The Gentle Art of Bowen
I am noticing that we live in a world where we increasingly use military words such as “fight”, “battles”, “beats”,“kills” to describe how we manage our pain and the symptoms of any disease that we might have. To me, this suggests that we have to respond in a way that is equal , or perhaps even stronger, to what ails us …and I wonder where the gentle art of Bowen, that I practice, fits in with all of this.
Now, it’s likely that you might not have heard of Bowen…many people haven’t.
So …Tom Bowen was an Australian who worked as a therapist in the 1950s. He is described as a very “observational” man who noticed that by giving the body periods of rest in-between the movements that he had performed, gave the opportunity for it to initiate the changes necessary for healing and repair. The moves, themselves, are made on particular areas of the body and involve moving the soft tissue that lies under the skin. This superficial fascia, as it is known, is a great connective “undercoat” that envelops the whole body from head to toe, allowing, in essence, for the whole body to be treated, not just parts of it in isolation. In simple terms, the therapist is able to stimulate the nerves that run through this fascial tissue by making gentle moves on the surface of the skin. This sends impulses to the brain, which then responds by creating the changes in the body that are necessary for healing.
The pressure that the therapist uses is appropriate for each individual client allowing the desired response to be achieved…making it a truly bespoke therapy. And this is something that continues to amaze me… that Bowen can work for everybody and every body …making it suitable for all …. from newborns to the elderly and infirm… and all stages in between. Many of my clients are elderly people who need some help in maintaining their mobility and independence…and, yet, it is known that Bear Grylls (survival expert ) is a super fan …while another of my regular clients who attends for maintenance sessions (plus extra in times of injury!) is Isle of Man TT rider Michael “Jack” Russell.
It seems to me that, somewhere, we have lost trust in our own bodies….which, to be honest, are amazing pieces of kit. The life sustaining processes that continue to happen on our “insides” …new cells being grown, old ones being broken down, blood flowing, heart beating, breaths in and out, the absorption of oxygen…along with many, many more amazing workings….all happen without our conscious awareness.
And of course, at some levels, we have the ability to heal ourselves …see what happens when we cut our skin, or how our body responds to infection or how our muscles contract to splint an injured joint. But yet, it has the ability to go beyond this, as 21st Century science is proving. When we give our bodies the correct environment, they do indeed have the ability to self - heal .… and this is something we can support and enhance in a gentle, congruent and balanced approach such as Bowen.