Bowen is a gentle but powerful technique which uses specific, precise rolling movements over connective tissue, known as Fascia, which includes muscles, tendons and ligaments, in order to stimulate a healing and adjustment response.
The Bowen Move
The technique is unique in the way it is applied. First it gently moves the skin slack away from the underlying structure, before gentle pressure is applied, and the rolling move is made. The moves are designed to create impulses in the fascia which are carried to the brain, seeking a response where it is needed. It is believed that fascia is highly responsive to electrical impulses, and it carries these to the brain much faster than the central nervous system. Fascia responds as a single, coherent system and will therefore respond as a whole to a Bowen move, not just locally where the move has been made.
What is Fascia?
Fascia is the thin layer of connective tissue situated underneath the skin, which binds it to underlying tissue, and surrounds every muscle in our body. Think of the thin layer surrounding a chicken breast, or the layer of fat on a leg of lamb. Healthy fascia has a wavy configuration which allows us to move freely, whilst providing support and structure.
“Your fascial network began as a unified whole about the second week of your development and will remain a single connected web from top to toe and from birth until death. From the moment of its inception, it has been folded and refolded in the complex origami of embyological development into a human who can stand, eat and read on its own… While every anatomy lists around 600 muscles, it is more accurate to say that there is one muscle poured into six hundred pockets of the fascial webbing .” (James Earls and Thomas Myers; 2010).
Fascia is interconnected in the body. Therefore, dysfunction in one small area can affect the function of the body as a whole.
For example, bio-mechanically, the shoulders and the pelvis are linked by what is known as a myofascial sling. The hamstrings continue through the ischial tuberosity, the sacra-tuberous ligament, through the thoraco-lumbar fascia to the opposite scapula and humerus. So your left hamstring pelvic area is directly connected to your right shoulder. Therefore, it follows that if there is a bio-mechanical imbalance in one part of the body, it can cause pain or dysfunction elsewhere. It also explains why I may work on your hamstrings and pelvis if you come to see me with a shoulder problem!