What is Bowen Therapy?
Tom Bowen of Australia developed the Bowen Technique in the 1950s. He had a unique ability to assess a client’s condition and then activate a response through certain moves on the body that allowed the body to heal itself. Bowen Therapy has been used successfully to benefit thousands of people and is used worldwide by over 26,000 practitioners.
Oswald Rentsch apprenticed with Tom Bowen in 1974 for two and a half years. During this time Ossie documented his treatment protocols, as Tom Bowen didn't keep records of his work. In 1987 Ossie and Elaine Rentsch established The Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia as the governing body. Bowtech become the trademark name for the technique.
Bowen is a set of gentle, precise 'moves' over specific locations on muscles, and occasionally, tendons, ligaments and nerves. The 'moves' involve touching the specific muscle with thumbs or fingers. Skin slack is gently tractioned off the crest of the muscle, the muscle is gently 'challenged' in the opposite direction, and finally the skin is 'rolled' across the muscle in the same direction with light pressure.
Bowen 'moves' stimulate our body’s natural healing power to help reset and repair, in large part, by helping to rebalance the Autonomic Nervous System. Plus the rest of the sentence as is.
Tom Bowen assumed that structure governed function and that any disturbances in the structure of the body would create problems with function in that area and the whole body. Bowen Therapy aims to restore the structural integrity of the body in order to restore it's optimal function. This whole body technique, addresses the musculoskeletal structure through the rebalancing of connective tissue and muscle tension. Bowen Therapy 'moves' gently stretch the muscle sideways which doesn't just relax the muscle, it also helps to reset the tension in both tight and weak muscles. This reciprocal rebalancing of muscular tension and adjustments to imbalanced tension in connective tissue, helps the body's structure to rebalance.
Bowen Therapy can help people in a range of situations, some of which include, recovering from injury or surgery, regaining musculature flexibility and mobility, pain management, returning to work, sport or school following an injury and improved neuromuscular function. (this is the last paragraph of this section.)
Bowen Therapy moves help to:
- relax tight muscles and allows pinched nerves to release;
- relax the body by lowering the stress response;
- increase hydration of the fascia;
- rebalance muscle tension, allowing postural changes which in turn allow joints to realign;
- open up tissue allowing improved flow of blood, oxygen, nutrients and energy;
- stimulate lymphatic drainage and detoxification.
How Does Bowen Therapy Work?
Bowen Therapy and it's affect on the Nervous System
Bowen Therapy's most important and profound effect is on the Autonomic Nervous System. The Autonomic Nervous System is made up of the Sympathetic Nervous System and the Parasympathetic Nervous System. It controls over 80% of our bodily functions and is very susceptible to external stressors. It is not uncommon for people to be in a state of sympathetic dominance or 'fight or flight'. Bowen Therapy is like a catalyst helping to shift the body toward the Parasympathetic Nervous System of 'rest and digest', by encouraging a deep relaxation. This relaxed state is critical for our healing process to begin. During a Bowen session it is not uncommon for a client to relax to the point where they drift off to sleep. This indicates a release of stress at deep level and a shift away from the Sympathetic Nervous System.
The healing or recovery process can get stalled, for example, after trauma, injury, illness or surgery. Through the rebalancing of the Autonomic Nervous System, Bowen Therapy can be very helpful at reactivating the healing precess in just a few sessions. This rebalancing of the nervous system, often helps people to feel more balanced and grounded overall.
Bowen Therapy moves send signals through the nervous system, helping the body to reset, repair and find its own natural balance or homeostasis.
In addition to effects on the nervous system, Bowen activates the following mechanisms:
- Stretch reflex — most Bowen moves are done either at the origin, insertion or belly of the muscles, where the Golgi and Spindle receptors are located, informing the nervous systems on the state of tension, length or stretch in the musculo-tendinous tissue. These receptors are stimulated during the ‘challenge’ and the 'rolling' part of the Bowen move. In cases of a pain muscle spasm loop, Bowen Therapy can break this vicious circle by changing the stimulus received by the nervous system.
- Joint Proprioceptors — all Bowen moves done around a joint directly affect the joint capsule and ligaments that are richly enervated with proprioceptors. Here again, stimulus will be received by the nervous system, gently inviting normalization of the joint function.
