People often wonder how such a gentle approach can yield such profound results. Here are some of the mechanisms that help explain the remarkable effectiveness of Bowenwork:
The nervous system
The entire nervous system functions as a vast communication network. Feedback is constantly exchanged among the body’s parts and the central nervous system (CNS), which integrates and coordinates all body systems and activities. The Bowenwork ‘moves’ add new information to these feedback loops, stimulating the CNS to do a systems check and initiate a healing response.
Studies have shown that Bowenwork has a profound affect on the autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS regulates the stress response and controls over 80% of body functions, including; cardiac, respiratory, peripheral circulation, reproductive, endocrine and gastrointestinal. Most people today live in a constant state of elevated stress, or sympathetic nervous system dominance (fight, flight or freeze mode). When in this state our internal resources are mobilized for survival and unavailable for healing and restoring the body.
Bowenwork helps shift the nervous system into parasympathetic dominance (rest, relax and repair mode), sending the message to the body’s systems that the emergency is over. Once this shift occurs, stress symptoms are alleviated and the body can do what it naturally does: heal itself. In relation to soft tissues, the stress response can be activated by injuries, illness, surgery or trauma, causing the surrounding muscles to become locked in a protective contraction. This contraction may be initially helpful, but, if not released, over time it can create imbalances in the myofascial system. When Bowen moves send the signal to the nervous system that the emergency is over, tension levels in the muscles are reset to normal resting length and strain patterns in the fascia are released, allowing a return to optimal functioning. Stress is a fact of life; Bowenwork is the perfect antidote.
Nerve receptors and proprioceptors
Nerve receptors and proprioceptors are an important part of the body’s intricate communication network. Most Bowen moves are performed where Golgi and spindle nerve receptors are located. These receptors inform the nervous system of the state of tension, length, or stretch in the muscles and tendons. Bowen moves stimulate the receptors which changes the information received by the nervous system, helping to reset tension levels and break the pain-spasm-pain cycle.
All moves done around a joint directly affect the ligaments and joint capsule (the connective tissue surrounding a joint), which are richly innervated with proprioceptors. When stimulated, these proprioceptors send messages to the central nervous system, inviting normalization of joint function.
The fascia (connective tissue) connects everything in the body: muscles, bones, internal organs and the central nervous system. It plays an essential role in muscle function, flexibility, postural alignment and structural integrity and affects immune system function. Physical and emotional trauma, illness, stress, and poor habits can impact the fascia and, over time, lead to imbalances and pain. Bowen moves help to soften fascial restrictions, balance tension in the body and improve structural alignment.
Many Bowen moves are performed on the paraspinal muscles (the thick muscles that run the entire length of the spine). These moves produce referred reactions to the internal organs, often leading to improvements in digestion, elimination, circulation and sleep.
Most traditional healing systems acknowledge the importance of universal life energy or ‘Chi’. The underlying belief is that energy must flow freely throughout the body to promote optimal functioning of all the body’s systems. Through improving the structural integrity of the body, Bowenwork helps remove blockages to energy flow.
Some Bowen procedures activate drainage of the lymphatic system, which stimulates the immune system.
Bowenwork often stimulates a detoxification reaction, which improves the body’s ability to function at a cellular level. | Continue