by Helen Mawson
In this article, I will share with you some information concerning how I use the Bowen Technique to help with structural problems and the symptoms caused by structural imbalance. I also offer some recommendations for exercise and lifestyle changes that may help.
Structural problems in the human body can occur in a myriad of places, for a multitude of reasons and often cause unpleasant symptoms. What I am referring to when I talk about structure is our skeleton and the supporting structures and systems of the body including; muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and fascia.
Some of the more common structural issues I work with include;
• General back pain – can occur for many different reasons which aren’t always immediately obvious. I will typically work to rebalance the body on a first session and then reassess what the body is presenting on the second session. Often the body will compensate for imbalance by adopting different patterns of behaviour and this can often lead us to misinterpret what is going on. By balancing the body as a whole and giving it time (typically a week) to integrate the new balance we can correctly assess what is going on, where the imbalance is originating, and plan an appropriate course of treatment.
• Slipped disk herniation – occurs when one of the disks that sit between the vertebrae are damaged and press against a nerve. The condition can occur anywhere along the vertebral column and is generally very painful, often with tingling and numbness and weakness. When I am treating this condition, considering the body/structure as a whole is paramount. It might be for example that the structures surrounding the affected area are not doing their job correctly and this has led to the degeneration. Or it might be that the surrounding structures are working hard to support the affected area and need some additional support themselves.
• Sciatica – occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed or irritated in some way. Sciatica is generally incredibly painful and will often travel down one of the legs. Numbness and tingling often occur also. In practice, I would typically use the pelvic procedure to address sciatic pain and as long as there were no other complications this procedure can significantly help this condition.
• Neck problems – could be caused by all sorts of different issues such as trauma i.e. whiplash injuries, disk problems, and degenerative conditions to name a few. In Bowen, we have many procedures available to use that may help with neck problems.
• Knee problems – often in practice what I find is that problems manifesting in the knee are actually occurring in the pelvis and referring down. Some of the other causes of knee pain could include; bursitis, tendonitis, cartilage damage, sprains and strains. In Bowen, we have a specific procedure that can treat the knee and its surrounding structures.
The body systems and parts that make up the whole work synergistically, each one is responsible for its own function but has to cooperate with the whole unit in order for the body to function at its optimum. If one of the systems is out of balance it will impact the other systems. The body always does its best however and works hard to maintain its homeostasis or balance.
The way in which Bowen works is truly holistic it always looks to achieve the best balance for the body as a whole and in the most efficient way possible. In practice, I find it common for clients to experience improvement in other areas of health even when a session focused on treating a specific structural problem.
When we consider the fact that Bowen works directly with the nervous system specifically affecting the nerves along the vertebral column we can see how a multifaceted response is often experienced. A lot of the Bowen work is also carried out over specific energy systems such as the meridians and chakra systems adding yet another dimension to treatment.
Lifestyle factors to help with structural problems
• Hydration is vital to the balance of the body. I have known clients begin taking more water and the painful muscles that have plagued them for years have got better virtually overnight!
• Posture is very important the body needs plenty of variation, so if you work in a seated position have plenty of breaks and get up stretch or even have a short walk. Make sure your desk is set up properly for you including desk and chair height and position. A good tip to remember when you are sitting is that your knees should be lower than your hips.
• Exercise is important in supporting structural health and getting enough appropriate exercise for your specific body type and health requirements are essential. Some of my favourite exercises include; walking, swimming, yoga or gentle stretching, pilates and rebounding on a mini trampoline (my personal favourite!)
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