Treating Infant Colic With The Bowen Technique

06/07/2014 22:18 | Updated 22 May 2015


Hands up people, I have no idea how to treat infant colic with the Bowen Technique. Fortunately, Jo Lunn, a Bowen Technique teacher and practitioner with her own clinics, does. Jo got in touch this week, with this useful article. As with all advice for your baby, do your own homework too and make sure you're happy with the information you've been given before you try.

Jo writes:

Colic is a term used to define symptoms rather than an actual condition. It affects babies from two weeks old until three to four months old. With colic, otherwise healthy babies cry for no apparent reason and are inconsolable. The crying can stop as abruptly as it started and tends to be at the same time of day. The baby can show signs of a bloated stomach and discomfort from trapped wind. They lie on their backs with clenched fists and hard distended stomach, an arched back and legs and arms flailing. This is usually the first time a baby has experienced such pain and discomfort.

The cause for colic is still unknown and there are various theories for it. Some believe it's from trapped wind in the digestive tract that can't be released, others that it is due to an immature digestive system. Another is that it's from an immature nervous system which causes the baby to over-react to external stimuli and a further one is that it is caused by under-development of the diaphragm. Studies at the Colic Clinic at Brown University, Rhode Island, USA found that nearly half of babies with colic have mild gastroesophageal reflux – this is when digestive juices from the stomach rise up into the oesophagus.

Treatment for colic differs from country to country and professional to professional. The approach I take is with the Bowen Technique and I have had very positive results with this.

The Bowen Technique is a very gentle hands-on treatment that works to release tension in the connective tissue. By doing this, a neurological response occurs in the body enabling the brain to send the appropriate response for the body to correct itself. The work for colic concentrates around the diaphragm of the baby.

The diaphragm is not only a muscle that helps us to breathe. Due to its location it can also have an effect on our circulation, digestive system and our urinary and bowel movements. The diaphragm is under-developed when a baby is born as it's not being used to help with breathing whilst in the womb. As soon as a baby is born the diaphragm is put to work and has to work very hard due to a baby's rapid heart rate and therefore rapid rate of breathing. Once the baby starts to grow and take in more food, the diaphragm is working even harder.

With just a few Bowen Technique moves in the area of the diaphragm on the back and front of the baby, spasm and tension can be released. The normal response for the baby at this point is to cough and vomiting can occur soon afterwards as well as bowel movements. These can both be foul smelling as congestion is released from the body. Afterwards the results are plain to see as the baby is then very settled and has no more bouts of colic.

Jo Lunn is a Bowen Technique Teacher and Practitioner. She teaches the Technique across the UK, and works from her clinic in Malvern Worcestershire and the Hale Clinic, London.

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