Bowen Belfast

Gentle, Effective Remedial Therapy

Blog Feed

Wikipedia Acupuncture Entry Hijacked by Pseudosceptics


I’m generally not one for promoting the orthodox medical profession’s opinions of complementary and alternative therapies, as they tend to be disappointingly dismissive and uninformed, but I am genuinely impressed by Dr Mike Cummings’ Acupuncture in Medicine Blog on the BMJ website.

In this article he offers a reasoned and coherent criticism of how Wikipedia dismisses acupuncture as pseudoscience. The pseudosceptics responsible would do better to spend some time reading Dr Cummings’ blog to find references to the research on the subject.

Wikipedia Acupuncture Entry Hijacked by Pseudosceptics 2017/01/02 17:08

Additional Date for Emmett Technique Practitioner Training in Belfast

Emmett Logo

In response to demand for places on her recent Emmett Technique  Practitioner Training Course, Hilary Campbell-Martin has announced a further date for the Module 1 & 2 training on 23rd and 24th March 2013 in Belfast. Places are limited, so book early to secure a place!

A copy of the registration form is available here: Belfast M12 Emmett Registration Form

Additional Date for Emmett Technique Practitioner Training in Belfast 2013/03/07 12:47

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 4,100 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 7 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

2012 in review 2013/01/01 18:21

Fascia as the Anatomical Basis for Acupuncture Points and Meridians

Acupuncture Meridian Chart

Stephen Coughlan of Running Repairs brought this to my attention. Researchers in China have published an article which seems to back up my own opinion that the fascial substrate of the body is the anatomical basis for the system of points and meridians used in acupuncture. A full pdf version of the article is available here.

Article Citation: Yu Bai, Jun Wang, Jin-peng Wu, et al., “Review of Evidence Suggesting That the Fascia Network Could Be the Anatomical Basis for Acupoints and Meridians in the Human Body,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2011, Article ID 260510, 6 pages, 2011. doi:10.1155/2011/260510

Fascia as the Anatomical Basis for Acupuncture Points and Meridians 2012/11/24 14:45

Irish Times Article on the Bowen Technique

Irish Times Article on the Bowen Technique

Many thanks to Stephen Coughlan of Running Repairs for bringing this to my attention. A wonderful example of the Bowen Technique in action.

Irish Times Article on the Bowen Technique 2012/10/03 10:02

Emm-Tech Short Course in Belfast in June 2012

Easy Muscle Management for Every Body

Emm-Tech UK Logo

The Emm-Tech short course was created by Ross Emmett so that non-therapists would have the opportunity to use some of his work to help friends and family.

Donal Campbell of Bowen Belfast, and Hilary Campbell-Martin of Manual Medicine will present an Emm-Tech course in two four-hour blocks on Sunday 10th and 24th June 2012 in Belfast.

No prior experience is necessary, so the course can be taken by anyone.  It is of particular interest to Sports Coaches and Trainers, Carers for the Elderly, General Carers, and parents, or as a taster for therapists who may be considering taking the professional qualification.

The cost is £100, which includes your Course Guide, a Certificate of Attendance and a DVD for revision.

A booking form and more information is available for download on the Bowen Belfast website here.

Emm-Tech Short Course in Belfast in June 2012 2012/04/18 15:04

Alternative Medicine on the NHS?

Last week seven short films were broadcast on Channel 4 in the UK in the 4Thought slot presenting various viewpoints on whether Alternative Medicine should be available on the NHS. The videos can be seen here, and are well worth a look.

It was interesting to see the different viewpoints presented in a calm and reasonable manner, without the tiresome extremes of  theatrics, sycophancy, conspiracy theories, claims and counterclaims that accompany such debates on internet forums.

In the films, the main objection to the integration of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) seems to be that alternative medicine is unproven, and that it is dangerous for people with serious diseases such as cancer to rely on alternative approaches. For the record I agree with this. I’m not a medical doctor, and I don’t try to be one. I don’t want that life and death responsibility (at least not without the 6 figure salary to go with it!). I don’t treat cancer, or any other condition for that matter – I treat people. I don’t interfere with, impede or advise against their mainstream treatment, and I definitely don’t advise them on their medication.