- Fascia — each Bowen move is done at the level of the superficial fascia and affects the relation between the fascia and the nerve, muscle or tendon being mobilized. Fascia connects everything in the body. The fascia plays a major role in muscle coordination, postural alignment and overall structure and functional integrity. Fascia holds memory of trauma, both physical and emotional, and as a result, the fascia will stiffen, contract, torque and dehydrate after an injury. Following a Bowen session it is not uncommon to see adhesions loosen up, scar tissue soften, and posture and mobility improve.
- Segmental viscerosomatic spinal reflexes — Organs are served by spinal nerves which exit the vertebral canal at each spinal segment. Many Bowen moves are done along the spine over the erector muscles. Spinal reflexes are engaged by basic Bowen procedures, producing referred reactions to the internal organs through the stimulation of skin and muscles and nerves. Tom Bowen claimed 80% of a client's issues could be addressed by the basic Bowen procedures. Clients will often come in for a musculoskeletal issue and find that, due to the whole body nature of Bowen, their sleep, digestion, elimination, and circulation has improved as well.
- Trigger points — several Bowen moves overlap with recognized trigger point locations. By clearing these trigger points, referred pain can be relieved and joint mobility and muscle coordination improved.
- Acupuncture points and meridians — most Bowen moves overlap acupuncture points, and some actually cross two or three acupuncture meridians at once. Acupuncturists have correlated the indications and effects of Bowen moves with corresponding acupuncture points. They also comment on the immediate changes of the acupuncture pulses in response to Bowen moves or procedures. Bowen stimulates the flow of energy and helps to clear blocked energy which is integral to Chinese medicine. Many of the basic rebalancing Bowen moves are on the bladder meridian, which has many points affecting the internal organs. The overlap of Bowen Therapy with acupuncture could help explain the very strong energetic component of the technique and its effect on the internal organs.
- Neurolymphatic points and lymphatic circulation — Bowen Therapy stimulates lymphatic circulation and drainage. Bowen moves overlap the location of many neurolyphatic reflex points that regulate the lymphatic system. The stimulation of the lymphatics system helps to explain detox effects that can follow a Bowen session.
- Detoxification reaction – detox is often initiated particularly during the first one or two sessions. Mr Bowen was very encouraged by this as he felt it was the body's way of eliminating waste and initiating the rebalancing and healing of the body.
What can Bowen Therapy help?
Bowen Therapy aids in the healing of a wide range of acute and chronic conditions, some of which include:
|Back Pain||Sciatica||Jaw misalignment issues||Migraines/headaches|
|Neck pain/restriction||Shoulder pain/frozen||Elbow pain/tennis elbow||Repetitive strain injuries|
|Pelvic and hip issues||Hamstring pain||Shin splints||Knee pain|
|Ankle pain||Heel Spur||Plantar Fasciitis||Scoliosis|
|Postural misalignment||Concussion||Arthritis||Sleep issues|
|Bowel/digestive issues||Chronic Fatigue||Fibromyalgia||Hormonal issues|
|Circulation issues||Lymphatic issues||Respiratory issues||Asthma children/adult|
|Stress/anxiety||Baby colic||Bedwetting||Hiatal Hernia|
|Muscle tension/stiffness||Acute and chronic pain|
What to Expect?
During the first Bowen Therapy treatment, areas of concern, needs and priorities, as well as past and present medical issues, will be discussed to determine an appropriate course of treatment. An initial postural assessment will also be done. The client will then lie comfortably on a massage table, wearing loose light clothing and will be covered for warmth. A Bowen session can also be performed sitting, or standing, if required for comfort.
There are frequent two minute breaks between certain moves, during which the therapist leaves the room, to allow the body time to integrate the work being done. A deep sense of relaxation may be felt as the body shifts toward the parasympathetic nervous system of ‘rest and digest’, which supports the healing process.
There are frequent two minute breaks between certain moves, during which the therapist leaves the room, to allow the body time to integrate the work being done. A deep sense of relaxation may be felt as the body shifts toward the parasympathetic nervous system of ‘rest and digest’, which supports the healing process.
Pain is an early warning sign that our bodies are not functioning optimally. We often try to compensate to avoid the pain. Bowen Therapy helps to address the underlying cause of pain, unravelling these compensations that may develop over time and restoring the natural healing power of our body. A whole body approach to treatment is taken in the case of chronic pain or longer term injuries often involving structural imbalances. The first session would generally involve rebalancing of the lower and upper body and neck, moving on to more specific procedures as required over the course of treatment. In the case of acute pain from recent injuries, such as sports injuries, where no compensations have taken place, we can often work more directly on the injury in the first session.
