If you are in a continual state of stress, like in PTSD, this greatly affects your interoceptive ability. To foster interoceptive accuracy, it is important to move the client from a sympathetic state into a parasympathetic or vagal state, which is what happens with Bowen therapy or breathwork. This works by regulating the enteric brain, which includes nose breathing and diaphragmatic respiration. The diaphragm has no spindle muscle cells so it is entirely receptive to the enteric gut via Vagus nerve stimulation.
A practitioner’s efficacy in helping their patients has much to do with their ability to perceive which is an interoceptive contemplative practice. Intuition is driven by somatic markers in your own body. It is essential to consider whether the sense is self-generated or perceived from the client.
Patients describe muscular pain very differently from fascial pain. Muscular pain is described with very precise words, descriptors of pain such as burning, cold, tearing, or pulling, whereas, fascial pain is described with emotional words like cruel, agonizing or mean pain. The insular cortex is coding physical perceptions from an emotional perspective.
The client fishes for interoceptive feedback when you leave a therapeutic pause for their body to respond. Interestingly in the first minute after a Bowen move, a patient is spending 80% of the time searching for interoceptive feedback. As a therapist, you have this same curiosity of seeing where the patients are connecting to their bodies and discovering what it is saying.
- Lack of sleep affects your interoceptive ability.
- Intermittent fasting has been shown to be good for interoception.
- You learn to actually feel what it feels like to be hungry and what it feels like when your body is tired.
The facial system consists of over 100 million sensory nerve endings in an average human being.
Kendice Pert discovered endorphin receptors in the fascia, demonstrating that information is transmitted in an open web forum of elastin, collagen and polysaccharide ground substance with billions of cells, muscles and sensory nerves. We used to think that there was only the autonomic nervous system and now we realize that there is a vast network of nerves and nervous system that runs through and is part of the fascia.
The fascia is a crystalline structure which enables the piezoelectric phenomena. Through pressure and shear, the tissue comes alive making photons and electrons flow to engage the ground substance. What is interesting is that if the pressure is too hard on the skin, it actually blocks the lymphatic flow because the lymphatic system is close to the skin. If on the other hand it is too light, then you don’t actually engage the matrix. The ideal pressure is gauged by a slight push-back, a type of resistance that sets a connection point. This is crucial to the Bowen moves as there is no sliding on the skin in Bowen. Every completed Bowen move engages the ground substance.
The ideal way of connecting to this special structure is to press until you feel a certain push back. You’re actually doing this with your own proprioceptor sensitivity. You have probably felt that when you touch someone, there may be a part that feels more resistant, or the person may feel a certain amount of pain or discomfort. Restrictions are loosened by the presence of a hand that is engaged with the matrix.
So from a therapeutic perspective, Bowen Therapy is ideal to connect with this matrix.
The nature of Bowen moves are gentle, firm, and connected without causing any pain. When we take the slack and we move in these key orchestrated locations in the body, we are talking directly to this ground substance which is a self-organizing and self-healing substrate. It has everything that keeps us alive working through it.