These written testimonials are transcribed word for word from the files at the Finchley Clinic.
All clients are welcome to see them for themselves when coming to the clinic for an appointment.
They represent a selection of some of the conditions that Bowen technique and Vibromuscular harmonisation can help with.
From Guy Fraser-Sampson: LLB(Hons), MBA, FRSA, Barrister-at-Law
I first suffered an acute back problem at the age of about thirty. This was subsequently diagnosed as a herniated disc suffered (or aggravated) while playing tennis. Sadly, conventional therapy never seemed able to keep this at bay for very long and I lived with a constant dull ache for many years (sometimes with sharp pain first thing in the morning), and regular bouts of acute back pain and sciatica. Things came to a head when I spent two years in Abu Dhabi between 1993 and 1995. The acute back pain re-emerged after only a few weeks (I slipped coming out of a hotel, and felt my back twist as I fell) and remained with me for the entire two years, gradually wearing off only in the last month or so. During this time I was verging on the suicidal, and almost impossible to live with (partly because I spent most of the time lying on the floor with an ice pack on my back). During this time I tried all of the following, sometimes for prolonged periods:
- Lumbar puncture with cortisone
- Sclerosant injections into the back ligaments
- Old style osteopathy including hot glasses on the back Swimming Chinese massage
- Heavy duty prescription painkillers
- Painkilling injections
Suffice it to say that while some of these were effective in dulling (but not taking away) the pain when my back was not acute, nothing had the slightest effect when it was acute.
Finally, my back went into acute spasms one day in 2000 when I was just about to fly overseas on holiday. An acquaintance recommended that I try the Bowen technique (Note: in fact Guy mostly had VHT) and I found Mark Lester's details on the internet. Generously, he agreed to see me at very short notice.
I arrived at the Finchley Clinic barely able to walk, with my back muscles in spasm and in acute pain. I freely admit that I was very sceptical after all the things I had tried over the years. However, as I lay on the treatment table after Mark had administered a few seemingly innocuous touches, I distinctly felt the pain starting to move down the side of my body and back of my leg. I was able to walk to the station and take a train home. However, I was still dreading my international flight the next day. I need not have worried. I awoke to find that the muscle spasm had entirely disappeared and over the following week a lot of the related pain went away as well.
Three treatments on my return seemed to have sorted the problem out for good, but I continue to return on a regular basis for "care and maintenance" treatments. I still find it hard to believe that I should have suffered so badly and for so long by something that Mark was able to cure so quickly.
I would unreservedly recommend the Bowen technique and the Finchley Clinic to any fellow back pain sufferer.
From Mrs MM Aged 55 Bedfordshire
I had been suffering excruciating pain from a trapped nerve in my neck for almost five months when I went to see Mark in April of this year. I had had an MRI scan which clearly showed a bulge in one of the vertebra in my neck and this was pressing on the nerve canal. I was told by a consultant that, in my particular case, there were no real options for treatment. The condition might eventually get better on its own but it could take a long time. The pain was in my neck, shoulder, arm and hand. After 3 VHT treatments, the intensity of the pain lessened and I only needed to take the occasional paracetamol. I was sleeping better, had more energy and did not feel so down.
After 7 treatments I was pain free in my neck, shoulder and arm but I still had pins and needles in my hand/fingers. I am continuing to see Mark for treatment as I am hopeful that this too will get better. Sceptics could say that the condition of the trapped nerve might have eventually improved on its own, as indeed the consultant had said, but I am confident that VHT has accelerated the healing process. Mark has, therefore, prevented me from suffering a great deal more pain which would have had the consequent effect of lowering my general health even further. I have now asked him to treat some long-standing, chronic problems with my knees and hip joints ? I may even end up with a new body!!
I have also been grateful to Mark for the nutritional advice he has given me for myself and for my husband. My husband is often in considerable pain from osteoarthritis in his toes and the preparation Mark advised is having a positive effect. On Mark's recommendation, I have been using a lotion for the treatment of some very painful scar tissue resulting from surgical operations, and there has definitely been a substantial improvement.
