Surgery – placebo or justified?

Researchers in Oxford are hoping to find out if a commonly-performed operation used to treat shoulder pain actually works – or whether its success can be attributed to the placebo effect.

The use of a surgical technique called arthroscopic sub-acromial decompression has increased by more than 700 per cent in the past ten years but there is no hard evidence to show how effective it is. There is a growing concern that the vast increase in the frequency of the operation being performed needs to be justified.

Now a team at Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre are comparing the effectiveness of the operation with a placebo operation as there are a number of conflicting views about the effectiveness of surgery for shoulder pain.

While some reports show that arthroscopic or keyhole surgery is no more effective than physiotherapy to relieve pain, others show that it can be helpful and provide a useful treatment option. Other results suggest that removing a piece of bony spur from the shoulder – a procedure known as decompression – during surgery may be unnecessary, and that actual process of undergoing investigative arthroscopy can in itself produce benefit.

“The fact that a period of no treatment can also be beneficial for patients completes a rather confused picture,” added Ms Cooper. “It’s quite clear that we need to perform some definitive studies to show what really helps people with this type of shoulder pain. Pressures in the NHS are such that surgeons are being encouraged to prove the benefits of their practice, so that’s what we hope to do in this study.”

Surgery should be the last choice for sufferers of shoulder pain with many effective treatments available. A study into the effect of Bowen Therapy on shoulder or neck pain was conducted in the summer of 2008. 271 clients new to Bowen were treated and of these 86% showed a full or partial recovery after only 3 treatments. For more information on the study, click here. The Bowen Technique helps the body remember how to heal itself. The gentle yet powerful Bowen moves send neurological impulses to the brain resulting in immediate responses of muscle relaxation and pain reduction. The moves create energy surges. Electrical impulses sent to the nervous system remind the body to regain normal movement in joints, muscles and tendons. This helps relieve muscle spasms and increase blood and lymph flow.

PW reported “Very quickly I regained more movement in the shoulder and the level of pain reduced quite a lot” after Bowen treatment for a frozen shoulder. LF also had Bowen treatments for a frozen shoulder and said “Through the gentleness of Bowen Therapy my shoulder has gradually regained its mobility and the pain associated with a frozen shoulder has almost disappeared. This didn’t happen overnight, but over the course of 9 treatments. The result is that I no longer need surgery – patience and perseverance paid off! “. For more testimonials on how Bowen has helped people with shoulder pain and more, click 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.

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.