How can a gentle Bowen move have such a powerful effect?

Many of my clients are often ask me ” how can you do so little and get such effective results?” In my early days as a Practitioner I found this question hard to answer and the only sensible reply I could come up with “Bowen works, I’m not sure how,but it just does”

bowen-moves
Precise, gentle, moves over muscles and tendons

Thank fully new studies and research have started to reveal answers to the question above.

The simplicity of Bowen Technique begins with its method. Using fingers and thumbs, with gentle slow pressure, the Bowen move is applied to the body by drawing the skin back (in time with the clients breathing) to the edge of the muscle, tendon or ligament, and then held for a moment or two. (Bowen therapists describe this as ‘challenging the muscles’)

While the move is at rest position, it has a two fold effect on the structures underneath.

  1. It invites the body’s awareness to the particular area you are working on.
  2. It activates the ‘slow melting pressure’ a term described by Robert Schleip PHD in Fascial research.(1)

The ‘slow melting pressure’ describes the softening of the fascia (connective tissue matrix that covers muscles and organs of the body) Allowing the therapist to rest deeper into the tissue below, creating and finishing with a precise active move over the particular area. It is at this point that the Bowen moves creates a piezoelectric current.

The word Piezoelectric is derived from the Greek piezein, which means to squeeze or press, and piezo, which is Greek for “push”.

In his book ‘Energy Medicine’ Dr James Oschman states that the current creates “signals that inform the cells of the movement, loads, or other activities occurring elsewhere in their body. The cells, in turn, are thought to use this information to adjust their activities in maintaining and nourishing the surrounding tissues.”

Piezoelectirc response image

Dr Oschman’s explanation of what happens when a slow, gentle Bowen move is applied to the body, also highlights why the ‘gaps’ or ‘breaks’ become so integral to a Bowen treatment. One of my clients described the gaps as an opportunity to “let it sink in”.  Working precisely and efficiently with piezoelectric inducing moves creates the philosophy “less is more”, reducing intervention by the therapist to its lowest, leaving the body to do what it does best to restore health and balance.

“Bowen’s gentle stimulation of the fascial tissue and muscular system appears to facilitate the body’s capacity to detect, amplify and process bio-electromagnetic signals that are crucial for health.” (2)

(1)  Schleip, R., Fascia as a Sensory Organ, World Massage Conference Webinar, Nov 2009
(2) Bowen – Moving Blocked Energy by Kayode Olafimihan and Susannah Hall(more info)listed in bowen technique, originally   published in issue 74 – March 2002

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Sophie Calle – ‘I live with her’

My journey into soul midwifery has been peppered with cross overs, creating interesting and curious influences on my painting. www.natinthestudio.co.uk

Sophie Calle,(SC) a french artist, has had a big influence on my painting and thinking. Her work takes me up close and interpersonal with everyday situations and difficulties. Her obsessive curiosity can leave me uncomfortable, but at the same time she delivers the answers I am looking for. Like her I am curious about death, and I wanted to share a piece of work that she did in 2007. It is titled Pas pu saisir la mort (couldn’t catch death). This piece is an instillation video of her mothers death. For me, it is a helpful insight into the paradox and ordinariness of death, it’s process, and how our earthly connections remain with those who have left.

I have transcribed her words from an interview that was given as part of a radio 4 programme called The Gamble -Naked, aired  November 1st 2017

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09byxlm

Sophie calle. Pas pu saisur la mort

Above is a still from her film Pas pu saisir la mort (couldn’t catch death).

SC ” The Doctor gave her three months- I wanted to be sure, just before dying she didn’t have something to say that she didn’t tell me before? So I propose to her to put a camera, always working. And every time I would go out of the room, I would push the camera, and when I am not in the room she can talk to me. And it worked incredibly. Because first, when she saw the camera she said”finally”, because she always wanted to be the main subject of my work. She was center stage. She would go on the table anywhere possible, sing, she was incredibly funny, so she was always the pole of attraction. To film my father dying would have been a real act of aggression, I didn’t even think about it. Just to laugh one day I told him, do you mind if I do the same for my mother, and he said “are you crazy”? But when he saw my mother’s show he loved it. I showed it to my close friends, my brother, all said it was OK, nobody who sat close to her asked me not to do it.

