First we had computers then cell phones and now tablets all of which have made communications easier but can make our health worse. As a Bowen therapist, many of my clients come to me for aches, pains and injuries which have either been caused by their use of technology or aggravated by it.
Of course aches and pains caused by too much computer time is a global problem these days and a growing one so now you know what Bowen therapy is I wanted to look at what we can do to prevent technology-related health problems and show you how it can help treat the typical problems we see in students and people who work on computers most of the time.
Technology is so all-consuming that it’s easy to spend hours sitting at the computer without really moving at all. And so often when we’re sitting at the computer we’re not in a good seated position with our chair and desk at the right height and decent back, arm and foot rests to support us.
In fact, because computers are so portable we might not even be using a desk at all, but balancing a computer on our knee as we sit in front of the TV, on the train or in the car. If that sounds like you then you can probably already feel the strain it’s taking on your body.
You probably don’t need me to tell you that working on a computer isn’t good for our backs, shoulders and necks because these days most of us have experienced aches and pains from spending too much time on the computer. Even if it’s not full blown Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI), which can keep people out of work for months or even years, then the effects of too much computer work can be painful and hard to get rid of because so many of us simply have to use a computer as part of our job description.
How to prevent back, neck, shoulder problems caused by working on a computer
Here are a few guidelines that should help you avoid problems or may prevent existing problems from getting worse.
1. Make sure your chair and desk are the right height. You knees should be at a right angle when your feet are flat on the floor and your arms should form a right angle at the elbow when your arm is resting on your desk.
2. Use an app or extension to remind you to take breaks or adjust your posture. The longer we sit for the more we slouch. There are plenty of tools around which remind you to take a microbreak to save your eyes from strain like the 20 Cubed Chrome Extension I and you can also use something like that as a reminder to stand up and have a stretch or just sit up straight again.
3. Consciously relax your shoulders from time to time or try using a reminder like the telephone ringing or an email coming in to scan your body and relax places where tension is building up. Try rolling your head in slow circles or gently stretching your neck and shoulders by bending your head to one side and gently holding it there with your arm.
4. Counter long periods sitting down at the computer with physical activity. Walking is always great.
How to prevent RSI
1. Follow all the steps above by making sure your desk’s set up right, taking regular breaks and exercising.
2. Get a mouse in the shape of a joy stick. One of my clients also suggested using a track pad as she had very good results with that. There may be additional costs initially but these tools are effective in preventing repetitive strain injury so well worth the investment.
3. Set a timer for regular intervals of 20 to 30 minutes and gently stretch your mouse arm out with your fingers extended. Using the other hand gently pull your fingers back to stretch your wrists and fingers and hold for at least 60 seconds.
4. If things get really bad you can always get some voice activated software.
How Bowen therapy can help
It can help treat pain immediately and usually keep it away after between one and three sessions. Of course if you continue to work on a computer you may need monthly maintenance sessions to avoid totally regressing but many people find the therapy makes them more aware of their body and posture which helps them avoid future problems.
Bowen therapy is holistic so as well as treating the strongest symptoms such as a frozen shoulder or RSI it will also work on your entire body and improve your emotional well-being too because it helps combat stress by switching the autonomic nervous system from sympathetic dominance (fight, flight or freeze) to parasympathetic dominance (rest, relax and repair).
Bowen work is very subtle with the therapist using her fingers and thumbs to work over soft tissue and applying very little pressure. The effect of these Bowen moves creates a gentle disturbance in the underlying fascia, which in turn prompts a central nervous system response that stimulates the body’s awareness and natural healing process.
Bowen therapy is an effective way to treat bad backs, shoulders and necks caused by too much computer work as well as RSI. Computers have certainly made our lives easier in many ways and Bowen treatment can be the catalyst that brings your body into a state of balance.