Animal Bowen TM / Touch Balancing ę (1)
"I am pleased to see that Elizabeth Sleight was so moved by my courses that she has chosen to share her observations and experiences of my Animal Bowen´ / Touch Balancing courses, as well as results she is experiencing from taking my Level One and Two courses." Instructor, Carol Bennett
by Elizabeth Sleight, Bowen Practitioner, Baltimore (Near Cobourg), Ontario
I had my first Bowen treatment several years ago after a dressage clinic with Mary Wanless where it was pointed out that my pelvis was crooked. Mary is a world renowned expert in rider and horse balance. This crookedness was causing me to have problems sitting square in the saddle and therefore disturbing the balance of my horse. Mary went on the speculate that the soundness issues that my horse was experiencing might well be a direct result of him having to constantly compensate for my crookedness. I found a wonderful Bowen therapist who, after only two treatments, was able to realign my pelvis. I immediately decided that if Bowen benefited me in such a huge way after two very gentle treatments then my horse would also reap great rewards. I searched for a therapist who could perform Bowen on animals in Ontario, Canada and couldn´'t find one. I then decided that I would undertake the journey to learn Bowen myself.
Bowen works on rebalancing the autonomic nervous system. The therapist performs a series of gentle, non-invasive moves across muscle and fascia with pauses between each set to allow the client to process the changes that occur as a result of the moves.
The autonomic nervous system is the part of us that allows us to relax or causes us to prepare for "fight or flight" when we are stressed. When we are in pain we tend to remain partially in fight or flight mode. Not only that, but our bodies tend to assume positions that compensate for the discomfort. These compensations themselves then go on to cause pain in other areas of the body as we are no longer balanced. The gentle Bowen moves set up a dialog between the muscles, the fascia, the nervous system and the brain. This dialog reminds the body how it was aligned before the trauma and the pain existed. Bowen invokes a deep state of relaxation in the nervous system that can be seen during a treatment. Human clients often start out wanting to chat during a treatment but usually by the second or third set of moves they are too deeply relaxed to have the desire to converse. The animals show this relaxation in body posture and in their eyes.
During this state of relaxation the body is able to rebalance on many levels, musculoskeletal, autonomic and meridian. The treatment may result in more fluid motion, lymphatic drainage, improved circulation, elimination of toxins, relief from digestive problems and release from pain.
I completed my human Bowen training and shortly after that I contacted Carol Bennett of Animal Connections to book a spot in her course in Animal BowenTM.
What an amazing experience and how wonderful to finally see dogs and horses benefit from Bowen. And benefit they did!! The changes over a few short days were visible even to the untrained eye.
The moves on the animals follow the patterns of the moves on humans. The muscles worked on are the same where anatomically possible. Carol has adapted human Bowen, with the approval of Bowtech and the Bowen Academy of Australia, to be used on any animal, even birds and reptiles.
As in human Bowen, the course was largely hands on. We had a range of dogs and horses available to be worked on, with the mornings dedicated to the dogs and the afternoon to the horses.
Processing during the pauses between moves was apparent by the change in the eye of the animal and was often accompanied by chewing, yawning, headshaking etc. as the old tensions were released.
One dog had broken her leg a year prior to our visit and ran with her front leg extended out in front of her. She avoided placing it on the ground. She was worked on consistently over several days and when we left she was able to bear weight on the injured leg and was using it when walking and running. The leg had been badly broken so full recovery was not possible but the changes in her gait were profound.
If you look at a horse from the side and divide it into thirds, the thirds should all look as if they belong together. This indicates a horse that is in balance. This was clearly not the case for several of our equine clients as each third was not a match for the others. As we worked on them we saw increased overtrack, horses picking up their feet instead of dragging them as they had previously, a very crooked pelvis level out, changes in the ability to touch and handle the horses and an overall softening of their bodies and their eyes. The changes in the top lines of the horses were readily apparent as was the contour of the bellies as the animals were finally able to let go of the pain that had caused them to be permanently tucked up. The animals had balance restored.
One mare didn´┐Żt want us near her udder so we performed the moves in the air over the areas we wished to work on. Changes occurred as we worked even though we didn´┐Żt actually touch her in any of the places where she was sensitive.
I recently treated a 23 year old retired dressage horse. He is in wonderful shape for his age. He was diagnosed with navicular about 7 years ago but was kept sound through shoeing and medication until a few months ago. He showed consistent unsoundness on his right front. This problem in the right front had also led to some issues in the left hind due to compensation.
The first treatment consisted of the basic relaxation moves. He showed me some problems in his shoulders and also behind the poll during the treatment. After performing the Bowen moves he no longer displayed any sensitivity in the shoulder area or behind the poll. When I finished working on him he immediately wanted to trot on the end of the lead shank. This hasn´┐Żt been his normal behaviour for some long time and was a sure sign that he was feeling really good.
The second treatment still showed some sensitivity in the shoulder area but he was completely comfortable with work at his poll, even going as far as lowering his head to allow the moves. I worked on his hindquarters and hind limbs for this treatment. He was extremely sensitive in the right stifle area but this was alleviated by the Bowen moves. Walking him on the concrete aisle before and after treatment showed a change in his footfall. Before the treatment he was landing hard on the right front and this was accompanied by a small sharp intake of his breath. After the treatment he was landing equally on all four feet and was no longer stressed in his breathing.
The third treatment showed a marked improvement in muscle tone and soundness. After the treatment he lunged sound and lowered his nose to the ground in order to stretch over his back. This is not a normal behaviour for this horse who was previously reluctant to really stretch down.
An arthritic cat who had stopped jumping onto the owner´┐Żs bed some months before benefited greatly from a Bowen treatment. After only one session she was able to jump onto the bed and was showing a lot more comfort moving around the house.
When animals are hurting they will change the way that they move in order to compensate for the pain. This invariably leads to stresses and strains in other areas of the body. For example, a horse that is lame on the right front will tend to be reluctant to bear full weight on the limb and will overuse the left hind in an effort to avoid the pain. Over time, the left hind will start to suffer from overuse. The original injury becomes part of a chain reaction of compensations and further pain.
Bowen offers a way to rebalance the body and to undo the damage caused by these compensations. Through a series of gentle, non-invasive moves, the body and brain are triggered to restore the body to its original blueprint. Bowen encourages the animal to enter a state of deep relaxation. Since the nervous system branches into every part of the body, including major organs, this state of relaxation encourages releasing on many levels. Toxins may be released, muscles will let go, balance is restored and the animal will feel more comfortable. Bowen continues to process within the body for several days after the treatment.
I really love working with animals. The change in their eyes and their bodies is a huge reward for me. I specialize in horses and dogs but would be glad to treat any other animal that would benefit from Bowen.
Animal BowenTM / Touch BalancingTM is a trademark and copyright of the Animal Connection Network ę which represent a specific type of Bowen for animals.
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