ASTHMA

BREATHING DIFFICULTY


little boy, aged 2    3 treatments
S. was often unable to draw breath when crying, even fainting and requiring artificial respiration on one occasion. He was given three treatments in a short period of time.

First, the therapist performed the moves on S.’s soft toys with him puffing. Then his mum tried her hand on him and finally he allowed the therapist to touch him while he performed a few of the gentle moves. After a year, there has been no recurrence of the problem.

 

CHILDHOOD ASTHMA


boy, aged 6     1 treatment
Oliver’s asthma was worsening and his mother did not tell him that his visit to Bowen therapist Carole Railton was connected to his breathing problems. As he is normally quite a stubborn little boy and wary of anything new, his mother was surprised when he accepted the treatment and did as he was told.

The next evening, when she reminded him to take his usual dose from his inhaler, he announced: “I don’t need my puffer any more”. He then enjoyed a summer free of asthma, including hour-long football practices with his brother, and a mountain-biking holiday in Scotland.

 

ASTHMA AND CHEST INFECTIONS


girl, aged 8     3 treatments
Felicity is 8 years old and suffered with asthma and chest infections. She was small for her age and had a poor appetite. She had 3 inhalers: 5 puffs of one twice a day, 3 of another twice a day and the last one every 4 hours.

Distressed with the amount of medication Felicity was taking, her mother was looking for an alternative and discovered The Bowen Technique. After one treatment, Felicity became full of life, energetic, hungry and didn’t need the last 4 hourly inhaler. At the end of treatment 3, she was off all inhalers, had grown, was still full of life and hungry.

At a routine check up with the GP, just after Bowen treatment 3, he immediately picked up the difference. The bright, alert look in her eyes, weight and height gain, clear, good, strong breathing. He was so pleased he wanted Bowen information to give to other patients.

 

CHILDHOOD ASTHMA


boy, aged 10         2 treatments
N, an asthmatic for a number of years, came for Bowen treatment following the acute exacerbation of his problem.

His asthma was out of control and he was on oral steroids and also had a chest infection, an ear infection and chronic nasal congestion. His peak flow was 150.

The day after the first treatment, his peak flow was 215 and there was no wheeze. After the second treatment N could breathe through his nose. 8 months later, his mother reported no exacerbation of the asthma over the winter and his inhaled steroids were cut down drastically. In addition, he suffered no infections.

 

ASTHMA/STRESS
boy, teenager        3 treatments
A teenager, Keith, had had asthma, a constant backache and severe ‘morning motivational’ problems for years.

He often had problems getting to sleep, but after a 6.30 p.m. Bowen treatment he fell sound asleep till next morning. After two Bowen treatments he complained of little result, but carried on.

The third treatment made him want to drink a lot of water (a common reaction to Bowen) and he has not looked back since. His backache and asthma are gone and, amazingly, for the first time in his life he is experiencing a sustained motivation to get up and going in the mornings.

 

ASTHMA ATTACK


girl, aged 17    1 emergency treatment
England Junior Basketball Team Member, K, was involved with the multistage fitness test used to analyse an athlete’s aerobic. performance.

A standard is expected at this level and the peer pressure to achieve the necessary grade is immense. K was struggling for breath soon into the test causing some concern early on. Determination kept her going until she had to stop because she could not gain a breath at all and had commenced a panic attack, which complicated the situation.

K was removed from the concerned crowd and the Bowen emergency asthma move carried out. Immediately a normal breathing pattern resumed and after 30 minutes K carried on training with no further symptoms.

 

PAIN WITH DEEP BREATHING


Michelle, aged 29   4 treatments
Michelle had been experiencing pain in the thoracic area when breathing, from the back through to the front for two years. She had a history of severe asthma and that was linked to this.

She had had various manipulations over this period of time via her GP and chiropractors, which had offered no relief. After 3 treatments the pain was no longer evident and the breathing was easier.

She described at this stage that she had a lymph drainage problem down one side of her body, mainly in the neck and was prone to lumpy breasts on that side.

Her fourth visit was an insurance to make sure that the relief was holding. A month after final treatment, she is free from all discomfort.

