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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Well … isn’t that Pinteresting …

Posted by on Aug 7, 2012 in On My Soapbox | 0 comments

If you’ve been spending time on the latest online social networking site, you know just what I mean … Pinterest is a pretty fun spot for all kinds of information. Just in case you’re curious what has been catching my eye, here are links to a couple of my Pinterest boards:

Healthy Food … Mostly – lots of great recipes and general food information

Nutrition Infographics – taking nutrition data and turning it into cool infographics

Truffles with Energy – lately I am obsessed with finding the perfect energy truffle recipe

Live Healthy – green, sustainable and just plain smart ideas

Clean & Cheap – ideas about how to make your own cleaning products using every day (less chemically-driven) materials

I’m also working on a new board that captures a lot of Anti-Inflammatory food and lifestyle suggestions!

I’d love for you to follow any of these individual boards. Or if you’d like to know more about me – what I love and what I find pinteresting – then follow all my boards!

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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Favorite Fridays: Dandy Blend

Posted by on May 27, 2011 in Favorite Fridays, Product Reviews | 0 comments

I love coffee … but it doesn’t love me back … I’ve tried decaf coffee, and I still have issues. Since coffee is naturally caffeinated, the process of decaffeination only removes about 97% of the caffeine. In some decaf blends, I have found that even less is removed.

As a result of my experience over the last few years, I have tried a variety of other warm beverages that are 100% caffeine free. My current favorite is a product called Dandy Blend.


The flavor is so smooth and it’s so easy to use. While I don’t enjoy instant coffee, I love the instantly mixable ease of making a cup of Dandy Blend. Other than heating the water, there’s no brewing time necessary!

According to the product web site, Dandy Blend is made from the water-soluble extracts of roasted roots of dandelion, chicory and beets plus grains of barley and rye. There is a naturally occurring sweetness from the fructose in the dandelion and chicory. I sometimes add stevia to my cup of Dandy Blend, but you could just as easily skip the sweeteners.

And … there are 50 trace minerals in each cup of Dandy Blend. Minerals are something that we just don’t get enough of from our standard diets. So any opportunity to add these valuable nutrients is terrific!’

If you’ve tried to go caffeine-free and struggled, Dandy Blend might be for you. If you prefer decaf in the evenings, there’s another reason to try this product. Let me know what you think!

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Favorite Fridays: Coconut Oil

Posted by on May 13, 2011 in Cooking at Home, Favorite Fridays | 0 comments

Is there anything coconut oil cannot do? I am amazed at the many ways this product can be used. Here’s a small list of the ways I have used coconut oil recently:

  • Oil for massage clients
  • Eye makeup remover
  • Instead of WD-40 to stop squeaky wood on my massage table
  • Oil for popping popcorn
  • Replacement for vegetable oil in a bread recipe
  • “Greased” the loaf pan I was using to bake bread

I also know people who use coconut oil as a moisturizer and a hair styling cream. Think of all the space you can save in luggage when you’re traveling!

The benefits of coconut products are varied, and the list is long. Here are a few:

  • No trans fats
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Non-Toxic
  • Gluten-Free
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-parasitic
  • Beneficial to immune system function

The first question clients ask is what about the saturated fat content? Yes, coconut oil is more than 90% saturated fat. But don’t panic and please keep reading. Coconut oil’s saturated fatty acids are about 60% medium chain fats. These are “good fats” that our bodies use to produce energy. They are also primarily made up of Lauric Acid, which is the primary fat component in mother’s milk. It is long-chain fatty acids that have negative effects on cholesterol and heart disease. In fact, among Pacific Islanders, heart disease is remarkably low. These are people who eat all parts of the coconut and have done so for many generations.

Coconut oil also contains Vitamin E, Vitamin K and minerals such as iron.

When you decide to buy some coconut oil, look for organic, virgin and cold-pressed if possible. You can find it in many grocery stores and natural foods stores, as well as online.

Coconut oil will remain solid in colder temperatures. I tend to keep it in a warmer part of my kitchen so that it stays semi-solid and easier to measure. Coconut oil will keep a long time without going rancid, so you really don’t need to refrigerate it.

Comment below and let me know how you use coconut oil!



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Favorite Fridays: Happy Hal’s Jalapeño Relish

Posted by on Apr 29, 2011 in Favorite Fridays | 0 comments

I’d like to start a new feature here at my blog – highlighting an idea, service or product that I love each week.

This week, I’ll start by telling you about Happy Hal’s Jalapeño Relish.

I love spicy food and it’s even better when you know some details about the product. My friend Susie started The Happy Jalapeño Company because her friends and family encouraged her. They loved her homemade Jalapeño relish, and now all of us can too!

I use Happy Hal’s in egg dishes – even just scrambled eggs! It’s fantastic in soups, especially my summer gazpacho. Another way to use it is in dips, like this yummy Avocado Dip. Susie has a lot of recipes on the Web site, so you can get a bunch more ideas there.

Also … hot peppers contain capsaicin, which has many health benefits. They include antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It’s known to have thermogenic activity, which means it increases overall metabolic activity.

If you’d like to try some, it is available at Whole Foods in the mid-Atlantic region and at several Lancaster County locations. You can order it directly from Happy Hal’s too!

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