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The Bowen Technique - Elderly frail

Today’s Therapist International Trade Journal   -      July August 2003  

The Bowen Technique - Elderly frail                                                          
by Janie Godfrey  

Bowen practitioner Jean B. recorded the effect that Bowen treatments had on her 83 year old mother, Edith, and was surprised to see how much improvement was possible.   

Edith has arthritis and had been progressively unsteady on her legs for the past four years - they were apt to give way under her and she was afraid of falling over and has relied on a stick for support and never went anywhere without it.  

She had a left sided mastectomy in 1966 and since then has been unable to raise her left arm above shoulder height or straighten that arm.  In April 1993 she had a lumpectomy on her right breast after which she was given physiotherapy and exercises to do at home for her right arm.  She has had no problem with that arm but, although her GP Hospital Consultant and Physiotherapist knew that she could not properly raise or straightened her left arm, this was totally ignored and no help was offered to correct it.   

Jean gave her mother her first Bowen on 20 August - just the basic procedures followed by the knee procedure.  Jean was thinking that she would need both the tennis elbow and frozen shoulder procedures at a later date, but didn’t want to rush things.  

Edith had great difficulty lying face down on the bed and couldn’t do so really comfortably at all.  Her shoulders were markedly uneven in appearance.  

When Jean finished the treatment she asked Edith to try raising her left arm again.  To the astonishment of them both, it shot straight up above her head!  The elbow had straightened out completely and the raise was almost perfect.  Edith was quite overcome as the realisation dawned that she had regained full movement of an arm that she had learned to live without full use of for 29 years. 

   “Oh, I wonder if I can get it round my back now” she said, and promptly shot it round behind her with the greatest of ease!  

At that point Jean felt a stab of pure anger that her mother had been incapacitated over such a long period of time when it had taken so little to redress the situation.  

Jean is still amazed and indeed awed that the basic Bowen moves were sufficient to affect such a cure.  Jean rang her mother the next morning just to make sure she could still raise her arm and found that she was over the moon at all the different things she could now do.    

Jean asked how her legs were and was told:   “I went to bed at 11 p.m. and because of all the water you’d told me to drink, I had to get up to go to the loo at midnight, 1 and 2 o’clock.  Anyway, about 3 o’clock I was finally settling down to sleep when suddenly I got terrific cramp in my left thigh followed by cramp in my right thigh then it moved down to my left calf followed by my right calf then I had a real shooting pain in my left ankle which travelled across my foot and toes before disappearing.  Hello, I thought, Jean’s certainly done something to my legs!  I slept after that.  Both my knees felt stiff when I got up in the morning but it soon wore off and I felt altogether freer.”   

After another treatment, one week later, Edith said that she had slept really well - she’d not had any cramp.  On waking she felt her calf muscles twitching slightly.  She said that she felt altogether steadier on her feet, so much so, that when she went out to feed the ducks she didn’t need to use her stick. 

She says she somehow feels much freer altogether - her arthritic fingers are more mobile.  She’s using the stairs in the flats now instead of the lift, and her head, which she had described as having a muzzy feeling in it all the time, has now cleared.   

Overall the improvement is quite marked.  Jean had started to describe her mother as beginning to get quite frail.  She won’t be saying that again - it’s no longer true.

Contents provided by the European School of Bowen Studies (ECBS)   

For further details about the Bowen Technique please contact Karen on 01954 260 982 / 07714 995 299 or email info@BowenByKaren.co.uk

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