I feel that Mark is a very genuine person, who has a wealth of knowledge and expertise and who cares very much about helping people. I know he has helped me and I shall have no hesitation in continuing to contact him for his treatment and advice in the future.
From Lucille Dunne:
It may have been because my yoga teacher could see how I suffered as I tried to do headstands, shoulder stands, twists and anything involving arm movements that she left Bowen Technique leaflets lying around, and recommended me, when I asked about them, to go to Mark Lester.
My shoulders had been stiff and painful for years, due to a regime of wearing a shoulder bag, sitting in front of computer screens, driving and slumping in train seats. Swimming backstroke three times a week gave temporary relief, but on occasions my shoulder felt as thought it was full of broken glass and every movement was painful.
Mark designed a program for me which concentrated on the shoulders. Despite the minimal intervention and the very gentle touch, the effects were striking. I immediately went into a deep relaxation while undergoing the treatment, and the next day, in the gym, while warming up, I managed to push my shoulder blades together as I stretched my arms back, further than they had gone in years. These good effects stayed with me the rest of the week, and all the time I have been having the treatment my shoulders have remained looser, freer and much less painful even when subjected to dreadful city-living abuse.
The real bonus, however was the welcome return of my knees to full participation in life. Something about this treatment has done wonderful things for my knees. It was a long time since I had been able to squat down easily, whether to put washing in the machine, get food out of the fridge or pick up a dropped pencil in art class. If forced to do so, I would literally cry out in pain. I now discover I can bend and stretch my knees at will, the washing machine holds no terrors for me and I can stand up out of the bath in one smooth movement without a twinge. It is a marvellous thing to be reunited with one’s knees after years of alienation.
From Paul Hensman:
I suffered an RSI neck injury at work in mid January 1995, which resulted in a very sharp pain in my left shoulder blade. I visited an Osteopath who unfortunately made me much worse, trapping a nerve in my neck, which affected my left hand and restricted my neck movement.
I also had Physiotherapy and Traction, neither of which made me any better. In early November 1995 my neck locked, and I went to a chiropractor who freed the neck but aggravated the trapped nerve. After this my back got very tight and I was struggling to move around in general.
I met Mark in early April 1996 and first visited him on the 26th of April. I found the Bowen Technique very relaxing, and I made an appointment for the following week.
It wasn’t until I left Mark’s flat, and was walking to the station, that I realised I was moving freely again. I even ran over the bridge at West Finchley and caught the train.
I was able to move around as I did before the accident, and the pain in my neck and shoulders had vanished.
I was ok for about five days, and then the stiffness and pain returned, but not as bad as before. After the second visit to Mark, I was out of pain again. This time I was ok for a bit longer.
Gradually the treatment had a beneficial accumulative effect, and now [30.7.96] I am only visiting Mark once a month, and I’m back to about ninety-five per cent of what I was before my accident.
I would like to thank Mark for making me better, and therefore able to enjoy my life again.
From Diana Turnell:
I came to see you during 1995 with catarrh problems, which had been exacerbated, by surgery on my nose. The course of treatment you gave me cleared my catarrh and, since then, I am delighted to say I have had no recurrence. I also feel it may have helped me to give up smoking as I seemed to have fewer cravings whilst being treated.
From Jane Solomon:
I have received three sessions of Bowen Technique from Mark Lester. I have benefited from them immensely in terms of relaxation. I had been stressed for years – too much work, mental and manual, and too little relaxation and sleep. Consequently I found it hard to relax and unwind.
Within five minutes of ‘Bowen’ I felt my body relax more than it had done for years. I found it much easier to relax in my spare time. I also found that my body was much less tense in everyday situations, in fact I had the positive feeling that my body wanted to relax at every possible opportunity.
I had originally gone to Mark for treatment for Whiplash injury. Although this has not cleared up completely yet, my neck muscles are much less tense. After treatment I noticed that I was incredibly thirsty for a couple of days. Perhaps I needed to drink to flush out toxins released from stressed muscles? I am a therapist in complementary medicine and I recommend Bowen Technique to some of my patients.