SC “I wanted to have the last breath, I wanted to have the last word…. I felt it. I was having lunch, I stood up and I say, I am sorry, I have to go, it’s now. And I got up to the room and she died. After, Robert Storr (RS), Curator of the 2007 Venice Biennial, said “Can you do something about it”? and I said “No, I cannot even look at it’. Finally, I decided to look just at the last hour. So far, I have never watched the rest, ever, so I don’t know if she told me something? I just could not watch it. And it was very strange for me that last hour, because, I could not decide if she was dead or not? It was a no-mans land; the period between life and death, and it lasted 11 minutes. It was those 11 minutes that I showed when I did the work about her.

RS ” The tape is a very powerful, quiet tape of somebody just stopping. As you are looking at somebody who’s breath is shortening and shortening and shortening, you don’t know at which minute death occurs? Socially there is very little work about the simple fact of dying. There is a lot of work about killing, just the fact that we run out the clock, is something that relatively little work focuses on. Many people who have died have simply run out the clock, they have had enough, and I think that was the case for Sophie’s mother, and I think she was quiet at peace.

Sophie Calle rarely looks at the piece once it is up and running, but she recalls a moment in the London gallery, when she felt compelled to step in.

SC. I give a look, and I see a woman very close to the screen. Then I come back one hour later, for the same reason to see if it is working, same woman, same place. I leave. I come back one hour later, same woman, same place. So I understood that something is wrong there. I took the woman by the hand and I took her outside; and she was in tears. And I said “it’s enough, just don’t stay there. it’s too painful for you, don’t stay there and she said “thank you for taking me out, I could not get out”. Obviously she was not crying for my mother, so I don’t know what she is crying about, her mothers death? Death in general?

SC. My mother is with me since that day, everyday, because we are just talking about her right now. For one month I install the work in the church of my mother. If she would pass by that door right now, I am not sure I would be surprised, she is there. So in that sense it is incredible. I live with her. I live with her.

In a recent interview with Eva Wiseman of the Guardian she she describes her new work Here Lie the Secrets of the Visitors of Green-Wood Cemetery’ (2017) where 200 people buried private messages, she says…

“Hospitals and graveyards are not places that paralyse me. They inspire me and my work, it’s what has always been attracting me – absence, missing, death…” She has already commissioned her headstone. At the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, 200 people told her their secrets which she wrote down and dropped into her grave, then hung around for a cheery picnic. To some, she says, she was an artist, others a priest, others a brick wall.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/jul/02/sophie-calle-art-interview-what-attracts-me-is-absence-missing-death

Certified Soul Midwife

Soul Midwife certificate

I am really pleased to tell you that last weekend I was able to attend practitioner level two, down in Dorset, for the second part to my Soul Midwifery qualification. It was a most illuminating experience that was both challenging and affirming. I met some wonderful people who are already actively doing ‘the work’ and to my surprise and delight discovered that I am not alone here in Norfolk. In fact there are more than a handful of Soul midwives here so I very much hope that we can team up and approach the subject collectively. For more information on Soul Midwifery and where to find one please go to www.soulmidwives.co.uk

SAGE & THYME- Foundation level workshop.

SAGE & THYME- Foundation level workshop – Listening and responding to people who are worried or distressed.

Being a Volunteer not only gives you back an indescribable amount of satisfaction, it also means that you become a highly valued part of the team.  When you become a Volunteer with Priscilla Bacon Lodge in Norwich, a palliative care hospice, you receive in-depth training which supports you and grows your confidence making sure you can deal appropriately with very difficult situations that may arise. As part of this in -depth training I was offered to attend the sage and thyme foundation level workshop. This particular workshop is offered to all employees in the palliative care sector, so not only was it a good opportunity to meet with other volunteers, but with community nurses, health care assistants and research fellows.

How do we notice distress? How do we respond? what can you do about it?

All these pertinent questions were put to us and we applied them to the model…

Setting – Appropriate?           SAGE & THYME- Foundation level workshop. cert

Ask – Can I ask you…..?

Gather- Is there anything else?

Empathy -I can hear that….

