The ramblings of a rambler – how to stay safe while walking

May is national walking month. Make the most of the good weather and the glorious British countryside; get your walking boots on and head on out to the great outdoors.

Ramblers-on-Kinder-Scout-001

Rambling is an activity enjoyed by many across the country, keeping thousands of people active and healthy everyday.  However, it is important to take care of your body when you are a rambler. It’s common to suffer from ankle or foot problems due to the uneven terrain or poor walking boots that neglect to support your ankle adequately. Rambling also puts pressure on other parts of the body that are not used to such exertion; these could be your knees, leg muscles, even shoulders from carrying a rucksack for a prolonged amount of time.

As a rambler, you need to recognise and treat these problems in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle and positive well being. A number of clients who are regular walkers have looked to Bowen for treatment on sprained ankles, knee pain and stiffness, ligament aches and back pain.

Bowen on lady

One client sought Bowen Therapy after having tried a number of medical professions for assistance for their heel pain that had been tormenting for 6 months. After consulting a doctor, podiatrist and even trying acupuncture, the client was not getting any relief. After being successfully treated by Bowen Therapy the client is now pain free and has returned to their hobby, rambling. To find out more about how Bowen Therapy can help such injuries, visit the testimonials page here.

Of course not everybody suffers from injuries however, it is important to take precautions when hiking to maintain a healthy well being. Here are some tips to keep safe whilst walking:

  • Invest in a good pair of walking boots. The boots should ideally support your whole foot including your ankle to prevent any injuries when walking.
  • Stretch after you finish a long walk, this should prevent muscle aches.
  • Wear thick walking socks to avoid blistering of the skin. Waterproof socks can also be bought for wet weather walking.
  • Leg cramps are a common problem when rambling due to fatigue. To avoid suffering from leg cramps, keep hydrated and maintain your blood sugar levels with high sugar foods such as bananas or apples.
  • Use an appropriate walking rucksack with shoulder and back support straps. This will prevent back ache and relieve your shoulders of the pressure of carrying extra weight when walking.

For more general information on walking, visit the Ramblers Association website, here.

 

 

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Stress Awareness Month

Women between the ages of 25 and 34 are said to be the most stressed.
April is National Stress Awareness Month and, according to a survey carried out by Kalms, climbing the career ladder, being a parent, paying the mortgage and trying to maintain a social life all trigger higher stress levels in women aged 25-34.

The study also concluded that, over a year, the average Brit gets stressed 208 times and men and women tend to worry about different things.

Neil Shah, Director of the Stress Management Society said: “Women worry more about bills and finances, and juggling their time, but men are more concerned about working long hours and debt.”

The Bowen Technique is a natural, drug-free, non-invasive, complementary therapy that can help combat stress.

Rather than ‘making’ the body change, Bowen ‘asks’ the body to recognise the ailment and make the changes it requires.

During the 30-60 minute treatment, the Bowen practitioner makes small, rolling movements over muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissue at precise points on the body, using only the amount of pressure appropriate for that individual.

No hard-tissue manipulation or force is needed or used.

Between each set of moves, the body is allowed to rest for a few minutes, to allow it to absorb the information it has received and initiate the healing process.

Bowen is known for its soothing qualities for physical complaints; however it is an extremely relaxing experience that can have many emotional benefits too.

One client said: “It is exactly what I needed at a time when stress in my life has been at a peak and for quite some time now. The results I am experiencing are beyond my expectations, as I find old injuries are eased out and movement in my neck, jaw, legs releasing into some kind of freedom for spontaneity such as I felt in my mid-20’s.”

Read the rest of the client’s testimonial here.

If you are stressed, or are caring for somebody is, and are interested in how Bowen Therapy can help you visit the website to find a Bowen therapist near you or call 07713 552 858.

Never heard of Bowen therapy? The word is getting out!

www.bowentherapy.org.ukNever heard of Bowen therapy? The word is getting out!

Originating in Australia, Tom Bowen was seeing 13,000 people a year before the days of social media.  Just hearing that makes one realise immediately that this therapy is something different and indeed a major achievement for a boy born in Brunswick, Victoria of parents who moved to Australia from Wolverhampton in the UK.

