Bowenwork: A Unique Approach to Healing and Pain Relief

Posted by on Jul 16, 2013 in Massage Topics, Questions Clients Ask, Wellness Ideas | 2 comments

BowenworkI first heard of Bowenwork from a friend who lives with multiple sclerosis. She raved about it’s gentle ability to make real change in her pain levels. And now I’m excited to offer a new type of healing work for you!  

This week’s blog is a guest post by my Bodyworks colleague, Lorelei Nissly, LMT who is a certified Bowenwork practitioner. Look for our ad in the Lancaster-Berks Natural Awakenings print magazine, including a special offer for 50% off your second Bowenwork session.

Bowenwork is a unique and exciting approach to healing and pain relief. A gentle, soft tissue relaxation technique, Bowenwork is an unusual form of bodywork because the moves are performed, without oil, in specific locations on the body, followed by pauses of several minutes, to allow the body to integrate the effects of the work.

You are thinking, “But what can it do for me?” Bowenwork can be beneficial in a wide range of situations. It can assist in recovery from traumatic injury to chronic illness, depending upon each individual’s capacity to heal. Also, many clients report that Bowenwork is the most relaxing bodywork they have ever experienced.

Some of the conditions that often respond favorably to Bowenwork are:

  • Back pain and sciatica
  • Neck and shoulder problems
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow
  • Sports injury and most traumatic injuries
  • Migraines and other types of headaches
  • Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Hip, knee, ankle and foot problems
  • Anxiety, shock and grief
  • Digestive and bowel problems
  • Earache and TMJ problems
  • Menstrual and hormonal irregularities
  • Groin pain, pelvic tilt and uneven leg length
  • Respiratory problems and hay fever

So that’s an impressive list. Now, how does it work? A Bowenwork practitioner acknowledges the body’s innate intelligence and intrinsic ability to heal itself. Light pressure stimulation to muscles, tendons and fascia, as well as gentle rolling actions over the tissues, send nerve reflex signals, triggering responses not only at the site of the moves, but throughout the whole body. The inputs are received by the body on many levels. More specifically, Bowenwork resets dysfunctional tissue tension patterns in muscles, tendons, fascia and joints. This results in changes in the stretch-length of muscle fibers and joint realignment, via spinal reflexes and the central nervous system.

The concept of minimal touch is central to Bowenwork. Often only a few sets of “moves”, along with several pauses for the work to integrate, will produce noticeable benefits. Heart and breathing rates have been observed to slow down as Bowenwork signals the central nervous system, encouraging the resetting of abnormal tension patterns and postural imbalances, restoring optimal organ function, detoxification and elimination of waste products and improved lymph drainage, oxygenation and blood circulation to tissues.

The Bowen practitioner facilitates a deep internal process within the client’s body, which creates a state of relaxation. This can occur rapidly or over a number of days after the session depending on severity, chronicity and the body’s individual ability to heal.

Well then, what’s it like to receive this work? Sessions of Bowenwork differ from massage in their application technique. While massage is generally a hands-on method with the therapist applying oil or lotion and being in constant touch with the client, Bowenwork uses no oil and combines minimal light moves, often over clothing, interspersed with hands-off periods to allow the client’s body to relax and respond. The practitioner usually leaves the room during these periods.

Bowenwork is best performed as a stand alone procedure, not incorporated with any other bodywork. This keeps the subtle work clear from other influences, input and over-stimulation to allow client and practitioner to assess true progress. We start by scheduling two sessions, one week apart to set the basic foundation of the work. A week after the second appointment, we know more about how your body is responding. At that point, client and practitioner decide together how to proceed.

Because this technique is so effective, it has been widely embraced by a broad spectrum of health professionals who are impressed by the diversity of problems it can address. Bowenwork is now supported throughout the world by the Bowenwork Academy and a large faculty of dedicated, accredited instructors.

The name “Bowenwork” honors Tom Bowen who pioneered and perfected the work from 1950 until his passing in 1982. Mr. Bowen was extremely busy in his Geelong, Australia clinic, performing about 13,000 treatments a year on the clients who traveled to him and benefited from his gifts. Toward the end of his life, he entrusted a very few people with documenting his techniques and teaching the work to others.