Bowen Therapy can provide lasting relief from pain and discomfort in about 3-5 sessions. Acute recent injuries can typically by addressed in 1-3 sessions. Chronic issues that have had more time to develop compensating patterns will can take longer to unwind these patterns.
Bowen Therapy is a very safe and gentle treatment for all age groups, from newborns to expectant mothers, to the elderly.
Links & Resources
Our bodies were designed to thrive on whole, natural food. Focusing on alkaline, noninflammatory low blood sugar foods can be critical to sustaining and building our overall health.
During the first nutritional counselling session, an indepth intake will be done to establish the client’s needs and goals. Suggestions will be made to change some patterns that may be creating challenges for the body. Nutritional sessions will cover a particular topic, building on and supporting changes made in prior sessions. New concepts will be introduced gradually, providing time to integrate new ideas and for the body to adapt to a new way of eating. Typically we start with changes to one meal and introduce a new concept at a session. A couple of weeks between sessions provides time to adapt and adjust to this new way of eating before we introduce changes to the next meal and a new concept. This process is very individualized and has to fit into and accommodate busy lifestyles in order for these changes to stick long term and become 'a part of our life'. Together we work out the amount and timing of the changes to create a nutrition plan, which supports digestion and elimination, blood sugar stability, hormones, the liver and overall health.
We will focus on how to maintain and reduce blood sugar spikes and fluctuations to manage weight and improve overall health. We will look at carbohydrates and how they contribute to our blood sugar spikes and health issues. How do we eat healthy carbs and minimize the blood sugar reaction. How much fruit is healthy? We will look at how we increase the vegetable component to our diet in a way that is tasty and doable! We will also focus on which fats are 'good and bad' and why we need fat in our diet and how to get this in the most optimal way for our health. We will look at protein and how much we need and what source of protein we should be including. Recipes will be provided to help with the transition to a whole food based diet.
Why can we combine Nutrition and Bowen Therapy?
Bowen Therapy and nutrition can be a powerful combination. Both thrive to address the root cause of imbalance. While Bowen Therapy opens up the tissue and increases blood flow, oxygen and nutrients, nutritious whole food improves the quality of blood and nutrients the body is using for repair.
Studies have shown that the health of our connective tissue is influenced by our diet, particularly when there is emphasis on increasing the ph or alkalinity of our body tissue and decreasing inflammation. Prolonged inflammation can have negative effects on our structure and its mechanism and can over the longterm potentially activate the sympathetic nervous system. The foods we eat can have a very profound effect on both increasing and decreasing inflammation in the body.
What is a concussion or Traumatic Brain Injury (TB) and how can Bowen Therapy Help?
What is a concussion?
A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that is defined as:
a change in brain function following a force to the head which may or may not be accompanied by a temporary loss of consciousness, and is identified with measures of cognitive and neurologic dysfunction.
The diagnosis of a concussion can be challenging as;
- physical and cognitive exams can be normal, and MRI's, CT scans and blood tests are also usually normal as well. Concussion symptoms can be immediate and/or delayed onset and balance testing can normalize more quickly than other symptoms often complicating diagnosis.
Recovery from concussion occurs in 80 - 85% of cases within 7-21 days. But according to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) up to 15% of people diagnosed with concussion will have ongoing persistent symptoms, classified as Post Concussion Syndrome. Adolescents under 15 years old are 45% more at risk for a concussion than adults because their brains are physiologically still developing, resulting in greater volume of water and blood in their brains, a lower degree of myelination, changing skull geometry and less neck strength.
What are the symptoms of a concussion or post concussion syndrome?
Concussion symptoms fall into four categories and can include any of the following and more:
Sleep Change Symptoms
Sustaining a concussions can be extremely distressing, debilitating and lifealtering no matter the age, interests of the individual or stage of life of the individual suffering from the injury. If the symptoms of a concussion are ongoing this can be extremely concerning.
What is the physiological nature of a concussion?
During a concussion there is a physiological cascade of events that happens in the brain. Initially, there is a mismatch between glucose supply and demand in the brain, resulting in an energy crisis as the brain tries to regain homeostasis. During this time, cellular metabolism is stretched to the limit, leaving brain cells vulnerable and much less able to respond to further brain injury. Post concussion cognitive and physical rest become essential.
