When you fall and hit your head, why does the back and shoulder ache? If you sprain an ankle, what does that have to do with the shoulder? And what does the crash and bumps of a car wreck have to do with a whole body ache?
We understand the goose-egg on the noggin. But what is with the soreness and stiffness around the shoulders, ribs, hips or knees — areas far removed from the site of acute trauma?
What’s happening in the body?
When an injury happens, first there is pain at the site and then swelling starts as the body’s first aid team arrives for triage, delivering blood, lymph and nutrients. Many times there are secondary twists and strains on the body as it was pushed in unaccustomed ways during the fall or crash. We may have strained in resistance to minimize or prevent any further injury, tensing muscles and freezing emotional energy. The body also responds to the emergency by sending many messages and stress hormones coursing through the body. It wants to make sure that we can flee from the danger if need be.
So, it turns out that when we fall or experience other physical ordeals, it’s like experiencing our own little natural disaster, our own hurricane. Suddenly we’re not in control and our safety and grounded-ness is gone. Some natural force like momentum and gravity is interacting with a solid object like a car, sports equipment and curbs in a spiral of confusion and conflicting objectives with our soft body in the middle of disaster. It shocks our body, our mind and our psyche.
An over-reaction response or not letting go of the fight-or-flight reaction and the resulting chronic pain seems to be more common as we pass into adulthood and the stress of our modern life rides along in our physical systems. We develop patterns of stress in the body that are held beyond their usefulness. If nothing is done to relieve these patterns, they spread through the body resulting in the chronic aches and pains that are relentless.
So what do we do? Nothing replaces stitches and a cast if it’s needed. And this blog post is not suggesting that medical assistance is not the first appropriate response. But once those steps are taken care of…what do we do?
Get some Bowenwork!
Bowenwork is a soft touch therapy that affects the nervous, musculoskeletal and fascial systems. Bowenwork engages the body as a whole by gently stimulating its systems to rebalance. The mind-body produces an integrated response which improves circulation and lymphatic drainage, resets tension in fascia and muscles and relaxes the stress feelings.
In fact, the body message of the very first Bowenwork moves are “The emergency is over, Help is on the way“.
How does Bowenwork work?
A Bowenwork “Move” is a very gentle rolling motion with the fingertips and thumbs over specific muscles and other soft tissue. The Move stimulates proprioceptors in the soft tissue. Proprioceptors are sensory receptors which send information to the brain about how we hold ourselves in space–in our gravity field. The brain then sends messages back into the body to initiate an unwinding. The tension levels in the soft tissue are rebalanced and reset. As a result, the body can initiate healing more efficiently.
Bowenwork sessions last from 20 minutes to 1 hour. Bowenwork sessions have several unique features
- Waits between Moves. After a series of Bowenwork moves, the practitioner will leave the room for a “wait” of usually 2 minutes. Waits allow an uninterrupted conversation between the body and brain to integrate any changes without distraction.
- Less is more. The brain can only handle a certain amount of information effectively. If too much information is given through the body, the brain will try to process it all. But after a short time, only a small portion of the “corrections” are retained and the body will regress almost back where it started. In Bowenwork, only a prudent amount of work is done in each session. The first session is all about balancing the body. Successive sessions work on what has not yet been resolved.
- Flexible client positioning. Bowenwork is commonly performed on a massage table. Starting face-down for a series of Moves, then face-up for more Moves. Depending on the injury or condition, some seated or standing Moves may be required. But Bowenwork can also meet the client to their ability: in a wheelchair or hospital bed. The practitioner can work with the client in any situation or environment.
- Works on skin or through thin clothes. Bowenwork Moves are best performed on bare skin. If skin is not possible, contra-indicated due to medical devices or taboo due to modesty or social reasons, working through very thin clothes or off-the-body is also very effective.
- Bowenwork plays alone. Physical and energetic changes can continue to work in the body for 5 days after a Bowenwork session. So, in the theme of “less is more”, clients are asked not to participate in any other energy work, acupuncture, chiropractic or massage for 5 days after a Bowenwork session. This is not to reduce the value of those practices, but to give the brain time to process the information given during the Bowenwork therapy.
Who can benefit?
Bowenwork is gentle on the body, effective and appropriate for anyone to receive. People of all ages and conditions respond to Bowenwork according to what their bodies need, including infants to the elderly and elite athletes to people with chronic conditions.
What conditions does Bowenwork address?
Bowenwork is extremely effective in helping with a variety of acute and chronic ailments. Bowenwork Practitioners have been successful in assisting or addressing problems relating to these and other conditions:
|Abdominal pain||Frozen Shoulder||Neuromas|
|Ankle pain||Gall Bladder Pain||Parkinson’s|
|Angina||Golfer’s Elbow||Pelvic Tilt|
|Back pain||Groin Pain||Pre and Post-surgical recovery|
|Bed wetting||Hammer Toes||Pregnancy issues|
|Bell’s Palsy||Hay fever||Prostate|
|Bunions||Heel Pain||Reproductive Issue|
|Calf Pain||Hiatal Hernia||Sciatica|
|Carpal Tunnel||High Shoulder||Scoliosis|
|Cellulitis||Ileocecal Issues||Shin pain|
|Cluster Headaches||Infertility (M&F)||Scoliosis|
|Coccyx Pain||Influenza||Shin splints|
|Colic||Jaw & TMJ||Sinus pain|
|Diaphragm pain||Knee problems||Rib/sternal pain|
|Digestive Issues||Leg cramps||Tendonitis|
|Deafness||Liver issues||Tennis elbow|
|Ear problems||Meniere’s disease||Trigeminal Neuralgia|
When is a session recommended?
- Immediately incurring an injury. Getting Bowenwork ON-THE-DAY of the injury is the best option. On the day of the injury, the body will still be in a shock of sorts — tense with the potential over-response from unusual movement, twisting and resistance to more injury. The compensatory holding pattern is setup, but not set. “Sleeping on it” will set the holding pattern of stress into the body more firmly. Getting Bowenwork ON-THE-DAY, will relax the holding patterns so that chronic pain will not set in. Leave only the actual acute injury for the body to repair, healing will proceed more rapidly as a result. Often dramatic relief is reported when addressing recent injuries.
- Before and after surgery or dental work can reduce complications. Bowenwork improves blood and lymph flow, reduces anxiety and relaxes the body so it is prepared for surgery or dental work. Afterwards, Bowenwork has speeded recovery by calming the body, reducing the trauma and focusing repair and rehabilitation.
- Get relief for any pain or discomfort on the physical, chemical, emotional, mental and energetic levels. Bowenwork doesn’t claim to cure anything. But the list of conditions that can be improved is long and amazing. Chronic problems that have lingered for years may respond more slowly as the body works to change a familiar unhealthy pattern to a new healthy one. And sometimes the change is accelerated. Each body knows its best pace to address the underlying issues of a long-term issue.
Where can I find a Bowenwork practitioner?
It’s important to get an accredited practitioner that was taught and practices “the original Bowen Technique”. In the US they will be listed on the American Bowen Academy website www.americanbowen.academy/find-a-practitioner.
Or worldwide use The Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia (BTAA) website www.bowtech.com
The late Australian Tom Bowen developed this technique. “Bowtech” is an Australian company founded by Tom Bowen’s student Ossie Rentsch, who has brought this work to the world. In coming to the US, the name “Bowenwork” was used due to trademark restrictions. They are the same organization.
Be sure to look for “the original Bowen Technique” practitioner to ensure quality of service and care.