What is Bowen?
Bowen Therapy is a gentle form of myofascial release developed by Tom Bowen in the 1950’s in Australia. Tom formed an idea that led him to discover and prove that people’s postures were a relative indicator of their level of health.
The moves he created were designed to release primary causes of dysfunctional movements in the body, therefore clearing any compensatory patterns at the source.
As the tensions are released, the posture is rebalanced and the client’s wellbeing was restored.
The “Less is Best” Principle
This is most important, yet hard to understand in a world where “no pain, no gain” is often the normal expectation.
Because the moves initiate a neuromuscular reprogramming, we don’t want to overload the Central Nervous System with too much stimulation. Unnecessary moves will just delay and dilute the response from the nervous system, making the session less effective.
The moves are gentle, small, and precise. It is the practitioner’s greatest skill to know the least amount of work needed to bring forth a release in only the areas where fascial restrictions are being held.
Why The Wait?
We take frequent breaks between sets of moves in Bowen and give the client time alone to rest. The breaks range from 2 minutes to 10 minutes, depending on what was done and how the client is feeling.
The waits allow the body time to process the cues we give it with the series of moves on the body. We then re-assess to see if more work is needed and where it should be done.
The waits are just as important as the moves themselves. We spoke earlier about how unnecessary moves delay and dilute the response from the nervous system, making the session less effective. Too many moves without waits can have a similar effect for the same reason, overloading the nervous system.
The 3 W’s.
Water – The Fascial network is made up mostly of water and as it releases it will need more water to rehydrate its cells and move smoothly causing less stiffness in the body. If water is not readily available, then the Fascia will not be able return to its healthy state, as is true with other deficiencies of nutritional supplements. It’s always best to have a conversation with your doctor for more advise on this topic.
Walking – Following the session you will be told to walk multiple times a day. Walking helps integrate the shifts that have taken place during the session. Sitting for long periods lessens blood flow to the lower body and slows any rebalancing taking place especially the week following the session. The more walks that are taken during the first few days the better.
Waiting – The brain has a blueprint of the way the body is supposed to be as it once was…long ago. The process of getting back to a pain free, functional state often takes a little time and patience to give the body a chance to activate its innate ability to heal. Following a Bowen session, the body usually needs 7 to 10 days for this process to begin. Goal setting and assessments are also done regularly to measure the progress. Oftentimes the client forgets the pain they originally first came in with because the improvement happened so naturally over a progression of a month that they didn’t notice it, until questioned.
The Great Connector: Fascia
Fascia: The Great Connector
Fascia is one continual web inside your body connecting one thing to everything. Because of this there is no telling what issues can be resolved or rippling effects may occur as the body unwinds and resets.
Bowen works to release restrictions in the Fascial Network by stimulating different nerve receptors and cellular activity in the Fascia.
Fascia has only begun to be studied in depth. It is quickly becoming the center of interest in many scopes of medical practices.
Bowen Addresses Every System in the Body:
- Musculoskeletal system
- Circulatory system
- Nervous System
- Proprioception (muscle memory)
- Interoception (balance)
- Fascial Rehydration
- Lymphatic System
Don’t be Nervous.
Most people start to feel like they are melting onto the table during a session. This is because Bowen settles the nervous system. It brings it out of the sympathetic state (fight or flight) and back into the parasympathetic state (rest and digest).
This is important to note. Constant stress, good or bad, damages our nervous system and stunts any healthy, permanent, healing response.
Bowen helps get the body and mind back into a safe state so the healing process will succeed.