Continuing education for Bowen Therapists

Are you a Bowen Therapist looking for continuing education opportunities? I'll be running Practitioner Days A and B on the 2nd and 3rd of June with a focus on lymphatics. You'll revise all the work from modules 1 to 6, but pick up some new understanding of how the lymphatics work and how you can work with them.

This is eligible for 16 CEUs with BAA and BTAA. It's $400 for the weekend.

I'll be training from my clinic in the Sydney CBD so numbers are limited. I'm close to trains and buses and there's no need to lug a table. There is parking for a flat weekend rate at the Domain Parking Station if required.

Please note that these continuing education workshops are not part of the nationally recognised training, however they are Bowtech-accredited and eligible for continuing education points with Bowen Association Australia.

2018 dates for the Certificate IV in Bowen Therapy 10533NAT

Have you been thinking about a career change? Maybe you've been having Bowen for a while and have thought about sharing its benefits? I'm a registered Bowen Therapy instructor with Bowen Training Australia and The Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia. You can start on the road to becoming a therapist with the Certificate IV in Bowen Therapy 10533NAT, which is a Nationally Recognised Training programme through Bowen Training Australia RTO# 41134. You may choose to progress to the Diploma of Specialised Bowen Therapy 10534NAT on successful completion of the Certificate IV.

The Certificate IV programme consists of seven (7) hands-on modules (each two days) where you learn the practical application of Bowen Therapy. These are the parts you can do with me. There are also distance modules relating to the theory around anatomy, physiology, health and safety and other essential aspects of good practice. You'll also need to attain your first aid certificate along the way. The Certificate IV can be completed part-time in a minimum of one year and up to 18 months. This allows time to complete log-book hours and case studies.

My next round of classes for 2018 are on:

Module 1          24th and 25th of February 2018

Module 2          24th and 25th of March 2018

Module 3          5th and 6th of May 2018

Module 4          16th and 17th of June 2018

Module 5          28th and 29th of July 2018

Module 6          8th and 9th of September 2018

Module 7          27th and 28th of October 2018

More class dates should be up soon.

In the event that you ever can't make a class, you can always take it with another instructor as we are all teaching to a universal syllabus. See the Bowen Training Australia website for more classes and instructors. There's also information there about Credit Transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning processes. And, of course, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me!

Now is the time to plan out your training for 2018. Get in contact to have a chat!

Rebates for Complementary Therapies

A couple of weeks ago, on Friday the 13th (yes, seriously), the Health Minister, Greg Hunt, quietly announced that the government intended to stop health funds paying rebates on "natural" therapies. This was quietly slipped in to a broader announcement of changes and many media outlets did not even pick up on it. These changes will take effect from April 1st (yes, again, seriously) 2019. This came without any warning to the peak complementary health bodies.

Where did this come from? This all started with John Howard's attempt to force Australians onto a user-pays health system like the US. He had a carrot-and-stick approach of the government paying 30% of private health insurance premiums (carrot) and charging people an increased Medicare levy (stick) if they didn't take out private health insurance, as well as an annual increase in premiums once you were older than 31.

Since the government pays 30% of most people's premiums, they now feel they can dictate what the funds reimburse people for, which seems a strange imposition on both business and individuals for a Liberal government to make.

They are using a review by the Chief Medical Officer as an excuse to remove the rebates. The terms for the review were very narrow, with good quality studies rejected for failing to tick one of many boxes. The CMO did find that more research was warranted, but oddly enough, no funding has been forthcoming. Conducting clinical trials is very expensive and requires participation at a university level, so funding is vital to produce enough evidence to satisfy these reviews.

What does this mean for you? At the moment, this is still a little uncertain. Bowen Therapy was in the list of things to be dropped, but it is still unknown if individual health funds will retain policies to cover complementary therapies that are not subject to the federal government's 30% rebate. There was no mention of massage therapy in the announcement, so the current presumption is that it is safe but this has not been stated categorically.

