Neurostructural Integration (NST)
A Bowen-derived Technique
by Yvette Woodrow
Neurostructural Integration Technique (NST) is based on the work of Tom Bowen (1916–1982), an Australian bodyworker and osteopath. Bowen was famous for an exceptional record of working with some 13,000 individuals per year with an almost 100% success rate. NST was developed by Michael J. Nixon-Livy based on Tom Bowen’s work and is taught to professionals such as massage therapists, physiotherapists, and chiropractors who wish to carry on this valuable healing art.
NST treatment initiates a process of natural auto-regulation to occur in the spinal column and consequently throughout the whole body. The result of this is a rapid elimination or reduction of symptoms, followed by an increase in energy and an unmistakable sense of well-being.
As NST simply creates a context for the natural process of auto-regulation to occur, it can be therefore safely applied to an extensive range of conditions from newborns to the elderly and every age group in between.
Treatment consists of skillful soft-tissue manipulation applied to the lower and upper back, neck, arms, and legs. While substantial relief is frequently experienced after the first session, long-term resolution is generally attained after the second or third session. Certain chronic or degenerative conditions may benefit from further or ongoing attention.
My understanding of this treatment is that the manipulation of muscles, tendons, and acupressure points, which connect with the nervous system, starts a reaction of auto-regulation:
- balancing muscles/tendons which are too loose or too tight;
- balancing the autonomic nervous system (the sympathetic system regulates release of stress hormones which activate the “fight or flight” response, while the parasympathetic system helps bring our bodies back to the normal relaxed state). The original imbalances may have occurred with traumas (both physical and emotional), surgeries, and may even date back to the process involved with our own birth. The autonomic nervous system suited the caveman’s existence well, but in many of us it has not evolved to accommodate our modern-day stresses in which the “fight or flight” response is frequently initiated without any release. This leaves us feeling like we have one foot on the gas peddle and the other on the brake and are going nowhere fast.
I recently took a 5-day basic training in NST. I was truly astounded by my own structural changes that occurred. I have always had decreased range of movement in my shoulders and hips, with a slight twist of my upper trunk to the right and a feeling like my hips and legs were not quite connected to my upper half. I have gone through many treatments and different methods both passive and active which have helped to keep me mobile but have not previously been able to change the neurological/structural aspects of this problem. Since this training, the range in my shoulders and ribs has improved and the twist has decreased. I now feel like I can move like everyone else doing rib slides and arm frames in belly dancing. My hips have changed but I will need a few more treatments before the range will be normal. I now realize these restrictions occurred when I almost drowned at age three. My hips were wedged in a paddling pool drain and my head was under water. The person who pulled me out said that I was really stuck and she had to pull very hard on my arms to get me out. I will need further ongoing treatment to correct the imbalance in my hips as this is a very old injury (perhaps beyond this life).
If you would like to know more about this truly amazing technique, visit www.nsthealth.com.
Credits: The above article was partially paraphrased from a pamphlet distributed by Linda Craig, PT, NST Instructor.
Yvette Woodrow, BPT, CAFCI, is a registered Physiotherapist and Holistic Practitioner with many years of experience in the healthcare field. She has been using relaxation, acupuncture, and various other techniques for improving health and decreasing the stress response in the body for
25 years. She has recently been trained in NST. To contact her, phone (306) 258-2227, fax (306) 258-2050, or email: email@example.com. Also see the Directory of Services ad on page 28 of the 14.5 January/February
issue of the WHOLifE Journal.