Self-taught in bodywork and a manual worker himself, he worked mostly from the home of Stan and Rene Horwood who supported him in building his osteopathy practice.

Tom Bowen had come up with a different way of looking at the body and restoring alignment of its bones and thus function of its organs and glands, whereby rolling over soft tissue tensions enabled them to release and no longer hold the body out of alignment.

The proof that his technique works is in the results it obtains, often when a person has tried many different therapies previously without success. They are not responding because someone has told them ‘this will work’, they are responding because when Bowen-work is carried out in the correct places on the body: using the correct pressure for both that person and for the specific tissue-type being worked upon, the body and brain work together to restore balance.

This body work results in tissue tensions easing, with bones and other hard tissues becoming able to return to their correct positions resulting in a range of benefits such as relief from trapped nerves, improved blood circulation and lymphatic drainage, better posture, greater lung capacity and more.

This is not about treating specific conditions. It is about relieving symptoms of pain, restricted movement and poor organ and gland function to help the body to return to a state of balanced tensions and to a greater symmetry.

Bowen technique came to the UK in the mid-80s with people using it as an adjunct to massage but Tom Bowen considered himself an osteopath and his techniques have the ability to impact the body profoundly and often quickly on a physical level as well as frequently on an emotional one. Even longstanding misalignment and pain can often respond within just a few sessions.

Many people from a wide range of backgrounds have been very happy to go public about the relief they have felt following Bowen therapy and here are just some examples:

Bear Grylls with his BTPA practitioner Sarah Yearsley.

Bear Grylls Born Survivor

Sotherby’s former Europe Chief Executive Henry Wyndham and his BTPA therapist Ghislaine Vaughan.

World Champion motorbike racer James Ellison has held titles as British Superbike Racer, one time British Champion and two times European Champion as well and he is very aware of how Bowen from his Bowen therapist Andy Wildsmith Pattison has improved his health and performance.

GB Triathlete Victoria Gill ‘noticed significant physical performance benefits as well as improvements in general wellbeing and overall health’ as a result of receiving Bowen from Caroline Kremmer.

Most recently, musician Diamond Dac has found relief with his BTPA practitioner Camelia Pop.   Read his story here.

If you are interested in finding out more or have stories you would like to share please get in touch with us.

A sad but cautionary tale.

Recently a report in the Daily Mail caught my attention. The account was about the death of a gentleman who had attended a clinic for treatment for backache. The gentleman, in his 80th year was reported to have been generally fit and active.

‘He lost consciousness and appeared to be paralysed from the waist down during treatment.’  

His wife was in the clinic with her husband and witnessed the incident.  Despite every effort to save the gentleman’s life, he died at the local hospital the next day as the result of ‘a traumatic spinal cord injury.’  The police have launched a criminal investigation to establish whether criminal negligence was a factor in his death. The investigation is ongoing. The practitioner was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and has been released under investigation whilst enquiries continue.

I have to emphasise here that the practitioner was not a Bowen Therapist.

Regardless of this fact, lives have been irrevocably changed. The detail provided in the report is superficial and conclusions should not be prematurely reached without full knowledge of the facts.  A responsibility I would not wish to have.

A sobering thought for myself was ‘what if?’ What if that had happened to me? What would I do? What did I not do? From a professional standpoint, I would be asking about skill maintenance and individual support. In addition, I am now thinking about what support I would get from my professional organisation if it had been me involved. Thankfully I am part of a professional organisation, the BTPA, that does provide support and, I believe, would support colleagues in extremis.

As this very sad story conveys, we do not know what the future holds. Be mindful of your knowledge and expertise. A sobering reminder to approach your clinical practice with ‘fresh eyes’.

Linda Birnie MSc, Cert ECBS, MCNHC, MBTPA

Scared to the bone

Spooky season is upon us and costumes including ghosts, witches and skeletons are coming out of the cobwebs.

The number of skeletons about is keeping our minds on your bone care. Bone troubles shouldn’t be a worry this Halloween with the help of Bowen therapy. Be it broken or fractured bones or aches and pains, Bowen could be the solution.

Bowen therapy is the gentle rolling movements, which sets the scene for the body to heal itself. It is a drug free, non-invasive treatment ‘asking’ the body to change rather than forcing.

