One of our biggest fans,
Maddy Newman from Bau’s Bowen joined me for a coffee and a chat about Canine Bowen Therapy, natural therapies for dogs and using Genki Pet Spritzes with her patients.
You can listen to the interview here:
Who is Bau?
I was struggling a lot to come up with a name for my practice and I am quite spiritually and energetically inclined as well and through a bit of research I discovered that Bau (pronounced bough) is the Babylonian Goddess of Healing and Canines. Those two things just fit so perfectly together that I couldn’t resist using them as the tagline and name for my business. And I’m a big fan of an alliteration so… (laughs)
What is Canine Bowen Therapy?
Canine Bowen Therapy is a bodywork modality that focuses on the fascia of the body. In practice it is a very gentle and minimalistic form of therapy using gentle rolling moves on very specific areas of the body in very specific sequences. When we go through training this is very encouraged and consolidated – that we need to be using these (techniques) in a certain way.
As you go on your own journey with Bowen you find various people influence you and you bring in different things like my energetic work, but it is very much focused on that connective tissue and allowing rehydration and blood and lymph flow to those areas of tension, anxiety or “fascial adhesions”, as we like to say.
So once you clear the fascial adhesions, it opens up the space so that then the fluid can flow correctly?
And I often liken it to the sort of “blueprint of the body” – so if we can change where the fascia sits then we can allow the muscles to slide into the place where they are meant to be. So when we change the blueprint, this changes the overall structure of the body as well.
And we’re always changing blueprints aren’t we? With falling over or with various tensions or stresses?
Even as you said, the mental as much as the physical, whether it is the physical injury of a pulled muscle or the anxiety held in a dog’s body.
Tell me about the energetic work that you accompany your Bowen with?
For a very long time, it has been very intuitive based, using my understanding of body energetics and things like the energetic field around each human and animal. Making sure that the intention for the work is clear. The intention is very important in energy work. What are we aiming to impact alongside the very specific and scientific structure of Bowen Therapy. I feel like they compliment each other very well. I have also recently done Reiki qualifications as well to further enhance that energetic work.
Do they separate it out to specifically include animals, or is it the human level you have done?
I have done the human levels of Reiki and they say it is very similar, with the main difference being that animals require a lot less energy to heal; they have a lot less “stuff” in their bodies and their energetic field than humans do!
Oh to be a dog!
It is interesting too, watching energetic work and even Bowen Therapy – the dog can’t intellectualise that process and be like “what if it does work?” or “what if it doesn’t work?” They don’t have that mental aspect to it, with the energetic work, you just see it happen, you see their body relax, without them questioning or thinking about it as mental humans do.
You’ve just given me inspiration to spend a day or two like that, without intellectualising. That feels like a really nice idea!
How did you come to be practicing Canine Bowen Therapy?
I went on a bit of my own health journey, I experienced a chronic pain disease called Fibromyalgia for about four years and used Kinesiology and Bowen Therapy in conjunction to heal myself and put myself into remission from that disease.
So once experiencing that healing for myself and couple that with my lifelong love of growing up around horses and dogs my entire life, that really inspired me to look into Canine Bowen Therapy as something I can do to help animals.
That’s my biggest thing really: helping and healing before profit or returns and it’s very important for me to be able to do that for animals because they don’t necessarily have a voice of their own to be able to tell their owners “I need this” and that’s a big driver of mine.
What kinds of things would I bring my dog to a Canine Bowen Therapist for?
That’s the magic of Bowen and the more I learn with it and even experiencing it over the past three years, the more I find it is able to do.
- Rehabilitation from surgery
- Injury Management
- Muscular and skeletal trauma
- Aggression Reactivity
This (anxiety, aggression reactivity) is not something Bowen is necessarily advertised to do, but in my own experience I have been able to get great results with anything from separation anxiety, post traumatic stress (PTSD) in a dog that used to be used for dog fighting, an aggressive reactive case in a Border Collie…
In some cases this (anxiety, aggression reactivity) is because the body is in pain and so when we heal the body, the body then heals the mind and in some cases the mind is affecting the body and so this (mind-body connection) is a big thing for me.
