Bowenwork for Migraine – Is it all in the Head?

Posted:Monday, August 4, 2014

Bronze Award Winner
Sandra Gustafson, MHS, BSN, RN
Bodega Bay, CA

Description: This case report described one migraineur’s response to Bowenwork (gentle, soft-tissue bodywork technique) for reducing migraine occurrence and pain, pharmaceutical analgesic consumption, and improving her health-related quality of life, wellbeing and activities of daily living.  The client, a 66 year-old Caucasian female, had a history of debilitating migraines since childhood and severe neck pain resulting from 2 motor vehicle accidents sustained as an adult.  She reported experiencing severe migraine and neck pain 3 – 4 times a week, and taking up to 10 tablets of Ibuprofen 200mg per day, placing ice-packs on her neck and lying in a quiet, dark space until her symptoms abated.  She had previously sought medical and pharmaceutical treatment, chiropractic, massage and other bodywork techniques to relieve her condition.

Method: The case-study reports on the client’s responses to receiving fourteen Bowenwork sessions, weekly to two-weekly, over a 4-month period, using the self-reporting Measure Yourself Medical Outcome Profile version 2 to evaluate clinically meaningful changes. Prior to each Bowenwork session, data were recorded to track changes in migraine and neck pain occurrences, medication use, daily functional ability and general sense of wellbeing.  Specific Bowenwork procedures were applied in each session to address the client’s symptoms which varied from neck and jaw pain to middle and lower back pain.

Results: During the 4-months of receiving Bowenwork, the client progressively reported decreased migraine and neck pain; and by session 14, no further migraine, neck or jaw pain, nor medication use; and increased quality of life, daily activities and wellbeing, for 10 months thereafter, and continues to be migraine-free at the time of this report.

Conclusion: Bowenwork had a positive effect for one client and may offer non-pharmaceutical relief for migraineurs.  Further research on larger populations is indicated.