There are several key principles guiding Bowen:
‘Less is more’
During a treatment, the body is ‘challenged’ and once the body has received this instruction, it has to be allowed to process. Sometimes this process can take time and as a therapist, I have to wait to see what kind of response there is. It is much better to do less to the body and give it the space to respond than over load it and confuse it.
‘the body be treated as a whole, without referral to named disease’ – i.e. we work on the whole body.
Clients usually come to me complaining of a pain or a dysfunction – for example insomnia or a painful knee. It is up to me to work out what actually is the cause of this problem – and sometimes, it has absolutely nothing to do with the site of the pain. For this reason, the body is treated as a whole.
‘Structure governs function and function maintains structure’
If we take the example of a St Bernard – its size and shape mean that it is not suitable for catching rats like a Jack Russel, but that it is good for rescuing people on sides of mountains! in this instance, the structure governs the function. Similarly, let’s look at how we use our mobile phones. Most of us walk along, head bowed, texting. Not only is this very dangerous (seen anyone bump into a lamppost because they didn’t see it?), but because our head is the heaviest part of the body, continually tipping it forward can actually change the vertebrae in the back of the neck, making them thicker and stronger to support this new head position. Studies in the USA have shown that younger children who spend too long texting on their phone have irreparable humps develop – a syndrome called ‘Text Neck’ – basically, their function is now changing their structure.
‘We strengthen the weak and adjust the strong’
Acute or chronic injury will cause the body to compensate, which is the body’s mechanism of protecting the injury. It is common for example for the left knee to be reported as the problem when actually there has been an injury to the right ankle. In that case, the left leg will likely be over strong and the right weak or atrophied. Application of Bowen will redress the imbalance in the body caused by the tension.
‘We can neither diagnose a condition nor change any existing medication’
As a Bowen Therapist, I cannot diagnose conditions or adjust medication. What I can do however, is confirm the condition of the body on the day and in conjunction with the treatment, make suggestions and recommendations for prolonged resolution.