The Bowen Technique
This is a gentle muscle-release therapy, named after Thomas Ambrose Bowen, an Australian therapist who died in 1982. Although Tom thought of himself as an osteopath, he did not have formal qualifications in this discipline and was not permitted to use the title. It is clear that he was an immensely gifted therapist, with an amazing ability to “read” the body and put right any imbalances within a very short space of time. At the time of his death, he was seeing as many as 13,000 clients per year, rarely seeing anyone more than once or twice. He shared some of his ideas and methods with six other therapists (“Tom’s Boys”), and it is from them that we now have several great therapies, based upon Bowen’s life work.
The most commonly taught has become known as “The Bowen Technique”, which arrived in the UK around 1993 and is now widely practised. It is a gentle form of therapy, based upon “rolling” moves over muscles and soft tissue. These moves encourage the body to balance itself, both from a structural point of view and also in terms of its systems. This makes the treatment effective for all sorts of aches and pains, as well as for dysfunctions of the digestive, respiratory, circulatory and reproductive systems. The therapist usually performs a short series of moves, and will often leave the room several times during the treatment to allow the body to respond and start to make adjustments. Treatments, which are generally performed over light clothing, can last anywhere from 15 minutes to one hour.
Although it is not normally helpful to have other bodywork therapies, such as deep tissue massage, within a few days of having Bowen Technique, many therapists find that the use of some closely-related therapies enhances the beneficial effects of the Bowen.
The Emmett Technique
Such a therapy is the Emmett Technique, brought to the UK in Spring 2007 by its founder, Ross Emmett. Ross is a talented and experienced therapist who also has a great gift for reading the body. A former instructor of Bowen Therapy, he has developed a set of moves which offer fast relief from pain and discomfort, with most clients noticing beneficial effects before the end of their first treatment.
Emmett moves use light pressure on precise points, and in sequences which gently release muscle groups. Practitioners work with subtle body energies as well as with clients’ expectations and attitudes to reinforce lasting changes, thus offering a very effective and complete treatment. Emmett can be used alone, or as a way of enhancing the performance of other therapies, making it one of the most versatile and desirable treatments available.
This treatment is usually performed over light clothing and will generally take between 30 and 50 minutes. The practitioner is trained to identify the source of the client’s discomfort and gently release the areas which are contributing to the problem. This can often mean a quite dramatic change in balance, flexibility, strength, range of movement, breathing or other functions, depending upon which areas are worked. Practitioners trained in this way are able to tailor their treatments precisely to their clients’ needs and to create lasting change.
The name “Reiki” (pronounced ray-kee) is a Japanese word, meaning “Universal Life Energy”, which describes a gentle, natural method of healing first discovered by Mikao Usui in the early 20th Century. Widely practised as a therapy all over the world, Reiki addresses “body, mind and spirit”, that is to say it can be effective in relieving issues which are physical (pain and discomfort); emotional (stress, anxiety, loss, anger etc.); or spiritual (assisting the client to connect to their “Higher Power”, without necessarily being associated with any religion).
Clients will usually be asked to lie, fully clothed, on a bed or treatment couch. The treatment, normally 50-60 minutes, involves the practitioner placing their hands in a series of non-invasive positions on or just above the client’s body, allowing the healing energy to flow. The client’s body dictates how much energy (known as “chi” in China, or “ki” in Japan) it requires and will direct it to the site of most need. Therefore, although we may think we are “treating” an ingrown toenail, the client’s body may instead use the energy to resolve some emotional issue or to assist the blood circulation! Clients may experience warmth or a “tingling” in their bodies as they receive the energy. The experience is peaceful and relaxing, with even deep-seated issues often being gently “dissolved” away.
Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Emotional Freedom Technique
NLP has been described as “advanced common sense” and it encompasses many different techniques to help people to change their views and attitudes about issues which trouble them. As can be guessed from the name, the techniques rely heavily on the use of language and the deconstruction of some of the more destructive “programmes” we set for ourselves, such as “I’ll never be able to do xxxxx” or “I always fail in relationships”. Practitioners will make use of “anchors” to help the client to access positive thoughts and memories and this, in turn, helps them to achieve a more balanced state of mind.
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a very powerful way of helping with unwanted emotional states, such as phobias or fears. It can be used to dissolve negative feelings and issues such as lack of confidence, lack of self-belief, trouble with motivation and many more. It is a simple process which can be taught to clients as a self-help tool, though of course it is possible to study it more deeply and gain professional qualifications elsewhere.
Examples of issues which have responded well to these therapies are:
- Back pain
- Neck pain/stiffness
- Headaches/sinus problems
- Frozen shoulder
- Elbow and forearm pains
- Asthma/Hay fever
- I B S
- Menstrual irregularities
- Gait and posture
- Sports injuries
- Hip/pelvic pains
- Tight hamstrings
- Knee and ankle problems
- Balance and stability
- Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia and Parkinson’s Disease