Boosting Health and Wellbeing with Tai Chi and Bowen

tai-chiI went along to the Methodist church on a Thursday morning to meet Heather Downs and find out about her ‘Dowken School of Tai Chi for Wellbeing Mission’. I was greeted by one of her most enthusiastic students, Derek Miles, who told me that Tai Chi is one of the best things that have happened to him. Having struggled with back problems for many years he is now pain free generique cialis canada and feeling wonderful at the age of 86. He proudly told me that he was the only member of his family not to be suffering aches and pains after a hard weekend of work on his daughter’s farm! As the hall filled up with participants Heather went over to greet a newcomer. She explained that for many people the biggest obstacle is to summon up the courage to come along so she always makes a big effort to make them feel welcome when they do. Tai Chi is an internal Chinese martial art  practiced for both its defence training and its health benefits. The  Dowken School seeks to provide traditional Tai Chi Chuan forms for people of all ages to meet contemporary needs. That is to utilise Tai Chi to enhance daily life by bringing positivity and health benefits through time tested movements and restful breathing techniques. Heather now runs three classes per week. On Thursdays she teaches Shaolin short forms and Qi Gong for Mindfulness at 10am followed by a new class for beginners at 11.15. These are the forms that she learnt when she began her journey 18 years ago in 1998. On Mondays at 11am Heather teaches Sun Style Traditional 97 form and Qi Gong which embraces a mixture of styles to create a formidable long form requiring more practice. This she learnt from David Martin who in turn trained in China with the daughter of Master Sun Lu Tang- creator of this form. David also authorised Heather to teach the Sun Style.   Heather recommends that her students try out different classes before deciding which to continue with.  Anyone can attend the classes and there is no obligation to attend every week. Comfortable clothing and flat shoes are recommended. Classes in groups for businesses, residential homes or schools can also be arranged as well as 1 to 1. In her former life Heather taught Computer Science and Business but it was due to the illness of her twin sister that she discovered a vocation for health and wellbeing. In 2008 she left this area to live in Lincolnshire and shortly afterwards also left academia as she established the Dowken School there. Building ten classes across rural communities with a wide range of students enabled her to develop even better programmes as well as becoming a therapist offering Zen Shin Katsu, Reiki and the Bowen Technique. She has also run a GP referral class in Bridlington for almost 3 years for Medical Practice 2 and 1 at the Station Approach Surgery, having been appointed a Volunteer Practice Champion and assisting in health promotion days. Fortunately for us, Heather decided to return home in 2013 to be near her family. As well as the Dowken School she now runs a Bowen Therapy practice at Jamie Goodlass Hairdressers on Newbegin. The Bowen technique is a non-invasive, complementary holistic therapy. It targets certain points on the body with gentle rolling movements to help it balance, repair and reset itself. Heather specialises in facial connective tissue manipulation which helps to identify underlying physical issues.   Hether says: “I’m truly excited about opening the new clinic where I can provide a warm and friendly location for people to feel welcome and relaxed.  The clinic work brings equal satisfaction from a working perspective. More and more people are seeking the Bowen Experience.  Mr Tom Bowen of Australia formulated Bowen, I met Julian Baker the then head of the European College of Bowen Studies.  Julian has gone on to establish in traditional medicine terms how it works.  I was fortunate to be one of his students, he is a world authority in this field and now teaches across the globe.  When asked to describe this unique treatment method I can only describe it as it feels after treating hundreds of clients.   Technically it is a gentle rolling finger technique applied to specific areas of the body.  Known as a holistic treatment I have yet to find a client who has not benefitted.  It triggers your nervous and autoimmune system to ‘look see’ at the gentle ‘disturbance’ created by the moves.   Specific wait times are built in for the body to assimilate what is happening. It is not uncommon for clients to ‘snooze’ during sessions.   For example, applying a move in your ankle, it reverberates to the top of the skull via connected fascia and connective tissue.  The body then begins to ‘correct’ itself. No harsh manipulation takes place at all.  I believe due to the gentleness of this treatment the body does not take up fight and flight responses, but allows internal systems to realign, reattune in its own unique way.  ‘Less is More’. This year Heather has attended further Bowen CPD, Mother and Baby Workshop in Cambridge and a Neuro Workshop in Leeds.  Bowen continues to develop providing new innovative treatments.  More workshops are planned for 2017, each benefitting the people of Hornsea.  Zen Shin Katsu (Acupressure) is a method whereby finger pressure is applied to clear meridian energy lines alongside gentle stretches.  Then we have Reiki based on healing the energies surrounding each person, in doing so their physical and emotional body begins to repair.   Hopi Ear Candling is also available, used to clear sinus related conditions, ear wax and lymph systems.  All these therapies work in different ways, which are applied depends on each client needs.  You are required to complete a questionnaire on current and past health conditions to help decide which treatment is most applicable.  Please ring me to discuss your individual needs. “ To find out more I booked in for a session and it soon became clear that Heather does indeed possess some considerable healing powers as she performed her magic on me. I left feeling wonderfully relaxed and would recommend a visit to her for anyone who would like to enjoy improved health and well being. We do indeed have a special lady in our midst.  

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