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How Can Something So Gentle And Simple Be So Effective?

BOWENWORK activates the following mechanisms to reset the body:

1. Stretch Reflexes - Most BOWEN "moves" are done either at the origin, insertion or belly of muscles where the golgi cells' receptors are located, informing the nervous system on the state of tension, length or stretch in the musculotendinous tissue. These receptors are stimulated during the "challenge" (where gentle yet firm pressure is applied) and the rolling part of the BOWEN move. In case of a painful muscle spasm loop, we can gently break this vicious cycle by changing the stimulus received by the nervous system.

2. Joint Proprioceptors - All moves done around a joint directly affect the joint capsule and ligaments that are richly enervated with proprioceptors. Here again, stimulus will be received by the nervous system, inviting normalization of the joint function without the need for forceful manipulation.

3. Fascia - Each BOWEN move is done at the level of the superficial fascia and affects the relation between the fascia and the nerve, muscle or tendon being mobilized. The fascia plays a major role in muscle coordination, postural alignment and overall structural and functional integrity. Following injuries, surgeries, etc., all these will be negatively affected because the fascia will stiffen, contract, torque and dehydrate. Following a BOWEN session it is not uncommon to see adhesions loosen up, scar tissue soften and posture and mobility improve without harsh mobilization or stretching.

4. Segmental Viscerosomatic Spinal Reflexes - These reflexes are engaged most basic procedures to produce referred reactions to the internal organs though stimulation of skin and muscles.

5. Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) Rebalancing - BOWENWORK may have its most pro-found and important effect here where the body's self-healing mechanisms are governed. The ANS controls over 80% of bodily functions and is very susceptible to external stressors. Most people today live in a constant state of high stress and sympathetic ANS overstimulation (fight/flight or freeze = survival mode). Healing occurs after the ANS shifts from sympathetic to parasympathetic (rest and relaxation) dominance. The BOWEN technique catalyzes that shift. During sessions, clients often fall asleep quickly or drop into deep state of relaxation. Sometimes loud peristalsis can be heard, which is an indication of this shift toward parasympathetic dominance as the overload of tensions and stress releases at a deep level. This explains why a few BOWEN sessions frequently reactivates the recovery process, where healing from trauma, sickness or surgery has been stalled or reached a plateau.

6. Trigger Points - Several BOWENWORK moves overlap with recognized trigger point locations. By clearing trigger points, referred pain will be relieved and joint mobility and muscle co-ordination will be improved.

7. Acupuncture Points and Meridians - Most moves overlap acupuncture and bio electromagnetic energy spheres. Some actually cross two or three meridians and pathways at once. Acupuncturists have correlated the indications and effects of BOWEN moves with the corresponding acupuncture points. They also commented on the immediate changes of the acupuncture pulses in response to moves or procedures. The overlap of these two systems could explain the very strong energetic component of the technique and its effect on the internal organs.

8. Neurolymphatic points and lymphatic circulation - BOWEN moves overlap the location of many lymphatic reflex points that regulate the lymphatic system.

9. "Tissue Tension" Sense - The BOWENWORK Technique does not use forceful manipulation. A unique skill of the BOWEN practitioner is "tissue tension" sense, meaning that a practitioner is able to discern stress build up in muscles and other soft tissues, which informs and enables them to perform specific BOWEN moves to assist recovery.

10. The Key to Success - There are frequent but very essential pauses between BOWEN moves throughout the session which allows the body time to respond, reset and begin the healing process.

(Taken from BOWEN HANDS Journal on the Original BOWENWORK Technique - March 2015)

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Kathleen Siegel is a Licensed Massage Therapist.

Certified BOWENWORK Practitioner with the BOWENWORK Academy USA since 2008.

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