by Helen Mawson
In this article, I will share with you some information concerning how I use the Bowen Technique to help with arthritic conditions and problems. I also offer some recommendations for exercise and lifestyle changes that may help.
Different types of arthritis
There are many different types of arthritis, the more commonly known are Osteoarthritis which has a degenerative impact upon the bones and Rheumatoid arthritis which is an autoimmune condition whereby your immune system attacks the cells that line your joints by mistake. This will over time damage the cartilage and the joint itself.
Other less common types of arthritis include; psoriatic arthritis, gout, osteoporosis, rheumatism, septic arthritis.
Common symptoms of arthritis
The most common symptoms of arthritis are pain and inflammation, these vary in severity depending on the individual, their health, diet and lifestyle. Other symptoms include; stiffness, swelling, puffiness, redness and decreased range of movement. Less common symptoms can include; tiredness, weight loss or gain, mild fevers and or night sweats, skin rashes, nausea and a general feeling of being unwell. Arthritis can occur in any joint but is typically found in hips, shoulders, neck knees and the back. Sometimes arthritis will occur at sites of an old injury.
How I work with arthritic conditions
In practice, every treatment is tailored to the needs of the individual that I am treating, no two bodies are the same and even when presented with similar symptoms specific things are often different for the individual.
I always consider the symptoms an individual is experiencing and look at the best possible procedures that I have to use with a client. In Bowen we have procedures that address from top to toe so if pain and deterioration is being experienced in the hips for example we would use the pelvic procedure. If pain is being experienced in the shoulders we would use the shoulder procedure, similarly, if pain and or deterioration was being experienced in the knee this would indicate the knee procedure.
I will generally also look at nutrition for an individual if this is relevant and explore options for limiting certain foods that might be making symptoms worse and increasing the foods that will help calm symptoms.
The body systems and parts that make up the whole work synergistically, each one is responsible for its own function but has to cooperate with the whole unit in order for the body to function at its optimum. If one of the systems is out of balance it will impact the other systems. The body always does its best however and works hard to maintain its homeostasis or balance.
The way in which Bowen works is truly holistic it always looks to achieve the best balance for the body as a whole and in the most efficient way possible. In practice, I find it common for clients to experience improvement in other areas of health even when a session focused on treating a specific problem.
When we consider the fact that Bowen works directly with the nervous system specifically affecting the nerves along the vertebral column we can see how a multifaceted response is often experienced. A lot of the Bowen work is also carried out over specific energy systems such as the meridians and chakra systems adding yet another dimension to treatment. Bowen also works directly with fascia which probably needs an article of its own to discuss further!
Lifestyle factors to help with arthritis
- Hydration is vital to the balance of the body. I have known clients begin taking more water and the painful muscles that have plagued them for years have got better virtually overnight!
- Posture is very important the body needs plenty of variation, so if you work in a seated position have plenty of breaks and get up stretch or even have a short walk. Make sure your desk is set up properly for you including desk and chair height and position. A good tip to remember when you are sitting is that your knees should be lower than your hips.
- Exercise is important in supporting structural health and getting enough appropriate exercise for your specific body type and health requirements are essential. Some of my favourite exercises include; walking, swimming, yoga or gentle stretching, pilates and rebounding on a mini trampoline (my personal favourite!)
- Nutrition is vital to support the body in general but especially when dealing with specific conditions. I have fund in general that arthritic conditions respond well to certain supplements such as magnesium, sometimes more calcium, vit D and remedies such as rosehip, glucosamine. In a session I would test the individual to see what would specifically help them the most.
- Bowen in my experience is a great therapy to help with the symptoms of arthritis in most of it’s forms. The main reason I believe it to be so successful is that it treats the whole body and has an impact on the nervous system and the fascia.