Monday, June 2, 2008

Bowen therapy, shiatsu, etc.

I went to a beginners' class in Bowen therapy. It is a form of bodywork that is supposed to be very helpful and relaxing. It looks like strumming over tight muscles and tendons, like you would pluck a guitar string. Can you picture it?

Anyways, the class was 2 days. I came in with a pain in my shoulder and otherwise feeling fine. The shoulder felt better. But my foot started hurting. Something got out of place while people were practicing Bowen on me. The instructor worked on my foot, and it did feel better, for about several hours.

A kind of modality where a beginners' class can make one hurt is not really safe, in my opinon. Perhaps the inventor of Bowen therapy was God guided, so he knew what he was doing, but a general "canned" Bowen session obviously can be harmful.

The foot pain got worse, it stayed for a week. UNTIL I worked on my pelvis and really **stretched** it. The pain was coming from the pelvis, not from the foot. As my lomi teacher already demonstrated - she worked on my pelvis and in 10 minutes I was pain free FOR GOOD, after 1 yr of limping...

It seems to me that no bodywork really works without stretching....

The shoulder pain that Bowen kinda subdued really didn't go away. (Remember, a chiropractor yanked my neck and injured me.) I showed a friend a few shiatsu moves with stretching and pressing into tight areas. My friend said that I had a hard ball, "like a cyst" in the shoulder, and he really pressed into some key areas, as I guided him, all the way down my back. Then I showed him how to stretch the arm. Basically, he did on me what I'd do on someone else. After that work voila! my shoulder felt completely different, everything went back into place, the tissue had a different quality, more even, and I felt GREAT.

In working with people, I am beginning to see certain patterns.

First, some problems do need to be addressed with rolfing-like moves. If it is deeply tight, etc. Some problems need to be stretched - I suppose almost anything. Some need to be gently melted. I find Bowen useful to start relaxing very tight areas. I also find that going in with shiatsu/rolfing moves really resolves the problem, instead of just feeling relief for a while.

And that brings me to the next point: deep tissue work is more life changing than just Bowen. Bowen seems to work on people who cannot stand inner work and being challenged.

Which is ok - I use it on children, on elderly, and on people who are not very spiritual. Also, anyone with really really tight areas.

Shiatsu and lomi have been around for a very very long time, they are true and tested, and I can see why. It really works.

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