Throughout my entire training we were constantly reminded to go slower and apply less pressure during our moves. Going light and slow is so opposite to what we are used to. I had personally over the years had many massages, physiotherapy and chiropractor appointments that involved lots of pressure and manual manipulation of my body and thought this was the way it was supposed to be.
When I started seeing a Bowen Therapist (many years ago now), I was amazed at how much better I felt after these gentle slow moves. I quickly stopped expecting to be hurt during treatment and started enjoying the deep relaxation that Bowen brings.
When a Bowen move is performed on a particular bodily structure it sends information via sensory nerves to the brain about that specific structure. When the information arrives at the brain it is pushed around between the different areas of the brain where a response is made according to the information received. The response is sent back to the structure via motor nerves and certain adjustments are then made. (This is why the waiting period in Bowen is so important. This is done to ensure we do not interrupt this process.)
You may be wondering, how does working lightly fit into this complicated process of impulse conduction? The information sent from the bodily structures to the brain is done so via a special kind of electrical charge called an ‘action potential.’ The strength of the stimulus does not change or alter the speed of impulse conduction along the nerve. This can be compared to firing a bullet from a gun. If you pull the trigger, the gun fires (It does not matter how hard you pull the trigger the bullet still travels at the same speed).
Too much pressure sends the body into overstimulation mode and the response from that is probably not going to be a healing one, but rather a fight or flight response (the exact opposite you are wanting).
Try to remember that when we work slowly and lightly on a body, we are working with the body’s innate, natural healing impulses. We are in partnership with the body and in its healing.
By Jasia Hunt