Todays Therapist, Nov/Dec 2005
The Bowen Technique: Knees, Ankles & Feet
by Janie Godfrey
As with most parts of our body, we take our legs for granted until something goes wrong. They uncomplainingly carry us around, over hill and dale, up and down stairs and, for some of us, delivering stellar performances on the fields of sport. The complexity of their functioning is amazing and their durability in the face of what we demand of them is remarkable.
There are many case histories of The Bowen Technique relieving a wide variety of leg injuries, relieving pain, prompting repair and restoration of function. Bowen practitioner and teacher Alastair Rattray treated a woman who came to him who had had continuous throbbing pain down her right leg for 8 months after her surgeon had done an arthroscopy on her knee.
While under anaesthetic he had attempted to manipulate the leg to straighten it, had severely torn the attachments of the hamstrings at both the pelvic insertion point and the back of the knee, which was severely swollen and very painful. She had suffered a stroke the day after and as a result the surgeon had refused to treat her further.
She had had some physiotherapy with mixed success during the 8 months period. She had great difficulty walking and when she stood up, she had to pause before starting to walk. After three Bowen treatments, she was walking very much better and no longer had to pause before starting to walk.
After 4 treatments, the throbbing pain went. She also benefited from using apple cider vinegar packs in conjunction with her Bowen treatment. This is an old-fashioned remedy but nonetheless is a good aid to Bowen treatment as it draws swelling and fluid away from injury and is typically applied to a sprain or a twist but can also be used with bruises, inflammation, soreness and areas of redness or heat.
The vinegar is applied by soaking a flannel in neat vinegar (can be diluted for use with small children or on those with sensitive skin). The wet cloth can be applied on unbroken skin directly to the bruise or inflamed area and then wrapped lightly in cling film in order to retain the moisture and left on for one to two hours. Treatment continues on this lady as she has difficulty in containing her energy and rushes off doing too much.
Another Bowen practitioner/ teacher who has found Bowen to be exceptionally helpful with leg injuries is Paula Esson, who has coached at national level for England Basketball.
One of the players, Diana, had had the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee surgically repaired. She then found herself struggling with swelling and pain in the damaged knee which led to a lack of mobility and hence difficulty performing at National League Level and, consequently, she had not played a game for two months.
Following the first Bowen treatment the swelling reduced considerably although the pain remained. At the end of treatment two the sharp pain had reduced to a mild ache.
Diana returned to basketball and did not experience any discomfort or swelling during or after competition. Nor did she experience any further problems and successfully completed the season - an achievement that she never expected since the medical diagnosis was that basketball should be seen as part of her past. This was accomplished with two treatments.
Bowen treatment, in combination with apple cider vinegar, saved the day for another of Paula's basketball players with no time to lose. 18-year-old Anne was an England Junior Basketball Team Member. She had badly strained her left ankle during a practice match and it was important to have her match fit within two days, ready to play an international.
The first treatment was given when the incident occurred. Apple cider vinegar applied in the evening brought the swelling down. Bowen treatment was repeated the following day with rest and elevation. On the match day the ankle was carefully strapped with meditape to support the injured area. Anne played the entire match without experiencing pain or discomfort and no further injury was incurred.
And, not to forget the feet - a woman in her 40's had been limping for 4 months due to a painful foot. Her doctor diagnosed her problem as interdigital neuritis (Morton's Foot Pain) and made an appointment for her to see an orthopaedic specialist, saying that surgery might be the answer. After only one Bowen treatment the pain disappeared and she happily cancelled her hospital appointment.
An important research study has now been completed on the effect of Bowen Technique treatment on hamstring flexibility and is due to be published by early 2006.
Contacts and References
For further information, List of Accredited Practitioners or full course prospectus contact:
European College of Bowen Studies
38 Podway, Frome, Somerset BA11 1QU Tel/Fax: 01373 461 873
Todays Therapist, Nov/Dec 2005
by Janie Godfrey