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Questions about Bowen are by far the most common type of questions we get at our practice. The Bowen technique itself (also known as “Bowenwork”) is a dynamic system of muscle and connective tissue therapy that was developed by the late Tom Bowen in Geelong, Australia. Sometimes called the homeopathy of bodywork, it utilizes light touches (known as “moves”) to stimulate the body to heal itself, often profoundly.
The Bowen technique can provide relief for many types of injuries and other health problems, both acute and chronic, and it does so holistically, via the body’s innate healing mechanisms. The practitioner’s moves deliver signals to the nervous system at specific locations (on muscles, tendons, ligaments, or nerves), and the body responds on its own time, within its vital capacity. While there are a few, very specific situations in which a particular “procedure” (a set of moves) is contraindicated, Bowen technique is appropriate for people of all ages, in all degrees of health.
Addressing Acute Issues
When faced with an acute injury, a Bowen practitioner may effectively apply the work to address only the traumatized areas, since the client has had little time to compensate for the injury. However, most practitioners find themselves working with clients whose conditions have developed gradually over many years, and patterns of dysfunctional muscle recruitment and posture have been entrenched over time. In these cases, practitioners often need to take a more “whole-body” approach to facilitate optimal alignment and recovery.
The Whole-Body Approach
Rather than focusing on a single complaint, Bowen technique is meant to address the entire body via the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS controls over 80% of bodily functions and is very susceptible to external stressors. Most people today live in a constant state of high stress and sympathetic ANS over-stimulation – fight, flight, or freeze mode. Healing can occur only after the ANS shifts from sympathetic to parasympathetic dominance – rest, relax, and repair mode.
The Bowen technique facilitates this shift. A typical Bowen session generally lasts from 45 minutes to an hour. Clients usually lie on a massage/bodywork table or bed, or may be seated in a chair if required for comfort. A session involves one or more procedures, each of which consists of several sets of moves. The moves are gentle, but purposeful, and can be done through light clothing. Between each set of moves, the practitioner pauses for as many minutes as are needed for the client’s body to begin responding. During a session, the client often drops into deep relaxation or falls asleep. Both of these changes are indications of a profound release from stress.
It’s a common observation that a Bowen session may reactivate the recovery process in situations where healing from trauma, sickness, or surgery has stalled or reached a plateau. In contrast to other hands-on modalities, where the practitioner imposes correction on the client through manipulation, Bowen facilitates the body in healing itself with minimal intervention. Because the subtle nature of Bowen and the body’s continuing response to it over several days thereafter, other forms of manipulative therapy are discouraged for up to five days after a session, as they may interfere with the efficacity of the work.
Stillpoint currently offers Bowen sessions on Thursdays at our Plaistow location and on Fridays in our Rye location. If you’re interested in booking a session, call 603-974-1630.