Do you think you could be experiencing or noticing changes using your treatment style on such things as anxiety and aggression reactivity because you are implementing the energetic work as well?
I think to a degree, probably.
I do think that there is the more scientific method – research that comes into play when using Bowen Therapy. I do think there is merit in using the Bowen Therapy in and of itself and even before I was implementing the Reiki, and was using that more intuitive energy, I do think this absolutely had an impact on how successful I was in treating those specific cases.
What do you notice that tells you your treatment is working for the dog you’re treating?
Lots of little things…
I feel like they have so many ways of communicating.
I do notice, especially in a second treatment, if a dog is quite nervous or apprehensive in the first treatment, (which at times they can be – I am a stranger, either in their home or in the workplace and they aren’t sure how to respond to that and the treatment is making quite fundamental and big changes, even though it is very minimalistic in its movements, so it can be a lot for them.
But often by that second treatment they’re excited to come in, they’re giving me cuddles and kisses and licks. And even in that first treatment, that relaxation, that change and shift in their demeanor and their energy and the way they respond to the world is really wonderful. And watching them five minutes later, either get very relaxed and go to sleep after an anxiety case or getting up and walking around after a severe arthritis case – it’s very rewarding in that way.
So it’s instant almost?
Yes it is.
And the thing is with Bowen, it will continue to work over the next seven days so you’ve got that immediate impact but you’ve also got that longevity of impact as well. So the dog will continue changing and making those changes over the following week’s time.
How often do you recommend clients have treatment then?
Is it a maintenance type therapy or is it for acute issues? Or a bit of both?
A bit of both and definitely on a case by case basis.
I’m finding with a few of my separation anxiety cases, it is a maintenance treatment.
I have one client who had two lots of Bowen Therapy a week apart, then it went to two weeks apart, then a month apart for about three months and now it’s once every six months, that I go and see him and ‘top him up’.
Then I have other cases, like one dog who was terrified of being in a car after an accident. He only required three lots of Bowen Therapy treatments alongside some behavioural influences, like playing car sounds whilst receiving the Bowen.
I love the power of association!
It is also a vital component to our Genki Pet products.
Did you go out and record the sound of the car?
I was living in the middle of Fitzroy at the time and so I just went out with my recorder and recorded the trams and the cars and all sorts!
And how did he go?
Really, really well.
I didn’t introduce these sounds until the second treatment, so we relaxed and released as much we could first and then enacting those sounds.
It was amazing. After just two of those sorts of treatments he was all good and loved the car again and he was only an eight month old puppy too, so it was great to see that what could have been quite a lasting impact to him at such a young age was able to be remedied and reversed.
Well done you!
That’s awesome! His owners will be really grateful – with the family holidays they’ll now be able to have comfortably.
How have our Genki Pet Spritzes helped you and your patients?
Through working where I do and using various fascial techniques that I have modified for use in that environment, to then add Genki Pet and especially Stillness & Calm, increases the receptivity of the dogs in receiving these fascial release techniques for various things like anxiety.
It is also especially good for my colleagues who are not trained in bodywork or do not have that experience because utilising Genki Pet is allowing them to be set up for success by using the spritzes in conjunction with the fascial release techniques. Having the spritz in their hands and the beautiful smell of it on their hands and clothing definitely enhances their confidence and intention for what they are able to do with the dogs; it actually enhances their Stillness & Calm!
Separation anxiety is something I hear a lot in the pet world these days. Do you have an opinion about where it has come from?
When I grew up, the dogs were just dogs and they hung out in the backyard and you took them for walks or to the park. What’s your opinion about why it exists now?
For me it’s a lot to do with how we anthropomorphise our dogs and attribute human elements to them. And whilst I do believe they have a very rich inner life of their own, it is a dog’s life and that is not lessor or higher than a human’s life in my opinion, they are of equal weight and standing, but it’s different.
