How Bowen Therapy Works
Bowen Therapy is a hands-on therapy which addresses the body at a holistic level. The manual movements of the therapist activate the connective tissue and nervous system within the body. This enables the body to identify stresses and release tension, whether caused by physical or emotional trauma. The body can then gradually recognise and restore its equilibrium, rebalancing itself through its self-regulating functions, which then stabilizes metabolism and neuromuscular functions.
Bowen Therapy involves challenges and moves over muscles. These movements create tsunami-like waves within the connective tissue of the body. These waves will continue to resonate within the body for up to ten days, and are thought to act in the following ways:
1. Any tension within the body, caused by physical or emotional, create knots in the connective tissue (eg. tight muscles, scar tissue, etc.). Over time the waves act on the knots in the connective tissue like a hairbrush teasing out knots in your hair.
2. The waves in the connective tissue will travel up and down throughout your whole body, influencing the muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and nerves. The messages sent to the brain generate a healing response on the whole body, and particularly on the parts of the body addressed.
The Bowen philosophy of "less is best" is illustrated by not overloading the body with messages. This is practiced in the following ways:
1. A Bowen treatment involves a series of moves, then the characteristic "wait" before another series of moves. During the "wait" the therapist leaves the room so that the body can integrate the effects of the moves alone with no other stimulation to distract it from the job of beginning the healing process. Often the client will experience various sensations within the body during the "wait". While these sensations are still felt the body is still processing the influences of the moves just performed. When the sensations are no longer felt is the time the body is ready for the Bowen treatment to continue. The "wait" is identified by all Bowen therapists as the most important part of a Bowen treatment.
2. Bowen treatments are move effective if only one issue is dealt with during a Bowen treatment. After the overall relaxation procedures are performed on the initial consultation the body will be set up to address more specific problems in future consultations spaced about a week apart. If for instance someone is experiencing knee pain and neck pain, the client will be asked to choose which issue they would like to address first. Sometimes the body reacts in a way which will indicate to therapist which issues are a priority, and this does not always reflect what the client wants. We would always encourage the client to follow the signs their body is giving in planning the treatments.
3. It is recommended not to have any bodywork performed within 7 days before and after Bowen treatments. The gentle work of Bowen is easily negated by the stronger effects of therapies such as massage, chiropratic, etc. Even other Bowen treatments are not recommended except in situations of re-injury, back pain in pregnancy and asthma.
4. In some situations the problem area is not addressed, but is influenced by working in another area of the body. Bowen works on the connective tissue, particularly the fascia, which flows throughout the body. In this way every part of the body is connected, and work in one area has the potential to influence other areas of the body. For instance it has been found that moves between the shoulder blades relax muscles in the lower back which may releive lower back pain.