Our resident Bowen Therapist, Paul Dunn, who provides sessions at the Centre on Wednesdays and Thursdays, recently spoke to the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council.
I have been providing Bowen treatments at a London NHS hospital since 2016 but had to stop in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, when volunteer work was suspended by the NHS Trust. Approval to restart was made in October 2021. Although I continued to provide distant Reiki and Bowen services for the hospital, the suspension meant that I was able to give more time to a local service, The Swanley Therapy Centre (STC), where I had additionally been volunteering since 2019.
When it was first allowed, I gave treatments to those attending STC and learned that the STC was struggling to raise the funding needed to cover essential fixed costs due to the impact of Covid-19 on them and their sponsors.
So when, in 2021, the government said CNHC Registrants could resume treatments I did just that – by providing a full day of no-fee treatments at the STC thereby enabling the centre to ask for a nominal (fundraising) donation to its visitors (palliative patients, carers and other volunteers at the centre). By September 2021 this arrangement had raised over £1,500 in the year. It has made a valuable addition to the main feature of the STC – oxygen therapy treatments.
I worked closely with STC to develop an appropriate policy, operational practices and agreement documents to enable a safe environment for all. The STC is attended largely by people who have Multiple Sclerosis (MS), cancer, and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, also called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). It is also used as a post-surgery treatment, as studies show that oxygen therapy helps the body to heal and reduces spasticity for those with neurological issues.
Bowen treatments are a very popular addition for STC and the sessions allow the visitor to experience some other modalities; I will often close a session of Bowen Therapy with Reiki. I am now being asked to provide further treatments away from the centre for the clients and their family and friends, a testament to how helpful Bowen treatments have been, but I now only provide voluntary services. Bowen complements the oxygen therapy and some find that the immediacy of the treatment outcomes allows them to alternate treatments at their weekly attendance to good effect.
I hope to return to a hospital setting in 2022 but for now remain in contact with the Trust preparing a Bowen treatment research paper developed over three years service and which presents statistical evidence of a significant benefit to patient wellbeing when Bowen is given alongside allopathic treatments. The paper will be presented for the UK Association of Palliative Care conference 2022 – an important step towards formal recognition for the Bowen treatment protocol.