During a concussion there is an initial release of neurotransmitters and particularly glutamate. This leads to an imbalance of calcium and potassium ions which results in changes in cellular physiology. The sodium/potassium pump works extra hard to try to restore balance in the cells during this time, requiring extra ATP, which in turn requires extra glucose, resulting in a hyper-metabolic state.
This increased need for glucose and blood flow happens at a time when the brain is experiencing a decrease in blood flow resulting from the head trauma. This mismatch between glucose supply and demand results in an energy crisis in the brain as it attempts to regain homeostasis. During this time, cellular metabolism is stretched to its limit, leaving brain cells more vulnerable to further injury. Post-concussion cognitive and physical rest are essential.
The above simplified view of the of the initial cascade of events is followed by the brain going into a period of slower than normal glucose metabolism, and can also be followed by an increase in lactic acid, free radical production, and inflammation, a decrease in intra-cellular magnesium, and altered neurotransmission.
The number of treatments depends on how long it has been since the concussion. The sooner a concussion is treated, the shorter the treatment protocol. The most optimal time to start Bowen Therapy is 24-48 hours after a concussion. There can be a delay in symptom onset, and this gives time for symptoms to fully surface. Acute concussions sustained within a few days to weeks will likely require 2-4 sessions. People with ongoing symptoms from concussions sustained months to years ago, will likely require treatment ranging from 5 sessions up to a few months.
How can Bowen Therapy help?
Bowen Therapy is a wonderful wholebody technique. Some people may have heard of Bowen Therapy but may not be aware that it can also help concussions.
Bowen Therapy helps to rebalance the Autonomic Nervous System. This rebalancing of the nervous system is extremely important after a concussion and helps to initiate the healing process. Bowen Therapy also increases blood, nerve and lymph flow, all critical in concussion recovery. A recent study has shown that lymph flows in the brain which was not previously known. Bowen Therapy treatments involve a rebalancing of the lower and upper body and neck. This is very important in the concussion recovery process, as the body may have begun to take on some compensating patterns, and the neck may have sustained a strong flexion or extension force, which is particularly true in the case of whiplash injuries.
The TMJ may also may have been affected in a concussion injury. Bowen Therapy is very helpful in rebalancing the it, which is important in increasing blood supply and rebalancing the vestibular system or balance system after a concussion. The TMJ is closely related to the trigeminal nerve which controls most of the blood supply to the anterior part of the brain. Bowen Therapy treatment of the TMJ is at the core of addressing the trigeminal nerve.
When the body's innate healing process has been stalled due to a head trauma, this can result in a slow recovery. In cases of post concussion syndrome, Bowen Therapy can be very helpful in restarting a stalled healing process. It's a bit like providing the spark plug to the engine. Bowen Therapy encourages the body to remember how to heal and return to it's original blueprint or homeostasis which is the body's most efficient recovery process. In effect Bowen is helping to override the slow stalled recovery process. It can also help to speed up the healing in cases where the concussion would have resolved on it's own.
The number of treatments depends on how long it has been since the concussion. The sooner a concussion is treated, the shorter the treatment protocol. The most optimal time to start Bowen Therapy is 2448 hours after a concussion. There can be a delay in symptom onset, and this gives time for symptoms to fully surface. Acute concussions sustained within a few days to weeks will likely require 24 sessions. People with ongoing symptoms from concussions sustained months to years ago, will likely require treatment ranging from 5 sessions up to a few months.
Return to Work and Return to Play protocols as outlined by a primary care physician or physical trainer can be begin once symptoms are no longer present.
Frozen Shoulder Study – Dr Bernie Carter
Dr. Bernie Carter at the Metropolitan University of Manchester (UK) conducted a study of 20 patients diagnosed with frozen shoulder who have been treated by the Bowen Technique. Initial data revealed that 77% of the study group have experienced positive outcomes from their treatment.
The evaluation of Bowen was extremely positive by all participants who stated they would recommend it to family and friends as the therapy was so gentle, relaxing and effective.
Participants experienced a significant improvement in shoulder mobility and associated function with 70% of participants regaining full mobility by the end of the treatments, which averaged 3-5 sessions per participant.
Participants experienced marked reductions in pain scores. 40% had pain scores that fell to zero and 80% scored 0-2, or a slight ache by the end of treatment from a starting average score of 7.
Bowen Therapy demonstrated a significant improvement for participants even those with longstanding frozen shoulder.
