Bowen Therapy in Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands


I sailed to the Solomon Islands in June 2011. On arrival, I attempted to make contact with local charities and organisations to introduce Bowen Therapy to the Islands. Guadalcanal Island is a hot sultry island in the South Pacific, with heavy humidity and huge amounts of tropical flora and fauna. Dried coral, being readily available, is used for paths and driveways; the coral turns to dust with time and sits heavily in the air. Many people on the island live with deep fear and emotional traumas due too past uprisings and riots.
While there is now a governing body, RAMSI - Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands - to control and keeps things safe, counselling has not been available or an option for the many of thousands of local islanders. I made myself known to everyone who I thought might be able to give me any leads within the community to bring about the introduction of Bowen Therapy to the villages. While everyone was wonderful and listened with interest, no one to date was able to offer any real advice in what direction I should take to make things happen. Then the Universe decided to help.
Visiting the yacht club where all visiting yachtsmen and women congregate, I seated myself next to Meri, an English woman. Meri had married a Solomon islander, and lived on the island with her grown family. Swapping stories, she told me she had been to many therapists and doctors on the island, and also visited a surgeon overseas, and she still could not lift her arm without pain. Asking her permission, I turned her chair around and proceeded to do moves addressing her upper back and shoulder. When I had finished Meri lifted her arm completely above her head without the pain. She picked up her phone and rang her son Gerald.
He was a priest at St Barnabas, the Church of Melanesia; this was something he would want to hear about. Gerald is popular within the islander community being a local minister and island healer. His church fills with about 1000 people every Sunday. Gerald arrived within 15 minutes to meet me. After a short conversation, we arranged to have our first Bowen Therapy class the next day. Was this all a Coincidence? God only knows. I was surprised to find a class of 22 Solomon Islanders, found at such short notice. I presumed many would be spectators.
Our classes were held in an open-air hall so removing clothes would not be an option. We lined up kitchen tables and church pews as our training tables and set to work. With time being short, and this trip only a tester to see how well received it would be, I decided on basic relaxation moves and a few extra moves for complaints.
With thoughts of post-traumatic stress, asthma, anxiety, and any chest related illnesses, basic respiratory moves seemed an obvious choice. The next most common complaint was hip and knee pain, so pelvic and sacrum moves for the lower body, where also taught.
We had Patterson (a young islander ) as our male model. Patterson would remove his shirt for us. This sent the islander women into hysterical giggles. Especially when I instructed them to touch his well-defined muscles on his back, while I demonstrated the belly of a muscle and the slack and challenge technique used in moving over it. I would do the move, and then draw it on the board explaining how to measure where to find the position of hands for the move, and then they would all practice on each other. They were very intent on getting it right the first time. In the group one little elderly woman carried, her brightly crocheted bag on her shoulder and wouldn’t put it down. All moves where done with the bag. On asking the priest her story I found she had no husband and her family did not want her, so she was homeless and lived on the generosity of others. Her life was in that bag. For her to learn Bowen would give her some importance in her village, and she would become more valuable to her family and, she hoped, a home may be offered to her.
Each person in the class had their own story. In this class, there were two boys in their late teens (unusual in my experience), the parish priest, with the rest of the class being women of all ages. Each person attending our classes was intent on learning the power of Bowen to improve their own lives and others.
Travelling around, I engaged the services of a taxi driver and on learning my story; he wanted me to meet his adult nephew who was unable to walk. The story told to me in Pigeon English made translation difficult, but my understanding was that medically, it appeared there was no reason why he should not be able to walk. Apparently, he lost the feelings to his legs and they just stopped working. With the introduction of basic Bowen Therapy, he will now be able to receive regular treatments that give him hope.
During my time on the island, I had attracted many people in need of treatments. Using the local dive shop, I spent my last day on Guadalcanal Island sharing Tom Bowen’s work as the sun set on the horizon in the South Pacific.




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Bowtech is a gentle form of bodywork in which very subtle moves performed over the muscles and connective tissue send messages deep into the body, retrieving cellular memory of a preferred relaxed way of wellbeing. Results can be remarkable, even from the first session; often only a few sessions are needed to correct the presenting problem.
There are frequent but very essential pauses throughout the session that allow the body time to respond and begin the healing process. The practitioner can target a specific problem or address the body as a whole.

Can the Bowen Technique help me?
The original Bowen Technique is extremely gentle and is considered appropriate for anyone from pregnant women to newborn babies, the frail and the elderly. It can assist recovery from many conditions, from traumatic injury to chronic illness, depending upon each individual’s capacity to heal. No adverse side affects have been reported.

The technique should be considered for:
Back pain and sciatica
Digestive and bowel problems including IBS
Earache, ear infections and migraines
Fibro myalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome
Knee, ankle and foot problems
Groin pain, pelvic tilt and uneven leg length
Menstrual and hormonal irregularities
Neck/shoulder problems including frozen shoulder
Respiratory problems and hay fever
RSI, carpel tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow
Sports and accidental injuries
Baby colic

Who to Choose?

Who to choose?
We are now getting more and more Alternative and Natural Healing businesses in Mackay and surrounding suburbs. This can become confusing for clients. They may have had the same therapist for awhile and wonder ,"Will I try someone else to see what they do?"
Someone may have just started up and will undercut the usual prices, so it looks advantageous to give it a go. So, do you go on price alone in these hard times?Can they fix my bad back or sore knee or shoulder. Your thoughts may be, you won't really know unless you" give them a go".
Having been a massage therapist for over thirty years, I have heard all the questions. When clients ask me how to choose a therapist, I tell them a few things to look for. Are the premises clean? Is their manner professional in the treatment room? Can you claim your health care benefits back. (You pay it each year, so you should claim it back.) Most importantly; What is their experience and qualifications?
If they are registered with a health care provider, this ensures they have insurance and qualifications of a professional body standard. eg. AAMT. (Australian Assoc. of Massage Therapists) BTAA (Bowen Therapist Assoc. Australia) BAA (Bowen Assoc. Australia) to name a few.
Never forget there are “horses for courses”.
If you want a relaxing massage to pamper yourself, then look to a Spa. This is their forte. You will be surrounded with relaxing music, darken room and all will be soothing to the soul as well as the body.
If you have an injury, muscle or tendon related , look to a clinic that specializes in repair and rehab. Rarely will you find them both in the same clinic, as they are different qualifications. (Bowen therapy does treat both).
When you are booking your appointment, ask the questions. You are the client so you want to know up front the best treatment they can offer you.
If the answers aren't what you want or you don't feel reassured,then keep looking. We aren't all the same.