Bowen for Bear Grylls

Bear Grylls - Men vs Wild with Will Ferrell
Bear Grylls – Men vs Wild with Will Ferrell

Intrepid adventurer Bear Grylls, currently starring in Mission Survive, has a rather surprising ally in his efforts to stay at peak physical performance – the gentle complementary therapy called the Bowen Technique.

Bowen Therapy is an alternative form of massage therapy that uses gentle touches to encourage the body to actively engage its own healing ability. The third International Bowen Therapy Week this month coincides with the 100th birthday of  the late Tom Bowen, the Australian who  founded the therapy. Other celebrities who favour Bowen are Kylie Minogue, Elle Macpherson and James Ellison.

Bear is Channel 4’s ‘Born Survivor’ who is dropped into hostile locations and has to make his own way back to civilisation. His everyday life consists of jumping out of planes, diving into icy water, walking for days through the desert and climbing mountains.

Whenever he returns from his exploits in hostile environments around the world, Bear has regular treatments with Sussex based Bowen therapist Sarah Yearsley, and now regards these as an essential part of his preparation.

Bowen Therapy involves the use of thumbs and fingers, with gentle rolling movements over muscles and tendons at precise points. The process releases energy, sending impulses to the brain to trigger the body’s own healing systems. It is particularly effective in correcting muscular and skeletal imbalances.

What can appear quite strange is that the practitioner leaves the room after each series of movements, but this is to allow the body to initiate its healing process.  Rather than ‘making’ the body change, Bowen ‘asks’ the body to recognise and make the changes it requires.  The Bowen Technique is a natural, non-invasive therapy with a very broad spectrum of application including chronic back pain, frozen shoulder, sports injuries, whiplash, migraine and asthma. It is suitable for all age groups.

Bear Grylls says, ‘Bowen has helped keep my body together despite the continual bashing it takes.  ‘It’s a vital support in putting right a whole range of new aches and pains, making sure that old injuries don’t cause me problems, and helping me fight stress and fatigue.’

The specific symptoms Sarah has helped Bear to overcome include a rotated pelvis, tight and shallow breathing, a strained calf muscle, extreme exhaustion and stress, and a toe injury. ‘Bear provides a perfect illustration of the amazing versatility of Bowen,’ she comments, ‘It helps him across a full range of symptoms – not only alleviating pain but boosting his immune system and helping minimise fatigue. Of course, he isn’t a typical patient, but most of his problems are no different from those I treat in people with normal lifestyles.’

A Bowen treatment normally takes between 45 minutes to an hour, and includes periods when the therapist stops to allow the treatment to take full effect. Therapists in the UK are regulated by the Bowen Therapy Professional Association which helps ensure high standards of practice and a code of conduct.

Bowen TPA,

Sarah Yearsley 07710 329449

Placebo effect ruled out in healing

Professional Reiki healer doing reiki treatment to young woman

Trials on plants, cells, seeds, small animals and humans using non-contact healing have proved that healing therapies are not subject to the placebo effect. Sceptics always claim that healing and many complementary therapies only work through the ‘placebo effect’. Their argument is that people who have a treatment just believe that they feel better.

The research has found that Reiki, healing, hypnotherapy, reflexology and even yoga, as well as other therapies are effective and not just placebos. To prove their point the researchers at the University of Northampton used plants, cells, seeds, small animals as well as humans to test non-contact healing in a series of separate trials.

The results uncovered a fascinating phenomenon: When ‘healing intent’ was given to each of these categories, they produced an independent positive result. The evidence shows that healing intention can improve human wellbeing, and change the behaviour of animals, plants, seeds, and cells in culture, to an extent that was statistically shown to be very unlikely to be due to chance.

Sue Knight, chief executive of the Confederation of Healing Organisations, the charity advancing the practice of Healing, commented: ‘This groundbreaking scientific evidence has dispelled the notion that healing’s effectiveness is just a ‘placebo effect’ and is crucial recognition of the fact that healing intent can make a difference to wellbeing.

‘We hope this will broaden the public’s view about the role of complementary therapies within healthcare. We see the results of this research as the first step to changing people’s perceptions about healing, and we will support this process by sharing case studies, stories and crucial education about the world’s oldest form of treatment.’
The peer review published research was recently presented to MPs in Westminster by the University of Northampton and the Confederation of Healing Organisations.

