There is growing evidence that Bowen Therapy positively influences and stimulates the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS), to initiate changes in the body. The Autonomic Nervous System is the involuntary nervous system which regulates how the body responds to internal and external stimuli, to maintain homeostasis (the body’s status quo). It controls 80% of bodily functions and is very susceptible to external stressors.
It is divided into:
• The Sympathetic Nervous System(fight/flight/stress response)
• The Parasympathetic Nervous System (relax/repair/rest response)
The Bowen Technique addresses the entire body by restoring balance via the ANS. Healing can occur only after the ANS shifts from sympathetic to parasympathetic dominance (rest, relax and repair mode).
Many of the Bowen moves are made along the acupuncture meridians or on acupuncture points which are known to calm the Sympathetic Nervous System, initiating a shift to parasympathetic dominance which leads to relaxation, pain relief, repair as well as better digestion, sleep, and immune function.
The soft tissue moves that are unique to Bowen Therapy are performed over muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. A Bowen practitioner uses his/her thumbs or fingers to very gently pull or push the available ‘slack’ of the skin and fascia from the crest of the underlying muscle belly, tendon or ligament, towards the edge of the structure which stretches the superficial tissue. The practitioner then applies gentle pressure to challenge the structure beneath the skin and fascia and holds this for a few seconds. A rolling move is subsequently performed across the structure with the thumbs or fingers, influencing the structure with gentle pressure whilst the superficial tissue is being re-stretched in the opposite direction.
Tendons and muscle fibres have specialised sensory receptors on nerve endings which detect subtle changes inmovement, position, stretch, tension and force within the body. These are called proprioceptors. The body may acceptan abnormal state of stretch or tension when it is compensating for an injury, disorder or chronic pain. The Bowen moves reset the perceived state of tension to the body’s original blueprint by creating signals that travel from the proprioceptors to the spinal cord (which is the body’s main ‘telephone line’).
The sensory information travels through the spinal cord up towards the brain. Once it reaches the brain, it is processed and analysed by various areas of the brain. A response is then sent back down the spinal cord to Motor Nerve Fibres which conduct the impulses to muscles, organs and glands. As a result, it creates a dynamic rearrangement of the Central and Peripheral Nervous
System, leading to postural re-alignment, regulation of the Autonomic Nervous System, fascial release and ultimately facilitates the body in accessing its intrinsic ability to heal itself.
The Bowen moves remind and activate the body to return to its original blueprint; the cellular memory of health and balance which we were all created with from the moment of conception.
You can compare it to tuning a string instrument that needs adjustments to the tension on the strings to tune the instrument. The body is our instrument and all parts need to be in tune with each other to function in harmony and balance.
Fascia (also referred to as the ‘living matrix’) is a connective tissue that surrounds muscles, groups of muscles, organs, blood vessels, and nerves, binding those structures together. It is an interconnecting network which extends into every part of the body. The impulses which are created by the Bowen moves create a small electric charge (piezoelectric current) which promotes healing. This charge then spreads through the fascia, which is a conductive living matrix, to other parts of the body.
Our bodies are 70% fluid, so any moves flow or vibrate through the body. This vibration spreads to neighbouring muscles, tendons, ligaments, bone and organs, similar to a ripple effect when a stone is thrown into water. Hydration is essential to the health and conductivity of fascia and drinking plenty of water is highly recommended.
The Bowen moves can help to release fascia which has become contracted or adhered from infection or injury, which causes restriction in the adjacent tissue. Some Bowtech procedures activate draining of the lymphatic system stimulating the immune system. Detoxification is often initiated during a Bowen session, thereby improving the body’s ability to function at a cellular level. Because this technique is so effective, it has been widely embraced by a broad spectrum of people. Health professionals are impressed by the effectiveness of the Bowen technique and the diversity of problems addressed by it.
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