Bowen and creativity

Mary MacfarlaneWhat possible links could there be between receiving a Bowen treatment and creativity?

No matter who we are, or what our business is, we create. Every part of our lives represents our creative self, through our homes, clothes we wear, our outward identity, our businesses, our leisure and importantly how we solve problems.

Creativity is a fundamental human compulsion and largely related to the notion of what separates us humans from artificial intelligence. Every time we have an idea we are creating.

There are many theories and research around that indicate how you feel physically and emotionally affects how creative you are, so it would follow that the better you feel, the more creative you are able to be.

For instance, scientists have discovered a link between the quality of sleep and creativity. The more rested and well you feel, the more able you are to have ideas and insights. In a study by the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, researchers concluded that quality REM sleep supported and enhanced creative connections by around a huge 40%. Sleep deprivation not only has a major impact on cognitive functioning but also on emotional and physical health.

Everyone’s sleep requirement is different, with the average amount of sleep being around 8 hours. Jim Horne from Loughborough University’s Sleep Research Centre has a simple answer though: “The amount of sleep we require is what we need not to be sleepy in the daytime.” So, if you feel sleepy during the day, maybe it is time to pay attention to how you are sleeping at night.

Sleep helps us to better organise our memories, letting us select emotive details and reconfigure memories for creative ideas we use when awake. Essentially, sleep plays a part in both creativity and your ability to form and channel memories.

If lack of sleep is due to pain or discomfort, or because you have a sleep disorder, then the impact will be felt in every area of your day to day activities. Research suggests that if your sleep is disturbed regularly, this can result in poorer motor and cognitive function, particularly if you are middle-aged.

If you suspect you might have a sleep disorder why not try out this questionnaire

The Bowen technique is known for its effectiveness in promoting deep relaxation, reducing stress and anxiety levels. By working with the body’s own innate healing abilities it switches off the fight or flight mechanisms and brings the body into a parasympathetic state where breathing and heart rate are reduced.

So how does it do this? When awake, the brain could be dealing with over 600,000 signals per second, in a frenzy of cerebral activity. The moves made by a Bowen Therapist draws the brain’s attention to a particular area of the body and prioritises a response. In order to do this the brain will often move to an alpha state. Alpha brain patterns vary from deep alpha, a state of deep relaxation often referred to as the “twilight state” between sleep and waking, to the higher end of alpha which is a more focused yet still very relaxed state. Bowen capitalises on this relaxed state through the use of a series of short breaks of approximately two minutes, when the work is allowed to take effect.

The cumulative effect of these periods of alpha states can support the return to a natural and restful sleep pattern.

Mary Macfarlane is a regular contributor to the3rdimagazine on the Bowen technique. Her website contains more information and testimonials from people who have experienced this amazing technique.

If you would like to discuss how Bowen Therapy might support your creativity by increasing your quality of sleep and sense of wellbeing, please get in touch with Mary through or contact her via email at

1 Comment on Bowen and creativity

  1. Anne Casey // March 6, 2013 at 2:29 pm // Reply

    I have been fascinated by the range of approaches to the issue of creativity, this one included. I find it easy to believe in the link between creativity and good sleep patterns.

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