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back pain

Homework counts!

Many of my clients are used to me telling them to do their homework. However, it’s more than just doing what your therapist tell you to do. We all know that we are supposed to do our exercises and it will help.  The truth of the matter is that we are working with our motor control system. Here is how it works:

Imagine you decide “I want _____ (ice cream, cookie, cake etc)”. That desire is rooted in your limbic system and is the “fill my needs” part of the brain.  The cerebral cortex of the brain is the strategist. It decides which route to take.  Then we get into the good stuff. The motor control centre coordinates the pattern of movement ie.  “do it this way”.  The message is sent to the spine which is the “do it” command.  The muscles are where the doing it action occurs.

When I am testing your muscle and it doesn’t work, I am getting the brain to fail. Because the brain learns from failure, if we don’t find a reason for the failure, the pattern remains. Testing the muscle lights up the Motor Control Centre and makes it available for learning. we can either do the same old thing (reinforce the failure) or give it something new (create a new neural pattern).  Giving you a corrective exercise that pairs the failing muscle with the compensating muscle (in the correct order) makes a greater impact because we are re-grooving the neuromuscular pattern.

How many repetitions does this take? There is some debate on the timing and I find it’s quite individual. A minimum of 700 good repetitions upwards to 3000 good repetitions.  What does a “good” repetition mean? We do not want to fatigue the muscle. This isn’t strength training. We need to get to the point where we feel the muscle activate but not tire it out. With proper form. And in the proper order.

The point is, if you do your homework diligently 3 x day, 15sec or 15 reps (activation portion of your homework) for a minimum of 2-3 weeks, you will reinforce the proper pattern.

 

How does Bowen work?

What is Bowen Therapy?

The Bowen Technique is a form of soft tissue manipulation created by Thomas A. Bowen (1916-1982) of Geelong, Victoria in Australia. Each treatment consists of sets of soft tissue manipulations on muscle, nerves and tendons, interspersed by short pauses that allow the body to integrate the effects.

 

Bowen Therapy’s gentle resetting of the physical body encourages the brain to integrate itself according to its own blueprint. As a practitioner we provide an environment in which the body can initiate this healing process. The Bowen Therapy ‘moves’ stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and the proprioceptors, sending off information through the central nervous system to the brain.

 

The spindle cells and Golgi tendon bodies reset the muscle’s resting tension level. The surrounding fascia becomes more fluid, allowing greater movement of blood and lymph through the tissue enhancing nutrition to, and waste removal from, the site.

 

With the release of toxins and old patterning, the moves begin to accomplish holistic balance almost immediately. Since Bowen addresses the body as a whole, rather than just the symptoms it embraces the physical, chemical, emotional and mental aspects of each individual that receives Bowen.

 

Bowen Therapy is a complimentary modality which means that it will enhance and complement, not interfere with other forms of medical intervention and therapeutics.

 

How does Bowen Therapy work?

There are many trains of thought on how Bowen Therapy works. As mentioned above, Bowen assists in rebalancing the parasympathetic nervous system and works with the muscle tension and lymphatic drainage. Let’s have a look at some other ways to describe how Bowen Therapy works.

Stretch Reflex – Many of the ‘moves’ applied to the body (gentle soft tissue manipulation) are done on the muscle belly or at the origin or insertion of the muscle.  This is where receptors are located to communicate to the nervous system what is happening in the muscle (tension, length, stretch). During the move the nervous system is stimulated and encourages change in the pain feedback loop.

Fascia – Fascia is connective tissue found all through the body. It wraps around muscles, connects muscle to bone and skin and runs in many continuous lines throughout the body. Every Bowen ‘move’ essentially affecting not only the muscle but the fascia itself. Fascia is critical in postural alignment and structural integrity. Bowen releases stiff, twisted and contracted fascia to increase mobility and function.

Trigger Points and Acupuncture Meridians – Bowen moves overlap many acupuncture/acupressure meridians and trigger points, bringing about immediate change in acupuncture pulses in response to Bowen moves.

Viscero-somatic Spinal Reflexes – Many of the Bowen moves are done adjacent to the spine over the erector spinae muscles. Because Bowen ‘moves’ directly stimulate the nerves through the skin and muscles there is a reflexive response which affects the internal organs associated with spinal segments.

Joint Proprioception – Bowen moves done around a joint affects the joint capsule, ligaments and tendons which are filled with proprioceptors. Communication with the nervous system through the proprioceptors encourages joint normalization and function.

 

 

How many sessions will I need?

It really depends on the individual and what is going for them in particular; however, many conditions are effectively managed within 3-4 sessions. Acute injuries are often dealt with immediately and only need attention to the area injured while chronic injuries and illness can make for a longer treatment plan. A treatment on its own is very relaxing and therefore many people enjoy Bowen as they would getting a regular massage even if they don’t have any particular issue at hand that needs to be dealt with.  Please be advised that 3-4 sessions is an average.  There are many variables in the healing process which I advise you discuss with your Bowen Therapist.   Keep in mind,if you have had chronic untreated back pain for 25 years, it’s safe to say that your healing process may take longer than 4 weeks (Bowen sessions are placed 1 week apart).

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