HOW IS THIS TECHNIQUE DIFFERENT?
In order to explain the technique, one often compares it to some of the more widely known therapies. However, it is quite unique and is clearly distinguishable from other techniques:
The methods and objectives are quite different from massage. The moves go no deeper than fascia on superficially accessible muscles, and utilizes gentle pressure only. There is no prolonged rubbing or even touching around a "move" that has just been applied. This can weaken the effectiveness of the move. In fact, to achieve relief, the area in question may not even be touched! Also, no oils or lotions are utilized during a treatment.
Needles are not utilized nor needed during treatment. Some of the areas of focus in a treatment may coincide with acupuncture points or meridians, but there are so many acupoints that some overlap is inevitable. This is a much simpler and more focused intervention. One simple move across the structure is all it takes. The same release of blockages and energy flow will occur with less intervention.
There is no manipulation of the bones or of the skeletal system in any way. However, proper realignment of the body can still be achieved by addressing bilateral muscular imbalances. Many clients observe or feel this vertebral movement. This is evidence of the body realigning and healing itself as opposed to an intentional manipulation by the practitioner.
Stretch reflex, Golgi reflex and reciprocal enervation may be involved in the muscular releases as occurs in physiotherapy, but these occur on a cellular level. There is no use of any machines, electrical or otherwise. Many people may fall asleep during a session.
TRIGGER POINT THERAPY
Most trigger points are found in the core of muscles and involve very deep penetration of muscles. This technique utilizes moves that are usually made at the origin or insertion of muscles groups and are very gentle.
With each move, the fascia is gently stimulated; it is not engaged at a deep tissue level nor forcefully separated or worked on for a prolonged period. After a series of sessions, adhesions tend to loosen and scar tissue frequently softens and shrinks on its own because impediments to the natural healing process are removed.
The technique does stimulate lymphatic releases, in that sinuses will often drain during the session; breast lumps may shrink or be gone within a few weeks; and excess fluids are usually eliminated within the week. It does not, however, use the percussion or vigorous stroking of lymphatic massage, although there is a bit of gentle stroking done around the sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscle.
Emotional blockages are often released during treatment when these interfere with the natural healing of the body. Some clients have reported having a "good cry" after a treatment which leaves them feeling freer and lighter.
Osteopathy can involve the physical manipulation of joints and organs whereas this technique stimulates the healing of joints and organs through gentle moves across the muscles, tendons or ligaments at a fascial level.
It is important to note that the technique has been effective at alleviating a wide range of conditions even when other treatments have resulted in transient or little improvement. This is because it affects the body differently. In contrast to many other hands-on modalities where the practitioner imposes correction on the client through manipulation, this technique facilitates the body in healing itself, with minimal intervention.
Every client is unique and some of the techniques listed above may also be very helpful to a person's condition. If planning to combine with other modalities be sure to discuss an appropriate treatment schedule with your therapist. Certain bodywork treatments, if applied within one week of a bowen session, may counteract the effects of a treatment.
University Pain Clinic