About the meta-analysis research:
· Scientific evidence for the effects of non-contact healing (published by the peer review title: Explore: The Journal of Science & Healing)
· Conducted by Professor Chris A Roe, Dr Elizabeth Roxburgh and Ms Charmaine Sonnex, University of Northampton

About the CHO:

The Confederation of Healing Organisations is the leading charity advancing the practice of Healing: promoting its benefits as a recognised complementary therapy by providing education, research and information to a wider audience of Healing and healthcare practitioners, and society as a whole.

The CHO’s website is an information hub of news, case studies and insights about Healing within the UK and internationally.

On Facebook  and on Twitter.

No more painkillers after reflexology

Reflexology mapLast September 52 year old Bron stood on a table and as she was climbing down on to a chair she missed her footing and went over backwards. She fractured her spine and had to have four months off her job as a Learning Support Manager at a local Woking school. In January she was signed off by the doctors and physios and went back to work part-time, but her back was still so painful that she kept taking painkillers.

‘A colleague suggested reflexology, and I must admit I was sceptical at first,’ Bron explains. She looked on Google and found Julia Wood (also in Woking). ‘Julia was lovely and very helpful. At the first session the side of my foot which corresponds to my back was painful, but it was ‘good’ pain. Gradually it eased off and when I go for reflexology now it doesn’t hurt at all.

‘The first session of reflexology can make you feel quite unwell and I was glad that it was a Friday because I just felt completely wiped out the next day. I gradually began to feel much better, but after six sessions I came off the painkillers.

‘Just this week I had bursitis (a painful swelling) in my hip which had flared up, so I arranged to go and see Julia. After just one session it was much easier to put my weight on the hip.

‘I’d recommend reflexology to anyone as it meant I didn’t have to take painkillers any more, and I feel so much healthier now.  I have more get up and go, so much more energy, and I sleep better, and the pain has gone. I now go every month to keep myself in good shape.’

Julia Wood is a member of the Association of Reflexologists, and she practises in Woking, Surrey, but is happy to travel to clients’ homes to give treatments. She says, ‘Reflexology can also help greatly for relaxing clients who come to me with stress-related problems or illnesses. Some clients have reported a reduction in tension,  improved general well-being and better mood with clearer thoughts.

‘For example, a client came to me to de-stress and after a course of six treatments she noticed that she felt more balanced in herself and it also made her mind feel less “congested” with thoughts and worries.’

Julia Wood:

Bowen banishes headaches and more

BOWEN Judith Kilgallon - Shoulder (2)
Judith Kilgallon practising Bowen

Eileen’s first thought when she went for a Bowen appointment was, ‘What absolute rubbish. The therapist twiddles me a bit, goes out and leaves me. Imagine my surprise then the next morning when my husband brought a mug of tea and two Co-Codamol as he usually does. I said, “I don’t need the co-codamol. My headache seems to have disappeared.” It just got better and better.’

Eileen is in her 60’s and has COPD but she was having such bad headaches that she couldn’t think clearly. ‘ My GP said that it was “my age” and that there was nothing that could be done and prescribed Co-Codamol. My brain wouldn’t function and I was in constant pain with my headaches. I found myself worrying that I was going through the early stages of Alzheimer’s.’

On the recommendation of a friend who had Parkinson’s Disease and had had great results, she decided to try Bowen Therapy. She went to The Therapy Company in St Anne’s on Sea and saw Judith Kilgallon, a Bowen therapist. ‘At the time Eileen was taking six Co-Codamol a day, had low energy levels, and couldn’t get up in the mornings. I used a diaphragm procedure on her to help with the COPD and expand the chest. This involves a movement on each side of the back and three on the front on the muscles under the ribs.’

When Eileen went for her second treatment she hadn’t had to use her inhaler for three days and her energy levels were amazing – she hadn’t had this much energy since she was in her 30’s. Eileen says, ‘My thumb which was a problem got better, my constipation got better and my breathing improved. When I went to have some tests the nurse said my breathing “had actually improved”.

Eileen decided to continue with treatments as she felt super charged and was up with the lark. She felt that Bowen had affected the way her brain works as the answers to quiz questions pop into her head and her husband is complaining that she has beaten him at dominoes for the first time in years.

She says she would recommend Bowen to others, ‘Particularly people of my age who are beginning to think that the things they’ve got wrong with them cannot be cured or improved and that they’re just stuck with them. People of my age group will be amazed. It’s not just physical – it’s mental as well!’

