Most of us thrive when our minds are engaged and inspired – so why do we treat our bodies differently when it comes to injury management ?
Many who know me know that I haven’t always been a Bowen Therapist. After cooking for a living for 8 years, I then worked 20 years for major multinational consumer goods companies, while also studying. I then left for Bowen Therapy full time.
During those 20 years, I worked in a range of roles – manufacturing process improvement, new product development and implementation, quality assurance, people development. Some roles I loved more than others. Some had me bouncing out of bed and into the office. Others had me needing to physically drag myself in. With time, I realised that this was often less about the role itself but how I was being managed. A less interesting role with an inspirational boss usually beat what should be a great role, but with a stifling boss.
Over the years I learned about how I worked best, what brought out the best in me, and the types of bosses that brought this out. It also became clearer the circumstances when I became disengaged, and the types of bosses and their style that resulted in me losing interest.
It’s only later that I realised there were parallels between my bosses’ behaviours and manual therapies – what didn’t make much difference, and what worked best for me.
Manager versus Leader
The roles in which I thrived or were disengaged were highly dependent on how my manager “managed” me.
The roles where I was disengaged were ones where my manager was a “manager”. Often with a dictatorial style, the worst were micro-managers. One-sided discussions, unallowed to get a word in, unable to contribute. They knew what they wanted me to do, told me so, and I was expected to comply with their demands. Even worse were roles when higher “leadership” also followed this management style. Meddling rather than inspiring, directing rather than coaching. The roles became jobs. I was stressed. I went through the motions, went to work, did what I was told, went home without energy to do much more.
On the flipside, I thrived in roles where I was highly engaged, where my manager was a “leader”. My managers in these roles inspired rather than instructed. They shared the big picture, the direction, and I knew how I fit. They were leaders. They trusted me, they expected me to be a leader to others and I led ! They were coaches. A little nudge in a direction or toward a target, and let me get on with things with the knowledge that they were there to support me. And I delivered those targets and more ! I had energy, I had a smile, I thrived and I felt that I had a career.
Injury management and management style ?
When I had injuries in the past, I saw a variety of therapists – some conventional, some complementary (or alternative, if you prefer).
My body didn’t respond well to many conventional therapies, although I didn’t realise it at the time. I remember my knee injury. Week-in week-out I went to that clinic, for months and months and months. They were said to be good, the therapist was recommended.
My muscles were pushed, massaged very hard, as the therapist tried to force my muscle to comply with what he wanted. The bigger picture wasn’t clear, what was happening in other areas of my body to cause my knee to hurt was not shared. Only the muscle that was apparently the problem was worked on, pushed to comply under the therapist’s touch. There were some exercises to do, but without understanding why or how they fit, I admit that I only did them sometimes. Injury management went for months and months before my knee was well enough to start training again (until I was back for more treatment). In this clinic, my knee pain outlasted 2 therapists !
After I found my Bowen therapist, changes in my body were felt much faster. While the therapist understood the area of concern and gave it a little more concentration, they treated the entire body. The gentle rolling motions sent all sorts of sensations to various corners of my body. Nothing about the injury management hurt me at all. Reactions continued for days as my body took the therapist’s moves and continued the work, even without the therapist being present. I could feel that changes were happening because my body felt a little different each day. Not only did the injury heal, but my posture also changed. I was in better shape than any time before !
With Bowen Therapy, in many ways my body was taking responsibility for it’s own healing.
What is Bowen Therapy ?
A Bowen treatment involves small, gentle, precise rolling moves on muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves. These moves don’t force a change, but trigger the body to begin its own healing process.
The body is prompted to shift from the stressed, sympathetic “fight or flight” mode, to parasympathetic “rest and repair” dominance, restoring balance in the autonomic nervous system.
Breaks between series of moves allow the body to begin its work, with muscles often visibly softening during that time. Sensations and tingling are often felt in different parts of the body, as connective tissue and fascia lines are impacted. The entire body is treated or influenced, with the problem area receiving a little more attention with specialised moves. Treatment is so gentle that many are surprised that they feel so different after, that the small moves could have such an impact.
A therapy that’s more like a leader !
For me, Bowen Therapy is the “leader” of complementary therapies. The big picture is addressed through treating the entire body, not just the area of pain. The gentle rolling movements act like the coach, nudging bodies to get on with doing the repairs and adjustment it needs to do. And just like I delivered more when I was led, my body felt more changes after Bowen treatments – not just the injury repairing, but my posture improving too, delivering more that I had expected.
I’ll leave the conventional therapies to those who prefer just injury management. I’ll take my Bowen Therapy, with the body being engaged, coached and encouraged to heal itself…