How To Help Fibromyalgia Sufferers Using The Bowen Technique

From the News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton

Courtesy Kathy O’Brien, Fair Oaks Bowen Therapy, CA

An 8 month study by Mike McGee, Fair Oaks Bowen Therapy
You will find it helpful to know what to look for. Since fibromyalgia is connective tissue pain, there are quite a few areas of sensitivity, but only a few pertain to Bowenwork. Having a clear recognized starting point is helpful for you and the client. In this case some light palpation will go a long way. First area of interest is the rectus abdominis inferior to the ribcage and superior to the anterior iliac crest. Basically the supine respiratory/gallbladder procedures. This area is usually tender to the touch and the muscles will feel restricted or “tight”. The next area is the vastus mediallis superior the knee (where the fingers might rest during hit the lat or move #4 of the knee procedure).

Bowen works very well on clients with fibro. The greatest obstacle will be getting the client to rest and not overdo it. They will tell you they don’t, but be assured they do! The first couple weeks are to get the body to respond to the work. I stayed with the basic BRM’s to balance the body and get them started in the right direction. During the first couple weeks you can expect to become an “advisor”. Also be prepared for one day of the client being a little “grouchy” and a little vocal about it. At this time you really need to focus on them learning moderation: light mild exercise and stretching a few minutes a day, 3-5 times a week. Be very clear with the client. Just because they “feel fine” at the time doesn’t mean 2-3 hrs at the gym is ok, because they will physically pay for it and blame you! Rest and meditation is important, and the client needs to understand that this is part of the healing and repair process.

The sessions were spaced as close to 7 days apart for optimum benefits, and were scheduled for two hours as all the work takes quite some time. Also, you need to be sure no one else is in the office as fibro people have a hard time relaxing when other people are around. Basically their sessions are 2 hours (double the “regular” client appointment time) and there can be no distractions. You have to remind them constantly of the process and teach them not to over do it. They are always wanting a “task at hand” or to be “getting something done”. Get them to slow it all down.

If you follow the first 5 sessions as I have laid out and they are doing their part and have had only minor “spells” or are willing to take responsibility, it is a good time to perform coccyx (1 side each week). By then they have realized a few things and can handle the procedures. Usually by now they have tried to do some relationship repairing and its most likely backfired. After coccyx I continue with kidney/gallbladder if there is still a lot of tenderness, but adding structural moves for the body is really what we are after because addressing the connective issue is foremost and Bowen directly addresses this issue.

Some final thoughts
Be absolutely certain they are committed to the process. If they are still doing chiro and massage etc., let them go – it won’t work as they’re not listening, and they’re still trying to do it their way. But their way got them to where they are now!!! If they are in the process and aren’t following directions they are most likely not convinced or committed. They have to be at least trying; otherwise they will say it isn’t working.
Many people with fibro are taking way too much calcium and they need to cut back. Also cutting back on sugar and white flour reductions are in order.
I highly recommend a counselor, therapist or psychiatrist along with the treatments as they can help in behavioral changes. I did recognize some big improvements when the clients used a life coach and I have one who is familiar with the challenges facing the client.
After dealing with people who suffer from fibromyalgia, you will notice they can be difficult at first. They have a hard time following directions and tend to be argumentative, but will turn around once they see you are actually helping them.

We recommend a minimum of 10 consecutive sessions. If they commit to the process and do their part, you can get them pain free or just about pain free within / close this time frame, if not well before! (see our testimonials at When you let them go, they MUST continue their part of the deal or they’ll fail. After a year to 18 months of changing THEIR lifestyle and remaining healthy, they can slowly go back to a “normal” life. (this information provided by a practitioner in Southern California who’s been working with fibro clients for many years using many styles of body work including some Bowen)
In short, The Bowen Technique can absolutely help people who suffer from fibromyalgia.

What Is Bowen Therapy?

The Bowen Technique is unique in the field of bodywork. Its gentle “moves” over muscle and other soft tissue address the whole body, stimulating it to reset and heal itself. The healing may occur at all levels as needed: physical, chemical, emotional, mental, energetic, etc.

The philosophy of The Bowen Technique is that “the body can heal itself of most structural imbalances” – it just needs help to initiate and focus the process.  A most common example of self healing is that of a broken arm.  If we were to break a forearm, it would be splinted and after a short period, typically 6 weeks, the splint would be removed and the bone would have healed.

Bowen Therapy is characterized by treating the cause of the problem rather than the symptoms, leading to a high success rate.  8 – 9 of 10 see a better than 75% improvement in their condition, and a high proportion are fully resolved.  Typically 3 or 4 sessions are all that’s needed for structural conditions.  Non structural conditions take longer and the results for both are long lasting.

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About jeanne hambleton

Journalist-wordsmith, former reporter, columnist, film critic, editor, Town Clerk and then fibromite and eventer with 5 conferences done and dusted. Interested in all health and well being issues, passionate about research to find a cure and cause for fibromyalgia. Member LinkedIn. Worked for 4 years with FMA UK as Regional Coordinator for SW and SE,and Chair for FMS SAS the Sussex and Surrey FM umbrella charity and Chair Folly Pogs Fibromyalgia Research UK - finding funding for our "cause for a cure" and President and co ordinator of National FM Conferences. Just finished last national annual Fibromyalgia Conference Weekend. This was another success with speakers from the States . Next year's conference in Chichester Park Hotel, West Sussex, will be April 24/27 2015 and bookings are coming in from those who raved about the event every year. I am very busy but happy to produce articles for publication. News Editor of FMS Global News on line but a bit behind due to conference. A workaholic beyond redemption! The future - who knows? Open to offers with payment. Versatile and looking for a regular paid column - you call the tune and I will play the pipes.
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