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You're getting older, you have to expect some aches and pains.

Have you gone to your GP with a problem and they've told you that? Sometimes it's as though they can't think of anything else to say. They don't know what's wrong with you so they look at your records in a panic, see that you're over 50 and with relief attribute your problems to that. Now they can make you go away.

Of course not all GPs do that, but there are sadly still some that do. My mother died of lung cancer because of one of them. If you have a long-term health condition then they'll tend to assume anything that's wrong is because of it. If your shoulder hurts and you had a shoulder problem 10 years ago, it's obviously the same thing. It might be, of course. Or it might not.

Fortunately - for us, not necessarily for the medical profession - we're a lot better informed these days. We used to treat doctors as gods who knew everything. Now we know they don't - and more importantly, some of them know it too. But the internet tells us so much, it's difficult to know what to believe. Type a list of symptoms into Dr Google and it will tell you that you could have anything from indigestion to multiple organ failure. Don't bother shutting down your laptop, you'll be dead by then.

I spent a long time working in HR before I became a Bowen therapist so I dealt with a lot of people who had health problems. Many of them were serious, some of them not so much. One lady had a lot of sickness absence because, she informed me with some pride, she had cervicalgia. Her GP had diagnosed her three years earlier when she went in because her neck hurt and she couldn't turn her head properly. Her treatment was powerful painkillers.

Now that's all well and good, but 'cervical' means 'neck' and 'algia' means 'pain'. All her GP had done was tell her exactly what she already knew - she had neck pain. But because they said it in another language it counted as a diagnosis. They hadn't established why her neck hurt or done anything to stop it. She still couldn't turn her head properly and the pain was still bad enough - even with the painkillers - to keep her off work fairly regularly. FAIL for the medical profession. Whereas if she'd had Bowen, she might have recovered. I can't say for certain of course, but a lot of people who come to me with those symptoms do recover after I've treated them.

Another case had a frozen shoulder which had been effectively rendering him disabled for about 9 months. The physiotherapist had given him exercises which as far as he was concerned made things worse, and told him that he had to wait for it to get better. If he did the exercises that might only take 2 years. Bowen therapy is really good at frozen shoulders. I've fixed one in 20 minutes. Another FAIL for the medical profession.

The point of this blog is not to knock the medical profession or the NHS, which is still a marvellous institution despite its many challenges and problems. Nor am I criticising doctors, who know far more than I ever will about the body, how it works and what happens when it stops. The problem is that they don't know everything, will never know everything, and as a body are often extremely reluctant to admit that anyone else could know anything they don't.

Bowen therapy works on trigger points and fascia. They are both concepts well known to and recognised by the medical profession. Trigger points were first recognised in the nineteenth century. It's possible to explain, using basic biology and common sense, how the effect of Bowen on the body impacts the circulation, lymphatic, immune, nervous, digestive, hormonal, respiratory and urinary systems. Doctors will happily - indeed gleefully - refer patients to physiotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathy, which are recognised as 'proper' medical disciplines. Other forms of therapy which work on muscles and bones are not so lucky and do not get referrals. Even GPs who recognise and value complementary therapies are not allowed to refer patients to them due to NHS rules, which I'm sure are there for good reasons. (I was told this by a client who is a GP). I've had people come to me who tell me they asked their GP about complimentary therapies and the GP laughed at them. That's just rude.

Fairness forces me to record that there are many members of the medical profession in the UK and elsewhere who know about, understand and value complementary therapies. But there aren't enough of them in this country. In Canada, the US and Australia, Bowen is enough of a 'real thing' to be covered under medical insurance. Even here in the UK you can claim under some private healthcare policies for complementary therapies, but your GP still probably won't refer you for them or even tell you they exist.

Why is all this a problem?

If the NHS is working for you then that's great. If you go to your GP with an illness or pain, they find out what's causing it and stop it, then everyone's happy. If they bring the might of medical science to bear on your case and aren't able to fix you, then at least you'll feel they've tried. But then they will probably tell you that there's nothing that can be done - and that's potentially just not true.

I saw a lady recently who had been told she would have a serious headache for the rest of her life. Medicine is stumped as to why or what to do about it. I gave her a short taster Bowen treatment and while it didn't cure her headache, it did make it considerably better which is more than anything else had done.

An 80 year old gentleman came to me recently with a badly swollen, very painful and immobile ankle. He has had this problem since he was 17, when he was told there was nothing that could be done. He would just have to put up with it. After one treatment his pain was gone, the swelling reduced and the movement increased. That's sixty three years of pain and disability that he could have been spared - and it's not as though he hasn't been going to the doctor regularly during that period. I don't know about you, but that makes me angry.

Of course there's nothing to stop you trying complementary therapies regardless of what your GP says; but if you don't know about these options, how can you take them up? People are suffering pain and feeling unwell for years - decades - when they might not have to.

If the NHS can't cure you then it's very sad, but medical science has its limitations. If complementary therapies can't cure you then it's because they're nonsense and you were an idiot to even think of trying them.

So however 'out there', bizarre, unbelievable or novel a therapy sounds, I urge you to try it. You have nothing to lose and so, so much to gain.

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