They have different instincts, different desires, different needs and wants from the very human elements we attribute to them, like when we treat them like children. Of course we love them and we care for them and we respect them so deeply, but we need to find a way of doing that that isn’t making them a human child or making them have that neuroses that I feel we are attributing to them.
What do you love most about being a Canine Bowen Therapist?
It’s got to be the dogs and how rewarding it is to be able to see the changes. Especially because I do work a lot with behavioural and emotional cases, it’s that ability to be able to see that change and see that they are enriched by what I am able to do for them – it’s so rewarding. And it definitely does fill my heart and makes the passion even stronger.
It’s brilliant that you get such obvious feedback to what you’re actually doing and trying to help with!
Definitely. And I feel not many therapists or behavioural trainers get to have that. But it is a process and not everything happens overnight, but even the little things you appreciate and really treasure in working with every dog.
I’m thinking that you’re better off in lots of ways than therapists who work with human patients because, because of their intellectualisation of themselves and the process (and everything else!), some human patients won’t give you that obvious feedback. But if your patient jumps off the table and gives you a big lick and heaps of love… dogs can’t help themselves!
Yes – I feel like humans have lots of other things layered on top of them, like they don’t necessarily want to express themselves or can’t express themselves, but a dog (most of the time) is able to express themselves much better than anyone else and definitely more than we humans can!
There’s another lesson from our canine friends on how to enjoy the world!
Very much so…just to be…just to be in space.
What role do you see natural therapies taking for pets in the future?
I definitely think it has quite a huge role to play. I have so much respect for Vets and Veterinary practice and for that type of medicine and would never say it needs to fall by the wayside. I feel like everything is happening in conjunction as a complementary experience.
But I do feel we expect so much of our Vets, that they are expected to be a nutritionist, a surgeon, a GP, a chemist… They have so much expanse of knowledge they need to be aware of and that’s a lot to ask of a human.
And so I feel like when we can reach out and support our Vets in whatever ways we can through Muscular Therapy or Aromatherapy or whatever it might be, it really allows them to focus on what they need to do and to do the great work they are able to do.
Or even focus on what they enjoy the most out of being a Vet? Because everyone has their favourite parts of the modality they like to practice. So yes – I am a big fan too of sticking to what you do really well and then getting others to come and help you with the other things.
In a certain case you’d want to be able to refer your client or patient to what they need, whatever that may be Do they need a Kinesiologist? A Bowen Therapist? Or a Vet? Or do they need to go and speak to a Psychologist? Having that specificity allows for greater depth in what you are able to achieve.
And more specific patient care because then the patient gets what they specifically need, not just what that person is able to provide. It’s what the community can provide.
A network of support around any patient – canine, human, feline, whoever they might be – the network of support I believe is very important.
Have you found some Vets – I know there are some holistic vets out there who are really thinking about things from lots of different perspectives – have you found one or two of them to work with?
I don’t have anyone specific I partner with, though when I do take my own dogs to Vets and they ask what I do, most of the time they are quite responsive and open and very engaged with what I can provide and there is a Naturopath who operates in the Brunswick area and she has been very supportive and has directed clients my way and I direct clients her way too.
Being able to see their open mindedness, acceptance and their appreciation for what I do within the Veterinary community with my own dogs’ experience, has been really nice.
That is nice.
And what dogs so you have Maddy?
I have a little Flat Coat Retriever cross Cocker Spaniel who is the love of my life, named Bella. I also had a Border Collie I trained as well, to be an Emotional Support Dog.
Was it hard to say goodbye once he was trained?
Yes – that’s the hardest part, but I know that he had a job to do and he is doing it very well.
Well thank you very much for talking to us about Canine Bowen Therapy Maddy, which until I met you, I didn’t know existed!
I hope all our listeners are going to walk away today having learned something new that they can do for their pets.
Not sure if it’s available for cats yet?
In my training it is definitely possible to give Bowen to cats. They are even more responsive than dogs because they already have very flexible and hydrated fascia, the way they can move their bodies, so they require even less Bowen Therapy manipulation.
Thank you to:
Small Animal Bowen Therapist
International School of Bowen Therapy