Bowen Therapeutic Technique and Pilates . . . A perfect partnership!

By Barbara Gordon

The Bowen Therapeutic Technique and Pilates addresses the whole person - body, mind and spirit. Frederick Alexander of the Alexander technique said, "You translate everything, whether physical, mental or spiritual, into muscular tension." This tension or stress leads to imbalances causing aches, pains, disease and psychological problems.

As a Bowen therapist I know the body is designed to be able to deal with most things life throws at it. The body is in constant motion trying to sustain balance - homeostasis - in every system. It has an innate ability to heal itself if given a chance. When working with a client the first thing to address is tension and stress. Nothing can heal until the person is relaxed. Only when the body is in the rest, digest, repair mode (parasympathetic) can the healing process begin. Bowen asks the body to switch gears and relax into the parasympathetic. From there Bowen works with the body to open up fascia, release tension in muscles and tendons, helping to re-align bones so joints can move in full range with ease. This allows more oxygen and blood to circulate. Body cavities find they have more room so organs can function better, nerves aren't pinched, muscles move smoothly and energy flows freely. The lymphatic system is stimulated to remove toxins, bring in nutrients, and improve hydration for better function right down to the single cell. This in turn affects the chemical, hormonal and electrical systems influencing the emotions and thought. All this with gentle contact through the fascia, sensory receptors and the nervous systems of the body.

Bowen therapy is all about asking and supporting the body to rebalance to ease pain and function at its best. I wanted to find a form of exercise that would help sustain and contribute to the balance achieved with Bowen. One that could help those with poor postural habits or repetitive stresses from work or sports. I found Pilates. Specifically a form of Pilates that can be adapted to anyone no matter what their body condition.

Like Bowen, Pilates underlying principals are that structure governs function and everything is connected. Both aim to correct altered biomechanics. With Pilates the entire body is considered with every movement. It develops good alignment and patterns of movement. This re-education of movement patterns lays down new neuromuscular pathways to and from the brain. Pilates is a mental and a physical program. It focuses the mind into the body so you know what it's doing, where it is in space and how far to take it. This awareness helps prevent injury and helps change happen. The body learns to move with poise, strength and ease.

Bowen therapy and Pilates can help many issues from low back pain, problems in the shoulder, knee, ankle, elbow, to arthritis, osteoporosis, scoliosis, and much more.

The Bowen Therapeutic Technique and Pilates seem to have been made for one another. Each contributes to the other helping to balance, strengthen and maintain health throughout the body, mind and spirit. What a great feeling that is!