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


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.

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 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?


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… a medium to ‘slow down’, in-order to experiences any patterns of restriction that might arise into awareness.


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.


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.

Time Norfolk 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. 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  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




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


Date: Sunday 15th October 2017           

Time: 10.30am – 4.30pm


Cost: £45. (Concessions available)         

 To book contact : or


 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






yoga and Bowen workshop flyer

Everybody is better with Bowen


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.


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.




Encouraging client testimonial..

End of September last year Daniel arrived in my clinic barely able to walk. He was experiencing a high degree of pain in his back 6-7, (10 is unbearable) radiating out to his right hand hip. His case history revealed prolapse discs at L4 &L5,  diagnosed in 1992….. on the slab 6mths later at the end of a scalpel receiving a lumbar laminectomy to solve the problem.

From a medical point of view, what is a Laminnectomy? Laminectomy is surgery that creates space by removing the lamina — the back part of the vertebra that covers your spinal canal. Also known as decompression surgery, laminectomy enlarges your spinal canal to relieve pressure on the spinal cord or nerves.



From a Natalie Lang, Bowen Therapist point of view, what is a laminectomy? Butchery.

In December 2016  Daniel went for an MRI scan, the results of which were shocking. The images showed that Daniels pain was due to lumbar disc extrusion at L1 & L2 and Paracentral disc protrusion L5-S1, an alarming situation brought about by  the hole left in his back as a result of the laminectomy.

What is Lumbar Disc extrusion?  The surrounding vertebrae (or lack of them in Daniel’s case) put constant pressure on all discs including on the weakened disc, which can cause the disc’s outer wall to tear and expose the disc’s central core. A disc extrusion occurs when the inner disc material seeps through the outer wall and into the spinal canal.


What is Paracentral Disc Protrusion? Paracentral disc protrusion is a type of degenerative disc disease that results in chronic neck or back pain and other uncomfortable symptoms. This condition occurs with the natural degeneration of the spine,(or a Laminectomy in Daniels case) which causes pressure to be pushed down on the vertebrae and discs in the spine. Each disc is tucked in between a set of vertebrae and is responsible for supporting and spacing the vertebrae to allow spinal movement. As a disc becomes compressed, it may change shape and protrude out of its normal alignment in the spine.


A debilitating condition for anybody, A perfect candidate for Bowen.

After four sessions, the Bowen was able to get Daniel pain levels down to 2 and after his 8th session his pain level was a steady 1. In order to maintain his flexibility Daniel has signed up to a continuous program with the Egoscue Method to help him with intelligent movement. On his last session he left smiling and sent me this testimonial :

“Natalie has helped me to really listen to my body. For too long I had pushed and pushed at the pain, believing that to go through it would force my body to do what I wanted it to. By learning to listen, relax respond to the pain signals, I have been able to find a peace of mind and a more relaxed state of being which is allowing my body to recover and adjust.” Daniel


As a Bowen Practitioner registered with the Bowen Association UK, I am required to for fill a yearly continuous training program, in order to be a Full member. Last year I chose to attend a Meta-Bowen course in Dorset hosted by Joanne Figov (Bowen Trainer) Annie Gedye (Meta-Health) together they developed the course to……

 “Offer a bridge between different modalities so we can all work together more effectively”.

Below is an explanation of Meta as described on the Meta-Health Website:


META-Health 101 – The Foundation

The word META comes from the ancient Greek and means ‘beyond’, which is really how we see META-Health – as a system of healthcare and personal development which is a step beyond the current system available. So what does it mean to be META-Healthy? One definition from MHU founder Johannes R. Fisslinger is that to be META-Healthy means that you are aware of your bodies intelligence, you know what your stress triggers (or buttons!) are and you understand which emotions and beliefs are affecting your symptoms.

Being META-Healthy goes even deeper than this though.

It means taking conscious actions towards self-healing based on this understanding so that health become a person growth issue. The truth is that we can’t really separate our health issues from who we really are. Even though as a practitioner you may be mostly interested in META-Health as a healing paradigm, META-Health can be for everyone, not just those with a ‘condition’ but anyone who wants to evolve consciously and express more of their potential.

So how can Meta and Bowen complement each other in practice? Essentially Bowen is a non diagnostic modality, what we see we treat. For some clients, they carry patterns that are deeply embedded in their systems which result in symptoms, and this can cause a block to healing. Unresolved trauma that sits in the body can be the root of unhealthy patterns. If a client is aware of their patterns, and how they manifest as symptoms, they can embody this knowledge and use it as a vital tool to initiate change. Then we as Bowen Therapists can create a meaning full partnership to help facilitate that change, aid personal growth and restore a return to health.

Bowen Technique and Parkinson’s Disease

A new client came to me who had recently  been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. It is the first time I have treated someone with a Parkinson’s diagnosis, which is surprising as it seems Bowen is very well thought of as a complementary treatment for those with Parkinson’s.

On a recent visit to her neurologist, her husband picked up a booklet that was in the waiting room… ( when flagging up the booklet, her neurologist seemed to know nothing about what the booklet contained, let alone what Bowen was… My client had to educate her)

img_6802Both she and I were surprised and delighted to see Bowen included amongst a plethora of other therapies to help Parkinsonian sufferers manage their symptoms. With encouraging testimonials :

“I have been having Bowen technique fortnightly for about 18 months. I find it very relaxing ad, after several days, it gives me relief from the stiffness and soreness. I can speak openly and without pressure from the therapist. The pain does return but I look forward to the next session”

My client was led to finding a Bowen therapist near her, by reading John Colman’s book Stop Parkin’ and start livin’. It’s described as :