 

BREATHING & ALLERGIES


Rachael, who works as a restorer of antique rugs and carpets, received Bowen treatment. She was using “puffers”, sometimes every hour, and looked terrible -black rings round her eyes, no energy and a grey complexion. It was discovered during treatment that she was highly allergic to wool and course dust. She had to seriously consider whether she could continue with her chosen career after years of study and apprenticeship.

This was 5 years ago. Rachael started having weekly Bowen treatments and was often sick after the Bowen asthma moves but felt better for it. She now has maintenance Bowen treatments every four to six weeks. Although she still has asthma it no longer plagues her life and her use of “puffers” is minimal unless she is treating a really dirty rug. The only treatment that Rachael has is Bowen.

 

SPORTS BREATHING


Bowen therapist, teacher and sports coach, Paula Esson, has found the Bowen Technique to be an invaluable tool with athletes. She tells the story of a young woman’s response to Bowen. Katharine is a member of the England Junior Basketball Team and was involved with the multi-stage fitness test used to analyse an athlete’s aerobic performance.

A standard is expected at this level and the peer pressure to achieve the necessary grade is immense. Katharine was struggling for breath soon into the test causing some concern early on. Determination kept her going until she had to stop because she could not gain a breath at all and had commenced a panic attack, which complicated the situation.

Katharine was removed from the concerned crowd and Paula carried out the Bowen emergency asthma move. Immediately, a normal breathing pattern resumed and after 30 minutes Katharine carried on training with no further symptoms.


The Times
Alternatives Body & Soul

Saturday November 22, 2003

Kick the inhaler into touch
by Celia Dodd


IT WORKS FOR ME THE BOWEN TECHNIQUE

Kick the inhaler into touch

A gentle therapy can be a breath of fresh air for asthma sufferers:

Simon Thomas won't go anywhere without his inhaler. Simon, 35, an assistant transport manager, has suffered regular asthma attacks all his adult life. Winters have always been the worst: last year he suffered a slight attack nearly every day and, if not nipped in the bud, they became severe several times a week.

"I would have to sit down and try to catch my breath and use the inhaler to get the attack under control." His job means that he can't avoid two key triggers: cold weather and diesel fumes. Fur, feathers, hay fever and any kind of exertion could also set off an attack.

But now, after ten months of Bowen Technique therapy, Simon is thinking seriously about leaving his inhaler at home for the first time in 20 years. After just four weeks of the therapy – which involves gentle manipulation of the soft tissue in specific areas of the body – the attacks decreased dramatically. Last month he used his inhaler just once, when he visited friends with a pet rabbit.

Simon had never heard of the Bowen Technique until he saw an advertisement last January for volunteers to take part in a nationwide study into its effect on asthma. He was pretty sceptical, but he thought it was worth a try. Besides asthma, Bowen is used to treat muscular-skeletal problems in the back, neck and knees, and a widening variety of problems, from migraines and irritable bowel syndrome to anxiety and even chronic infection.

In Simon's first hour-long session, Janie Godfrey, the Bowen therapist, took note of what triggered his asthma, how it behaved at its worst and how it responded to medication.

She then used the standard Bowen procedure, followed by the treatment specifically for asthma. Both consist of a series of "moves", which Godfrey describes as a "tiny, rolling motion over the muscles". Between each set of moves there are breaks during which the therapist leaves the room for a few minutes while the patient remains relaxing on the bed.

Janie explains this unique feature of the technique: "As we understand it, the breaks give the body a chance to respond, to take on board the moves that have been made. It's as if you get into a dialogue with the body."

Simon was impressed: "The treatment was gentle, although some of the moves felt strange at first. You wear loose clothing and lie on the bed, covered in blankets, apart from the area of your body that is being worked on.

It's pleasant, and afterwards you feel relaxed. "What I found really surprising was that during the first few sessions I started to have muscular spasms, in the thighs or in my upper body – not in the area Janie had just worked on. But as the sessions went on the tremors decreased and then stopped entirely."