Talk – Do you have someone…?

Help – How do they help you…?

You – What do you think would help….?

Me – Is there something I can….?

End- Can we leave it there..?

The delivery was fun and thought provoking, with role play and sharing of  ideas that help us to understand the model that can be used as a focused support when dealing with someone in distress.

 

 

Yoga Bowen day – with Maxine Mathews and Natalie Lang

Yoga-Bowen

On Sunday 15th October 2017 Myself a Bowen Practitioner and Maxine, a Scaravelli inspired teacher, led a yoga- Bowen day at the Yoga Tree in Norwich. http://www.theyogatree.co.uk/

The day was fully subscribed, which I think was a combination of curiosity and Maxine’s skill and experience as a yoga teacher. We started to cook up the idea for the day, after I approached her about the possibility of combining our skills? In my clinic I have many clients who are unable to relax and fully let go. I would describe them as ‘hypervigulant.’ In chronic states of high stress, which creates an inability to switch of from ‘doing’. This unconscious state of holding, develops a restrictive pattern in the body and an anticipatory nature in the musculature, resulting in an exhausting impact on their immune system. Author, Dr Gabour Mate www.drgabormate.com in his book when the body says no recognizes the interconnection between the hormonal system and the brain centres, and the interconnection of hormonal emotional centres  with the immune and the nervous system. His research reveals that we need to keep these functions within safe limits and find ways to return the body to a safe and balanced homeostasis. So on this bases we stared to  devise a day that could be a way into ‘slowing down’ giving enough time to develop an awareness and feel and experience where movement is initiated? How much effort does one need to make, in order to make movement, or can we just be like a fern leaf, opening with the effortlessness of our deepest knowing?

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We went into the day not really knowing how our attendees would respond to the mix of Bowen and Yoga. Many of them hadn’t heard of Bowen, so it was a good opportunity to introduce it. With such a big class it was impossible to use it in a treatment context as I would have had to make more in-depth inquiry and assessment on each person. (although I was aware of any health issues that were present) So for the day, I introduced the Bowen, more as a tool of orientation and inquiry…..as a medium to ‘slow down’, in-order to experiences any patterns of restriction that might arise into awareness.

Yoga-Bowen

Maxine and I would like to say a big thank you to all those who put their trust in us for the day, and their feed back has been essential to help us to see what worked and what didn’t. One of the participants said ” It was not what I expected, but it was exactly what  what I needed.” Maxine and  will use all the feed back given to develop another day, and maybe even have enough material to offer a retreat?

For anyone interested in our next Yoga-Bowen day…. (we hope to offer another day in January 2018) please contact me via my website.

Go well.

N

Time Norfolk. Loss of a baby awareness day.

IMG_7857On Monday 9th October, I was lucky enough to attend Time Norfolk’s loss of a baby day at GreenAcres Woodland Burials -Colony. www.greenacrescelebrate.co.uk

Time Norfolk www.timenorfolk.org.uk are a registered charity that offer confidential, non-judgemental, non- medical support to women, and their partners and wider family members, who have experienced the loss of a baby.

The day was very well structured, with lengthy breaks to meet and connect with people affiliated with other organizations ie, midwives, hospital staff, morticians, funeral directors and hospice workers.

The programme offered a varied cross section of speakers, including moving accounts from a couple of services users. The courage they showed to stand at the front and tell their stories, was a testimony to Time Norfolk for helping them begin to heal from such a traumatic experience.

In the morning session we heard from one of their Councillors, Letitia Ash- Lameer. She gave us a very comprehensive and interesting talk about understanding Grief and trauma. She told us that as an organization they no longer send service users for  counseling immediately. She stressed that it was important that they assess for PTSD before embarking on counseling. If PTSD goes undiagnosed then counseling is likely to keep triggering the client. She uses a form to asses the level of PTSD, and supports the client accordingly with EFT tapping or meditation before embarking on counseling. In the afternoon we were split into groups and Letitia did a session on Self -Care for those who deal with baby death. Mapping  from emotive words such as vicarious trauma revealed some interesting and worrying links. Lack of self care can lead to burn out and could result in lack of empathy.

