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

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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

Bach Flower remedies: How they can support and enhance Bowen therapy

Bach Flower remedies: How they can support and enhance Bowen therapy

by Jacky Stevens BSc (hons) Cert ECBS MBTPA BFRP

Jacky Stevens

As a Bach Flower Registered Practitioner I see on a daily basis the marvels of using these simple remedies for health, especially when using them alongside Bowen therapy. The impact of our emotions on our general state of health cannot be underestimated and this wonderful healing system based on the essences of natural flowers and trees is a gift to us all that constantly fascinates me.

Dr Edward Bach was a  qualified bacteriologist and pathologist undertaking original research into vaccines and working in private practice in Harley Street. After working on wards receiving soldiers returning injured from France in 1917, he suffered a bout of severe illness himself from which the prognosis was very poor. He became convinced he need to advance his work as far as he could in the time he had left and after his own experience realised he had a sense of purpose about his own life and that he aspired to a more holistic approach to medicine. He took up a post offered to him at the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital. He adapted the vaccines he had been working on to produce a series of seven homeopathic nosodes. Although this discovery brought him some notoriety in homeopathic circles, he wanted to find remedies that would be purer and less reliant on the products of disease and to this end began collecting plants, particularly flowers. By 1930, he became so enthused by the direction this work was taking him that he gave up his Harley Street practice and was to devote the rest of his life to developing a new system of medicine that he was sure was to be found in nature. Following his own intuition as a natural healer, over many years of trial and error and after much personal suffering and sacrifice, he completed his life’s work in 1934. He passed away at only 50 years old in 1936, leaving a legacy of a simple system of natural medicine now used all over the world.

Dr Bach understood that the true cause of illness and disease in human beings lies in the personality, in the mental and emotional way that we see ourselves and how we interact with the world around us. The Bach Flower Remedies work on an emotional level, helping to balance negative emotions, empowering us to find the inner strength to get through difficult times and to stay positive. In practising the Bach system of healing we don’t label people with an illness; we are not treating any specific disease, we are treating the patient as a whole.

“It is the patient to be treated and not the disease”
Dr Edward Bach

This holistic approach is also true when practicing Bowen therapy, it is not the disease that is as important to the Bowen practitioner, it is the person as a whole. The Bach remedies are similar to Bowen in that they are a way of helping body and mind to heal itself, a way of getting back balance naturally. Bowen therapy with a personal mix of Bach remedy to suit the individual coming for therapy can be a very effective approach as the two healing therapies work very well together.

Rosa canina, Wild Rose.

Rosa canina, Wild Rose. One of the Bach remedies

Dr Bach’s 38 Bach Flower Remedies provide us with a lovely, simple and easy to use set of tools to help with the healing process. A Bach flower registered practitioner can help any individual explore how they are feeling to find a combination of remedies to help the healing process, but Dr Bach designed the system to be simple so that with minimal guidance anybody can learn to use it for themselves.

If you’d like to find out more, just contact Jacky via email, jacky@wellbeans.co.uk, or via her website www.wellbeans.co.uk

 

 

How Bowen Can Help Different Professions

It’s very common that a visit to a Bowen therapist is due to a problem caused by work.
Whether it’s physical pain from a manual handling role or a mental drain from a high-stress position – Bowen is ready to help relieve ailments caused.

Keep Breathing!

yoga-1284657_1920For many people their first introduction to yoga is through the desire to become fitter and healthier.  This is a great place to start and indeed regular practice will help you be both.

After some time however one will find there is more to yoga than simply ‘special’ exercises.  Yoga teachers are inclined to talk about the breath a lot – ‘keep breathing’ is a phrase I often employ.

When we are stressed we often ‘hold on’ to our breath as though by ‘breathing’ we might lose control and be out of control!  That’s a scary place and so if the breath is something we can control then hey – let’s hang on to it.  Yoga is a way of freeing up our nervous systems.

Change is constant both mentally and physically – it is a perpetual process and by noticing our habits we can learn to adapt and change in a positive way.  The alternative is become stuck and stiff in mind and body.

I have learnt over many years that the movements or Asana of yoga are about honouring our normal patterns of movement.  Sometimes we have unconscious patterns that are not serving us well – yoga helps to bring our awareness and attention to these habits and to begin to develop more helpful patterns.

Yoga is firstly about Effort, effort to go to a class, get on your mat, do your practice, maintain awareness and attention throughout practice and in the day; secondly it is about the release of tension: our habitual ‘tension’ seem so ‘normal’, but by being aware and attentive we can let them go, overtime replacing them with more supportive patterns.  This is where we can start to ‘find’ the breath, let the breath go and it will flow back in and then out again of its own accord and without any tension.

The biggest lesson that yoga can teach us is to be ‘non-judgemental’ of ourselves.  See what arises and let it go – accept change and keep breathing!

By Mary Mackie – British Wheel of Yoga teacher and teacher trainer; Yoga therapist qualified with the Yoga Biomedical Trust; retired RGN specialising in Palliative care.