Palliative Care: The Role of the Bowen Therapist

helen-blue-180by Helen Mary Perkins BAUK, BTAA, Bowtech instructor

As Bowen therapists, I’m sure we are all in tune with the concept of a natural approach to health and wellness. Very often, an holistic approach through complementary therapy can secure impressive improvements to a variety of ailments.

There is growing awareness, also, of the benefits of complementary therapy for those living with a life-limiting condition, such as cancer, neurological or auto-immune diseases.

In my experience, having worked in a hospice environment for many years, the role of Bowen in palliative care can have a noticeable impact not only on the patient but for carers and relatives struggling with tiredness and worry.

When it comes to supporting or supplementing conventional medical treatment, Bowen can have a positive effect on physical, psychological and emotional stress, which in turn helps to balance spiritual, emotional and mental health… that sometimes intangible, sense of ‘wellness’ that improves quality of life for the patient and those around them.

The gentle Bowen therapy has been shown to ease many of the symptoms and side effects such as breathlessness, headaches, muscular aches and pains, nausea, vomiting, fatigue and constipation.

Specialist training is required to ensure therapists feel confident in these sensitive circumstances where protocols and procedures are even more important that in normal clinical practice. As team leader for a group of volunteer complementary therapists (Bowen and others) at the Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice in Peterborough I have seen the positive effects and the satisfaction that comes from working with dedicated staff to ensure patients and those who care for them have the best possible experience.

It is a hugely rewarding role for any Bowen therapist with a high degree of empathy and a desire to make a small difference to a person’s wellbeing. One of my stroke patients confined to a wheelchair can now stand with a frame and has remarked that he can feel sensations in his not-so-good leg since having Bowen.

The role will not suit everyone as the nature of palliative care, be it in a hospice or at home, means some patients may only live a few years, or even weeks. In-house or CPD training will give you the insight and understanding to help you decide if this worthwhile role is one you might like to explore further.

If you have any questions, please drop me a note via email at info@helenperkins.com   or visit my website www.helenperkins.com


To find a Bowen Therapist in your area visit www.bowentherapy.org.uk or email ask@bowentherapy.or.uk

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QUESTIONS ABOUT INSURANCE?

I don’t know if you have noticed, but quite often there are insurance related questions popping up on various Bowen Facebook Groups.  Insurance issues can be concerning, and I know I had a few doubts in my own mind, so I decided to have a face to face discussion with one of the leading UK based insurance companies for therapists, Holistic Insurance Services, to ask their expert advice.

I had the pleasure of meeting with Alison Livings, founder of Holistic Insurance Services and here are the questions I posed to her and her answers, which we hope will be of assistance to Bowen Therapists.

Important:

The first, and most important point that Alison made was this:  Not all insurance policies are the same, so the advice and answers below relate only to therapists who are insured with Holistic Insurance Services in the United Kingdom.  It is strongly recommended that you contact your own insurers to check on specific questions you may have regarding your own policy.

About Travelling:

Q:           Sometimes I carry my equipment in my car.  This might be my couch and my laptop.  Is my equipment covered by my car insurance or by my Holistic Insurance Services policy?

A:            Most car insurers do not cover business equipment.  You should check this out with your car insurer.  If you find you are not covered by your car insurer we would advise that you take out a Business Equipment Extension with us.   Always make sure that your equipment is out of sight in the boot whenever possible, and that the car is locked when unattended.  Overnight, if it is not possible to remove the equipment from the vehicle then it must be a locked boot or compartment.

Q:           I know this is more to do with car insurance, but would you recommend that a therapist insures their car for business use?

A:            Anyone whose job demands they drive their own car for the purposes of their work will need to pay for business car insurance. This is different to a standard policy, which only provides cover for social use and commuting.  Don’t be tempted to run the risk of sticking with standard cover. This could lead to your policy being invalidated.

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About working in someone’s home:

Q:           Here is an imaginary scenario.  I am a mobile Bowen therapist, and I went to a client’s home and unfortunately, I accidentally knocked over their valuable crystal glass vase whilst putting my couch up.  They want to claim costs from me.  Would you cover the cost of the damage?

A:            Yes. That would come under Public liability insurance – this is damage to third party property.

About working in your own home:

Q:           I have a lot of questions about working from home!  Does my insurance cover me to practice from home or only from the clinic that I work in?

A:            You are covered to practice both in clinic and at home provided that your home premises are suitable and that your household insurers are aware.  While we are on this subject, you need to make sure that your mortgage provider is happy about you working from home, and if you are renting, check out the details on your lease as many do not allow you to work at home.

