In our increasingly fast paced, frantic and often stressful lives we are all well aware of the importance of trying to live a balanced lifestyle. The benefits of maintaining a healthy diet allowing for occasional treats, exercising regularly and taking time out to rest are all well documented – and many of us strive to achieve an optimum work-life balance.
However, it’s not only our lives that benefit from being in balance; our bodies also function optimally when in a balanced state, and Bowen Therapy, which is fast becoming one of the most popular complementary therapies available in the UK since it’s arrival in 1993, helps to do just that, offering a relaxing, non-invasive, drug free treatment that enables the body to attain it’s natural balance and self-heal.
Intrigued to learn more about this fascinating ‘hands on, hands off’ therapy, whose devotees include model and entrepreneur Elle MacPherson and adventurer Bear Grylls, I met with Yorkshire based Bowen Therapist Kim Holmes to learn more about the technique that has become her life’s passion and purpose – and discover how she isn’t stopping at helping only human clients!
How would you describe the Bowen Therapy Technique?
As a gentle remedial therapy that treats the body as a whole, rather than just the areas of pain or reduced function. I use my thumbs and fingers to make rolling type movements over skin and soft tissue (fascia) and it can be a shock to a lot of people that it uses such a light touch. The breaks that make Bowen unique can be surprising for new clients too! I understand that reaction, the “is that it” effect, but the breaks are fundamental, and help to ensure a less is more approach. We’re asking the body to change, so we need to give it time to process the moves. When we are living with prolonged stress our bodies are constantly in ‘fight or flight’ mode, Bowen can help the parasympathetic system, the rest and digest’ function, essential for our bodies to repair and balance the effects of the stress response, to kick in. Generally people find it relaxing although often when I work with clients who have, for example, Chronic Fatigue or Fibromyalgia they can get a burst of energy. With Bowen it’s allowing your own body to do what it needs and I just think ‘How incredible is that!?’ That’s why I love it so much, it’s endlessly fascinating.
You offer a range of complementary therapies within your clinic, what is it that sets Bowen apart for you?
I think it’s efficacy, and also that I expect to see change quite quickly. If it’s going to be right for someone I expect to see change typically within about one to three sessions, and if I didn’t I’d be the first to say so. Now, the initial change might not be the primary concern that someone came to see me with but that is an issue of the body healing in the order it needs to. Compare that with reflexology, massage or aromatherapy, all interesting and effective in their own right, but for remedial purposes most therapists would typically recommend around six weekly treatments. Also Bowen is so gentle and the fact that it’s portable means that I can (and do) work with people in wheelchairs, who are sitting or laying down – or even running around the room in the case of children! It works through light clothing so people do not need to get undressed. I just love that it’s available to everyone. It’s gentle enough for babies from newborn, and my eldest client is ninety-three. I work with people with neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease and MS, also CRPS, sports injuries, injury prevention, hormonal and respiratory problems – potentially anything can be addressed.
What was your career background before becoming a therapist?
I come from a very different career background! I worked for a huge insurance company from leaving school, and for the bulk of that time I worked in finance and management. Then I was made redundant. I’ve always had an affinity with animals and I knew that you could do Bowen for horses and dogs, so after being made redundant it was something that I decide to pursue. I discovered that you had to train in the human element first, so I skipped into the first session thinking ‘lets get this human stuff out of the way’ so I can get on to the real thing working with animals, and I just got completely sidetracked! I’ve been qualified and working as a therapist full time for over four years now and I can honestly say that I still find it as fascinating, if not more so now, as I did right in the beginning – and now I’ve finally got round to training in the canine side of it as well, so I’m taking it even further.
How would you like to see Bowen Therapy develop in the future?
Bowen is already becoming more well known, and rightfully so, as there are many people working extremely hard to get it ‘out there’, but it’s efficacy is also spreading by word of mouth, which is fantastic and most of my business is through recommendation from clients. It is not unusual for me to work with whole families! It’s not a panacea, but the fact is so many people are benefitting from it, and it could potentially help so many more people, so in that respect things can only get better! I’d love to see it available to more people. I think it would be good to see it in the NHS, not everybody can afford to go privately for anything, and I think many of us therapists do offer special rates for various things, and for children, but it would be good to see it available to all, and hopefully whilst maintaining the essence of what it is, and that is about treating the person as a whole.
It is recommended that anyone with any health concerns should consult their doctor; any complementary therapy is not intended as a substitute for medical advice or treatment.
Kim Holmes is a registered Bowen Therapist with clinics in Bradford, Horsforth and Wetherby. For further information please visit www.yorkshirebodyclinic.co.uk or call 07850 268762.