The asthma attacks decreased, too, and his hay fever, which he usually has for two months, this summer lasted a week. Janie explains: "It seems that Bowen works by breaking a trigger. The body knows how not to have asthma, so you just need to find ways to help it not to be triggered to have an asthma response.

If the body is capable of dealing with a condition, Bowen is usually able to trigger its ability to do so. It has a profound effect on stimulating the body's own systems to sort themselves out."

According to Janie, most Bowen patients experience a significant improvement, and often total recovery after about four sessions, although some asthma patients need as many as 12. Most patients come back for top-up treatments, which serve as a reminder to the body.

All asthma patients are told to come back if they have an attack. They are also taught an emergency move, which involves pushing your thumb into the soft stomach area and is illustrated on www.relievechildhood-asthma.com. Janie wishes everyone knew how to do it, because it can break even quite dangerous attacks.

For Simon the acid test will be the next few months of chilly 3am starts. He says: "If I get through to the new year without an attack I might leave my inhaler behind. But it will be odd to give it up – it's a crutch I had always assumed I would need for the rest of my life."

WHAT IS IT?
THE BOWEN TECHNIQUE is a soft tissue manipulation therapy that is applied to the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the body very gently and with minimum pressure. No one –perhaps not even Tom Bowen, the techique's Australian creator – has fully understood how the moves work, although R is thought that the unaccustomed stimulation they cause, may lead the brain to investigate the area and release any tension.

SUITABLE FOR children and adults for a whole range of conditions, inducing asthma, hay fever, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines and stress, as well as sports injuries, bad backs, stiff necks and frozen shoulders. The emergency move for an asthma attack is illustrated on www.relievechildhood-asthma.com


WHAT'S THE EVIDENCE?
by Dr Toby Murcott

CAN THE BOWEN TECHNIQUE REALLY CURE ASTHMA?
Bowen practitioners do not claim to cure asthma, but do say that it can be very effective in managing the condition. Many patients, particularly children, report that they found relief with the technique. There are two studies currently under way in Britain that hope to provide a clearer picture of whether it works.

The Bowen Technique National Asthma Research Programme is two thirds of the way through its year-long study of 30 patients and 19 therapists. The other, on childhood asthma, is being run by the Bowen therapist Alastair Rattray, who is hoping to recruit 100 children.

HOW ACCEPTED IS IT?
The National Asthma Campaign (www.asthma.org.uk) recognises that many asthmatics find complementary therapies useful, but advises patients to consult their GPs beforehand and always to continue to take their medication. It is gaining acceptance, not through a scientific understanding, but because some doctors and physiotherapists find it helps patients.

CAN BOWEN BE EXPLAINED BY SCIENCE?
The basic idea of drawing the brain's attention to a problem then allowing the body to heal itself does not fit in with a conventional view of physiology. It's likely that working with a kindly, interested therapist will make anyone feel better, but it's harder to explain the reported emergency asthma treatment and frozen shoulder studies in this way.

Dr Toby Murcott is a former BBC science correspondent


The Times Alternatives Body & Soul, Saturday November 22, 2003
by Celia Dodd

Primary Care Today
The newspaper for leaders in Primary Care

September/October 2003

The Bowen Technique ASTHMA: breaking the trigger
By Janie Godfrey - with thanks to Alastair Rattray


The staff of the local supermarket called for anyone with a First Aid Certificate to come straightaway to the Information Desk. There, a lady sat, pale, shaking, very worried looking – and desperately trying to get a breath. I knelt in front of her and asked, "Asthma attack?' She nodded.

There is a simple, effective emergency procedure to deal with an asthma attack, even a severe one, but it is not in the canon of regular First Aid training. It is the final move in the standard Bowen Technique treatment for asthma.

I quickly explained that I am a practitioner of a therapy called The Bowen Technique –there is a specific Bowen emergency asthma move – it would only involve making a small move over her stomach area just below the breast bone – was that all right with her? She nodded.

Over her clothing, I placed my thumb about 1Y2 inches below the xiphoid process and gently pushed the 'skin slack' upwards as far as it would go, then applied a reasonable, but not heavy, amount of pressure and moved my thumb downwards over the diaphragm to the extent that the skin slack would allow (usually, this is no more than about 2 inches). It takes about 5 seconds.