All participants experienced improvement in their daily activities, returning to all required activities but also hobbies such as gardening, bowling, woodworking, curling etc.
A pilot study to evaluate the effectiveness of Bowen technique in the management of clients with frozen shoulder.
Carter B1, Complement Ther Med. 2001 Dec;9(4):208-15
To evaluate clients' experience of Bowen Technique in the treatment of frozen shoulder in terms of their pain, functional ability and well-being.
A case series that used primarily quantitative methods and qualitative interviews.
Twenty participants with frozen shoulder.
Bowen Technique, using 'frozen shoulder procedure'.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
Range of active and passive motion (abduction, flexion, extension, medial rotation, lateral rotation and 'wall climb') in both shoulders, pain intensity scores, impact on well-being and health status.
Improvement in shoulder mobility and associated function for all participants. Median 'worst pain' pre-therapy score reduced from 7 (mean 7, range 1-10) to a median 'worst pain' score of 1 (mean 1.45, range 0-5) post-therapy. Fewer pain quality descriptors used by all participants. All participants experienced improvement in their daily activities.
Bowen Technique demonstrated an improvement for participants, even those with a very longstanding history of frozen shoulder. Further trials are warranted.
PMID: 12184347 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
TMJ and Bowen
Dr John Bauman, DDS, in Colorado, completed a research project on the application of Bowen Technique on the TMJ. Masseter muscle tension was assessed and bite and subjective symptoms compared before and after. Immediately after the first session a third said they felt dramatic relief in symptoms and 20 out of 22 showed significance improvement in the post assessment.
Bowen Therapy and AsthmaThe Bowen Therapy National Asthma Research Program
Nikke Ariff did research study between 2003 and 2004 with the aim to test the efficacy of Bowen Therapy for asthma sufferers in relation to frequency and severity of attacks and reliance on medication, over a 12 month period. This research included 24 volunteers who had had asthma for over 5 years, and most over 15 years. 83% of participants reported a reduction in the frequency of asthma attacks with 75% reporting less reliance on medication than before the beginning of treatments. 87% reported a substantial difference in their asthma,with 29% of this group reporting a dramatic difference.
Of 24 volunteers who completed the program, 22 reported that secondary health concerns had also improved, including back, neck and shoulder pain; knee and joint problems; headaches and migraines; hay fever; irritable bowel syndrome and digestion; circulation; insomnia; anxiety, stress, depression and energy level improvement.View Longer Study
The Bowen Technique National Asthma Study
December 2002 to March 2004
Organised by Nikke Ariff in collaboration with B.T.E.R.
The National Research program was launched to determine the efficacy of The Bowen Technique in the treatment of the Asthma condition. The research was aiming to record any changes in their pattern Volunteer’s symptoms in terms of:
- severity of attacks
- and reliance on medication
SELECTION OF CANDIDATES: THE VOLUNTEER GROUP
The parameters set were as follows:
- the volunteers had to be over 16 years of age
- they must not have been hospitalized for their condition
- they must have been diagnosed as an Asthma sufferer by a Gp or hospital specialist
- Asthma must be their main health concern
THE VOLUNTEER GROUP: PROFILE
Of the 24 Volunteers: 16 women, 8 men
Length of time diagnosed as an Asthma sufferer:
- 1 to 5 yrs : 2 (8%) volunteers
- 5 to 10 yrs : 8 (33%) volunteers
- 10 to 15 yrs: 3 (13%) volunteers
- 15 yrs plus : 11 (46%) volunteers
All were fully qualified in the Bowen technique and fulfilled the qualifications set out by the governing body The Bowen Therapists European Register (www.bter.org email: email@example.com).
THE RESEARCH PROGRAM:
The Program was carried out over a 12-month period. No treatment protocol was set for the Bowen therapist to follow. This is because Bowen is a holistic therapy and it was felt that the Bowen therapist should not be compromised in having to treat according to a set protocol as opposed to treating the Volunteer as a unique individual. The Asthma Volunteer kept a weekly diary throughout the 12 month period additionally, a diary was completed for every Asthma attack experienced during the Research Period.
