers for now,
Scars come in all shapes and sizes, and can vary in tone and colour. Some are significant, and others are insignificant. When touched some feel quite normal, others are numb, and some illicit feelings of nausea or detachment. Each has a different story, and many are associated with trauma. The long-term and widespread effects of scarring on the body cannot be underestimated.
The body forms scar tissue as a natural response to trauma when the skin is punctured or lacerated either by accident or purposefully. Whilst muscles and all other structures have order in their makeup, scar tissue is haphazard in nature. The repair process results in a thickened fibrous mass which impedes proper circulation of blood and congests lymph flow. Additionally the severing of nerve tissue often results in altered sensation of not only the scar but the surrounding tissues as well. The scar tissue may also be viewed as a "road block" to the flow of the body's energy channels, or lines of fascia.
You can imagine the tighter, non-elastic scar tissue putting pressure on blood vessels, lymphatic vessels and nerves, altering the free flow of blood and lymph and nerve messages to and from not only the area of repair but to the adjacent areas as well, and the pressure that may put on the normal functioning of cells in the area. You can also imagine it having a dragging and pulling effect on the surrounding tissues, including joints. This may be experienced as a restricted range of motion, where greater than usual force needs to be applied in order to move the affected joint or joints. Imbalances in the mechanical function of the skeletal structure follows with, over time, deformation of the joints (ie. arthritis).
With abdominal surgery, the resulting scar tissue typically may have an inhibitory effect on flexion, extension and rotation of the spine, and so abdominal scarring has a major impact on low back pain. Similarly we find that appendectomy scars have a major impact on right hip pain, and scars across the chest tend to round the shoulders and upper back, and pull the head forward.
MSTR (McLoughlin Scar Tissue Release) was developed by a Bowen Therapist from England called Alastair McLoughlin. The technique uses very gentle moves over the scar, encouraging the scar tissue to become more flexible, allowing more space for blood and lymphatic vessels and nerves to expand and function more effectively. Clients often notice an almost immediate response in returning sensation, colour, tension and a decrease in puffiness - the scar looks and feels different. Releasing the tension in the scar tissue resolves the dragging effect that impacts the mechanical function of the skeletal structure in the long term.
To perform the work on the scar tissue, the scar must have had time to heal properly to withstand the light pressure without causing any discomfort or tearing. We recommend considering starting work about 6-8 weeks after the surgery or accident that caused the scar.
Addressing scar tissue with MSTR is an easy and effective way to be proactive about maintaining good posture and optimal health, and can be applied equally effectively to humans and animals. Call me on 0427 143 743 to discuss any issues you think you might be experiencing as a result of scarring.
Cheers for now,
See HRT and you think of Hormone Replacement Therapy, right? Introducing HRTBW - Hormone Release The Bowen Way! It's a non-invasive, drug-free method of treating menopause, period pain, endometriosis and other symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
With lots of Bowen training already booked into my schedule for this year, when I saw that my friend at Inverell was hosting Ron Phelan's HRTBW course in March 2018 it was too good an opportunity to miss and I knew I had to squeeze it in to the calendar and stretch the budget to get there. I was not disappointed.
I came back to Dubbo with new skills with which to support those people in my community who are silently putting up with the symptoms of hormonal imbalance. I am now confident in offering treatment for the following conditions:
The work is intense and involved. To be effective the body needs to be fairly well balanced, so generally a couple of Bowen treatments are required to establish this. Weekly treatments are required until symptoms have gone and settled. As the instructor said, "Treatment is like rolling a tyre up a hill. If you stop too early it will roll back down the hill. But if you continue until you make sure it is over the hill it will never go backwards." He led us to expect that good results are generally not achieved within 3-4 treatments, but how long it takes is difficult to predict because ... every body is different.
I myself had endured years of the symptoms of oestrogen deficiency (I now know this) which regularly had me housebound for days on end. It interfered with my ability to work and hold down a job, fulfilling family commitments and attending social engagements. My recovery involved radically changing my diet which took a number of years, a lot of willpower and attracted a lot of criticism. Whilst I wouldn't change what I've done, if I knew then what I do now, HRTBW would have supported my body through the process and life would not have been so distressing.