One Bowen client suffered with 3 broken metatarsals resulting in immobilised foot for 3 months. They said: “My first visit resulted in the limp completely gone and after 3 visits the swelling has virtually disappeared and the added bonus is that my posture has gratefully improved.”

Don’t keep bone problems in your closet along with the ghosts and ghouls.

For more information on Bowen therapy call 07713 552 858, or send an email to ask@BowenTherapy.org.uk.

We can’t keep the stress away unless you get in touch, so find your nearest Bowen practitioner here.

Let us talk ‘Balance’: what do we mean?

Let us talk ‘Balance’: what do we mean?

A client recently sent me this photograph of her brand new flip flops after she had worn them for just 5 hours following a trip over a kerbstone. It told a story which I thought I would share with you here.

Being ‘out of balance’ sounds ‘airy fairy’ but is it really?  I see clients every day and think ‘gosh you are out of balance’. Those who do sport tend to know EXACTLY what I mean – they feel it. What am I looking for? Is it a ‘feeling’ that I as the practitioner has that something is not right?

Well yes, partly, but mainly it is a visible asymmetry and a palpable difference in tensions as the body is worked on. One  shoulder higher than the other; a shoulder further forward than the other; a foot turned more in than it ought to be; a spine more bent over; a section of spine which does not bend when the person  leans forwards to undo their shoes; a lean in the upper body to one side or the other; or a tendency to always have one leg bent when standing or to put that leg out to the side; a pelvis more thrust forwards so that the upper body leans back to try and maintain a centre of gravity. In many cases a combination of all these factors and more.

Does this matter? I hear you ask and, as a holistic health practitioner, I would say yes it does very much matter. Ignore such ‘imbalance’ at your peril as they will often accumulate as each instils compensatory tensions such that they layer up over the years and decades.

A hunched forward body will compromise bodily functions via a range of routes – potentially impinging nerves, compressing organs as a result of the abdominal cavity being reduced in size, restricted breathing due to the lung size being reduced within the overall smaller space, walking made more difficult as the body tries to maintain a centre of gravity, a greater risk of falls, and much much more.

As the diaphragm muscle draws itself down the lungs suck in air to fill the vacuum created and the organs in the abdominal cavity are compressed momentarily as the thoracic cavity expands to hold the air, the pelvic area expands slightly and the sacrum and coccyx (our ‘tail’ or balance point) tilt (watch this YouTube Video).

As the diaphragm reverts to its resting dome, expelling the air from the lungs in the process the wave moves up the spine to expand momentarily the sutures between the bones of the skull (watch this YouTube Video for full explanation) giving the brain a slight compression as the organs are released from their compression.

This cranio sacral rhythm supports the effective functioning of the body by repeatedly and alternately massaging the brain and then the organs. To be fully effective all vertebrae should be independently mobile and any soft tissue tensions which are holding vertebrae out of alignment could lead to one or more nerves being compressed or trapped leading to pain and/or malfunction of related organ(s). A diaphragm muscle in spasm or impaired will serious impact whole body function.

In similar fashion if a shoulder is being held forward even at rest then it is quite probable that the soft tissue tensions that are holding it will in due course lead to functional issues such as entrapment of nerve fibres or restricted range of movement. The very presence of an imbalance of this type in the upper body will cause compensation elsewhere to try to retain centre of gravity.

A so-called ‘longer’ leg will tend to be bent or put out to the side to enable the eyes to be brought level with one another as the brain functions better this way. As the body will tend to lean to the ‘shorter’ leg side, that leg will start to support greater and greater percentages of the body’s weight. In this way, persistently standing on the ‘shorter’ leg will compress the ankle, knee and potentially challenge the (femur head) hip as its supporting gluteal and related muscles struggle to hold it in its shallow ‘cup’., all on that one side. This is likely to result in yet greater ‘shortening and ever increasing ‘lean’.

Balance matters. We should all try to avoid crossing our legs or ankles as these create torsions in the body (most particularly the pelvis) which then have to be compensated for in other parts of the body. Try to stand 50:50 on each of your two feet – with that measured both from side to side and from front to back of your foot.

