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Bowen Technique

Interview with Richard P Rust

How did you first get to know about Bowen, and why did you decide to learn it?
When I was doing full time massage, back in the early 90’s, I had heard about this strange modality that used very gentle moves over different parts of the body and got amazing results.  I was absolutely intrigued but it took a few months of making enquiries before I found out about a course coming up which I immediately enrolled in.

Did you already work in some form of body work, if so do you still practice it?

Who was your instructor?
That first 4 day Bowen course was taught by Ossie & Elaine Rentsch.  I guess I was lucky to train with them because this was the last “basic” training they ever did in NZ.

In the early days the training was much more intense, ie the courses were shorter than now. How tough was it?
My first basic training was a real challenge because it was the equivalent of modules 1 – 6 crammed into 4 consecutive days.  My brain and body were really scrambled after that training and felt somewhat confused when I came to use it clinically for the first time – a client with chronic neck pain that hadn’t responded to deep tissue massage. Fortunately I had met the late Roger Milne on that 4 day basic and in the 2 minute breaks between moves was able to phone him in Taihape to ask what came next.  I did this many times with many clients and would like to acknowledge Roger for his enormous patience and encouragement with helping me out in those early days.

How did you study your A&P or did you have a previous qualification?
I had studied Zoology and Cell Biology at university, and Pharmacology when I was employed by a Pharmaceutical company for 5 years and had also developed the Wellington School of Massage Therapy’s own Anatomy Physiology & Pathology course as part of our affiliation with TMA (Therapeutic Massage Association).

What was your favorite or most satisfying case study?
This is a very hard question to answer as I have had such an enourmous range of exciting results with many different clients receiving Bowen – from chronic frozen shoulders, headaches, menstrual cramps and bleeding to huge changes in hammer toes (using the Bowen strapping).

Do you become a little disheartened when a client does not respond to the treatment?
Of course I feel disappointed if a client doesn’t respond to treatment after 4 to 6 sessions.  This is one of the reasons why I have continued to train in many different modalities including Massage/NeuroMuscular Therapy, NLP Master Practitioner (to help with those cases where emotional stress seems to be at the heart of the problem), Ortho-Bionomy Practitioner Level, Bach Remedies, Kinesiology (including Touch for Health, Kinergetics and Neural Organization Technique).  What I have found is that one modality does not guarantee results for every client that comes in – different strokes for different folks.  For example if someone presents with chronic adrenal exhaustion usually their adrenals need rebuilding with various nutritional supplements and no amount of body work will resolve their apparently structural issues until their biochemical balance is restored. This definitely applied to me with a history of caffeine abuse and 3 years of chronic right groin pain from a seriously contracted right sartorius muscle.  In the Kinesiology model the sartorius muscles relate to adrenals. So despite many sessions of bodywork to release my tight right sartorius it was only when I gave up drinking coffee and took supplementation to rebuild my adrenals that the pain resolved.

What encouraged you to become an instructor? 
The excitement and awe I had, and still have, for the Bowen Technique as such a profound yet simple system of healing.  So my earlier comments about people not responding to Bowen have to be tempered with the comment that even if the client’s presenting complaint does not appear to respond to the Bowen treatment I completely believe that other aspects of their system will be responding on many other levels