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Case study: The Bowen Technique

Case study: The Bowen Technique

Bowen is a gentle manual therapy that aims to balance tension in the body, resulting in deep relaxation. It is performed on skin but can be performed through light clothing. The practitioner applies a series of gentle moves at specific locations (on muscles, tendons, ligaments or nerves) which deliver signals to the nervous system. Bowen can have a positive affect not only the musculoskeletal framework, but also the nerves and internal organs.

In the article that follows, we catch up with our client who has kindly agreed to be interviewed after having 3 sessions of Bowen treatment with Fiona Forster, a Hope Street Centre complementary therapist and Bowen Practitioner. Our client suffered a hip injury 18 months ago and has tried a variety of conventional medicine (including anti-inflammatory medication) and remedial massage.  He decided to book a course of treatment with Fiona after hearing that Bowen has previously helped clients who have been told by their doctors to learn to live with, and adapt to their injuries.

Question: So, Tim, how did you find your Bowen treatments?
Answer: I wasn’t really sure what to expect to be honest, I had been told that Bowen wasn’t like any other therapy and that was definitely true.  Fiona was very professional and warm, she took some time before the treatment itself to explain the process – in terms of it being gentle rolling movements rather than deep tissue massage, and that the series of moves would be interspersed with breaks where she would actually leave the room.  She explained that the treatments work cumulatively, and so usually I might even notice some changes starting after the first session and that the following sessions, continue the process and build on to this.  Fiona also took a full case history from me, to find out about my injury, how affects me, and if there were any other medical issues that she might need to be aware of.  She noted some of the comments I made, especially when I said that my injury made me feel like an old man! (I’m 41).  Finally, she assessed my posture by watching me walking and sitting.  She also ensured that the room was right for me, particularly in relation to the temperature of the room and my comfort.

Question:  What did you experience during the treatment?
Answer:  I had 3 sessions in total and during the first I just felt so comfortable and relaxed.  The time that Fiona spent outside the room really gave me the opportunity to wind down – it was good to have that quiet time where I knew that no one could disturb me.  It made me realise how little opportunity we get to just be alone, without the potential for any distractions. In the second and third sessions, because I knew what was going to happen I relaxed a lot quicker than in the first and both times felt as though I was in a meditative state.  At one point Fiona apologised for the noise outside of the room and I hadn’t even noticed it!
Physically, my body was relaxed and I was able to really focus on where the pain was originating from.  It was interesting to notice the points of tenderness were not just around the source of the pain, but in my arms, legs and ribs.  As the three treatments progressed, the tenderness improved and the Bowen moves which caused me some discomfort in the first session hardly troubled me at all by the third.

Question: Were you given any aftercare advice?
Answer: Yes, Fiona provided me with an aftercare sheet which explained that I needed to drink plenty of water to ensure that my system was hydrated, and that, in my case, a bath using Epsom Salts every few days would further help the healing process.

Question: What benefits have you noticed?
Answer: After the first treatment, the effects were immediate.  I felt lighter, like I had more energy and I jumped out of bed the next morning in a way that I hadn’t since before the injury.  I noticed that my movements were freer, and that I was able to get comfortable more easily when I was relaxing in the evening and when I was falling asleep. I even danced with my wife in our dining room whilst we were getting ready to go out!
The effects after the second treatment were much the same – I felt refreshed from having the opportunity to take an hour out of my day to relax and it gave me the energy to give my all to an important three hour meeting I had straight afterwards.  This was a real revelation to me, as previously a long meeting would have been a struggle as I would find it difficult to sit comfortably for long periods without getting stiff.  Between the second and third treatments I continued to feel lighter and brighter in myself, less of an old man!
The third session felt like it was a consolidation of the work we had done so far – by then Fiona judged my mobility and reduced pain meant she could work around my pelvis and specifically the area of the injury.  Since then I am amazed at the difference and often find myself surprised that I am in so much less pain.  I had got so used to it.
I don’t know if this is related to the treatments, but I have also been making some healthier food choices and have been maintaining the water drinking in between sessions, which I am sure is helping to keep my energy levels up.

Question: Would you have Bowen again?
Answer: Most definitely.  I have arranged to see Fiona again in the New Year.  We thought that a break over Christmas would be a good opportunity to assess how my body has responded to the treatments and to see how long the benefits actually last before I feel I would like another treatment.  I still experience some pain and discomfort but then I am not expecting to be totally healed after just three sessions.  That would be unrealistic.  The injury has been lingering for over 18 months and so I am prepared to put in the time and effort to making it better.
I will also be recommending the Bowen Technique to a couple of my friends too, one who has been feeling very stressed out recently, and another who is having difficulty sleeping.  I am sure that the relaxation they could experience during the sessions will help both of them.
If you would like to book a Bowen treatment with Fiona, then please contact her on 07833 950806.  Treatments cost £45 and usually last for an hour.

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