Bowen therapy helps nervous system
Published Wednesday, September 3, 2008 2:51PM PDT
It's difficult for Charmaine Malet-Veale to get comfortable.
"Well, I had some back issues, lower back pain and my legs, couldn't walk as well or as easily as I had," she says.
Charmaine decided to try an alternative treatment called Bowen therapy -- a technique that involves gentle soft tissue manipulation. The goal is to trigger a reaction between the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.
"So when I roll the muscle I'm hitting the nervous system," says naturopath Dr. Heidi Rootes. "I wait for a release in the muscle and then I roll that muscle and what it does is send a message to the brain that something is going on."
Rootes says the brain will then reset the muscle into its default state.
"When that muscle releases and resets back to its normal resting place, bones go back to where they're supposed to be, the spine realigns, nerves become unimpinged and pain is relieved."
Bowen therapy originated in the 1960's and to date there has been little scientific study, but Dr. Rootes says anyone who suffers from muscular pain or pinched nerves could have lasting benefit from the technique.
"Any sort of a frozen shoulder, tennis elbow, golfers elbow, tendonitis, carpel tunnel syndrome, any sort of knee conditions I've had great success with," says Rootes.
But physiotherapist Kerry Maxwell says she's seen it only provide temporary relief, and encourages patients to find an experienced practitioner.
"Somebody may come in with a sprained ankle and they may end up having their neck or their face or their other parts of their body treated," says Maxwell. "So somebody needs to be able to correctly diagnosed in order to correctly treat a patient."
For Charmaine, Bowen therapy has helped her when other treatments have not.
"I don't quite understand completely how it works but it does," she says.
With a report from CTV British Columbia's Dr. Rhonda Low.