- 7 registered “My asthma has improved dramatically”
- 14 reported “ My asthma has improved substantially”
- 3 reported “ My asthma has improved slightly”
- 20 (83%) reported a reduction in the frequency of their asthma attacks
- 18 (75%) reported a reduction in the severity of their attacks
- 18 (75%) reported they were now using less medication than before starting the Bowen Research project
- 14 (58%) reported they were responding better to their medication
- 17 (71%) volunteers reported their sensitivity to triggers had reduced
Although only 15 of the 24 volunteers used Peak Flow meters at home, all 15 (100%) of them reported their readings had improved.
Volunteers rated their asthma condition on a scale of 0 to 10. Before Bowen treatments were received:
- Mild : 3 (12.5%)
- Moderate : 12 (50%)
- Severe : 9 (37.5%)
- Mild: 18 (75%)
- Moderate: 6 (25%)
TOTAL NUMBER OF ASTHMA ATTACKS:
The total number of Asthma attacks reported showed a dramatic improvement in the second 6 months on the research program:
- First 6 months: Total of 84 Asthma attacks recorded
- Second 6 months: Total of 26 Asthma attacks recorded
OTHER BENEFITS:Of the 24 Volunteers who completed the program, 22 reported that secondary health concerns had also improved within the 12-month Research period underlining the holistic nature of the Bowen Technique. These issues included:
- Positive responses
- Back, Neck & Shoulder problems: 15
- Knee problems & Other joint problems: 4
- Headaches & Migraine: 3
- Hayfever: 8
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome & Digestion: 4
- PMT & Circulation: 2
- Insomnia: 4
- Anxiety, Stress & Depression: 13
- Energy levels: 8
Bowen Therapy and Migraines
Bowen Technique practitioner Nikke Ariff based in the UK, completed the Bowen Technique Migraine Research Program with the aim of studying it's efficacy in healing migraine headaches. Of the 39 migraine volunteers 79% experienced a positive result and said they would recommend the Bowen Technique to family, friends and colleges.View Longer Study
The Bowen Technique National Migraine Research ProgramOctober 2001 to April 2002
Organized by Nikke Ariff
The National Research program was launched by Nikke Ariff in response to results obtained in an earlier Pilot Scheme conducted by her between February – April 2001. The National Research program was launched to determine the efficacy of The Bowen Technique in the treatment of the Migraine condition.
Selection of candidates: The Volunteer Group
No parameters were set before the research program to attract a certain 'profile' of Migraine sufferer. This was deliberate to ensure that the Volunteer Group was random but united by the fact that they were willing to try something new in the treatment of their Migraine condition. The Research Group was recruited from the members of the Migraine Action Association and based on a considered selection of participants on the basis: They were diagnosed as a migraine sufferer by a GP or hospital specialist. The women were well represented at different stages of their menstrual life ie. Regular periods, pre-menopausal, menopausal with without hormone therapy, post-menopausal, hysterectomy.
The Volunteer Group: Profile
- Total of 39 volunteers: 37 women, 2 men
- Length of time participant had been a Migraine sufferer:
- 1 to 15 years : 13 volunteers
- 16 to 30 years: 17 volunteers
- over 30 years: 9 volunteers
All were fully qualified in the Bowen Technique and fulfilled the qualifications set out by the governing body, the Bowen Therapists' European Register – now the Bowen Therapy Professional Association (BTPA).
The Research Program:
The Program was carried out over a 6 week period. This was comprised of a two week treatment period during which the Volunteer received three Bowen treatments in the first two weeks of the program, followed by a four week observational period. The Migraine Volunteer kept a migraine diary throughout the 6 week period, which was completed after every Migraine attack experienced during the Research Period.
The Results of the Bowen Technique National Migraine Research Program
Of the 39 participants:
- 7 registered no change in their Migraine condition
- 11 experienced a decrease in frequency of attacks
- 9 experienced a decrease in severity of their Migraine
- 11 experienced a decrease in severity and frequency of attacks
- 1 participant experienced an increase in frequency
In all, 31 case studies experienced a positive result, yielding a response rate of 79.5%.
The Bowen technique:
Bowen is a gentle, non-invasive, 'hands-on' therapy. It treats the body as a single integrated system and is therefore suitable for all ages from new born babies to the very elderly, from the fit and active to the critically ill. The practitioner uses thumbs and fingers on precise points around the body to make rolling type movements. The pressure used is light, never more than what your eyeball could comfortably bear. It is a distinctive feature of Bowen that after a sequence of moves, the practitioner leaves the room for a minimum of two minutes to allow your body to respond to and process the moves.