What can you do? Write letters! The Bowen Association Australia's committee of management has had advice that online petitions are pretty much considered spam by our elected representatives, so while I'm not suggesting you don't sign one, it's of limited use. A letter to your local member will go much further. The BAA has produced templates to base a letter on that can be accessed here and tailored to you. The letters broadly cover points around how this is an attack on individual choice in healthcare, an attack on small business and an attack on women in business, but you can include you own story to make it stronger. There is also a list of questions from which you can pick a couple for your member to put to the Health Minister. If you live in Liberal-held seat, you may be able to put some fear into your member that they won't retain their seat at the next election and stir a back-bench revolt. If it's Labor-held, give them ammunition with which to attack the government. If it's independent, even better - the current lack of a parliamentary majority gives your member lots of power!

Finding Our Legs with Alice Cummins

Some time back, one of my regulars, a dancer, told me of a workshop she'd done, where she felt responses in her body quite similar to those she experienced during and after Bowen. She had my attention!

The workshops are presented by Alice Cummins, a dance and movement artist who has studied Body-Mind Centering in the USA with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen. To describe it is difficult -  a little like Bowen Therapy, sometimes you just have to experience things.

I went in with some trepidation as someone with zero experience in dance or movement but was made to feel part of it from the beginning. That's not to say that there weren't challenges. When Alice said something like, "Now, express that", I was left momentarily lost as I'm used to expressing through words or paint, not movement. And when she asked the group "How do you fall?", I was quite frozen as the only times I've seriously hurt myself in this life (luckily) have been through falls and the thought of voluntarily falling was a real challenge.

The workshop has given me so much to benefit both my practice and my teaching. Ways of looking at things and using the body that are just that little bit different but make life so much clearer. For example, I have many who struggle with the concept of "the core" and how to use it, with frequent intepretations including locking their psoas or pelvic floor. Alice talked us through embryonic development to understand how to connect movement through our centre. And, she bristles at the use of the word core!

We worked through experiential anatomy, which gave me great ideas of how to work with students in class to help them grasp the application of theory. And, it seems strange after so many years of working in health, but actually making things happen in yourself to understand what you've "known" for years can make you really know it.

It was a very full two days and it's really only scratched the surface. Hopefully I'll have time next year to attend another workshop to pick up more understanding of what I experienced. And experienced is right - by the end of the first day I was wiped out in the way that I am after a Bowen worshop where I have had lots of work done on me and my body is trying to integrate it. And I was cranky - for no reason, just oddly mildly annoyed by everything. The next day, still wiped out, but cranky all gone.

Thanks Alice and I look forward to next year.

Certificate IV in Bowen Therapy 10533NAT Starting soon!

My next round of classes towards the Certificate IV in Bowen Therapy 10533NAT start on September 23rd and 24th.

This class is part of the nationally-recognised training programme offered by Bowen Training Australia RTO#41134, a Nationally Recognised Training provider. The Certificate IV proramme consists of seven hands-on modules where you learn the basics of applying Bowen Therapy for a variety of situations.

The course also involves some distance-learning modules where you'll cover theory aspects such as anatomy and physiology, infection control and practice management. These theory parts are done direct through BTA via online learning. There are some practice logbook hours to complete and some case studies for you to test your new skills and provide true experiential learning. While the distance learning and case studies are self-directed, there is support consistently available throughout.

The hands-on modules will be run from my Sydney CBD consulting rooms, which are easily accessible by public transport. Manuals, tables and towels are all provided, so no need to lug anything with you. You just need your curiosity!

The modules are spaced out with plenty of time in between to practice, do theory and logs, and work out your strengths and weaknesses. You can complete the training in just under a year and you have up to 18 months. In the event that you can't make it to these classes, all BTA instructors run on the same programme, so you can always make a class up with another instructor.

On successful completion of the Certificate IV in Bowen Therapy 10533NAT, you may continue on to the Diploma of Specialised Bowen Therapy 10534NAT to deepen your knowledge of assessment and learn a new set of Bowen procedures for different body areas. You'll also be able to join the Bowen Association Australia, whereby you'll be able to access professional insurance and, once Diploma-qualified, become a health fund provider.