Clients that I have been able to assist so far with what I learned in this course:
If you are looking for a natural, drug-free and non-invasive method of dealing with any of these problems, please consider coming and having a talk with me to explore whether you might be interested in some Hormone Release The Bowen Way. To get started straight away please call me on 0427 143 743, or make an appointment just to chat free of charge.
Cheers for now,
Treating people with chronic conditions such as arthritis, autoimmune diseases, GORD, diabetes, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue etc. is really rewarding. Whilst Bowen does not cure the condition, it does support the body in such a way that the person is able to resume some normality in their life. Many of these clients get regular Bowen treatments fortnightly or monthly because they may experience less pain, they may be able to sleep better, they may feel less anxious, they may have a little more energy, and they may have an increased feeling of wellbeing, all of which contribute to their symptoms not being so overwhelming.
These are the clients who often ask "What else can I be doing to support my body to feel better?" and have inspired me to do some extensive reading. I have noticed a common thread amongst the effective suggestions that I have come across, which can be summarised by the SHINE Protocol. SHINE was developed by a White House physician in the time of the Kennedy and Johnson presidencies, and is an acronym for five factors that are imperative to maintain optimal long term health.
Sleep - To maintain optimal health your body needs 7.5 hours effective sleep at the right time to be able to do it's "housekeeping". If it doesn't get to do its housekeeping properly then things simply don't work right. The systems of your body that are responsible for this work the best during the hours of 9pm and 7am, and it is virtually impossible for them to do this effectively between the hours of 11pm and 5am. Whilst I have dear family and friends who pride themselves on being able to live on 5 hours sleep, they are not doing their bodies any favours. By the way, getting less than 7.5 hours effective sleep a night is a recognised contributing factor to developing Alzheimer's.
Hormones - Hormone deficiencies can contribute to many chronic conditions. Hormones control our body's homeostasis (blood pressure, temperature, pH levels, hydration, blood sugar and gas concentrations), growth and development, reproduction, recovery from injury and trauma, metabolism and lots more. Hormones are involved in the functioning of every system in our body, and if their levels aren't correct our health declines. Hormonal imbalances are often missed by blood tests.
Immunity/Infection - Underlying viral, bacterial, yeast and mould infections contribute to disease and chronic illness. The trick is identifying their presence, and once again these are often missed by blood tests. Bacteria, yeast and mould can be controlled medically or using alternative therapies. We are told that viral infections require rest and there is no cure. Once you have contracted a virus you will always have it in your system. They are opportunistic, and when you are run down they will take the opportunity to get stronger and affect you. The thing is that the chronic symptoms of viruses are often very different to the acute symptoms. These viruses can wear out your body and affect your systems, allowing chronic illness to develop. Viruses may be controlled by some alternative therapies.
Nutrition - To maintain optimal health a diet with minimal acid forming inflammatory foods should be adopted. But that is just part of the story. We must also look towards our gut health to ensure that the healthy foods we eat are being digested properly and the resulting nutrients are absorbed into our bodies so that the cells can be nourished. The integrity of the small intestine wall and the gut flora population are very important in the nutrition story.
Exercise - We are designed to move with our whole bodies, so that when, for example, we walk, our whole spine moves fluidly and the organs and structures in our torso get a good massage to keep them healthy. Our liver, kidneys, gall bladder, spleen, digestive system, bowels, bladder and other structures rely on this functional movement to be able to work optimally. For most of us our hips and/or shoulders do not move correctly when we walk which indicates that our spines are locked up somewhere and our internal organs are not getting the massage and stimulation they require. Once moving functionally, it is important to exercise at an appropriate level of duration and intensity. Too much for too long, too soon, may find the body under too much stress and undoing all your good work.
Mindfulness is an addition made in many of the documents I have read. Encouragement is given to seek a mindful activity such as meditation, Yoga, Tai Chi or Qi Gong, as well as a manual therapy which promotes relaxation such as massage, acupuncture or Shiatsu.
