The Bowen Technique
Until I had those pesky children, my back was a thing of wonderment. No problems with it at all. Bendy, stretchy, able to withstand a sprint triathlon of two (well I’m not doing a full one, are you mad?). Then the midgets came along, but only after two caesareans, three epidurals and a pair of surgical salad dressers thrown, Jamie Oliver style, into the mix. Ever since, my back has been a recipe for disaster – see what I did there?! – and it ‘goes’ on me every few months.
Which is a very long winded way of explaining why I’m always trying out back-related treatments. Here’s another. The Bowen Technique. Heard of it? I hadn’t either but it was popularised by an Australian Tom Bowen in the 50s, medically untrained but somehow able to help cure all kinds of complaints, from frozen shoulders to migraines and beyond.
I went to see Peter Crabb who runs Bowen in Motion clinics in Bicester, Aylebury and Arncott. A very genial bloke, he worked in payroll for the NHS for years before sticking on his Freddie moustache, grabbing a pair of fake breasts and a hoover and belting out I Want To Break Free. in the ward corridors (or, um, possibly something similar). Here he is, possibly the most enthusiastic exponent of The Bowen Technique you’re ever likely to meet, if you don’t include his wife who is now a convert too and training for the canine version of the technique. Yes, there is one apparently.
The idea behind Bowen therapy is that it involves moving the soft tissue under the skin, the fascias, in a particular way, stimulating nerve pathways and tissue as it does so. The movement uses the slack of the skin (sorry, a terrible phrase, but you know what I mean!) to move the tissue underneath, transmitting info and lubricating the muscle fibres. It’s done with clothes on, and feels so light and gentle that you kind of wonder if anything’s actually happening. Having worked out that my problem was my lower, middle and upper back, with a neck bonus, Peter performed what felt like little flicky light moves on my back, and then would leave the room. Apparently he wasn’t having a fag and reading the latest issue of Chat, this is part of the technique as the touch has alerted the brain and by stopping, the brain has to work out what’s going on, thus stimulateing the nerves and fixing the issue.
I did feel a deep relaxation, and certainly my back hasn’t gone into its usual summer spasm which has been a welcome surprise. It’s hard to grasp just how much the treatment did or didn’t do for me as my back wasn’t chronic when I went. I’m usually happy with osteopathy as my go-to therapy, so I’d say it’s probably one I’d say to keep an open mind about, and if you’re open to complementary therapies put it on your list to try.
Clearly it’s a technique that has had some successes – GB triathlete Victoria Gill is a fan, telling The Huffington Post in 2014 that it improved her range of movement, breathing and tri performance. The Bowen Technique claims success frozen shoulders, back and joint problems, allergies, migraines, stress and RSI so if you give it a go, as ever, let me know how you get on – spread the knowledge, spread the power!
Each session costs £30 and lasts between 45-60 minutes. boweninmotion.co.uk