 Q:           So, say I have a clinic at home, and my client brings along their child who is going to wait while their parent has their treatment, and the child falls over and hurts themselves.  Am I covered if they claim for damages for the child’s injuries?

A:            I would not recommend that a therapist allows this situation to happen in the first place.  If the client is on the treatment couch then they cannot be supervising their child, and it is not possible or appropriate for you to be supervising the child.  If it is unavoidable that a child needs to accompany the parent then it does need to be made clear that the child is their responsibility at all times before the treatment commences.   If you were held to be legally responsible for the injury then we would need to look at this under the terms and conditions of the policy.

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Q:           My third question on this theme is, a client brings along a friend or partner because they can’t drive themselves.  The companion is sitting waiting for the client, and trips and falls over the step on the way out.  They put in a claim for damages.  Am I covered?

A:            Provided the companion was there specifically for the purpose of your client having their treatment – this might be that they do not think that they will be up to driving after the treatment or would otherwise find the premises inaccessible. You could be deemed to be legally responsible and therefore the policy would respond.

Q:           Finally, my client’s companion accidentally knocks over MY valuable crystal vase – am I covered?

A:            No, your belongings would need to be claimed for under your house insurance.  This is a very important point – always ensure that your household insurers are aware that you are working from home.  If you do not inform them it could potentially void any future claim.

About cover for CPD:

Q:           A question that has cropped up is this.  Bowen Therapists send off a copy of their certificate to you when they first qualify and are insured for that.  What about CPD courses – do you cover those too?  For instance, my original certificate was for Bowen Technique but then I did a CPD course on Fascia Bowen.  Do you cover me for that too?

A:            This depends on individual circumstances, but generally the answer is yes.  What you need to do is send in a copy of certificates for additional courses that you do.  These are considered as add ons, normally at no extra charge.

About Online Training:

Q:           What is your opinion of online training?

A:            If you carry out online training as an addition or revision of a modality you have already qualified in, then generally it is fine and we would accept it as CPD.  There is no substitute for hands on training and we would not accept an online course on its own.

About Equipment

Q:           I have heard horror stories of therapy couches collapsing under the weight of clients.  Would I be covered if this happened?  I would feel embarrassed about asking them how much they weigh. 

A:            You need to be aware of the weight limit of your couch.  There is cover if the couch breaks but not if the client is above the weight limit for the couch.  Also, there would be no recourse to the manufacturer of the couch if the client was over the weight limit for the couch.  This is a difficult one, but if you are unsure you would have to ask their weight for their own safety and wellbeing.

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About Cloud Based Practice Management Software

Q:           I personally hate keeping paper based notes.  I have colleagues with heaving, over-stuffed, filing cabinets full of paper, and that is not for me.  I use cloud based practice management software.  I am aware that one must be very careful choosing practice management software, but that is the subject for another blog.  Here is my question.  What is your advice from an insurance point of view with regard to using an online system? 

A:            Firstly, be aware that you must be registered with the ICO if holding any electronic data on your clients.  Secondly, the question I would ask you is, does the client give their signed and informed consent to treatment when using the online system?

Me:        No, the client does not sign anything, but I do ask them if they consent to receiving treatment and ensure that I tick a box to confirm that they have given consent.

Alison:  Ideally, we recommend that the client manually signs a paper document to confirm that they have given their informed consent to the treatment, and the sheet should point out any effects that they might possibly experience after a treatment.  For instance, if they might feel achy the next day, or might experience a headache, and need to avoid heat or cold, then you would list things like that, and they would sign to say that this has been explained to them and that they give consent.  Signed and informed consent is vital.

Me:        So, if I was to get my clients to sign a document as explained above, and then scan it and keep it on the practice management software would that suffice?

Alison:  Yes, that would be suitable.

About Selling Products

Q:           Bowen Therapists are taught about the beneficial use of Epsom salts for clients, and some other products which may aid certain clients. Where do therapists stand if they sell these products? 

A:            If you are selling these products to your clients, then it is part of the treatment. They need to be products that you have been taught about using and recommending as part of your training.  However, you must always ensure that you point out verbally and in writing that these products are not a substitute for medical advice, and that advice should be sought from a suitably qualified medical practitioner.

Q:           On the same subject, what if I wanted to sell the same products to the public via an online shop or on Ebay or Amazon?

A:            You would be covered up to £15k turnover.  Again, ensure that you point out that this is not a substitute for medical advice.