The next speaker was Anne Beckett-Allen from Rosedale funeral home in Wymonham. www.rosedalefuneralhome.co.uk. Anne’s talk ‘Choices available for babies.’ was dynamic, full of useful information and practical advice for families dealing with the loss of a baby, (parents do not have to use the hospital funeral director, they are free to choose their own). She was empathetic to the needs of the family and felt very strongly that they should be aware of the choices available to them and that they were given enough time to make those choices. She was also passionate that all funeral directors are up to date with all aspects of baby loss and was disappointed that there were not more of them attending the day. As a training Soul midwife, I hope to spend a day with Anne at her funeral home so I can get a full picture of what happens and how they deal with families and their diseased.

Next we heard from Jaqueline Lake. – Norfolk’s Chief Coroner. She explained her role, and when she might be involved in the death of a baby. She disclosed that they now consider 22 weeks to be a viable birth, with the help of medical intervention, and she try’s to use CT scanning where preferable to avoid a post mortum.

After a very nice lunch that was provided, we heard from a couple who’s daughter lost her first child, a son who she named Louis. As a result of his devastating early departure and their experience at the hospital, they decided to set up a charity called 4louis www.4louis.co.uk  to help support families in the same situation. Not only do they provide what’s called a cuddle cot, (a specialised piece of equipment that fits into a Moses basket keep baby cool, to allow parents up to 72hrs with baby), they supply memory making equipment, such as clay, photography equipment and memory boxes to capture and store all the precious memories parents create in the short time they are given with their baby.

Another of the afternoon activities was a tour through the burial park , up to the baby burial site. It is a beautiful natural environment, that is really well looked after by both the woodland team and the visitors. The habitat is kept as natural as possible, so as not to impact on the woodland. The team at GreenAcres expressed a great understanding of what families go through and the grief they experience at the loss of a child. They are able to handle every type of emotion with grace and empathy, and they continue contact and support for families who choose to lay their loved ones to rest with them.

time Norfolk certificate

For me the day was very interesting, but emotionally challenging. The most pertinent thing that i will take away from the day and the theme that ran through all the speakers was the need for TIME. Time to grieve, time to assimilate, time to adjust, time to mourn, time to recover, time to heal, time to remember.

 

 

 

Yoga Bowen day

 

 

A Collaborative Day of Yoga & Bowen Technique

 

Offered By

 

Maxine Matthews – Scaravelli Inspired Yoga Teacher with 18 years teaching experience

 

And

 

Natalie Lang – Bowen Practitioner with 14 years professional practice

 

 

Maxine and Natalie will be offering an opportunity to slow down and deepen awareness in your Yoga practice, exploring innate and learned patterns of movement, supported by Bowen Technique.

 

Venue: The Yoga Tree, All Saint’s Green, Norwich NR1 3NB

http://www.theyogatree.co.uk/

 

Date: Sunday 15th October 2017           

Time: 10.30am – 4.30pm

 

Cost: £45. (Concessions available)         

 To book contact : yogawithmaxine@outlook.com or bowentechniquenorwich@gmail.com

 

 bowen technique norwich

 

Maxine and Natalie have brought together their practices to devise a day of enquiry and insight to aid movement and melt away restriction.

 

Our philosophy– There is no need to try and fix the body, but simply to bring awareness to what harms us or restricts natural movement, creating opportunity for change in the body.

 

We have devised a slow pace for the day to allow a gentle winding down from our everyday overstimulation. The focus of this first workshop will be on calming and soothing the bodies systems through Yoga movements, breath awareness and subtle (optional) application of Bowen Technique.

 

Please wear loose comfortable clothing and either bring lunch with you or there are other options in the area.

 

For more information about Maxine or Natalie please go to https://www.bowentechniquenorwich.co.uk http://www.yogawithmaxine.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

yoga and Bowen workshop flyer

Everybody is better with Bowen

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I would like to introduce the golfing stars of my Bowen clinic. Rachel, Gala and Tracey have all been in my clinic presenting restricting symptoms, that have meant they’ve been unable to play their favorite sport. But here they are, a formidable team that played the Solhiem competition at their club last weekend (representing Europe) and they WON! What a testament to the powerful effects of Bowen Technique. It not only gets clients  back on their feet doing what they love, but also improves their game too!