Functional medicine practitioners treat the body holistically, providing advise to their clients about these five factors that are important to optimal health.
Bowen Therapy also provides support to the body in all five areas:
Seeking total health for a longer and happier life is difficult in this day and age, but there are therapists and practitioners out there who can support you in staying well. If you would like to know more about the SHINE protocol and people who may be able to support your quest for health in the Orana Region please call me on 0427 143 743.
Bowen Therapy - it just works. So why not give it a try first?
In The Beginning
One day, more than half a century ago, a big sister was minding her baby sister. She was helping her mother, who was caring for the family of five children. Unfortunately, somehow, the big sister dropped the baby on her head, and was too scared to tell her mother. The baby cried and cried that day, trying to let everyone know that she was hurt, but everyone was very short tempered with her. Nobody listened to her until that night when her mother was trying to settle her to sleep. Lovingly and patiently stroking her baby's hair, the mother noticed that the baby's head was oozing. Off to the hospital, and it turns out the poor little baby had a fractured skull.
Life Goes On
Plagued with headaches, neck pain and tightness, and episodes of lower back pain, the little baby grew up as all babies do. She learnt to deal with the pain because if she hadn't she would have missed out on life. With hormonal issues after she had children, the doctors suggested a hysterectomy. That started another wave of headaches and pain which was worse than before. Life was becoming very difficult for this lady, but now with three children herself, she carried on.
It is amazing what the body can deal with, and can cope with. Once her children had left home and she had time to care for herself she tried massage and chiropractic, mindfulness and meditation, and all this contributed to managing her symptoms, but less than adequately. Finally she tried Bowen Therapy and had a great result. No longer living with and constantly managing headaches and painful back and joints every day, she embraced grandparenthood and retirement enthusiastically.
One day she was pulling a trolley with something heavy on it and the handle came off the trolley. She flew backwards, landing on her tail bone and the back of her head. In the process she put out her hand to save herself from the fall, as you do, and she broke her wrist. In the hospital she was telling everyone who might listen that her lower back was alarmingly sore, but all they concentrated on was fixing her wrist. Later she would tell the doctors at fracture clinic, and her own GP, but they wouldn't act upon what they heard. The wrist was the thing that was broken, and that's what they focussed on.
Some months after her wrist had healed she developed severe knee pain, the lower back pain escalated, she experienced continual intense burning in both her feet, was unable to walk easily and was not sleeping well because she was so uncomfortable. Feeling certain it had something to do with her back, which was still sore, she went to her GP who referred her to a physiotherapist.
The physiotherapist patiently heard what she had to say. Then he treated her knee. For a couple of months. It slowly got better and she stopped going, but as it got worse again she did not go back to him for further treatment.
She then went to her chiropractor. He patiently heard what she had to say. Then he treated her knee. For a couple of months. It made a slight difference but a few days after every treatment it went back to how it was before. It didn't work.
All the while her lower back and knee was still sore, her neck was still tight and her feet were still burning. One morning she had a bright idea. She decided to try Bowen Therapy again - after all, it had helped her before.
The Bowen Treatment
I listened intently as she told me about her pain and discomfort, and asked many questions. In the end she was encouraged to tell me everything that was unusual about her body, and I made copious notes and asked even more questions! This process took a whole hour, but finally we were both ready to begin the treatment.
With a good understanding of her history, I recognised that if I wasn't very careful she would go into a healing crisis for a couple of days after the treatment. My options were to either do very little, very gently, and proceed very slowly over the coming weeks, or try to address the primary dysfunction that was causing all this pain and discomfort and see if I could make a significant difference to her in a shorter period. I chose the latter, and found issues in her right jaw, a muscle at the base of the right side of her neck, her coccyx and sacrum.
As I worked, I noticed symmetry returning to her hips and shoulder blades as well as the scoliosis correcting in her thoracic spine, even though I had not treated those areas. Thirty minutes in I asked her to get up from the table and take a walk around. No pain in her lower back, no pain in her knee, no burning in her feet, perfect range of movement in her neck with no tightness and walking evenly with ease.