Following the results, Nikke Ariff said:
"I decided to use the Migraine condition as a research project (although it could have been one of many other conditions), because of the distress I saw it causing the sufferer. My experience with Migraine proved that the Bowen Technique was very effective because it treated the person as a whole where the Migraine condition can be caused by one or a combination of several trigger factors - none of which are easily identifiable.
I am very pleased and not at all surprised at the success rate of the National Research Programme, which has recorded positive results for 31 of the 39 Migraine Volunteers. I trust that more people will be encouraged to approach complementary therapies with an open mind for the maintenance of their health and well being."
The Migraine Action Association:
Ann Turner, Director for the Migraine Action Association writes "The results from the Bowen Technique National Migraine Research Programme are very encouraging. It confirms that this gentle, non-invasive, holistic therapy can help a wide range of migraine sufferers. The results confirm the findings of the pilot study and the fact that several different therapists were involved illustrates that it is the Bowen Technique which is effective not just one skilled or gifted practitioner."
The results are very positive. As a holistic therapy, Bowen Therapy treats the individual as an integrated biodynamic system as opposed to an isolated ailment. Migraines can be triggered by any one or a combination of factors ranging from hormonal, sleeping patterns, neck and jaw tightness, exercise, travel, lack of food, allergies and stress levels of the individual. These factors are so varied, that a holistic therapy like Bowen must be considered as a valid option for the treatment of the Migraine condition.
Using the Bowen Technique in a Health Service workplace to improve the physical and mental well-being of staffBy Anne Dicker, nurse and Bowen Practitioner
A total of 31 staff at the Northern Rivers Area Health Service, were treated over six weeks, receiving an average of 2.7 treatments. They were asked to fill an initial comprehensive health assessment and a detailed questionnaire at the completion of the project.
Stress was a major focus of this study. The majority reported an improvement in stress levels.
“These treatments have helped to lower my stress.”
“I found these treatments t be very good for stress.”
“My stress levels have dramatically dropped.”
Energy and Well-being was also assessed. 64% reported an improvement in energy and well-being, many reporting an increase in energy.
“I noticed a change two weeks into the course, when I felt more energized than I had for some time.”
“Not as tired.”
Sleep was assessed and 50% reported an improvement in sleep patterns.
“With less pain in my neck and shoulders I have better quality of sleep.”
“Only waking once a night rather than 3-4 times.”
“I now sleep like a baby when previously I was a light and restless sleeper.”
Pain levels were assessed with many staff having multiple areas of chronic pain which would have benefited from longer treatment. However, 78% reported 'better' pain than before.
“The pain in the hips is not as bad.”
“Treatments would usually relieve headaches and I found less need for painkillers. Also I noticed a reduction in frequency.”
“My lower back was aggravated in the middle of my treatment which led to a response of very much better.”
Mobility was assessed and was reported to be much improved with enthusiastic feedback.
“Even 4 weeks later I feel movement is completely free.”
“Do not have any stiff neck now.”
“My lower back feels more flexible now.”
“My hip feels less fused.”
Overall comments -
“I feel much better as a whole for the treatments.”
“Moving about more freely allows me to look and act better.”
“Particularly at work I have felt calm and able to deal with stressful situations with ease.”
In terms of the successful outcomes in pain reduction, mobility improvments, stress reduction, and improvements in sleep, energy and wellbeing further study is warranted.
See longer study
Fibromyalgia and Bowen Therapy
A small pilot study was carried out by Tim Wilcocks Bowen Practitioner and Instructor, on the effects of Bowen Therapy on Fibromyalgia.
Four participants who had been diagnosed with fibromyalgia for 3-5 years were given 4 Bowen treatments over 5 weeks. They experienced various levels of relief from a few days to a few weeks.
All four participants experienced improvements including better sleep, more mobility walking, cessation of vertigo, eased neck pain, improved balance, and less exhaustion.
Bowen Therapy and the effects on the Autonomic Nervous System
Dr J. Whitaker has shown that Bowen Therapy effects the Autonomic Nervous System as measured by changes in value and pattern of heart rate variability and clinical assessments before and after Bowen treatments.
Psychological effects of Bowen Therapy
Ashley Pritchard, at the Swinburn University department of Psychophysiology, Melbourne, showed that the Bowen Technique consistently reduced subjects level of anxiety, and enhanced individuals positive feelings by reducing tension, anger, depression, fatigue and confusion.