Feel free to make contact to ask any questions or get an information pack!

Lymphatics for Bowen Therapists

A great learning experience will be on offer later this month for Bowen Therapists who are interested in learning more about the lymphatic system and how they can assist lymphatic issues.

On the 27th and 28th of May, I will be running Practitioner Days A and B to revise the Bowenwork from the Certificate IV programme but, to add a little spice, will be focusing on the lymphatic system and how Bowen Therapists can aid it.

We'll look at the lymphatic system, what it is and what it does, how your basic Bowenwork can aid in issues, and also things you can discuss with your clients to help them help themselves.

It is $200 per day, with Day A focusing on lower body work and Day B on the upper body. It's obviously better if you can do both, but I understand that many have limited time available.

You will earn 1 CEU point per hour for your Category 1 (Hands-on Bowen) continuing education requirements for the BAA and Bowtech. So that's 8 points per day.

The days will be held at my rooms here in the Sydney CBD with easy access via trains (Town Hall or St James) or buses. You can also park at the Doamin Parking Station for a flat rate of $10 per day on weekends.

There's no need to lug tables or towels with you either - everything is here. Just bring your manuals and your good selves.

For more information, please feel free to contact me. Please note that this workshop is not part of the nationally recognised training programme, however it is Bowtech-accredited.

Sometimes it is darkest just before the dawn

I don’t like to send patients home after their first session with anything negative in their heads, so normally just suggest that they email or call if they have any concerns. I’ve had a few people lately have quite strong reactions, often involving a flare-up of a chronic condition to a more acute feeling.

This can happen in many therapies, but I tend to notice it mostly in Bowen, and to a lesser degree in Lymphatic Drainage. In naturopathic terms, it is known as a healing crisis, whereby the body (that has long since settled into a chronic disease pattern) is suddenly working its way back to health and often relives some of the more acute symptoms that may have died down or changed over time.

In Bowen this can be noticed as nerves “coming back to life” after settling in to a duller signal or muscles pulling as the body realigns itself. It is no cause for panic and will normally right itself with time and some more sessions until things are properly realigned. If you feel that the pain is impacting on your ability to function normally, feel free to use whatever painkillers you normally would but it is important to not apply hot or cold packs to the area or massage yourself (or get someone else to!) as this will interrupt those clever little impulses that the Bowen Therapy sets up and possibly leave you in your painful place. The exception to this is if you re-injure yourself. If you find yourself in pain due to an acute injury or following the very activity that brought you to me in the first place, you may need to come back in sooner rather than waiting for the full week to elapse. If in doubt, ask!

In regards to Lymphatic Drainage, most of the more dramatic responses have been due to people who have had more serious conditions to start with. Those who have a difficult-to-treat infection such as Lyme (or similar) may have an initial worsening of symptoms. A history of tropical diseases, such as malaria, Ross River or Dengue Fevers, may bring a strong response after treatment. If you’ve had any of these, working in small doses will be the best approach. Other than that, it is normally those who’ve fully enjoyed all the world has to offer that tend to respond more dramatically – people who may already have a lot of stress on the liver can sometimes feel quite off afterwards.

My point is that there is no reason to fear feeling bad after treatment – it is often a really good sign! If ever in any doubt, please get in contact so we can discuss your individual symptoms and be sure.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition of the underside of the foot, sometimes caused by poor footwear or excessive use. It is normally felt most at the heel and tends to be worse first thing in the morning and eases as the day goes on. Many sufferers spend a significant amount of time stretching their feet before first stepping out of bed in the morning.

So what is it? The plantar fascia is a strip of tissue that runs from the forefoot to the heel, attaching at the calcaneous or heel bone. But that isn’t the full story – if you read the work of anatomist Thomas Myers, it forms part of the Superficial Back Line of fascia that then goes on to include the gastrocnemius (in the calf), the hamstrings, erector spinae and fascia of the scalp. It runs all the way from the ball of your foot to your brow via your back. And that is why some people don’t respond to localised treatment. If your podiatrist only looks at the foot fascia, then they may miss some of the problem. It is important to release the entire line of fascia in case the problem has originated from higher up.