Needless to say she was astounded and delighted. I made sure that she knew that I thought her body would be going through some changes over the next week getting used to this new way of being, so to expect some unusual feelings but that it would be nothing like the "hit by a truck" feeling of a healing crisis. I also emphasised that I expected that she would require further treatments to stabilise what I had done. After all, I believed that the problem had been with her since she was dropped as a baby, such a long time ago.
As I explained how I thought everything had impacted her body and her life, she agreed. She went on to say herself that it would be very interesting to see if some of her oestrogen deficient symptoms resolve, bowel movement patterns normalise and tendency to develop urinary tract infections and thrush decreases in the short term.
Every part of the body is intimately connected with every other part of the body, no matter whether they are side by side or at opposite ends, and I am so lucky that I can treat people in such an holistic way.
Bowen Therapy - it just works. So why not give it a try first? Give me a call on 0427143743 to book an appointment, or for more information visit my website, www.bowentherapydubbo.com.au.
Cheers for now,
Bowen works in remarkable ways, and sometimes clients get more than they bargained for, in such a good way. Apart from a reduction in pain or symptoms, some people sleep better, some are able to deal with things easier, some develop different food choices. One of my early clients had a significant improvement in her mental health.
Not long after I opened my clinic in 2012 I treated a lady for lower back and hip pain. These issues resolved totally after two treatments, however she kept coming back every week for about two and a half years. She was a very quiet and reserved lady, and didn't talk a lot and didn't give very much away. I feel uncomfortable treating people if I don't think they require it, and I often queried her about why she kept coming every week and tried to suggest maybe monthly or quarterly treatments would suffice to maintain her pain free status. She would simply say that she liked the relaxation and it was her weekly treat for herself.
So I treated her just about every week for two and a half years, and one day she announced that this would be her last appointment as she was moving to be closer to family in Melbourne. Then she told me something remarkable.
About five years prior to starting the Bowen treatments a close family member had died, and since then she had been very depressed, even suicidal. Just before I met her she would have suicidal thoughts daily. She was on antidepressants and had worked for a long time with various psychologists and counsellors, all of which seemed to have made very little difference.
During her very first Bowen treatment she thought that I wasn't doing very much and nothing would happen (that's pretty typical), but the next day was the first day she hadn't had a suicidal thought for a very long time. She thought about it long and hard and decided the only thing she could put it down to was the Bowen Therapy, so she promised herself that she would have a weekly treatment. Over time her suicidal thoughts gradually reduced in frequency and her depression improved.
The improvement was very gradual, but at some point she decided that she was no longer suicidal, and later she talked to her doctor about not taking her antidepressants, and just recently she had realised that she was no longer depressed. That was when she decided that she could move out of the family home and start a new life in a new city with the people she loved that were alive.
She hadn't told me because she thought I would think she was mad attributing the recovery of her mental health to Bowen, but now she wanted me to know what a difference she thought I had made for her with Bowen Therapy.
Cheers for now,
At A Bowen Clinic and other journeys, I treat back pain frequently, and with great success. There is not much worse than severe back pain. It becomes all consuming, and it seems like it will never end. For my clients that do not have significant spinal degeneration, do as I suggest and adopt the gentle exercises that I recommend, I see about an 80% success rate for back pain. For those with significant spinal degeneration we generally find that their back pain can be reduced by 50-80%.
There are 24 vertebrae in your spinal column, each separated from the other by a spinal disc. The function of the spinal disc is to act as a shock absorber and to provide stability to the spinal column whilst allowing slight range of motion in all directions in the back and neck.
Each disc is made up of a fibrous coating surrounding a soft jelly-like substance. It is like a cushion between the vertebrae. The outer layer hydraulically seals the jelly on the inside, evenly distributing the pressure and force between the vertebrae. The discs are tightly attached to the vertebrae, and cannot physically slip in any way.