Bowenwork is being taught and practiced all over the world. Now that I am trained to do this highly effective work, I can offer it right here in our local community. I invite you to make your appointments with me at Bodyworks Integrative Health soon so that we can see how your body can be “Better with Bowen.” Look for our ad in the Lancaster-Berks New Awakenings print magazine, including a special offer of 50% off your second Bowenwork session.

I look forward to helping you with this amazing technique, to reduce your pain and increase your function, energy and ease.

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Now Offering Reflexology!

Posted by on Feb 17, 2013 in Massage Topics, Wellness Ideas | 0 comments

I am thrilled to announce that our fantastic massage therapist Lorelei Nissly is offering Reflexology treatments! She has been practicing reflexology for some time, and we are officially adding it to our menu of services as of this week.

Reflexology is a therapeutic foot massage that helps rejuvenate your mental, emotional and physical well being. It improves health by stimulating the circulatory and nervous systems. All of the reflex points in our feet connect, via nerves and meridians to particular organs and body areas, promoting healing, releasing tension and increasing stress resilience. Foot reflexology will leave you feeling peaceful, relaxed, and like you’re walking on clouds.

You may book a separate reflexology session or add it on to your massage treatment. Give us a shout to try it!

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Does anyone still call it multitasking?

Posted by on Aug 17, 2010 in Massage Topics | 0 comments

I love being a massage therapist & holistic health coach because I don’t have to multitask anymore. In fact, multitasking actually means I’m not doing my best job. Imagine talking on the phone while giving a massage — impossible!

I also think that receiving a massage is one of those few times that my clients can stop multitasking. And everyone needs those times as much as possible.

If we do nothing but multitask, are we actually present for any of the tasks or moments of our day? I don’t think we are. Living in the moment is a skill as well. And right now most of us (me included!) are not using this skill as often as we could!

Gender-related side note: my husband says he’s incapable of multitasking — but he’s a pro at half-tasking! LOL

Aside from my soapbox, how does this relate to bodywork? Most importantly, I would encourage all massage / bodywork clients to enjoy silence during their session. I know this doesn’t work for everyone, but consider trying it. When we chat during the entire massage, are you really noticing how your body feels and reacts to my work?

If you would like more quiet and have a chatty therapist, I would encourage you to ask for the atmosphere you need. It’s your time and most likely your therapist would want to make that time what you need.

I schedule time for a brief chat before every massage. Hearing about your life, your body’s aches and pains and what’s on your mind helps me create a better session for you. Often my clients are coming in immediately after their work day, and a moment of “venting” can create a transition that allows for some silence in the massage session.

Perspectives from others:

Time magazine article
Comments on above article
Mom and humourist feels addicted to multitasking (really funny!)
Yoga-oriented perspective on getting the most from your massage

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Sports Massage for Dream Ride Lancaster

Posted by on Jul 25, 2010 in Massage Topics | 2 comments

Yesterday was one of my favorite days of my entire massage year – Dream Ride Lancaster. It’s a wonderful day of bicycling to support a variety of local charities. I’ve been involved giving post-event massage to ride participants for seven years now. And I think perhaps yesterday’s temperatures were the hottest Dream Ride I’ve ever experienced!

Many cyclists wisely started as early as possible to beat the day’s heat, and we had plenty of morning cloud cover to help as well. But by about noon, the cyclists and all the supporters were out in 95+ degree heat. As the afternoon wore on, the cyclists riding 60-100 miles really endured some significant heat!

Athletes often think that if hydration is good, then lots more hydration is better. Not necessarily so, say the good folks at Hammer Nutrition. Here are a few important links to remember during the rest of the cycling (and outdoor heat) season:

Satisfying Hydration Requirements Prior to a Workout or Race

10 Biggest Mistakes Endurance Athletes Make (good info for even non-endurance athletes)

Electrolyte Replenishment – Why It’s So Important & How to Do It Right

The main reason I am mentioning these here is that when athletes haven’t learned these lessons, they often end up on my massage table with major muscle cramping. A little muscle cramping can feel “normal” to many folks. However, let me tell you, you do NOT want to have any more than minor cramping. Major muscle cramping can be both agonizing and incredibly dangerous for your body.

I encourage you to read the information from Hammer Nutrition and apply it to your sports endeavors. And I do look forward to helping you work out all those post-workout muscle issues.

A fall sports event - much cooler than yesterday!

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