FUNCTIONAL BOWEN™ FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
While this list is not exhaustive, some examples are:
Q: Will it hurt? Or cause discomfort?
A: Oftentimes, muscles that are tight can be tender to movement. Every effort is made to minimize discomfort and maximize efficiency with every move. Sometimes discomfort is unavoidable. When there is discomfort, it is momentary and resolves quickly.
Q: What’s the difference between Traditional Bowen and Functional Bowen™?
A: While traditional Bowen is very helpful for all ages and stages, there are many dysfunctions and muscular difficulties specific to newborn infants and toddlers as well as children and adults of all ages that require a more focused technical /medical approach using the same basic technique.
Q: Have there been studies documenting the effectiveness?
A: Yes but they are limited. As this is a unique and recently developed approach using Tom Bowen’s technique, what studies that have been done are limited and not intended for more than research.
Q: Why is an evaluation necessary before treatments?
A: The most important part of any treatment is the assessment. As such, the initial evaluation includes a thorough assessment in addition to an initial hands-on evaluation of the musculature.
Q: How do I know an evaluation is necessary?
A: Babies/Children: If your child demonstrates any of the listed discomforts or dysfunctions, an evaluation is recommended. Referrals are also made by lactation consultants, midwifes, labor & delivery room nurses, pediatricians, and dentists. Adults: Generalized or specific pain that has been evaluated by your PCP and found to be non- specific in origin as a result of accident, injury or disease. Referrals are also made by physicians for muscle specific release and treatment.
Q: What kinds of things does this form of therapy improve?
A: In babies/children: It has the potential to improve all aspects of breast-feeding / nursing, eating and swallowing, gross and fine motor movements, jaw / grinding, balance / gait (walking), posture, congestion / asthma, bed-wetting / urgency, and possibly cognitive (reading/comprehensive) focus skills. B: In Adults: It has the potential to reduce pain and muscle stress from a variety of difficulties or symptoms of diseases that produce muscle tension, promote better balance and general flexibility. Some examples are back pain, asthma, bladder urgency, TMJ disorders, frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel syndrome, and so on. All symptoms of diseases and related dysfunctions can see benefit from giving the body an improved tissue blood flow.
Q: Should I schedule any other forms of therapy (complimentary or otherwise) or treatment on the same day?
A: Oftentimes, spinal balance modalities such as Chiropractic care should be accomplished prior to a therapy session on the same day. Ordinarily it is best to allow 24 – 48 hours for the body to continue the balance that therapy initiates. Physical therapy, cranial sacral therapy and acupuncture are examples of treatments that should be scheduled on an alternative day. The exception is dental work where long periods of oral work will be done (such as root canals, crowns and the like). It is helpful to be seen prior to gain a more rested jaw prior to the procedure.
Q: How is this form of therapy different from massage?
A: This form of therapy is more exacting in application as it is directed toward an individual muscle or muscle groups by use of the Bowen Technique. The move essentially uses an across the fiber capture and roll format of muscle strumming. It is focused on the release and restoration of function as it relates to the general balance of the musculature as whole. It is done through clothing with no gels, creams or oils. The session initiates release that continues for 2-4 days post therapy and peaks at day 5 or so in adults and day 2 or so in infants/children. It is best done as a series of 3 consecutive releases done 7-10 days apart in the case of adults and 3-5 days apart in the case of infants/children. There are built in rest/muscle balance break periods in any given session to allow for the “processing” of muscle release and rest.
Q: How is Bowen Therapy different from acupressure or acupuncture?
A: These latter forms of therapy are said to work by stimulating the brain and spinal cord with holding pressure on or inserting special needles into acupoints on the body to release chemicals called neurotransmitters and hormones. These chemicals promote the release of the body’s healing energy and may be responsible for reducing the pain, boosting the immune system and regulating various body functions. Bowen Therapy works in much the same manner it is believed using the muscle strumming technique described across many muscle groups in specific regions of the body instead of pressure or needle points which is why rest periods for “processing” are so valuable. Functional Bowen™ as it is practiced and taught in our office takes it one step further and applies specific releases as necessary to structural areas that are determined to be primary in their hindrance to body balance as in the case of tightness, tension and spasm. We have been described by one master acupuncturist as “acupuncture without needles” though this practitioner believes we are closer to the concepts held by acupressurists who use specific pressure to bring healing energy as well as removal of blockages (of energy) to a sore spot on the body. We prefer to see what we do as stimulating the central nervous system to help unlock blockages of capillary blood flow while assisting in the chemical/electrical balance of the musculature and thereby assist in the stimulation of the body to release valuable hormonal and chemical resources to initiate and perpetuate the healing process. We believe in this way we contribute to the homeostatic (self-defined) balance of the body. We promote muscle rest which is a passive process without which full chemical/electrical stimulation is hindered, congestion in the musculature and surrounding tissues ensues, creating compensatory adaptive changes that promote imbalance, inflexibility, muscle tension, spasm and pain. We work to promote the return of muscle rest and balance. Reduced pain, increased balance, flexibility and stress reduction are also a large benefit of this process.
