Emmett&Bowen Techniques-Tools for Pain Management

Gentle touch big change

Hippocrates held the belief that the body must be treated as a whole and not just a series of parts. A belief  I hold dear when treating those in pain.  I treat the whole person using  Emmett or Bowen working with people who are often at the end of their patience, having tried everything. Symptoms such as headaches, knee, back or neck pain, frozen shoulder, bladder problems can all respond very quickly to treatment.

Earlier this year I received my certification as an Advanced Emmett Practitioner to EP2 level, bringing a whole new perspective in using the EMMETT Technique for effective pain management.

What affects on the body does Emmett have? While using Emmett moves  I have felt muscles relax, pelvis shift, seen posture change,  limb mobility increase. All wonderful effects of Emmett. The knock on effect is increased energy as the body is better balanced and moving easier. Ultimately the more balanced the body is the more autonomic functions like circulation and breathing improve and a sense of wellbeing is restored.

Gentle touch big change
Easy muscle management with Emmett Technique

“Overwhelming feedback from Bowen Therapists is that the Emmett Technique has transformed their practice; in particular the speed with which they can bring changes to clients, dramatically improving client outcomes. The Emmett Technique is applied with either light touch at 2 holding points simultaneously or a one directional moves over specific locations on the body which affects . Emmett & Bowen Techniques can correct body alignment problems quickly, with minimal client pain and therapist effort. It isn’t physiotherapy or massage. Advanced practitioners are trained in assessment skills and how to tailor treatments precisely to their clients’ individual needs”.

I now use both Emmett & Bowen Techniques while working in clinics, depending on the clients need at that time, to greater and often quicker affect.  As always, long term problems need more sessions, like peeling an onion, to come back to the source of feeling well. Three or four sessions usually brings relief and repair.

Watch these videos of Ross Emmett demonstrating posture and function changes. Seeing is believing  http://www.emmett-uk.com/demo_videos





If you love Yoga, you’ll love this!

Interesting article from the Head of European College of Bowen Studies (ECBS) Julian Baker

The Bowen Technique & Yoga practice

Many people practising Yoga will have heard of Bowen or perhaps seen flyers and leaflets for the technique around.  Introduced to the UK in the early 90s, it has become one of the fastest growing therapies in Europe and especially popular in the Yoga community.  Yet it is not just physical aches and pains which can be addressed by Bowen. n much the same way that someone might feel more positive or energized after  a yoga session, we often see a similar ‘well being’ response after a Bowen treatment.

Clients will often report at follow up sessions, that apart from changes in their measured pain patterns, that they have somehow shifted, mentally and emotionally.  This rarely manifests in a conscious release, but in more subtle but noticeable shifts.  Several clients over the years have reported that they have stopped smoking that week.  Not from a specific effort to do so, just that they didn’t feel like doing it any more.

“I handed in my notice this week” is another one that I here reasonably regularly.  Again not from an explosive response or a knee jerk reaction to a specific incident.  Instead the realization has come that, similar to smoking, what they are doing is another form of destructive behaviour and that they need to move away from it.

Shifts in relationships, both personal and professional are not uncommon and from a whole body perspective this is perfectly rational .  With physical treatments we are often fixated on a measurable outcome in terms of pain reduction, range of movement and so forth.

Yet our emotional and mental trauma is played out moment-by-moment in our bodies.  If we are stressed, or upset, we don’t think stress or upset, we feel.  It’s part of our language of comforting another.  “How do you feel?”

This feeling is as much a part of our pain as our bad back or twisted neck and more likely to stay with us and become part of our being than any kind of physical injury.  We will all be able to recall instantly a time when we have felt hurt by a remark, heartbroken in a failed relationship or over the death of a loved one.  There’s that feel word again!

A response to these events might be to go into ‘therapy’ where we explore our emotional past and present with a sympathetic counselor and a box of Kleenex. “How does that make you feel?” we might here.  Instead perhaps the question should be “where do you feel that?”

The loading of the neck, shoulders, back, knees, pelvis amongst other areas in times of emotional impact is something we can all appreciate and the feeling of release through yoga postures is well documented and personally appreciated.  It stands to reason therefore that if we associate these regions as where we will store our stress, it’s probably a good idea to gently move them and release them.

The Bowen Technique has often been called physical homeopathy as well as the Yoga therapy.  Rather than aim specifically for a dramatic physical or emotional ‘release’, the shifts are often just incorporated into the psyche.  One day I felt like a doughnut, the next I didn’t.  No shift, just a gentle sea change.

A well designed Yoga session might aim to address the whole of the body and its ranges of movement.  Similarly, a basic Bowen treatment will cover virtually all the major stress loading areas of the body with a  few simple moves.

The moves are consistently small and kept to a pressure which should be mutually acceptable to both client and therapist.  Once a series of moves is applied, the therapist backs off and lets the body do its own thing.  This has been compared to the practice of allowing the mind and body to ‘become one in stillness.’

I was reminded of a Vanda Scaravelli quote recently “Movement is the song of the body.  We sing when we are happy and the body goes with it like the waves of the sea” 

A Bowen session does not seek to impose the will of the therapist on to the body of the client.  Instead the tensional relationships that exist in the human form, are touched and moved gently, then rested, to allow for the movement to begin. Even in the stillest sea there is always movement.

From a practical perspective, Bowen is a physical first aid kit or structural tool box. Once the basic application and understanding of the technique is mastered, the principles can be applied equally well in an active yoga environment as in a more passive therapy environment.

Many Yoga teachers and practitioners use Bowen moves during yoga sessions to enhance movement, deepen asanas and breath and allow release.  The now famous pelvic procedure has been used more than once on frustrated yogis struggling with a lotus, with jaw dropping consequences and long queues afterwards!

Julian Baker ECBS



Dem Bones, Dem Bones

Skeleton dancing

Many people know the song, Dem Bones, Dem Bones, Dem Dry Bones!

You know the one:

“The toe bone’s connected to the foot bone,
The foot bone’s connected to the heel bone…”

So what’s my point?

Everything is connected and there are no spaces in between.

This might seem rather elementary but think about it for a moment.

Your body has a line of connective tissue that runs from the bottom of your feet all the way up the back of your legs and body to your scalp, called the superficial back line. If part of that line is damaged, cut or malformed for any reason, then your body could start to compensate.

Why am I telling you this?

Many people suffer from the following foot problems as a result of that compensation.
(Image courtesy of Anatomy in Motion)

Illustration of foot problems, from Anatomy in Motion

Possible remedies include soaking in Epsom salts and doing exercises such as the following:

  • Hold onto the door handles of an open door for balance and squat – slowly. The aim is to stretch that back line. Stand up again, slowly. Do this a few times every day.
  • While holding onto those door handles for balance, roll your weight back and forward, to get a rocking motion, from heel to toe.
  • While sitting, roll your foot over a cricket ball, rolling pin or similar. This should help strengthen and lengthen the muscle and connective tissue.

Of course another (very relaxing) remedy is to come for a few Bowen sessions with me at Bowen in Lothian. Call me now on 07989 133215 to see how we can get dem bones back to walkin’ around.