A great many of the clients who come to see me for Bowen Therapy are looking for help to relieve issues of either acute or chronic back pain. Whilst some relief may be felt after only one treatment, I usually recommend three or four treatments initially, each a week to 10 days apart. This is because in the Bowen Technique, the body is treated as a whole, and patterns of compensation from other parts of the body, which can be linked with back presentations, can take a few treatments to start to unwind.
Most clients will show improvement in their condition after this time but some may need further treatments or wish to continue with regular ‘maintenance’ every few weeks or months.
I’m delighted that the benefits of the Bowen Technique for helping with back pain are gaining awareness given that it is a such a common and debilitating condition for so many people.
The growing problem of back pain in our society
Back pain is, unfortunately, an extremely common problem and becoming increasingly so. Most people are likely to be affected at some point in their lives. It can hove dire consequences for many, find more dangerous ways pain can stop your life. The most common type of back pain is in the lower back and is non-specific, that is to say, there is no one identifiable cause of the pain. For some people, it may be a short-term complaint, lasting weeks or months. For others, the condition is chronic, with long-term or recurring bouts of pain. It would appear that initial high pain intensity, psychological distress, and accompanying pain at multiple body sites increases the risk of persistent disabling low back pain.
Almost 31 million days of work were lost last year due to back, neck and muscle problems, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The ONS’s Labour Force Survey, which polls hundreds of thousands of people in the UK, reports that more days were lost to back, neck and muscle pain than any other cause.
It’s thought that one factor involved is the increase in sedentary jobs. “Sitting is the new smoking,” explains Prof Steve Bevan, director of the Centre for Workforce Effectiveness at the Work Foundation. “The more sedentary you are the worse it is for your health.”
Given that this is such a prevalent condition, it is unfortunate that more and more people seem to be experiencing frustration on this issue when visiting their doctor.
Last year, The Lancet published three papers on low back pain, by an international group of authors, which address the issues around the growing prevalence of back pain and call for a new look at the ways we treat these conditions. One of those papers reported as a key message: “Guidelines recommend self-management, physical and psychological therapies, and some forms of complementary medicine, and place less emphasis on pharmacological and surgical treatments.”
How can Bowen Therapy help back pain?
The Bowen Technique is made up of a series of gentle rolling moves with frequent pauses between these moves to give the brain time to assimilate the physical moves being made.
The moves are applied at very precise points on the body. They involve the movement of soft tissue in a specific way and are designed to stimulate the tissue and nerve pathways, creating a focus for the brain, allowing the brain to send messages to the body to make the necessary adjustments. Bowen Therapy both balances and stimulates â€“ the process of repair begins once the body is relaxed.
It is also recognised that there are socio/emotional implications in back pain. Because the Bowen Technique is a holistic treatment, involving the whole of the body, it can also stimulate emotional changes, which can be helpful in addressing the issues arising from back pain.
A study into the effects of Bowen Therapy on Back Pain was conducted in June 2007 with an outcome of almost 90% of treatments given resulting in either a complete or partial recovery. Of the 351 volunteers, 124 (35.3%) reported a “Full Recovery”, 191 (54.4%) reported a “Partial Recovery”, whilst 32 (9.1%) reported “No Change”. The course of treatment was not completed by 4 (1.1%) of the participants.
It is thought that by triggering a re-balancing of the muscles around the lumbar and pelvic areas, Bowen Therapy may help to stabilise a weak area, reduce compression around the nerve roots or improve circulation to the spinal discs, muscles and joints.
The Bowen Technique is a therapy choice for the University of North Durham NHS Pain Management Clinics.
Experience the benefits of Bowen Therapy for yourself
I will work with you to find the right approach for you, in your particular circumstances, to help address your physical problems and to improve your understanding of the physiology and energetic function of your body and the impact of physical and emotional stresses in your life.