About Giving Advice and Recommendations

Q:           Many therapists gain a lot of knowledge about such things as supplements and exercises that they might want to recommend or suggest to clients.  As an example, perhaps a client suffers from night cramps and I feel that they would benefit from a magnesium supplement.  Can I recommend this?

A:            What you can do is give general healthy eating advice and advice about general wellbeing.  What you cannot do is give advice about specific supplements unless you have the necessary qualification, such as being a qualified nutritionist.  However, you could suggest that there is some evidence that magnesium might help with night cramps, and that it might be something they would like to further investigate by asking their GP or a suitably qualified practitioner.  Under no circumstances can you prescribe or diagnose.  If a client is on prescribed medication, then you would not know if a supplement you recommended might interact with that medication; therefore, anyone who is on prescribed medication should always be signposted to their GP first.  On that subject, it is important that therapists know the red flags as to when to refer to their GP.

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About Leaving the Room

Q:           As you know, Bowen Therapists are taught to leave the room for a couple of minutes after a set of moves.  Many therapists do this, some do not.   The question arises, what if a therapist went out and the client suffered an epileptic fit or a cardiac arrest? What if they fell off the table? 

A:            During the initial assessment, you would have discovered whether they have a history of these issues.   Insurance is there to protect you.   If something like this happened it would be an unforeseen incident.   It is recognised that Bowen therapists do leave the room.  You would be covered.   Just to mention at this point, in the case of children under the age of 16, a parent or guardian must always be with the child, and you must never be left alone with the child.

About Giving Taster Sessions

Q:           Sometimes therapists attend Health Fairs or events where Bowen therapists go with a chair or couch and give little taster sessions to people on an ad hoc basis.  Can you give us any advice or guidance about this situation?

A:            It is important that everyone who has a taster session signs a consent form with a disclaimer.  Bowen is generally not meant to be mixed with any other therapy, and it is possible that the people having a taster with you will be doing a circuit having all sorts of other tasters.  This could make them feel unwell, or even release unexpected emotions.  This needs to be pointed out on the disclaimer. The form needs to also ask them if they have any medical reasons which might mean they cannot have Bowen.


Thank you Alison:

We are very grateful to Alison from Holistic Insurance Services for her time and answering all my many and varied questions.  I am sure that the therapists reading this blog will find this guidance very helpful and I am sure it will clear up some concerns that therapists might have had.

Bowen Therapists – Did I miss any questions?  If you have any burning questions or concerns after reading this blog, please do get in touch with us at ask@bowentherapy.org.uk and we will do the best to find the answers.

About BTPA:

Did you know there is a great deal of fantastic information and resources for therapists on the BTPA website?  BTPA is an independent organisation of Bowen Therapists run by Bowen Therapists.  We aim to keep you informed.  If you are not currently a member of BTPA then you can find out about the benefits here.

About Holistic Insurance Services:

They have been involved with insuring Complementary Therapists in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland since 1999. Holistic Insurance Services was formed in 2002 to specialise in this field. Over 20,000 therapists from a variety of Associations and disciplines are insured. They pride themselves on their personal service and aim to offer as wide a list of therapies as possible. To contact Holistic Insurance Services directly then you can telephone them on  0345 222 2236 or 01327 354249 or email them on info@holisticinsurance.co.uk

Sue Jaycock

BTPA Social Media Co-ordinator

How Can Bowen Therapy Help Pregnancy/Fertility

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Many people associate Bowen Therapy with sports injuries and mental health, but did you know that Bowen Therapy can actually be incredibly beneficial to pregnant women and women struggling to conceive?

To many pregnancy is a beautiful time period in their life, but many women also suffer immensely during their pregnancy. Over time the body and well-being can decline, be it morning sickness, tiredness or physical pain.

Gowri Motha, author of ‘The Gentle Birth Method’ is an advocate for Bowen Therapy – she prescribes her many celebrity clients Bowen for physical cases of back pain, nausea, pubic and pelvic pain, mastitis, temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ) problems and also emotionally, for mothers who are anxious and tense.

With regard to fertility, Bowen has been known to help with Pelvic tilt. Pelvic tilt is a condition that can cause problems with the positioning of the foetus. Bowen Therapy is a non-invasive, drug-free, holistic therapy that consists of a Bowen practitioner making small rolling movements over muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissue at specific focus points on the body. Bowen Therapy encourages the body to recognise the problem itself, rather than “forcing” it to change. This type of gentle procedure can encourage the baby’s head to engage.