If tensions are holding you out of balance consider Bowen as a means of restoring tissue tensions to their correct function and thus avoid the need for artificial supports to prop up your feet and body.Kathryn

Kathryn Phillips BSc(hons) BTPA cert ECBS PRM MAR IIR regd TATh

BTPA Regional Interest Group (RIG) Coordinator

 

Personal reflections of a BTPA Chair

Personal reflections of a BTPA Chair

Walk the Talk – the BTPA Way

Encouraged to join the BTPA as a student member in 2006 by my BowBTPA Chairen teacher (Alastair Rattray) and taking up full membership the following year, little did I think that I would end up enjoying the privilege of being its Chair!  But as the sayings go, “Stranger things have happened” and “Someone’s gotta do it ….”.

I am delighted to say that I am thoroughly enjoying every minute of my involvement; the BTPA Committee is a wonderful bunch of proactive capable people to work with, with a real sense of purpose, dedication and fun, the combination of which makes for an extremely productive team.  Opportunities to meet members are greatly valued too – our recent AGM and CPD event inspiring me all over again – the atmosphere so welcoming, open hearted and supportive.  My sincere thanks to all who attended and our wonderful speakers (Ron Phelan, GP Visser and Jo Wortley); everyone’s involvement ensuring the day was a particularly special one for all.

Mind you, I haven’t always been this enthusiastic …. Indeed, I suspect like a number of others reading this, I remember moments early in my practitioner journey when I seriously questioned why should I bother …. Questioning, “what was in it for me?”  As a “newbie”, helping to gain clients from my membership was my sole objective and this seemed likely just pie in the sky. As a real greenhorn to the complementary therapy world, I quickly learnt there is so much more to be gained by holding Bowen professional association membership, with BTPA membership being just the ticket for me.

Initially drawn on board to assist BTPA Working with the Vulnerable guidance preparation; a topic very close to my heart at that time being a former volunteer and trustee with my local children’s charity HomeStart Watford and Three Rivers, I was encouraged to share other skills I had to further develop the Member’s Business Support information, arming our portfolio with health and safety information, risk assessment and testimonial tools.

As you can imagine, whilst obviously flattered, I was somewhat daunted when asked to take on the Chair mantle by my committee colleagues in 2014. However, remembering parental childhood advice and encouragement that has always stood me in good stead, that “if you want to make a difference then you need to step up and be counted”, I took the plunge!

Mindful of the increasing public awareness and interest shown in the work of the BTPA and its members, most evident in social media conversations, I take considerable pride in leading the BTPA to deliver its Mission and Values.

BTPA Mission: The Bowen Therapy Professional Association (BTPA) is an unincorporated not for profit independent Association run by Bowen therapists for Bowen Therapists.  Its purpose is to grow awareness and raise the profile of Bowen Therapy amongst other health professionals and the general public.  The BTPA is dedicated to the promotion of Tom Bowen’s work and techniques in conjunction with other worldwide Bowen Therapy Associations, and to continually improve the practice of these techniques by working with Bowen training establishments to ensure courses offered meet set guidelines, and to set standards for best practice for therapists.

BTPA Values: All that we do is underpinned by professional and ethical integrity, and quality of service.  To that end:

  • We strive to be impartial, authorative, trustworthy and transparent;
  • We promote diversity, equality, inclusion and respect for others across the Bowen community;
  • We seek opportunities to work collaboratively and aim to be recognised as a valued partner;
  • We actively champion the highest standards in Bowen practice

With a host of membership benefits as listed below, now so evident to me, my earlier ambivalence seems embarrassing to say the least.   So, if like me, you have reservations about joining a professional association, then my advice would be to seriously think again …. You might just be in for a surprise – I know I have been, and a very pleasant one at that.

BTPA Membership Benefits:

BTPA MembershipBenefitsAn independent not-for profit organisation, run by Bowen therapists for Bowen therapists

  • Support just a phone call or email away
  • Quarterly hardcopy journal and regular e-comms
  • Business support; information, advice and free downloads
  • Merchandise including brochures, posters, pop up banners, clinic wear
  • Marketing advice and testimonial tools
  • Public Liability insurance discount
  • Regional Interest Groups and Children’s Clinics
  • Courses, workshops and CPD training, and networking events
  • CNHC membership eligibility

Jackie Knott PhD DIC

Chair Bowen Therapy Professional Association

www.bowentherapy.org.uk