24 April 2009

Mum's delight as therapy helps toddler son Tristan

By Caroline Gough
A CHILD with a rare medical condition is responding well to an alternative therapy.
Tristan Forsdyke has had several sessions of Bowen Technique.

The 18-month-old has had hemiplegia since he was just five weeks old. It is a neurological condition which weakens one side of the body and affects one child in a thousand.

It is sometimes described as a form of cerebral palsy and the effects are similar to those of a stroke but it does not shorten a sufferer's life. Tristan wears a splint on his arm and an insole in his shoe to help with the weakness on the right side.

His mum Tess Forsdyke said: "He really enjoys the sessions.

"I've tried the technique myself as I wanted to know what he was experiencing.

"We have seen a real improvement in him since he started the sessions and he is making more attempts to use his weaker arm now."

The Bowen Technique is a gentle, deeply relaxing, physical therapy that frees the body to attain its natural balance and healing, addressing the body as a whole.

It often extends beyond the presenting symptom to the healing of underlying causes of illnesses.

In a session, the patient lies on a bed, wearing loosely fitting clothes and relaxes.

Tristan just sits in a chair as he is so small.

The therapists – Judith Watson and Norman Ogden – apply a series of movements along the spine and at specific points throughout the body. It is the deeply relaxed state which seems to act on the body's self-governing nervous system to enable it to regain its own natural balance. Mrs Watson said: "A very gentle technique for children was developed by Howard Plummer around 15 years ago involving moves over soft tissue – a slight variation of Bowen Technique.

"Mr Plummer has had fantastic results with children with cerebral palsy, autism and ADHD and dyspraxia.

"In some ways, Tristan has been a case study for us, his right arm and hand were badly affected and have improved.

"It's very effective for people who have had a stroke as the body is designed to heal itself."

The technique uses a high degree of physical manipulation and works with babies, children and the elderly.

Bowen is effective in treating a host of ailments including shoulder problems, RSI, back pain, sports injuries, migraine, respiratory problems, fatigue and stress.

"Clients frequently comment on how good they feel and how quickly they relax – as if they had just had a full body massage," said Mrs Watson.

Mrs Forsdyke organised an aquacise fund-raiser in December which raised £175 for the charity Hemihelp, which aims to promote the rights and well being of children with hemiplegia by providing information and support and by raising general awareness of the condition. Smart Therapies is in St Hilda's Business Centre, The Ropery, Whitby is run by Judith with Norman Ogden.

Further details are available at www.smart-therapies.co.uk.

For further information on hemiplegia visit www.hemihelp.org.uk

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