Q: What kind of environment should I expect?
A: We encourage a cheerful yet subdued atmosphere that promotes less stimulation and emphasizes a nurturing approach. We promote a restful environment for all patients/clients and an activity time for toddlers and older children that encompasses play in a child-centered environment.
Q: How many visits will be needed?
A: It is recommended, post-evaluation, that a minimum of three visits is made. Evaluation of musculature is ongoing with each visit.
Q: How important is follow-up care? What happens if we skip planned appointments and resume later?
A: Follow-up care is important for the sake of continuity as each subsequent Bowen treatment builds on the previous progress made. Skipping appointments for other than illness or family hardship during a series of planned treatments often produces a loss of ground work established in musculature as it affects the resolve of whatever dysfunction.
Q: Is there something I can do to help improve the outcome of therapy?
A: Yes. Patients as well as parents are essential components of the team that is established to care. Home based therapeutic activities and exercises to augment therapy are offered.
Q: It’s understandable that older people may have structural problems /issues but why would a baby need to be seen?
A: In-utero development can be impacted by many forces, external to the developing infant. The birth process also can be difficult or traumatic for a variety of reasons. The need in babies is seen usually as it relates to one or the other of the above circumstances.
Q: Is this covered by health insurance?
A: Most generally “NO” as insurance companies do not recognize the benefits of highly specialized therapy that is not “physical therapy” in the true sense.
Q: Can a patient family member / parent take a course in this form of therapy to help their family member/children?
A: Yes. Family members, parents or those related to them (with ongoing neuromuscular problems and disease processes that affect the musculature) are encouraged to take the Basic Bowen 1 & 2 course, which enables them to understand how to better help their own affected relative.
Q: Do I have to have any special medical background or training to take the above course?
A: No. A cursory overview of the musculature as it related to the technique and method are covered in this class.
Q: What shall I expect after a therapy session?
A: Physically – Usually a person may feel tired, sleepy, and desirous of a sleep or a nap; however, the opposite is possible. Therapy may cause nervous system stimulation resulting in increased activity levels. Activity, not over-exertion, is always encouraged whenever possible. Activity-wise – Levels range from tired and slow to energized and playful. Diet-wise – Likely thirsty and possibly hungry. Provide a balanced diet, where applicable (toddlers and older), avoiding processed sugars or caffeine-laced drinks which have been shown to increase inflammation and decreases effective muscle use. Fluids are to be encouraged. Due to the stimulated release of the lymphatics (increased lymphatic drainage – or by-products of cellular metabolism), adults may need to urinate frequently for a few hours and children may have to “go potty”. Activity that provides adequate access should be considered. Regarding Sleep or when to rest – Movement recommended for the first hour after therapy is suggested, then activity or rest as tolerated. Do not deprive of sleep and should be promoted as healing and homeostatic balancing continues in the sleep cycle.
Q: Is activity for adults or play for children going to “un-do” what you do?
A: No. Activity, rather than over-exertion in general, is recommended and even helpful. Heavy exercise should be avoided or minimized.
Q: Can I be in the room with my family member or my child during their evaluation and treatment?
A: Yes, if adults are agreeable or request your presence, otherwise privacy is recommended. Parents / caregivers are urged and often required to be present.
Q: How long to the sessions take?
A: Initial evaluation is one hour; all subsequent visits are fort-five minutes for adults and thirty minutes for infant and children to age 10 yrs.
Q: What should I wear or bring my child in?
A: Non-Restricted, comfortable, loose clothing is recommended.
Q: Can you administer therapy if I/they are ticklish?
A: Yes, although it can present challenges, it is possible.
Q: Does it matter if a meal is eaten before a session?
A: It is best not to have a heavy meal beforehand.