Taking a light walk each day and staying mobile is one of the key recommendations given by Bowen Therapists after a treatment.
While walking is the easy, no-excuse way to stay mobile and help make the most of your Bowen treatment, there are also other exercises that can be done, and some others to stay away from.
In the last post, I talked about how Bowen moves give muscles triggers to begin changes in the body that continue for days. Doing something that gives the body new triggers can stop the Bowen process. Vigorous activity (where the muscles are working hard and need stretching after) or contact sports (where the muscles are being given new triggers by through being hit) should be avoided to allow the Bowen to continue to help the body adjust.
However, doing nothing is also not good… I sometimes half-joke with clients that their body has had a workout while lying on the table, so they need to keep it moving a little in the days after so that it doesn’t seize up ! Think about when you’ve done a strenuous activity for the first time in a while – you know on the following day that you’re going to need to go for a walk or do something to stop the muscles seizing up. Bowen is a bit like that, but you’re not sweating when the workout is happening.
On the days after your Bowen treatment, walking is great.
Walking increases breathing, gets the lymphatic system going, increases vascular supply to the limbs, and helps to improve cardiovascular fitness – all of this helps healing !
It also helps to strengthen bones, being a “weight-bearing” exercise (the weight being your body weight), and helps strengthen muscle tone in legs, abdominal muscles, and even arm muscles if you swing your arms as you walk.
Walking also supports your joints. With most joint cartilage not having direct blood supply, joints rely on synovial (or joint) fluid that circulates as we move. Light impact on the joints through movement such as walking, compresses the cartilage a little, bring oxygen and nutrients to the joints.
Walking also produces endorphines, the body’s natural painkiller, lifting mood and feeling great !
I also like to zone out of what’s going on around me for a little while as I’m walking – feel how my feet are landing, what my feet and hips and shoulders are doing, how are they different now versus before treatment, what feels right and what feels like it still needs change – take some real notice of my body and what it’s doing.
Walking outdoors in the fresh air is best, if you can. Treadmills can result in people walking with an unnatural gait, due to the moving belt and a tendency by some to hold the rails – not the best if you’re trying to get your natural gait right !
Sometimes walking solo works well for some, but some may lack motivation to go on their own. Recruit family or friends to join you on your walk – or, join a walking group and make new friends to keep you motivated. Websites such as www.meetup.com have groups all around the world going walking almost every day of the week – some you can walk with for free, while others have a small annual fee or an event charge. But, choose the walk that suits where you are in your phase of recovery – easy city walks with coffee stops are a better place to start than long strenuous bush walks !
Other exercises that can help support your Bowen treatment are yoga and pilates.
Yoga is a great support to Bowen work. With Bowen moves subtly helping the body remodel the fascia and alignment, yoga can help take the work a step further by encouraging the body to move and stretch, and adapt a more efficient way of moving. A type of somatic exercise, yoga also supports increased awareness in the body.
Pilates can also be useful after Bowen, if done correctly. I’m not talking the hardcore conditioning Pilates that resembles a serious ab work out on a mat, but the type that involves holistic, controlled movement. This type of movement sequences, on a mat or reformer, help the body-mind to re-pattern the body’s habits when moving, allowing for a new balance of strength and mobility.
Both Yoga and Pilates involve a type of “mindful movement” – helping the person become more aware of the body’s movements, while helping the body begin to move in a more fluid way, to build on the triggers given by Bowen treatment.
Yoga or pilates not for you ? then just keep walking !
if you’re in Sydney, then look for me bushwalking on weekends with Sydney Explorers or Sydney Bushwalking Group… or, just enjoy photos from my walks on the simply bowen therapy facebook page…