ON A wet summer's evening a few years ago, Bicester businesswoman Beth Crabb was involved in a major traffic accident that caused an M40 slip road to grind to a halt.

Her car was a write-off, and was so badly damaged that a vehicle recovery team asked if the driver had been killed.

Her injuries were severe: she said that whiplash meant she could not turn her head left or right without considerable pain; she had intense shoulder and arm pain and, because of the way her air bag hit her in the chest when it deployed, she ended up with a persistent cough like a smoker’s cough.

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The various ailments could have required analysis by a team of experts.

Instead, she just asked her husband Peter to touch various parts of her body using his thumbs and fingers.

After three sessions, the whiplash was gone, her shoulder pain reduced to low bruising type pain, and she had regained a full range of movement in her neck and head.

The cough has almost gone too.

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When she went to the doctors before and after treatment, she said the GP expressed surprise at the progress she had made.

The technique her husband used is called Bowen.

This is not a medical treatment, but a 'complementary' or alternative therapy listed with the likes of homeopathy, aromatherapy and mindfulness.

However, some claim that it helps relieve pain, and just months before Mrs Crabb's crash, she and her husband had launched their own Bowen clinic in Bicester.

Now they are trying to help people – and their dogs – recover and rehabilitate from a range of injuries, aches and pains, just by using the power of touch.

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Peter Crabb had worked in finance for more than 30 years when he decided to make a complete career change and trained in the ‘new and exciting’ therapy technique called Bowen.

He and Mrs Crabb set up Bowen in Motion in 2016.

Describing what how the method is supposed to work, Mr Crabb said: “It is light touch therapy that stimulates the connective tissues and neuro receptors in the body.

“This allows the body to return to its natural and original position.”

The Bowen Technique is applied to areas of the body using thumbs and fingers, in a specific process or order.

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The movement is a rolling-type move of the thumbs and forefingers and is designed to stimulate nerve pathways which allow a ‘conversation’ to take place between different nervous systems of the body.

This straightforward therapy is gentle, relaxing, can be given through light clothing, and does not take long to apply.

Anyone can receive the therapy at the studio located in Evolve Gym on Murdoch Road, Bicester.

Mr Crabb added: “That is the beauty of Bowen. There is no restriction on who can be treated, there is no age restriction, we treat babies and our oldest client is 95.”

Bowen aims to target the root causes of pain, even when they are located in completely different parts of the body to where the pain manifests.

Mr Crabb added: “When presented with any musculoskeletal pain, I always ask the question ‘why?”

“Why is the lower back compromised? Where are the tensional pulls coming from? Is it the hamstrings pulling the pelvis or a jaw or neck problem that is holding the head out of alignment and therefore forcing the body to compensate elsewhere?

“Is a shoulder problem creating a twist through the torso?”

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The Bowen technique is not limited to specific areas: there are variations which aim to suit all aches and pains.

Mr Crabb said: “We work with clients with conditions from frozen shoulder, back pain, neck and jaw pain right through to fibromyalgia, and help them manage their pain.”

Sporting injuries are also very common and respond well to the couple’s treatments, they say.

One of their clients came to them initially with elbow pain, but when they found the true cause of her pain - which was restricted ankle flexibility - they said that not only was the elbow pain reduced, but her running improved dramatically.

Mr Crabb continued: “It reduced her half marathon time by 20 minutes and she suffered no injuries during the training or the race. She completed the London Marathon six months later, again with no pain or injury.”

Mrs Crabb had also qualified in the Bowen Technique, Canine Bowen Technique and McLoughlin Scar Release Technique (MSRT) after her husband tore his Achilles’ tendon.

By using both the Bowen Technique and MSRT, Mr Crabb said his Achilles tendon pain and related ankle and back pain was significantly reduced within a few sessions.

He said he was amazed by the progress his ankle made, but to him, more importantly how his wife had responded and how she was back at work within two weeks.

He says it was then that he really believed he had found his new direction in life.

The therapist said: “I have always wanted to help people, and at last I have found a way of being able to do that with this amazing technique.”

He believes with his wife that the technique should be offered alongside traditional treatment.

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He added: “Chronic pain is debilitating and widespread throughout our society, but so much more can be done to help.

“No one therapy or approach can do everything, sometimes we have to take the best from traditional and complementary medicine.”

Many people have physical scars from trauma, injuries or surgery and so the couple also offer scar treatment release which helps other treatments be more effective.

Mr Crabb said: “It is amazing to think these scars may hinder our best efforts to remedy related pain and restrictions in mobility. The treatment of scar tissue release is a vital element in the treatment of musculoskeletal and myofascial pain.”

The couple believe that, with the many factors such as lifestyle, medication, thyroid problems and diabetes that can cause an imbalance of hormones, our hormonal systems have a lot to contend with, and they can also help to keep them in balance with Bowen.

Since setting up four years ago, they have received positive feedback from clients and are happy helping others to be out of pain.

Mr Crabb said: “What I love about our clinic is that our treatment room is in a lively gym, with lots of ample parking right outside and no stairs for clients to negotiate.

“Every day is different, no two clients are alike, and everyone’s pain is personal. There is no one size fits all, but the Bowen Technique suits all.

“Clients always say they feel like they’re the most important person in the world, and they feel whole again when they leave.

“This drives our passion for helping people and our dogs and is what continues to motivate us to improve, and to continue our Bowen education.”

Mr and Mrs Crabb undertake testing in their assessments to ensure that the treatment that they deliver is both sufficient and targeted.

Bowen is not just limited to humans – dogs can get treatment, too, and Mrs Crabb runs a Canine Bowen clinic treating muscular sprains and strains, back problems, arthritis and gait problems.

However, humans and animals are reminded that Bowen is not a medically-approved method for treating pain or injuries.

The Bowen Therapy Professional Association states on its website: "The Bowen Technique is not intended as a substitute for medical advice or treatment.

"We recommend you consult your own doctor about any health concerns you may have."