Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Bowen Therapy for Neck Pain
On the November 13th blog entry I wrote about Bowen therapy as a technique to treat seizure disorders. I decided to try it out myself to relieve chronic neck pain. I am now a fan!
Bowen therapy feels very different than any other type of massage I've tried. The therapist makes very very subtle movements over the muscles and connective tissue the theory being that these subtle moves send messages deep into the body retrieving cellular memory of a preferred, relaxed and balanced way of being. It is not at all a forceful manipulation. In fact, the technique can even be done through clothes- a point that I think makes a big difference for some people who may not be as familiar with or comfortable with the art of massage or alternative healing. The therapist performs one maneuver and then there is pause (my therapist actually leaves the room) when you can truly feel your body adjusting. For me at least, whatever happens during the pauses feels even more significant than the manipulation part.
As I wrote before, the Bowen technique was first developed by Mr. Tom Bowen in Australia and has been taught to practitioners since 1986. The therapist can target a particular problem or condition with a specific set of maneuvers. Bowen can be used to treat any type of pain including knee, hip, back, neck, sciatica. It also can help with digestive problems, ear-aches and infections, migraines, fibromyalgia, chronic fatique syndrome,menstrual and hormone irregulartities, and respiratory symptoms- to name a few!
My first session was a general non-specific re-balancing one. That's a great way to first experience the technique and also gives the therapist an idea on what areas she might target for future sessions. For me the second session was more targeted to neck pain. I have old injuries, it's the first spot to hurt most times, and it's also where I tend to hold stress and tighten.
With some other types of massage, I found the process itself to be rather painful although the results were positive. With Bowen, the entire thing felt wonderful. The therapist worked a lot through my neck and into my head and targeted some teeth, jaw and joint (TMJ) issues as well.
One of the interesting aspects about this massage is that it is the one that keeps on giving- at least for me. For days afterwards I can still feel little tinges and sensations that to me indicate further healing. I had some real sensations in my teeth and gums and realize that my jaw feels looser and overall I feel more relaxed. Although it is difficult to describe, this feels like a very powerful healing technique to me. My neck still hurts but not as much, or as often, and I feel I have greater range of motion- and that's after just 1 targeted session.
When targeting a particular condition or ailment, it seems most times at least a series of 6 sessions are indicated. Each session lasts between 30 minutes and 1 hour and are likely to be spaced approximately 2 to 3 weeks apart.
I will definitely be continuing- I am looking forward to my next session and I'll keep you updated on my progress. I have always been happy to be a "guinea pig" and try alternative therapies before I suggest or recommend them. Believe me this is an enjoyable experience! And thank you Amy for that heated bed to lie on- that alone is worth the price!!