Plantar fasciitis (PF) is damage to the fascia that never gets a chance to heal properly as the area is re-strained daily with activity. If left untreated, it can develop into heel spurs as the body lays down bone where the fascia is pulled away from the calcaneous.

So what can be done? While I can certainly massage for this, there is fantastic work in Bowen Therapy for this exact condition. We release the whole line of fascia and also do some simple taping. The aim is to take the strain off the fascia as it heals by holding the foot in an arched shape.

I’ve had a run of people with this condition lately (as tends to happen), most of whom have flat feet. In the event that improvement is not adequate, then orthotics may be required to continue healing on a longer-term basis.

What's a Psoas?

I’ve had a bit of a run lately of people coming in with lower back pain that they can’t explain, often commenting that it’s worse when they go from sitting to standing. This frequently turns out to be the psoas muscle in spasm. The general response when I mention this is “Huh?” Most people don’t even know they have this muscle.

The psoas (with a silent “P”) runs from the inside of the transverse processes of your lumbar vertebrae (the attachment surfaces of the bones of your lower spine) internally to the lesser trochanter of your femur (an attachment point on the inside of the top of your thigh bone) and acts as a hip flexor (raises your knee towards your chest) and external rotator (turns your thigh out). When you are in a seated position it is in a shortened state, thus it often produces pain in the lower back when you stand and stretch it out.

The muscle also interacts with other muscles and it is important to address these when releasing the psoas. It is commonly associated with the iliacus muscle that runs from the inside of the iliac crest (the hip bone) and attaches at the same point on the femur, the two together being known as the iliopsoas. However, it also interacts with the quadratus lumborum (a deeper muscle of the lower back) and the diaphragm, which is the muscle that helps to inflate your chest when you breath. I’ve actually had patients come in with lower back back after a particularly violent sneeze as the diaphragm has set off both the QL and the psoas.

The psoas can also produce flow-on effects in the body if it is very tight or shortened. A tight psoas can impede the firing of the gluteus maximus (the large outer buttock muscle) and can in turn lead to overly tight hamstrings. The psoas can also put pressure on the femoral nerve that feeds the quadriceps, leading to weakness, pain and dysfunction.

For my money, the best treatment for this muscle is Bowen Therapy. There is a simple tweak to the attachment at the upper thigh that uses the stretch receptors in the muscle and fascia to release it. As it is largely an internal muscle, it is very hard to massage. It always works better if the accompanying muscles are also tweaked. There is also stretching to help release the muscle but it takes a little practice to get right. You need to stand in a straight-leg lunge with the leg of the side you are stretching, back. Then lift the chest up away from the groin and lean slightly to the opposite side. This should produce a slight pull at the inner, upper thigh.

What about Bowen Therapy in Pregnancy?

The obvious question to come off the recent post about massage during pregnancy is the implications for Bowen Therapy and Lymphatic Drainage in pregnancy. Today I’ll just deal with Bowen Therapy.

One of the wonderful things about Bowen Therapy is that it is safe to use on everyone from newborns to the elderly. Therefore Bowen is perfectly safe for use during pregnancy as long as we avoid the few procedures that engage the coccyx (tailbone). Procedures around the coccyx reflex to the uterus and can potentially cause miscarriage, so once again you must inform your therapist if you are pregnant, even if you aren’t up to the second trimester.

Bowen is otherwise fantastic during pregnancy as it helps to balance out the body and relieve tensions as things shift and move. The sacral procedure is fantastic for the lower back pain and pelvic instability that can arise and the procedure for the vagus nerve may be of use for morning sickness.

If you are considering pregnancy, it can even be useful to get your body balanced out before starting, particularly if you have a history of coccyx damage. I’ll discuss fertility protocols in a future post!