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Here is a testimonial from a Bowen client who suffered from fertility problems and had experienced a miscarriage: “After 5 years of fertility treatment at Coventry Hospital and 1 miscarriage I decided to give Bowen a go. My body took to it straight away. I became a bit more relaxed and after a few sessions I became pregnant. I carried on with the treatment through my pregnancy. Caroline (Lison) found that my pelvis was out of line which she had to put right a few times. Bowen is an amazing experience and I would recommend it to any lady with fertility problems. Thank you so much Caroline.

If you or somebody you know is pregnant or struggling with their fertility, it might be time to see how  Bowen Therapy can help you. Please visit http://www.bowentherapy.org.uk to find a Bowen therapist near you or email ask@bowentherapy.org.uk

 

What Is The Tom Bowen Legacy Trust Fund?

Tom Bowen Legacy Trust Fund

The Tom Bowen Legacy Trust Fund (TBLTF) was formed to support children with disabilities. The TBLTF offers help to children who have received Bowen Therapy treatment and provides gifts of electrical and mechanical equipment to enhance their quality of life.

This charity was set up in 2010 as the UK branch of the original fund based in Geelong, Australia, formed in 2003 by co-trustees Ron Phelan (member of the Bowen Therapists’ Federation of Australia) and Chris Reed (president of the Bowen Association of Australia).

Tom Bowen, the originator of the various forms of Bowen Therapy taught today, found the time he spent helping children with disabilities extremely rewarding and the TBLTF was initiated to continue this important work.

Here are some examples of the help the TBLTF has been able to give:

  • A little boy named Joshua was awarded £900 for an iPad and an iPad holder. This is really helpful for Josh when he sits in his wheelchair. Joshua has Cerebral Palsy and epilepsy and needs 24 hour care 7 days a week. Josh has been receiving Bowen for just over a year, he has grown rapidly and requires increasing amounts of sensory stimulation to calm him if distressed.
  • TBLTF UK made a substantial contribution to Hannah and Sufyaan towards powered wheelchairs. They both have muscular dystrophy (SEPN-1). The need for powered wheelchairs to support their mobility is essential and with the help of sponsorship from various other charities, as well as TBLTF UK, this was made possible.
  • One of the recipients of the awards in 2014 was a little boy called Jayden, who has Hypoxic Brain Injury through near drowning. Jayden has no voluntary movement in his limbs, he can’t speak or reliably swallow and it is not known whether he can hear or see. Jayden attends a school for children with profound learning difficulties where he appears to enjoy going and receives lots of stimulation (light, colour, sound). He also has regular Bowen treatments.

We are looking for support from practitioners, student practitioners and clients – anyone who has benefited from The Bowen Technique. The Trust would appreciate input and support, especially to identify children who would benefit from a gift. We are appealing to anyone independently running a Bowen children’s clinic, all practitioners across the country and their clients. If you would like to be involved with the TBLTF UK or to make a donation, please contact us find the details at our website: www.tbltf.org.uk

Claire Harrison – Chair of TBLTF


To find a Bowen Therapist near you visit www.bowentherapy.org.uk or email ask@bowentherapy.org.uk

Let’s Talk 24:7

Mental health and depression is an ongoing issue within the UK with 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health problem in any given year. Not only are adults being greatly impacted by mental health, but 1 in 10 children and young people aged 5-16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder, with nearly 80,000 children and young people suffering from severe depression.

The Samaritans was founded by a vicar called Chad Varah in London, 1953, to offer support and guidance to those who needed it after originally setting out as a ‘999 for suicidal,’ where he described himself as ‘a man willing to listen, with a base and an emergency telephone.’ stream_img

The initial structure behind Samaritans was that volunteers would sit with their callers while waiting for their appointments, offering the caller someone to talk to. It was then made immediate that the customer opened up to their volunteers knowing that someone was there to listen while offering non judgemental support. With the company growing, the service has now expanded from phone calls to one to one meetings, and has now 201 branches across the UK and Republic of Ireland. As the Samaritans go from strength to strength, Chad’s guiding principles of confidential, non-judgemental support is still carried on; paying more attention on the Samaritans awareness day this month (24th July 2016).

‘Sometimes hearing a supportive voice can give you that little bit of strength to keep going.’

Like CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) which is commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, the Samaritans can also offer great positive emotional support and release. However, in some cases where this doesn’t work, to cope with depression, most sufferers are advised to take antidepressants to stabilise the chemical imbalances in the brain which are causing the symptoms of depression. Yet the original cause of why the chemicals become imbalanced is not known. That’s why we advise to treat your symptoms of depression with an additional therapy such as Bowen Therapy to relieve the deeper stress that has triggered the chemical imbalances.