If a vertebra is pulled slightly out of alignment due to the force from an accident or muscles that are too tight, the disc will protrude slightly from between the vertebrae. The pain when this happens can be excruciating, and is commonly known as a "slipped disc", but more correctly identified as a bulging disc. The part of the disc involved in a bulging disc is the outer fibrous layer only and it remains in tact.
A herniated disc occurs when a crack in the outer layer allows some of the jelly-like substance to leak out of the disc. This is commonly known as a "ruptured disc", even though the whole disc does not rupture. A herniated disc may start off as a bulging disc, and the continual force from the vertebrae above and below causes a perforation in the outer layer of the disc.
In general a herniated disc is likely to cause more pain because it generally protrudes further and is more likely to irritate nerve roots. The irritation might be from compression of the nerve or, much more commonly, inflammation of the nerve root in contact with the released jelly-like substance of the disc. The latter seems to have a longer recovery time.
The confusing thing is that the resulting pain from each is inconsistent. An MRI can indicate that you have a herniated disc or a bulging disc. Whilst in general a herniated disc is more painful than a bulging disc, some people with MRI evidence of herniated discs have no back pain at all, and some people with MRI evidence of bulging discs experience excruciating pain. So even though you may have a herniated disc, that may not be the cause of your back pain.
Pain from the bulging or herniated discs can settle down after a few days, and you may never have the problem again. This indicates that the body can right itself, and to do this it would make sense that it needs to realign the spine in some way. But some people suffer from this happening on a regular basis, with long recovery periods.
Another cause of herniated disc is Degenerative Disc Disease, which occurs as part of the ageing process when the discs in the spine begin to dry out, thereby losing some of their flexility and shock absorption. The inner portion of the disc gets smaller, providing less cushioning between the vertebrae, and the outer fibrous layer dries out and cracks, all of which can cause pain.
Bowen assists with bulging and herniated discs in a number of ways:
If you visit my clinic for lower back pain I will also give you an explanation of some of the muscles that are the culprits of causing lower back pain, and empower you with exercises to stretch these muscles so that you can help yourself to prevent further episodes of pain and discomfort.
If you have unresolved or recurring back pain Bowen Therapy may resolve it for good, or provide you with a management tool or plan. You'll never know if you don't give it a go. Call me on 0427 143 743 to make an appointment, or visit my website, www.bowentherapydubbo.com.au, for more information.
Cheers for now,
Who can argue with this person who recently left this recommendation on social media??
"There is no reason to live your life with pain and be restricted in what you do or where you can go.
When Prue Duffy applies passion for improving your health with her years of training and experience of treating people who are in pain, she changes your life forever.
Prue has a unique ability to discover the true cause of your pain. She then combines this knowledge with her Bowen techniques to develop a personalised plan to release your body from pain. It is unbelievable what she has achieved for clients and me, and it lasts.
Her techniques are surprisingly gentle and relaxing and you wonder what she has done. But the moment you get up from her treatment table, you are amazed how much better you will feel. Usually in only 3 to 4 treatments your pain is gone. For many people results are achieved in her first session.
I have met some of her patients who have had chronic back, hip, knee, neck or headache pain for years. They have tried medication or had surgery or years of constant medical or chiro or physio appointments. They have been amazed at the results Prue has achieved and are now pain free.
It doesn't matter how old you are or your career or for how long you have been suffering. She has treated shearers, truck drivers, builders, farmers, doctors, professionals, school teachers, football players, horse breakers, pregnant mothers, infants, seniors, and people in hospital. Bowen works for almost everyone.
If it is physically possible to release you from pain then she will help you find the way. Prue also has an extensive network of traditional and non-traditional health professionals to refer you to if you need a specialist or additional support.
She is honest, caring and totally focused on you and your future well being.
Don't put up with pain, book an appointment with Prue."
If you want to do as they say, please call me on 0427 143 743.
Cheers for now,
Hi, I'm Prue Duffy, a Bowen Therapist and Equine Muscle Release Therapist in regional NSW, Australia. I've been doing Bowen since 2007, and opened a practice in Dubbo in 2012. The results some of my clients get through Bowen is truly amazing.