Thursday, May 26, 2016

An Introduction to Bowen Technique

An Introduction to Bowen

The Power of 2 Bowen Moves

The Power of just two Bowen moves

Last week I treated a client who I have worked with for many years (on and off), and decided to try Mind Body Bowen (MBB) with her, which is an approach both developed and ‘discovered’ by Margaret Spicer and Ann Schubert many years ago. For me it is absolutely fascinating work and I have had enormous physical and emotional releases through this work, including removing the trauma of my birth through the processing of this work.

The body is set up in a different way to ‘normal’ Bowen work. We speak to the client and tell them that we are going to ‘switch on the computer’ of the body and to see what happens and to track sensations as they occur naturally in the body. I did this with my client, Sarah (pseudo-name), who had a history of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Gardia – diagnosed in 1983. Here is what happened with just two Bowen moves:

Bottom Stopper moves 1 and 2 in Bowen

2 minute break
Face and chest became hot and feet glowing. Face felt hot – that became a sweaty feeling in the scalp.
2 minute break
Feet feel like she is walking on hot sun all over the soles of both feet – naval warm and remaining so. Reports to feeling calm.
2 minute break
Left foot fading in heat, but the right foot remains the same and the naval is still hot
2 minute break
Right foot is still hot all over – naval area gurgling and pulling downwards into right groin
2 minute break
Right foot is still warm just before ball of right foot and the big toe is warmest. Left big toe is also warm and naval area remains warm
2 minute break
Right foot continues to be warm and naval warm, but less so than before
2 minute break
Ball of left foot in sympathy with right. Right foot still warm and naval is getting less warm and ‘stirring itself’ up inside
2 minute break
Right foot is still warm – across the ball of the foot and left pad of big toe. Naval is now normal.
2 minute break

On looking at the meridian and elemental work involved in MBB – Sarah’s symptoms related to the water element and kidney meridian. I selected to do the Psoas procedure for the naval sensations and hammer toe for the footwork. Afterwards Sarah reported that her right toes in the pads of the foot felt as if they were in a draft. She then reported to feeling less cold, I left Sarah for a bit and then got her up to try and see if there was any story connected to her experience, as is the way of this work.

Sarah told me that she had a memory of ingesting sea-water in 1983 as she dived off a boat in Turkey in 1983 – she ‘vomited’ water – and really didn’t feel well. It was interesting she had reported a water-related incident, following bodily sensations and reactions relating to the water element.

Next Week
One week later – 26-5-16 – Sarah came back to session. She has a lot to report following the session above.  She said that she felt tired, but OK, but definitely not fatigued (which was an improvement). She gave an energy score of 6 – but felt it was towards 8. When she had left last session she reported that her knee had buckled – for the first time in ages, but by the time she got to the station it was fine, and never went again. She soaked in Epsom salts that evening and was very tired, and rested the next day. She reported having a very windy tummy, that her teeth hurt and she had sinus symptoms. Her mother had said that Sarah grounded her teeth since a young child, and she felt that now, and as an adult, she had clenched her teeth. Sarah reported that she also felt her right cheek feeling higher than the left, which had happened before. She had also experienced several episodes of hot feet over the week, mainly at night. However, she felt that she had had a ‘quantum shift’ since the last session.

Having thought carefully about what I might do today – I reflected on doing the knee procedure and burning heel, but my plans changed altogether when we ended up doing MBB work again  - because so much started happening after 4 Bowen moves this time:

2 minute break
Heat around naval
2 minute break
Now ‘glowing’ around the naval –  both feet now feeling prickly but not hot like the last session. All over both feet, but mainly on the balls of the feet and rim of the heel.
2 minute break
Feet subsiding – stomach warmth moving from naval to the diaphragm
2 minute break
Feeling of pulling at the front of the right iliac crest to the far right.
2 minute break
Strengthening of the pull to the right, and pulling deeper inside
2 minute break
Everything fading ‘like a mist rather than a fog’
2 minute break
Pain keeps returning to anterior/inferior iliac crest, but less than before.
2 minute break
The niggle in the area remains, it feels like a muscle being pulled than in the abdominal (on asking).
2 minute break
Sensations lessening.

Once again the symptoms were related to the water element and kidney meridian. I decided to do the coccyx procedure as Sarah had reminded me (upon my questioning of falls) that she had a major fall off a horse and landed on her coccyx. Upon palpation the coccyx was shallow, but very clearly defined. There was no observed tethering or pulling in the gluteal crease, as can sometimes be observed in those with coccyx trauma.

After the session Sarah said that she remembered she felt she could not judge where the edge of chairs were or would aim food into her ear rather than her mouth. (This sounded like some sort of Dyspraxia). She said this started happening in 1983 around the onset of her illness, and that she would ‘forget words’. She said she was not at all distressed about it. She then told me about a really serious trauma she had had in 1982 where she was grabbed at knife point by a man trying to take her bag. She had never told me this before. She told me that she had prayed and felt that angels must have looked after her that day. She said that she felt that humour was the only way to cope with the incident. She said the memory of it had never bothered her afterwards – but I wonder. I’d say that this was a release of a trauma – and the body was finally dispelling the trapped energy of this trauma. Sarah also said she often felt hyper-vigilant – something I have observed in the years of treating her – and how, once with a group of friends camping – she kept half awake all night. This is indicative of trapped trauma, and the body remaining in freeze/flight of flight mode. I explained how animals discharge energy after such events (being chased) – but that in humans the energy did not fully discharge which is why it is stored as a traumatic event. I told her about Peter Levine’s work and his excellent book, ‘Waking the Tiger’ – but she said she would rather continue to experience the work I was doing through Bowen, rather than read about it at the moment. She left looking very happy, and walking virtually without a limp. Amazing and profound.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Musings of a Bowen Therapist Part 5

I have just looked at the date of my last blog posting and was extremely shocked to find that I haven't blogged anything for over six months. What is scary is how quickly that time has passed, but also just how busy I have been in clinic since that then.