Within 15 - 20 seconds, she was taking deep and regular breaths of air and within 30 seconds, she had a few good coughs and thereafter began to relax and breath normally. Her attack had been brought on by panic when she realised she had nipped out to the store without her inhaler.

An asthma attack is usually caused by the muscles controlling the lungs and breathing going into increasing spasm. The triggers for such an attack can be various, such as a cold or illness; an allergy such as those causing hay fever, or other lung related diseases.

The muscles involved, such as the diaphragm and the smooth muscle around the bronchioles, appear to be slightly in spasm as though ready to cause the respiratory system to go into spasm at the slightest hint of a problem.

As soon as a trigger is detected, the spasm increases. Hence, one of the first signs of the increasing problem can be wheezing, sometimes there all the time. In an acute asthma attack, the patient can breath in but is unable to breath out as the diaphragm is in full spasm.

The Bowen Technique is best known for its great effect on muscular-skeletal complaints but the Bowen Emergency Asthma move can be a lifesaver. The National Asthma Campaign estimates that 3.4 million people in the UK have asthma and 1,500 people die from it each year, over a third being people under the age of 65.

But it is not only the severe asthma attack that benefits from Bowen. Practitioners have long noted in their clinics that Bowen treatment seems to be able to break the connection between the body's asthma reaction (slight or major) and the triggers that regularly have brought it on.

In order to properly establish the efficacy of The Bowen Technique in addressing the asthma condition in persons of 16 and over, the Bowen Therapists European Register (B.T.E.R.) is presently halfway through a year-long research programme. Volunteers from around the country are participating, receiving treatment from their local qualified Bowen therapists.

The parameters for admission onto the research program are that the volunteer be over the age of 16 years; must never have been hospitalised for the asthma condition; must have been formally diagnosed as having the asthma condition by a GP or hospital specialist; must not have had previous experience of The Bowen Technique; and that the Asthma condition must be the main (but not necessarily only) health complaint.

During the course of the research period, the Bowen therapist is keeping in touch with the volunteers at least once every three weeks, once they are past the period of weekly Bowen treatments, to monitor how they are getting on. The volunteers contact the therapists immediately in the event of any asthma attack.

The volunteers also keep, throughout the year, a Weekly Diary which records, among other things, their medication, peak flow readings, exposure to known asthma triggers and allergens, respiratory infections or other illness. In addition, volunteers fill in a detailed Asthma Diary for every attack they have.

The Bowen practitioner does not change any medication prescribed by the doctor or countermand any advice given by her/him. Midway through the research programme, the results are very encouraging, with volunteers showing signs that Bowen treatment is making a very significant improvement to their asthma condition.

Once the year's study is completed and assessed and the hope is that the results will provide Bowen practitioners with some solid evidence of the efficacy of Bowen treatment for adult asthma.

Because of legal reasons, a similar study would be very complicated to do for those under 15 years of age. However, practitioners regularly see quick and excellent results when treating childhood asthma. One practitioner and teacher of The Bowen Technique for the European College of Bowen Studies, Alastair Rattray, has a website devoted to this: www.relieve-childhood-asthma.com.

8 year old Felicity is a typical case study. She regularly suffered with asthma and chest infections. She was small for her age and had a poor appetite. She had 3 inhalers: 5 puffs of one twice a day, 3 of another twice a day and the last one every 4 hours.

Distressed with the amount of medication Felicity was taking, her mother was looking for an alternative and discovered Bowen. After one treatment, Felicity became full of life, energetic, hungry and didn't need the last 4 hourly inhaler.

At the end of treatment 3, she was off all inhalers, had grown, and was still full of life and hungry.

At a routine check up with the GP, just after Bowen treatment 3, he immediately picked up the difference. The bright, alert look in her eyes, weight and height gain, clear, good, strong breathing. He was so pleased he wanted Bowen information to give to other patients.


Primary Care Today, September/October 2003
By Janie Godfrey - with thanks to Alastair Rattray

 
 
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