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.
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.