Palliative Care Conference 2017.

DOLS

Yesterday I was fortunate to be able to attend this years Palliative care conference at the Benjamin Gooch Theatre at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. The varied an interesting programme of speakers and their topics created interesting debate and sharing of information. Not only is this event a fantastic opportunity for doctors to sit along side nurses, care home workers, community nurses, palliative care specialists and the likes of myself, and debate what was presented, but it is an important day that acknowledges the dedication that those in the palliative care sector really have about what they are doing, and to witness the genuine passion they have to do the best for their patients and their families.

The first speaker was Dr Caroline Barry, a registrar in palliative medicine at the NNCH.

Mental capacity – To Treat or Not to Treat?

Dr Catherine’s lecture brought to light the difficult decision making that is so often present in Palliative care. She gave us scenarios to debate which helped us to understand the legal implications of the difficulties of decision making, when trying to meet patient wishes and family expectation. When does medical intervention become futile or burdensome for the patient?  How does one best deliver difficult news? What Caroline did make clear, was that decisions made about patients were not just down to the Doctors, it became a wider team decision. When a patient enters end of life phase, they are encouraged to write an advanced care plan which states all patients desires and wishes including, resuscitation, power of attorney, etc, should disease progress to a point where one is unable to make decisions. Catherine’s lecture was thought provoking and informative, reiterating the need for transparency, honesty and clear communication when making difficult decisions about a patient.

Next in the programme was a talk by Stephanie Barker- she has worked in palliative care for 40 years and now works as a family therapist at the Big C center, and with private clients.

The Impact of Serious Illness on Families

Stephanie’s lecture was frank and empathetic, shining a torch on the hardship and implications that diagnosis has on the family. She talked of the broad impact and strain that illness has on key family members, and how best to support the needs of those who are caring for their loved ones who are sick. When patients and their families are referred to Stephanie, she opens up and encourages dialogue to find out how best to support them and is gifted and experienced at working with children. When she started to talk about children, it was particularly difficult in view of the Manchester attack, and a minutes silence was observed during the talk in remembrance off all those who died and have been affected by such unnecessary loss.

After tea brake we heard from Dr Nicola Holton- Chairman and consultant in palliative Medicine, NNUH.

Symptom Control at the End of Life

Dr Nicola Holton is a key influence for the development of palliative care in Norfolk. Her expertise and specialist knowledge are central to the specialist care and individual treatment that each patient receives at the NNHU. In her talk she discussed ways to maximize the comfort and well being of patients and described pointers that help recognize when a patient will need to make and advanced care plan. Nicola highlighted how to start conversations around dying, when a patient might die, and how to prepare for it. She illustrated ways if dosing medication in syringe drivers for different conditions such as Renal impairment, liver failure and heart failure. This part of the lecture was useful to community nurses and care home staff. Helping them to work out quantities and the mix of medication for particular situations and pain levels. She introduced two case studies and initiated discussions that explored the particular needs of  patients and their families. She gave details of out of hours service and discussed ways in which the service can improve.

Our next speakers were Beccy Cooper – Assistant director for palliative care, NCH&C and she brought with her Jane Shutter who gave the voice of the service user.

Collaborative Approach to Palliative Care in Norfolk

In the first part of her talk Beccy set out the 5 year plan and ambitions for palliative care  spreading out across Norfolk and Waveney. She is very strong on the need for a collaboration approach between areas and services, so that patients don’t slip through the net. Beccy is in the process of building a compassionate community that has the needs of services users and their families at it’s center. She recognizes in the future that the need of palliative care services will increase, and wants the services to be able to respond adequately to those using it. This may include helping patients leave hospital quicker so they can die in their own home, reducing avoidable admissions to acute care, reducing hospital length of stay. Beccy’s holistic view of the service will be translated into the new plans for PBL2 which are currently in development stage. Her vision for a collaborative service between, GP’s, consultants, doctors, community nursing, hospice care and a home palliative care services will hopefully come to fruition through the new state of the art hospice which will be situated at NNHU. We then heard from Jane shutter a brave woman who cared for her father during his terminal illness. She spoke very frankly about  her frustration at the lack of communication and honesty of the services providers and highlighted very eloquently where the gaps were. Being her fathers only carer was a great strain emotionally and physically, and she, without blame or accusation tried to forfill her fathers wishes to retain his dignity and to die at home. But she found very little support from the community nurses who’s role and service has been stripped bare. She described how getting medication and managing hers fathers pain levels were an enormous burden as nurses didn’t have the time for compassion, or sometimes the information to be able to help her. She is a dear person who loved her dad. Jane was very grateful and appreciative of the appropriate support she did receive, but her truthful account means that Beccy and others in higher authority can respond to Jane’s experience with empathy, and do their level best to close the gaps in the services that Jane high-lighted.  what a moving and informative talk!