Read more about Bowen in : Bowen for Bear Grylls

Judith Kilgallon practises Bowen at The Therapy Company, St Annes on Sea, and The Mill, Preston, To find out more about Bowen go to: Bowen TPA,

Aromatherapy oils

Many people know aromatherapy as a relaxing massage with oils. But it’s much more than that. You can use essential oils in a variety of ways:  in an oil burner, in massage oil, in the bath, in a spray bottle.  They can form part of your first aid kit when travelling.

See the wide range of aromatherapy oils at  Neals Yard by clicking here. 

Lavender oil – there’s so much you can do with it, especially on holiday. You can apply it to stings and bites to ease itching and soreness. You can put a few drops in the bath to relax before bed, or if you can’t sleep you can put some on a tissue and leave it close to your face. The soothing vapours help you to sleep, or you can use it in a spray bottle as air freshener or burn to create a relaxing and soothing atmosphere.

Tea tree is the other must-have oil  in my bag. It’s antiseptic and has a strong pungent ‘clean’ smell so it’s great for cleaning – put a few drops in water and clean up your phone, your computer and other surfaces or even your kitchen. Put a few drops in the bucket when you clean your floor or use it in the bathroom to dispel other odours. Tea tree is also antifungal and can be used diluted in water or in oil on athlete’s foot, or a few drops in a bidet or shallow bath are good for thrush. Both lavender and tea tree oils can be inhaled in steam when you have a cold, cough or flu. Boil the kettle and put the steaming water in a bowl with a few drops.

Essential oils can be inhaled in steam, used in a compress or poultice, massaged in, put in the bath, burned in an oil burner, put in a spray bottle, or used in water to clean. They are very strong and should not be taken internally. They should be dispersed with the hand in the bath and some people suggest mixing them in milk before adding to the bath.

Basil oil – just sniffing the bottle can switch your brain on

Bergamot made from the peel of bitter orange fruit and is a delightful smell. It is helpful for anyone feeling depressed or tired and irritable. It is antiseptic and can kill germs in the home

Chamomile is calming and can be used in an oil burner or on a tissue for a fraught young child

Citronella keeps flying insects away so burn a few drops in an oil burner with water and place on the table

Clary sage oil is great for period pains – mix in oil and massage on your stomach. It also eases depression – put on a tissue and breathe in the pungent aroma.

Clove oil is well known for easing severe toothache,but be careful to apply to the tooth because it’s very strong and stings the mouth

Cypress oil in water stems blood from haemorrhoids, particularly after having a baby

Eucalyptus oil is excellent for clearing blocked noses and can equally be put in the bath to steam.

Frankincense oil  is known for being uplifting, soothing stress and anxiety, and for its rejuvenating properties on the skin.

Geranium oil is calming and is a great oil to burn or disperse in the bath

Ginger oil helps to stave off travel sickness – just sniffing the bottle will do. It also helps to warm the muscles if you massage it in, and is great for circulation. Dilute very well.

Grapefruit oil is great for jet lag. Disperse a few drops in the bath

Jasmine oil is expensive but very uplifting and relaxing

Juniper oil has a reputation for slimming as it is a natural diuretic. A few drops in the bath can soothe a hangover or in massage oil it can ease aches and pains.

Peppermint  oil is an excellent oil for many conditions, but it is incredibly strong so be careful with it. It is excellent for nausea, but most experts do not advise taking internally. Maggie Tisserand in her book Aromatherapy for Women suggests putting two drops in a spoonful of honey and add hot water. You could also put a few drops in an oil burner and breathe in the vapours. Dispersed in water or lotions peppermint soothes and cools hot, red, and sore feet or athlete’s foot.

Mandarin oil in carrier oil helps to prevent stretchmarks and scars.

Rose oil is made from the petals of the flower, and has the most beautiful aroma.  It is an expensive oil but it is antiseptic and healing. It is also known to be uplifting and helpful for depression, stress or insomnia. Used diluted in a carrier oil it is particularly effective for the skin, smoothing out wrinkles and puffiness, and moisturising dry or sunburnt skin.

Rosemary oil wakes you up so the best way to use it is to have a bath and breathe in the vapours. It is also good for tired legs – so mix in a carrier oil and massage in.  Recent research has shown that rosemary oil enhances cognitive memory.

Thyme helps to ease a cough and can be sprayed in water to the back of the throat • •

Ylang ylang can ease depression, so keep some on a tissue tucked into your clothes so that you can breathe it in, or put a few drops in a bath.

Neals Yard Aromatherapy Oils.