One of the most interesting areas of the body is the brain. The basic function of the brain is to receive information from our sensory organs and interpret this information, such as light, sound, pain, movement. This enables conscious communication within our body. Neuroplasticity which is the functioning of the brain to recognise itself by forming new neural connections, allows the nerve cells in the brain to adjust their activities in response to new situations or changes in their environment. This includes a stimulus through touch. There is approximately 600,000 signals that travel from the brain into the body every second and these in turn come back to the brain with information which is then interpreted and sent back out. Whenever we feel, hear, see or even think something, the brain brings in past experience in order to categorise the sensation and create an appropriate response. Just think how can such a light move be so powerful… think of that tiny pin prick on the end of your little toe and how you can feel that! The body is sensitive to any sensory touch and responds accordingly!
In the case of the Bowen move, the brain is unable to do this instantly and needs more information to form a response. As it is, just when the brain is asking for more information, the therapist has left the room, and therefore the brain has to send specific signals to the area in order to gauge a response. If the client is lying down, the immediate response is nearly always rapid and deep relaxation. The client will also often report that they feel a tingling sensation or warmth in the area just worked on. “It felt like your hands were still on me,” is a common comment.
One of the more difficult elements to come to terms with is how little ‘hands on work’ is done during a session and why isn’t there more hands on work? In addition, the client may well walk out of the treatment room having felt little or no improvement over and above a sense of relaxation. This would be typical if the Bowen treatment hasn’t been explained fully, as I know I would be in the same shoes as a client and would be like – has the therapist forgotten about me and this is a complete waste of time?! One needs to be informed at the start of the style of how a Bowen treatment works and why the waits are the very important bits that really allow the moves and your body to do the healing work! Think of how important sleep is – you are practically doing nothing, yet it is a system that allows the body to recover and for the immune system to heal and repair itself.
Sometimes the reactions to Bowen in the days following a treatment can often be quite profound and stuns first time clients as stiffness, soreness and headaches can appear, even though Bowen has a very soft and gentle approach. Clients may also comment that they feel like “I’ve been run over by a bus!”, which really just demonstrates that the brain and body have started the process of repair. This is nothing to be afraid of, as often the body can go into a healing crisis in order to repair the damage. Similar to having a fever to break the flu/virus/cold/illness that one may suffer. Once it has reached the maximum point, then the body can continue on healing itself and immunity increases. This process, when started, is generally rapid and it is not uncommon for even longstanding pain to be reduced or resolved in two or three treatments.
Although musculoskeletal problems such as frozen shoulder, back and neck pain account for the majority of conditions brought for Bowen treatment, it can also be helpful with more organic problems. Clients have reported significant improvements with asthma, migraines, irritable bowel, infertility, concussion and other reproductive problems.
There are no such things in this life as guarantees and this can be said of Bowen as well. If the body responds to the treatment, then it can and will start the process of repair. If it doesn’t respond, then no harm is done and there may be a more underlying cause deep within that may need to be further investigated by a referral.