Please read below about the anatomical responses during Bowen moves. I hope it offers you a deeper understanding regarding HOW Bowen works.
Rather than focusing on a single complaint, Bowen addresses the entire body.
When faced with a recent or acute injury I may address only the traumatized parts of the body because there hasn't been enough time for the body to start compensating for the specific injury yet.
However, most people who seek help, are those whose conditions have developed gradually, sometimes over many years, where patterns of dysfunctional muscle and posture employment developed as a result of compensating for the affected part.
Bowen addresses and involves the body as a whole, by balancing it from the inside out. There is not ONE, but MULTIPLE mechanisms at work in one tiny move, which acts like an electric impulse delivering information to the main processor of our body which is our brain, which in turn delegated forward to the respective cell/tissue/organ/system.
Read on to find out how.
Bowen moves initiate profound changes to our system starting from the skin to the cellular level.
The movements send messages via the skin receptors, through fascia, joint proprioceptors (these are sensors that provide the brain with information about joint angle, muscle length, and muscle tension, and give information about the position of the limb in space) muscular and nervous system which all of these may in turn influence at cellular level, in a domino style the endocrine system, circulatory, lymphatic, urinary, digestive, reproductive functions - well...everything!!!
Bowen has a profound influence over the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) which controls over 80% of bodily functions and is very susceptible to external stressors.
Modern life brings about a multitude of states of high stress and over-stimulation which keeps us in a "fight, flight or freeze mode" (school runs, morning traffic, deadlines, targets, board meetings, rude people, the hourly news on the radio or tv, week-end shopping to name but a few!).
Healing can occur only after the ANS shifts from sympathetic to parasympathetic dominance - this is where "rest, relax and repair mode" switches on. Bowen acts as a catalyst to this shift and does this with no effort to you!
Often during sessions, you may drop into a deep relaxation or fall asleep, and loud peristalsis (tummy grumbling noises) is often heard. Both these changes are indications of a profound release from stress and a shift towards parasympathetic dominance where things start to repair and recover.
The stretch reflex (myotatic reflex) is a muscle contraction in response to stretching within the muscle. It is a monosynaptic reflex which provides automatic regulation of skeletal muscle length.
When a muscle lengthens, the muscle spindle is stretched and its nerve activity increases. This increases alpha motor neuron activity, causing the muscle fibers to contract and thus resist the stretching. A secondary set of neurons also causes the opposing muscle to relax. The reflex functions to maintain the muscle at a constant length.
A simple example would be of a person standing upright who begins to lean to one side. The postural muscles that are closely connected to the vertebral column on the side will stretch. Because of this, stretch receptors in those muscles contract to correct the posture.
During Bowen moves, the stretch reflex is switched on in a way that can change a pain/muscle spasm loop.
The lymphatic system - this is the 2nd major system apart from the circulatory system in our body! Think of the circulatory as a transport network and think of the lymphatic system as indoor plumbing AND protection system at the same time! Now that's a concept to be in awe of - the lymphatic system is a highly sophisticated clean up team - think something along the lines of action movie thrillers with secret spies! The lymphatic system and the circulatory system are the leaders of a group of superheroes, working together towards homeostasis (which is the control of internal conditions, be it temperature, specific blood conditions or other variables within living organisms in order to help them thrive).
First, no matter how beautiful and clear your bathroom or kitchen is, if your toilet or sink are clogged...well... you get the picture (and the smells)! Lymphatic system is what keeps our bodies clean and in the process acts as a vigilant protector against harmful intruders! It is part of our defence structure - our immune system! The lymphatic system does not have a motor as the circulatory system has the heart, to keep of the dirty sludge moving, it actually functions with the contraction of our skeletal muscles. Bowen moves activate the draining of the lymph, stimulating and thus strengthening our immune system. When we meet, I shall teach you how to better sustain this process in a simple way, in the comfort of your own home! ;)
Fascia - aaaahhh this fashionable word the 20th century brought to our vocabulary and the 21st added as favourite!
Fascia is describing fibrous connective tissue containing closely packed bundles of collagen fibres which surround and interpenetrate muscles, organs, blood vessels and nerves - phew! that's a mouthful for such a tiny pretty word! The fascia not only holds our bodies together and gives structure and support, but it permeates all of it! In a way think of such a close connectivity that allows our body to function as ONE, indivisible, single organ!