Overall, and perhaps unsurprisingly, I’m with Bowen Therapist Martina Hinds (featured in one of the 4Thought films) in her preference for an integrated system of medicine, as I have experienced such a system during my clinical acupuncture placement in a brain injury ward in a hospital in Nanjing, but I doubt that such a system will ever come about here.

For any complementary and alternative therapies to be accepted by the medical mainstream, they will have to demonstrate their efficacy in a manner that satisfies the reductionist approach favoured by the evidence-based medicine movement, and I have already written about how this may not be a suitable medium for the evaluation of holistic interventions.

But what if a therapy managed to demonstrate it’s effectiveness to a degree that allowed acceptance by mainstream medicine? Well, then it would cease to be an alternative form of medicine, and would become a medical intervention, and I dare say it wouldn’t be long before the practice of this medical intervention was restricted to ‘proper’ medically-trained practitioners, leaving the alternative practitioners out in the cold, unable to practice. A scary thought perhaps, but unlikely to happen due to the prevalence of close-minded pseudo-scepticism in health and other scientific fields. These so-called ‘free-thinkers’ seem unaware of their own bias towards alternative medicine, immediately dismissing any hint of efficacy instead of retaining the open-minded questioning attitude characteristic of true scepticism.

The consensus seems to be that if an outcome wasn’t obtained as part of a randomised controlled study then it didn’t happen. I am now in my eighth year of practice, and have consistently seen phenomenal results for the majority of my clients. These results and any testimonials from my clients are anecdotal evidence for the efficacy of my work. In evidence-based medicine terms anecdotal evidence is dismissed as, at worst, lies and fabrication, and at best, what? Coincidence? How many coincidences does it take, happening consistently, one after another over eight years before a statistically significant trend arises? Perhaps one of my mathematician friends can advise on that.

Current political developments with the NHS, where the slide towards privatisation has begun, may level the playing field somewhat between mainstream and CAM approaches as patients may eventually find that they have to pay for certain services. Currently in the UK, the perception is that the NHS is free, because services are subsidised and are not charged at the ‘point of sale’. Every taxpayer and national insurance contributor pays for the NHS, but because this payment is physically and ideologically removed from the service provided, medical treatment appears to be free, which can be a hurdle for those considering CAM treatment, where they are expected to pay the service provider.

Consider the situation in the Republic of Ireland, where people pay to see their GP. There people are more likely to choose a practitioner who will provide a solution to the problem, so for example a person with back pain might choose to see a Bowen therapist, who can usually provide lasting relief within a couple of treatments, rather than their GP, who might prescribe painkillers initially, and possibly eventually refer them for physiotherapy. As the NHS changes over the coming years, this is where we may find ourselves. Market forces and real-life efficacy will determine who thrives.

Alternative Medicine on the NHS? 2012/02/21 22:44

Sports Performance Enhancement – Be the Greatest!

Float like a butterfly, Sting like a bee

Athletes, sportspeople, coaches and trainers will be interested to see this reference to a study using acupuncture and moxibustion over ten days to produce a 38% improvement in peak oxygen uptake and 13% improvement in peak ventilation in a healthy sedentary non-exercising subject. The performance enhancing implications for those involved in competitive sport are clear.

From my own perspective, if you add to this the effects of Bowen or Emmett technique in maximising efficiency and reducing the incidence of injury by releasing movement restrictions, along with further on-pitch, trackside or between-round instant fixes afforded by the Emmett technique, then ask yourself – whether you’re a weekend warrior or competitive sportsperson, fighter, trainer or coach looking for a competitive edge, can you afford not to have me involved in your preparation?

Related Posts:

Sports Performance Enhancement – Be the Greatest! 2012/02/17 21:29

Emm-Tech Meets Pilates

In this blog post from The Pilates Workshop, Pilates teacher Sue Pickering describes her amazing experience of an Emm-Tech course delivered by Lesley Salt.

Suitable for all fitness professionals, therapists, carers and anyone wishing to help their friends and family, the Emm-Tech short course provides an easily applied tool kit of procedures to instantly ease pain and movement restriction.

Check the Emmett Technique UK website for more information and details of upcoming courses.


Related articles

Emm-Tech Meets Pilates 2012/01/30 22:08

Bowen Technique During Pregnancy

Dr Gowri Motha, obstetrician and author of  ‘ The Gentle Birth Method’, endorses the use of Bowen technique treatments for pregnant women in this article from

Bowen Technique During Pregnancy 2012/01/04 15:49