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  • Phil Steward

The Importance of Palpation



The body that we stand above gives us all the information that we need to provide a successful treatment and thus to help it as much as we possibly can. The Bowen move provides us both with assessment and intervention. All this information comes from the client’s body via our finger tips. You can feel so much information from those amazing digits at the end of our arms it is truly remarkable.


Yet it seems to be skill than many don’t immerse themselves in, some seem not to consider what is under their fingers and just make moves where they learnt without truly learning and understanding why. It is said that you only truly learn to drive after passing your test, the same could be said about many skills and Bowen is no different.

We really need to sink into our senses and emerge ourself in the feelings that are under those finger tips, the more you feel; the more you feel. You move away from feeling “tight” muscles, to feeling the tension within the fibres, to finding those tiny little epicentres of tension that require the intervention to change the whole muscle.

The ability to truly feel the precise location that each move needs to be made at, to sink into the tissue to correct level to make a move that creates the maximum amount of change possible within the system. Every move is very precise in its location and depth it is a beautiful, almost art form of a therapy. The deeper you feel, the more you feel the responses and feed back you the therapist gets from the tissues that you are changing, as you really feel, you feel the need to hold moved for a second or so longer or to feel the need to contain responses within tissues, by holding your fingers in places to create blocks.

Then there is the need to go back to tissues that you have treated to assess (feel) them again to make sure they have released as much as you want them to and to confirm that the tissues have responded to your intervention, and thus you know that your intervention has been successful. If you don’t do this how can you know?


So when you are back in your treatment room, close your mouth, breathe slowly and gently to the count of five in and count of five out of your nose, all the while your thumbs and hands are on the lower blockers, really feel and try this with every move you do, The softer you palpate the more you feel and use all your fingers, the more surface area on the tissues the more you’ll feel, the more you feel the more you know. The more you know the better the treatment."

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