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PRESS RELEASE / Why getting closer to your toes will keep you going to the gym

The gym industry is facing a numbers problem – profits are slowing and this downward trend is expected to continue.

A report published by Ibis World reveals 17 per cent of UK adults to have a gym subscription, while another by Mintel & AMA reveals 50 per cent more people would like to use a health and fitness club than do so currently.

Gym membership costs are highlighted as a common deterrent in these market reports, but an expert in the workings of the human body reckons there to be a more fundamental factor influencing national gym subscriptions:  hamstring problems.

“Many people have short hamstrings which in time can lead to long-term back pain, but in the shorter term, can make many forms of exercise more painful and difficult to recover from” commented Julian Baker, a teacher and practitioner of the Bowen Technique.

“If you can’t touch your toes and experience hip, back, knee or ankle pain, it’s almost certainly due to having short hamstrings.

“It’s unsurprising that each year the new year resolution gym membership falls quickly out of fashion – for a high proportion of the population, even an introductory workout could induce levels of pain which incur long recovery periods.  Multiply this by a few sessions and it’s easy to see why you wouldn’t be inclined to keep up the gym membership.”

A major breakthrough in treating hamstring injuries and their limited flexibility means this could all change.  The advance in therapy means people who are unable to touch their toes could now do so.

The implications of reaching your toes are huge according to the director of the European College of Bowen studies, who describes this development as the impossible dream for sports therapists and athletes.

Hamstring problems are not only one of the most common and time-consuming injuries to treat in athletes; they are also indicated in back pain and sciatica.

A study published by Coventry University showed the application of The Bowen Technique to have improved the long-term flexibility of hamstrings significantly, after only one treatment.

The study tracked the physical progress of 116 people whose hamstring performance was first measured electronically while performing a straight leg raise.  They were then treated once and followed up with a second measurement after seven days.

“I’m astonished by the long-term effects of this therapy treatment” added Julian.

“I’d expected some of the immediate improvements to drop away, but for most of those who trialled the therapy to maintain and increase their flexibility was a real surprise.

Research from the trial shows that not only did the Bowen Technique treatment significantly increase hamstring flexibility, but these changes held and even increased over seven days, without further treatment.

“Achieving improvement in such a short time frame is an impressive result for any physical research.  The hamstrings are completely key to the body’s wellbeing – if they are suitably flexible, they will reduce pain levels and the incidence of injury.

“In short, Bowen treatment could have an impact gym membership loyalty, by improving the user’s experience, both during and after exercise.”

Julian Baker is a teacher and practitioner of the Bowen Technique,  a treatment which addresses body tension, allowing reduced pain and better movement.  The treatment involves light rolling movements over muscles, ligaments and tendons. Short breaks between moves are a feature of the technique which works by connecting the body’s nervous systems, allowing the brain to regulate pain signals.

After using it to recover from breaking his back during SAS parachute training, the adventurer Bear Grylls described himself as ‘hooked’ on the Bowen Technique.

For more information on the therapy visit thebowentechnique.com or call 01373 832340 to locate your nearest practitioner.

Press release sources:
Gyms, Fitness Centres in the UK: Market Research Report: IBISWorld
UK health club market reports & facts: Mintel & AMA
Adventurer Bear Grylls’ battle with back pain and high cholesterol
Abstract from The effects of the Bowen technique on hamstring flexibility over time: A randomised controlled trial – summary taken from subsequent publication in the Journal of Bodywork and Movement Therapies:
The hamstring muscles are regularly implicated in recurrent injuries, movement dysfunction and low back pain. Links between limited flexibility and development of neuromusculoskeletal symptoms are frequently reported. The Bowen Technique is used to treat many conditions including lack of flexibility. The study set out to investigate the effect of the Bowen Technique on hamstring flexibility over time.
An assessor-blind, prospective, randomised controlled trial was performed on 120 asymptomatic volunteers. Participants were randomly allocated into a control group or Bowen group. Three flexibility measurements occurred over one week, using an active knee extension test. The intervention group received a single Bowen treatment. A repeated measures univariate analysis of variance, across both groups for the three time periods, revealed significant within-subject and between-subject differences for the Bowen group. Continuing increases in flexibility levels were observed over one week. No significant change over time was noted for the control group. Full paper

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