A few words from Claire about the Bowen Work experience so far:
Initially I was intrigued to investigate Bowen Work when I substituted for a colleague and her client raved about a treatment he had had of Bowen Work while on vacation several years earlier. It sounded very odd to me, but he clearly had a fantastic experience.
Later, investigating effective treatments for PTSD in veterans, (and other people too!) I came across several practitioners using Bowen Work with satisfactory results.
(Over the past several years, I have come to believe that effectively relieving the effects of trauma from one’s central nervous system is one of the most productive steps we can take to support our bodies’ innate quest for health. I am curious about all modalities that claim to help restore peaceful self-regulation to the system from the inside out.)
Bowen Work is earning a place with EMDR, EFT, Somatic Experiencing, Somato Emotional Release, Unwinding, Hakomi, Five Element acupuncture, and all the other body focused therapeutic tools to support a human organism to truly soothe the old trauma that is still alert in the tissues. (In case you’re wondering, I have tried all the above! I love them all.)
At the same time, Bowen Work works for simple musculoskeletal pain marvelously and often quite quickly resolves issues that have been present, (stubborn) for years. It also shines as a true support during tapering from medications or other chemical addictions in my year or so of trials. One client went from intolerable withdrawal without the Bowen treatments to an easy, pain free, symptom free withdrawal with just a few treatments during the tapering period. It is peerless for helping sleep issues resolve mysteriously.
Another role that Bowen Work seems to play is in helping a health picture that is “stuck” to develop. It has consistently overcome compensation habits to shed light on deeper issues previously hidden despite various, competent practitioners and tools.
For people who have no somatic complaints, (lucky ducks), a Bowen session yields full body integration and profound sense of peace. Many people report feelings of liquid in their spines or their limbs, of lights, or of bubbles floating up the spine.
So what is Bowen Work and why is it so strange?
It is unusual for three primary reasons: first, the client remains fully clothed, secondly, the therapist leaves the room for several minutes in between simple therapeutic touches, and thirdly, the effects for most people far outweigh our expectations from such minimal “doing”. For those of us who need a lot of touch, we simply need to schedule massage for the skin experience separate from a Bowen treatment. They are both valuable to me, not interchangeable, just like two friends.
For most of my 8 years thinking obsessively about how to manually assist the human body to achieve optimal form and function, I have been attracted to the vast potential of treating our fascia. Active Isolated Stretching is the most effective and therapeutic form of stretching precisely because it is focused on the physiology of fascia. CranioSacral Therapy stimulates our Inner Healer by releasing adhesions in the meninges, thereby freeing the central nervous system. Myofascial Release is focused on fascia as the container of our stories and the core of our self healing. And Visceral Manipulation takes advantage of fascia to address adhesions preventing optimal functioning of our organs, which then affect every part of our system. ALL the forms of bodywork I have studied in depth, depend on careful listening to and guidance of the three dimensional fascial web that is embedded throughout our tissues.
At first, I suspected that Bowen Work was entirely different. This bothered me a lot. I was afraid I would have to find a whole new paradigm, a whole new cosmology maybe, to explain the effects of these simple touches. After a year and a half of tracking results for brave clients, and in myself, I begin to see that Bowen Work also owes its efficacy to touching the fascial web.
I have always taught clients that, “you are the healer, I’m just the facilitator”, or “you’re the magician; I’m just a tool”. The real difference with Bowen Work is that now I prove it by walking out of the room while the changes occur. It has been profoundly humbling and empowering.