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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Health Coach or Fitness App?

Posted by on Apr 3, 2013 in On My Soapbox, Questions Clients Ask, Wellness Ideas | 0 comments

Someone recently asked me, “Why would I hire a health coach when I can download a free fitness app to keep me on track?” And, you guessed it, I have an answer to share with all of you!

Don’t get me wrong—I love fitness apps like LoseIt and MyFitnessPal. In fact I think that these apps are the food diary of the twenty-first century. I remember my first venture into Weight Watchers back in 1990. We received a small paper booklet every week and were told to write everything we ate in the booklet. Then a few years later a calculator-type tracker was available—for about $75 I think.How things have changed! Now these FREE apps have millions of entries in a database that users can continually add to. The apps can tell you all kinds of different nutrition information about that snack or restaurant meal. They approximate your home-cooked meal’s nutrition value with ease. Lots of advantages … including all the things an app will tell you about calories burned during your day. You can even count the calories involved in cooking your dinner!

App or Coach

So what does a health coach offer that’s different? I can only speak for my approach, but one thing a health coach does is consider each client as a wholly individual being. The health coach does so much more than focus on calories in and calories out. Even the prevailing health wisdom is calling that an outdated approach.

While every health coach has an area of expertise or specialization, they know how to incorporate that knowledge into the reality of a client’s day. For example, I work primarily with people who are interested in addressing chronic pain and inflammation through holistic and nutritional means. There are some very specific steps towards this goal, but based on my experience I can determine whether or not those steps apply to you.

A few days ago, I was working with a young woman who contacted me because food shopping and knowing healthy from unhealthy was very difficult for her. After four sessions, including a grocery store tour together, we reached a really important moment. It started innocently enough with a conversation about how great the grocery store tour was for her confidence. And all of a sudden, my client was making connections about her food-related childhood experiences and the fear she feels today. It was a tissue and tears moment, and it cleared away a lot of her tension about food.

This story is a perfect example of what health coaching offers that ISN’T available in a free app. Health coaching offers recognition that each client’s needs are individual. It offers a place to discuss not just what to eat but why to make adjustments. Together clients and health coaches create sacred space where big emotional connections happen. The coach shares practical tips like recipes and lessons in label reading—in a way that’s easy to absorb.

Most importantly the health coaching relationship offers trust, hugs and love—invaluable encouragement!

 

Ready to get started feeling less pain and more energy? The best way to determine what program is right for you is scheduling a FREE 45-minute get acquainted call. Simply call or email me today to get started!

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Why Do You Need a Health Coach?

Posted by on Feb 10, 2013 in Questions Clients Ask, Wellness Ideas | 0 comments

Have you ever heard about health coaching and wondered why it would help you? It’s a pretty new field in wellness and health care, so you probably aren’t alone! My answer is simple … so simple that I wanted to tell you “face-to-face.” And it takes just 45 seconds to watch this video. (It’s my first one ever … so be gentle with me ok?)

I specifically help people living with chronic pain and inflammation make simple nutrition and lifestyle changes that minimize their pain and maximize their energy! Why, because I know just how you feel … and I’ve worked hard on developing some solutions for myself that I’d like to share with you!

Ready to get started feeling less pain and more energy?!?? The best way to determine what program is right for you is scheduling a FREE 45-minute initial health and wellness consultation. Simply call or email me today to get started!

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Breaking through the Sugar Blues: Natural Sweetener Options

Posted by on Apr 17, 2012 in Cooking at Home, Questions Clients Ask, Wellness Ideas | 0 comments

Who among us doesn’t love sweets? The sweet flavor releases serotonin in our brains, the chemical responsible for our sense of well-being and contentment. The average American consumes well over 20 teaspoons of added sugar on a daily basis, which adds up to an average of 142 pounds of sugar per person per year! That’s more than two times what the USDA recommends and is proof of sugar’s addictive nature.

But when it comes to sweeteners, not all are created equal. There are side effects and health risks from refined sweeteners like white table sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, and from artificial sweeteners like NutraSweet, saccharin and Splenda.

Since refined sweeteners have been stripped of vitamins, minerals and fiber, they can spike blood sugar, which can often lead to cravings and mood and energy fluctuations.

Instead, using naturally and minimally processed sweeteners can reduce cravings for sugary things. Natural sweeteners, all of which are gentler than the refined white stuff, are easier on the body’s blood sugar and available in most supermarkets and health food stores.

Please note that these sugar alternatives are great transition foods, but are not meant to be consumed in mass quantities. Even natural sweeteners are, for the most part, processed foods. The best way to alleviate sugar consumption is to add more sweetness to your life!

Sweetener alternatives

Raw Honey

Everyone seems to love honey, one of the oldest natural sweeteners on the market. Honey will have a different flavor depending on the plant source. Some are very dark and intensely flavored. Wherever possible, choose raw honey, as it is unrefined and contains small amounts of enzymes, minerals and vitamins.

Agave Nectar

Agave nectar is a natural liquid sweetener made from the juice of the agave cactus. Agave is made through the extraction and purification of the juice of the agave cactus. It is 1.4 times sweeter than refined sugar, but does not create a sugar rush, and is much less disturbing to the body’s blood sugar levels than white sugar. It has a delightfully light and mild flavor. (However, agave is high in fructose, higher than that of high-fructose corn syrup, and some research suggests that fructose does not shut off appetite hormones, and may decrease glucose tolerance, so you may end up overeating.)

Maple Syrup

Maple syrup is the concentrated extract of the sap of maple trees. It adds a rich, deep flavor to foods and drinks. Make sure to look for 100% pure maple syrup, not maple-flavored corn syrup. As with all sweeteners, organic varieties are best.

Stevia

This leafy herb has been used for centuries by native South Americans. The extract from stevia is 100 to 300 times sweeter than white sugar. It can be used in cooking, baking and beverages, does not affect blood sugar levels and has zero calories. Stevia is available in a powder or liquid form, but be sure to get the green or brown liquids or powders, because the white and clear versions are highly refined.

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Do you get massages too?

Posted by on Nov 4, 2010 in Questions Clients Ask | 0 comments

The short answer to that question is absolutely! I can’t imagine giving 20-ish massages every week and not getting a massage for my own health and wellness. And I’m so grateful for the massage therapist friends who trade massages with me. We team up to take care of each other!

The longer answer is, how did I get started receiving massage? Well, it started during the summer when Jerry Garcia (of the Grateful Dead) died. My stepson, who was following the Dead on tour that year, came home to Lancaster after Jerry died. Our home at the time was really small, and one more (young and wild!) person living in our space was a challenge.

Add that to the stresses of everyday life, and my back completely seized up. I was in pain for hours and hours each day. The simplest tasks were a challenge. For example I found grocery shopping difficult, even with the support of the shopping cart. But nothing was structurally wrong with my spine. Physical therapy didn’t help. And did I mention that I was just 32 or 33 at the time — way too young to accept this pain as normal!

Finally my primary care physician suggested that I try massage, and recommended a massage therapist she trusted. After just three 60-minute massages, my back pain was completely gone!

In the years since that summer, I have continued to receive massages. Some years I have scheduled more regular appointments than others. And during my massage therapy training program, I received about two hours of massage each week. (What a treat that was!) I have invested in some intensive (15 hours in 5 days) Myofascial Release treatment as well.

So what I’m really saying is this — massage and bodywork are a part of my life both as a therapist and a client. When clients tell me how important it is to their lives, I can 100% relate!

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