The healing touch

FOR THE first time in Dubai professional practitioners will be able to learn the Bowen Technique, a unique therapy, with the European College of Bowen Studies (ECBS), without having to travel to the UK. Named after its innovator, Tom Bowen, it is a dynamic body...

By Chitra Ramaswamy (Contributor)

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Published: Sun 8 Apr 2007, 9:41 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:46 PM

healtechnique that is extremely gentle and relaxing. The therapy which involves the therapist using fingers and thumbs to move over muscle, tendon, ligament and fascia in various parts of the body, is deemed to activate or stimulate the body's own healing power to achieve balance and harmony.

Bowen Therapy, also referred to as Physical Homeopathy, can treat almost any disease condition or disorder, according to Anne Cook, Holistic Health Specialist, The Healing Zone, Dubai. These conditions include Asthma, anxiety, arthritis, back pain, bedwetting, cerebral palsy, colic, chronic fatigue, depression, eczema, frozen shoulder, ankylosing spondylitis, Bells Palsy, cancer, cervical spondylosis, fibromyalgia, sciatica, multiple sclerosis, glue ear, HIV, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), migraine, Parkinson's, Tennis elbow and various other sports injuries, Reynaulds Syndrome, to name a few.

The therapeutic effects of the technique are used to good effect even in the case of individuals suffering from hypertension, diabetes and cardiac conditions. However, the extent to which an individual gets healed also depends on other aspects of his lifestyle including diet, exercise regimen and habits, addictive, if any. "The extent to which healing takes place is individualistic. In fact one of my patients, an old gentleman who had been suffering from chronic sciatica for 35 years and no medication had done him any good, was completely off pain killers with only 3 Bowen treatment sessions! And he was walking properly for the first time in about 20 years! However, since he's had the problem for such a long time, he would have to have Bowen Therapy for a longer time, say once a month for the rest of his life, to sustain this state of health. Even this is so because he is not inclined to give up his existing lifestyle which is not exactly the most healthy."

Bowen Therapy is not acupressure, acupuncture, massage or chiropractic, but a system of stimulating body reflexes. The treatment comprises sequences of small gentle moves, each at a specific site on the body. The gentle movements associated with the technique causes the body's neuromuscular system to realign to all related tension levels, thus setting in motion the natural healing process. The integrated response produced by the treatment is believed to improve joint mobility, posture, circulation, lymphatic and venous draining, assimilation of nutrients and elimination of toxins, promote normalisation of cellular physiology and tissue integrity. The effect is profound and lasting and has an impact on every organic systems of the body.

Which muscles get stimulated and the number of sessions a person requires, depends on what ails a person, explains Cook. A typical Bowen session lasts between 30 to 40 minutes. Majority of people Cook claims, feel better even immediately after a session. "Some people feel absolutely horrible the next day because their body is going through the healing process and readjusting itself. The pain can be increased but this is simply a sign signalling that the treatment is taking effect. For, the pain becomes better after the initial aggravation because Bowen Therapy isn't just the treatment; it continues to work for between five to ten days following the treatment. While an aggravation of pain is no cause for worry or fear, for those who cannot tolerate the pain, they may take recourse to a painkiller or two and not give up treatment. However, it is important that patients do not go in for any kind of massage in the pain-affected area because massaging it would stop the action of the Bowen therapy."

Elucidating on this aspect Cook sites the example of a patient with aggravated pain following Bower treatment for frozen shoulder. "The natural reaction for patients is to start massaging the shoulder but this would arrest the working of the therapy! My advice is that there should be no massage, no Jacuzzi, no steam bath for a few days following a Bowen session. In fact, Bowen has been known to continue working even for three months after one treatment."

Following a Bowen session, it is strongly advocated not to undergo any other physical exercise or therapy or any form of manipulation for up to one week. For, this may undo the balance achieved after a Bowen treatment. On the day of the treatment, it is advised that patients do not sit down for more than half an hour at a stretch. If they are watching a film or something that necessitates their sitting down longer than half an hour they must make sure that they walk around for a couple of minutes at least, every half an hour and also drink sufficient water to pump out the toxins. This is important because Bowen therapy is not just about bringing balance in the body but also involves stimulating the lymphatic system to detoxify. While normal warm water bath is fine, steam plunge pool should be strictly avoided. Extremes of temperatures should be avoided because any shocks to the body will stop the therapy from working.

Bowen is safe to use on anyone, newborns to the elderly, with any condition from sports injuries to chronic or organic complaints. Bowen has been found to be especially useful in handling autistic and mentally challenged children. It is equally safe to be used on pregnant women. While there are no real contra-indications to the therapy, Cook adds a word of caution: "There is only one movement, at the coccyx, that we do not use on pregnant women since this could stimulate their going into labour. Also, for any individual, any patient, we do not simultaneously stimulate the coccyx and the TMJ - tissues at the bottom and top of the spine since it makes them pass out.

Bowen is a complementary therapy and is compatible with every form of alternative therapy except physiotherapy. It is widely practised in the UK where it originated.

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