I thought that I would reflect upon a just a very few client's responses immediately after treatment. These were all new clients:

Highly complex client, with numerous ailments, and a long medical history. He says, "After the session I could breath properly, and I felt instant relief from the first moves. I relaxed."

Another client with a long and complicated history says, "I felt like my heart was beating in my back and then the whole body. It went on for most of the time, and was a nice sensation. I felt quite relaxed and I felt my jaw release after the neck moves."

Finally, one said to me, "I felt very relaxed and couldn't open my eyes at one point." This comment came from a client who would have extreme difficulties in relaxing owing to autonomic disturbance.

I love my job, and the stories unfold daily. Bowen is remarkable stuff! 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Musings of a Bowen Practitioner Part 4

So we come to the end of another week, as always filled with rich and fascinating stories. Here are some excerpts.

My migraine lady (from last week), remains 'migraine-free' despite a week of a lot of stresses which in the past would have triggered migraines. Her Pilates teacher had noticed that she has a lot more spinal mobility in exercises such as the 'cat-stretch.' ....

A client for whom I was doing lower-limb work has improved changes to his breathing from the first two Bowen moves technically known as 'stoppers' - (to contain energy, and take the body out of crisis). Perhaps they should be re-named 'starters.'. The same client also said that his throat unblocked.

Another client who has very significant leg-length problems noticed that her legs were stretching and lengthening following pelvic work.

A frozen-shoulder client had an improved range of movement from her first session and was already doing really well.

A client who had hardly managed more than 10 minutes walking was now doing 3km with no problems.

I love my job, and thank Tom Bowen daily for this amazing work.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Clinical Musings Part 3 - Migraines

This was one of the most mind-blowing cases I can recall. A woman who had 3 weeks of persistent headaches and 10 years of migraines on and off. The migraines were also stress related and she had problems with vision as is typical with migraines. She would also get migraines around the time of menstruation.

She had one Bowen session with me where I did mainly Bowen upper back and neck work with the 'head' procedure.

When I saw her today she reported that she, "hadn't had any pressure in her head. She felt that she could see colour and sharpness and that she hadn't been wearing her glasses. She slept like a baby and felt relaxed. She had no migraines all week, no migraine around her period. She said she was thinking much more clearly, and it was the first time in 18 months she had been migraine free!"

Her Pilates teacher had asked for my number.....

I was amazed and thrilled by the profoundness of Bowen work yet again.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Clinical Musings - Part 2

I received an email from a new client, who is a marathon runner. Having mainly having massage as a treatment in the past, I could tell he was most surprised about the effects of Bowen.

"No strong side/negative effects from yesterday's session. On the contrary my neck and upper back feel free of tensions. My movement range seems to be much improved as well. This is leaving a little perplexed as to the mechanism in play. Thank you! "

This then resulted in a bit of a scientific discussion - and where to find out more about Bowen.

What else happened.... potential client with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome - Hypermobility-Type (EDS-HT) benefited enormously from one of my special 'double-consultations.' - learned a lot about the condition, and where she now needs to go for further information and diagnosis. She also found Bowen 'relaxing'

Another client (female) has been to a huge range of therapists, seen GPs - but rather typically, no one has looked at her holistically enough to suspect EDS-HT, though she knows she is hypermobile. Hopefully I can direct her for the help she badly needs - meanwhile some Bowen for her neck pain. 

Just another day in clinic....

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Clinical Musings - 1st July 2015

It is a cliche to say that every Bowen clinic is 'wonderful' -because they really are, fascinating, and always such a pleasure to watch the story unfold for each client. I had a particularly busy day on what also happens to be the hottest day of the year so far.

My last client arrived, she is one I known for a long time, and primarily came for Bowen for her back pain. Today, however, my client required pelvic work to help with gait problems and left ankle pain. I knew that doing Bowen pelvic work would be important for this client's back pain (although that was fine today), that doing the knee procedure made sense for a lower-limb problem, and also to do the ankle procedure.

Having done the 'preparatory' but compulsory Bowen work, I performed the pelvic procedure, knee and ankle procedures. I left my client for a good few minutes to consolidate the treatment (usual practice).

When I returned to 'get my client up' she said that on my doing the moves on the back of her knee (lymphatic drainage points, as well as the pelvic procedure), that she felt active sinus drainage, and that her face felt 'light.' She had not reported a sinus problem on arrival.

For me this was another fascinating glimpse into how, just possibly, Bowen might work - the body making the priority, but how every part of the body links inextricably to another.

Later on my client text me to say, "it felt like (you) had massaged the back of my neck right in the base of the skull. And I feel very optimistic. Thank you!"

What a wonderful way to end my day.