After lunch we heard from Dr Ajay Kamath, Consultant Physician in Respiratory medicine,NNUH.

Respiratory Perspective on End of Life Care

Dr Ajay began his talk with a quote from Hippocrates “cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always” What I understood from his talk is that it is difficult to be a Doctor when a patient cannot be cured. When you have to give someone the “Bad News” you only have a small amount of time to do it in. As a Doctor you cannot heal the condition,  you have to learn how to manage the condition and the emotions that arrive as a result. You cannot fix the situation, and you know that the only changes will be a gradual decline of the patient. With respiratory conditions there a is has a very low survival rate and anxiety and depression are often present in the patient. So as a Doctor, Ajay recognized that he needed to improve his palliative care skill ie, when to recognize that treatment is futile and a burden on the patient, and start to collaborate earlier with the palliative care team. This collaboration he sighted as an important and vital part of giving patients with respiratory short life span diagnosis the best possible quality of life until they die.

The next speaker was a good link into what Dr Ajay’s talk…

Anna Farrar- Hospital Specialist palliative care nurse.NNUH

Breathlessness intervention

“breathlessness is about the brain more than the lungs”

Anna described how not being able to breath is very frightening. It’s our most fundamental need. The fear and panic of not being able to breath can be debilitating, and it is useful for those who suffer with breathlessness to have a strategies to over come the panic and find their breath again. She described breathing techniques and encouraged the use of a hand fan on the face, as cold facial stimulation reduces breathlessness. She teaches her patients both those with good and terminal prognosis the recovery breathing technique and explores their fears so as to make a physiological link to their breathlessness and being able to cope with it. Having the ability to cope with breathlessness attacks means that the patient is liberated from fear, thus improving quality of life for both them and their family.

As a Bowen therapist and training Soul Midwife this conference gives me an invaluable insight into the medical side of palliative care and the chance to meet those on the front line of palliative care and have interesting debate and discussion.

Palliative care conference 2017

 

 

 

 

“Better than a good nights sleep”

Jim, a regular client (who originally came for Bowen for rehabilitation after knee surgery), came into the clinic today feeling well. Often when a client is feeling well they will cancel their appointment. It is a common dilemma, but I say to my clients “come when you are well”. When the body is in a restful state and not in pain, it invites the perfect conditions for Bowen to be received, creating a deep, restorative treatment.

Image-221 (1)
Jim describes his Bowen treatments as “better than a good nights sleep”

On 28th of March, I listened to a webinar on chronic conditions by Alexia Munroe, it made me think about and question, what is happening in my body when I don’t have pain, how am aware of what is going on inside me, and where are my levels of self care? When I am in pain it brings me awareness of what needs attention. When I am NOT in pain, I am on ‘autopilot’.

So, when I am the state of ‘autopilot’ I notice that my levels of self care diminish. It is not a conscious act, but I am not responding to a ‘need ‘ which calls my attention. This is when I need Bowen. Having regular treatments, what ever condition I am in, creates the bridge for a mind- body connection. When I am well, the messages are clear. I use the information that I received in treatment to respond accordingly. I make the adjustments which could be, diet, exercise, rest, nature, silence, dancing, laughing………  etc etc.

Now I am awake to how I am.

Without this information I only THINK I know how I am. So,  I always encourage my clients to keep their Bowen appointments what ever state they are in. For me regular treatments help me to commit and increase my levels self-care…

The other useful quote Jim gave me today was “prevention is better than cure” wise words indeed.