If you have an engineering mind, think of a complex structure of strings and ribbons connected through tension and compression, in complete balance! When one part pulls, you have a disruption in the opposite side. When one part shrivels, the system compensates somewhere else, the pressure changes and the form/shape is affected. The Bowen moves, create a week electrical current which propagates through the body thanks to the properties of the connective tissue. Bowen optimizes the complex functions of fascia, it helps smoothing it, relaxing it, in ways which restore balance to posture and offers relief from tension and pain.
Central Nervous System (CNS) Several Bowen moves engage segmental viscerosomatic spinal reflexes, producing referred reactions to the internal organs as well as it may offer relief from some CNS diseases.
Please click HERE to read as an example, a study regarding epilepsy.
Or if relevant to you, please read John Coleman's amazing story regarding his recovery with Bowen Technique from Parkinson's Disease in his book "Stop Parkin' and Start Livin'"
Even if further research is necessary to prove it, Bowen is more likely to induce a positive response for people who may seem to have reached the end of rehabilitative options in the case of a stroke. Click this JPHC - Case Series Review for a small pilot study case.
Bowen moves overlap acupuncture points and some actually cross two or three energy meridians in one move. Acupuncturists have correlated the indications and effects of Bowen moves with the corresponding acupuncture points. They have also noticed immediate changes of the acupuncture pulses in response to moves or procedures. This could explain the very strong energetic component of the technique.
Detox is often initiated during a Bowen session, by improving the body's ability to function at a cellular level in a free and non restricted way!
Remember - clear plumbing, clean kitchen and bathroom - better flow in the whole house!
Our bodies detox on a daily basis just by working. Our lungs help our blood stay clean and oxygenated, lymph fights the bad guys, the liver sorts out toxins and the kidneys filter water and eliminate the excess. The skin eliminates non wanted waste and so does our colon! Keep your skin clean and your colon hydrated! (Did you know that the colon’s main function is to extract the water out of food waste and eliminate the solid remains? A de-hydrated colon leads to build-up of waste material which clogs our plumbing leading to dis-ease. So keep that water intake up!).
So..in order that our bodies would filter the good from the bad and the ugly, they need to function properly and without clogging. Think of a car that needs servicing from time to time, the filters and oil changed. That is detox! You, putting in the car the right kind of fuel and cleaning it regularly that’s called car maintenance. Why is it that in the context of mechanical terms people get it but when referring to detox for our bodies people think it’s quackery?!
"Detox" is not a dirty word. Ignorance is.
When we eat the wrong things, breath polluted air, drink sugary or fizzy drinks and harbour toxic thoughts, work long hours and get poor quality sleep that’s when taking a break to better support our bodies is way overdue! Ideally we would do this on a daily basis as a way of life but come on… how many of us really do? That’s why detox is a wonderful way to kick start your body into health and enhances our well being along the way!
Bowen initiates a detox response by allowing your body to function better, at increase capacity as it were, through activating the lymphatic drainage, your brain gives clearer messages to produce the feel good hormones, your kidneys work with a spring in their step, peristalsis is often initiated during a Bowen session that your digestive tract fires up all the stations along the way, while some procedures increase your lung functioning by relaxing the intercostals muscles and your diaphragm. Your body is becoming with every new Bowen session a beautifully performing orchestra as it was created to be, all organs singing in tune with each other, creating beautiful, vibrant life music!
Chakra System The Bowen Technique very strongly affects the Chakras. The word chakra comes from the Sanskrit word meaning “wheel of light”. Vertically, along the centre of the body are found seven main energy centres called chakras. Each chakra is connected to a part of the physical body and transmits and receives life force/ energy/ Chi/ prana. When we are in a state of ill health, the chakras may become distorted, out of alignment or even stagnant. When this happens, life force cannot flow in and out freely and the physical body suffers. Chakras are positively affected after Bowen treatments, without the practitioner's conscious or intentional manipulation to this system. Personally I am not trained in this type of energy work, yet I know from experience that I have felt amazing energy flow rushing through my body after many Bowen sessions, which have uplifted my spirit and opened my mind and my heart to new awareness, which in turn enhanced my life in ways I never thought of before.
* I am in no way associated or affiliated with any of the people that I mention in my "Resources" or "Research" links, I am just impressed and humbled by their stories and the impressive research and life experience that goes into their work!
All of them have positively influenced me and inspired me and I want to share this with you! Due diligence was applied in selecting the information on this website, but no guarantees as to accuracy or authenticity are made.
Silvia Claudia Starczewski
Rise and Shine with Bowen at "Nolidon Healing Room"