Bowen Therapy is a non-invasive, drug-free, holistic therapy that consists of a Bowen practitioner making small rolling movements over muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissue at specific focus points on the body. Bowen Therapy encourages the body to recognise the problem itself, rather than “forcing” it to change.bowen

Most people find that Bowen Therapy is a gentle and relaxing experience. The sessions generally last around 30 – 60 minutes. Only 1 – 3 sessions may be necessary to see and feel a result, however, depending on the severity and extent of a person’s depression can require more. While Bowen does not necessarily fix specific problems it helps the body to reach a more harmonious state.

Bowen Therapy can help you through the tough times and stand there smiling with you at the end of the year.

Bowen Therapy and Samaritans both value similar morals of recognising the problem rather than hiding away from it. Bowen Therapy is incredibly beneficial for emotional relaxation along with anxiety and stress release.

If you or somebody you know suffers with depression and is interested in how Bowen Therapy can help you, please visit http://www.bowentherapy.org.uk to find a Bowen therapist near you or email ask@bowentherapy.org.uk

Also check out http://www.samaritans.org for their service and how they can help you. #Samaritans

Is Back Pain Holding You Back?

According to a recent report carried out by The British Pain Society there are ten million chronic pain sufferers in Britain alone which affect not only their social life but interferes with their working life. Back pain costs the UK billions of pounds in health bills, loss of earnings and lost productivity. However many people in the UK who are unable to work due to back pain are not covered by this or by allowances. Instead these sufferers are reliant on their partner or early retirement.

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Following a recent survey British businesses lose an estimated 4.9 million days from employee absence due to work related back pain. The North East suffers than most, with 2 people every hundred having to cope with the condition. As a result, each affected employee takes 19 days of work which in turn puts the business at stake.

GPs tend to refer patients to chiropractors, physiotherapists, acupuncturists and in some cases suggest surgery. In recent studies carried out by the NHS there has been a significant increase in teenagers suffering with back pain. This age group costs the NHS nearly £4billion per year alone working out at an average of £8,000 per teenager. Despite this the number of back pain sufferers is still prominent with treatment showing no guarantee of success. Bowen Therapy is an alternative therapy which has slowly but surely been sweeping the nation over the last 20 years.

The Bowen Technique is a natural, drug-free non-invasive complementary therapy which was invented in Australia and introduced to the UK in the 1990’s. Bowen Therapy has a particularly strong record of success in the treatment of back pain. A national study, carried out by The Bowen Therapy Professional Association (BTPA), showed that 95 per cent of back pain sufferers experienced either complete relief or a marked improvement, after a series of no more than three Bowen treatments.

It prides itself on being able to trigger the body’s own healing systems. Rather than ‘making’ the body change, Bowen ‘asks’ the body to recognise and make the changes it requires. With primarily fingers and thumbs, 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 generally pleasant to receive, each session lasting 30 – 60 minutes, depending on the age of the client and the nature of their condition. Many clients become so relaxed they fall asleep during the treatment.

Short-term (acute) injury may be resolved in one to three Bowen treatments, while long-standing (chronic) conditions may require longer. A gap of five to ten days is recommended between Bowen sessions; so that the body can process the subtle information it has been given. Once the healing process is underway, the treatment would have taken the relief off your back meaning you can carry out activities in and outside of the workplace which you had on hold. As well as back pain Bowen Therapy also may help with a host of other health issues such as: frozen shoulders, sports injuries, whiplash, migraine, hay fever, asthma, IBS, fertility matters to name but a few.

Bear Grylls explains “Bowen Therapy has helped keep my body together despite the continual bashing it takes. It’s a vital support in putting right a whole range of new aches and pains, making sure that old injuries don’t cause me problems, and helping me fight stress and fatigue.”

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As with many other alternative therapies the success of a treatment mainly depends on visiting a legitimate, well trained practitioner, who is a member of BTPA (The Bowen Therapy Professional Association). BTPA is the largest UK professional association for qualified Bowen Therapists. Members of this association are qualified in Anatomy & Physiology and First Aid. They are also fully insured, abide by a strict code of conduct and ethics and are committed to a programme of continuing professional development.

For further information on Bowen Therapy, registered BTPA members in your area, how to become a BTPA member and/or testimonials visit www.bowentherapy.org.uk or email ask@bowentherapy.org.uk