From Cynthia Turnell:
Today I was able to say that I feel terrific. Mark Lester has treated me, over three weekly visits, for a painful neck condition which has been getting worse over eight months.
After the first session, the pain was so decreased that a year-old knee injury and a facial sinus gave equal discomfort. This, too, was treated by the Bowen technique, so that I now have a mobile and pain-free neck, knee and face, and was able to tell Mark that I feel I need no further treatment on them. But, I am doing ‘homework’ on a foot joint, which is trying to be a bunion, in preparation for more Bowen treatment in four to six weeks.
I am so pleased with this treatment that I have introduced two of my family, who are now beginning treatment for facial congestion, shoulder pains, and prevention of the return of breast cancer.
From Tanya Franks:
I would just like to express my gratitude for the great improvement in my shoulder and back to Mark Lester since going to him over a period of time for treatment.
He has been doing the Bowen technique on me for quite a while. The treatment involves pressing muscle points in various parts of the body, which seem to disentangle tendons.
I was suffering great tension in my right shoulder blade which ordinary massage could only relax systematically, but not for long periods of time. This resulted in sleepless nights, when I was so tense that I found it impossible to relax.
Since going to Mark my tension, though not completely gone, has certainly lessened. I don’t suffer so badly from insomnia, my periods are less painful and heavy, and they also have become shorter. My hair did not seem to grow very well for ten years or so, but since attending the Bowen sessions I believe that it has restored the fast growth rate of my hair which I had as a child. I don’t know if such therapy would cause this, I can only assume. I am certainly conscious of the ability now to shake loose any tension that sets into my body, something that without manipulation wasn’t possible before. I feel more in control and not so helpless when my shoulders do knot up now. I still cannot carry a bag on my shoulder as this tenses me up immediately. I am still hoping in the near future to experience further treatment which will cure me completely, either with more Bowen or Crystal Therapy, performed by Mark Lester.
From Bob Atkinson:
Mark Lester has been treating me for a few weeks, using the Bowen Technique. I went to him after suffering intense pain in my foot, which has now, apart from an occasional twinge, completely disappeared.
I am so grateful to him for enabling me to walk again without the dreadful pain. He has also loosened a few muscles in the process.
Mark is very sympathetic and tells you exactly what and why he is manipulating the various parts of your body.
I am eighty-five and have great reason to be grateful for his ministrations.
From Urs Kiefer:
I had what my GP diagnosed as tennis elbow. He did not suggest a cure. Seven years ago I did an extraordinary amount of work with my left arm and since then it had been sore. In fact, the end of the bone at my elbow had become sore to the touch and this worried me.
Mark Lester was quite confident that he could do something about it and now, after four treatment sessions the feeling in the bone is back to normal.
He asked me if I had any other problems; I told him about a crushed lower rib, which had only partially healed after a year and caused me discomfort. He included this in his treatment and now I can sleep on that side again and the problem has been cured.
The Bowen Technique as applied by Mark Lester feels very relaxing. I am truly grateful to him, especially as I need my arm to do my work as a joiner and now I don’t have to worry about future disability and loss of job.
From Cecelia Masters:
I just had to let you know how delighted I am with the treatment I have been receiving from you (Bowen technique and Neuro-Muscular Massage).
A colleague asked me, "What is your secret, you have so much energy". I told her "My secret is Mark Lester."
Thank you so much for helping me to improve my health and well being. I am enjoying life so much more now.
I am working full-time in a job, which involves much evening and weekend work. I have seen Mark several times over the past year for full-body massage. I have found the massages very relaxing; they get rid of the stress that builds up through long hours of work, leaving my body feeling refreshed.
Over the past six months I have occasionally experienced neck pain which, though not severe, did seem to be getting better. I sought Mark’s advice. He recommended a session of Bowen Technique, and, after a week, the ache had fully cleared and has not returned.
I would highly recommend Mark Lester for Bowen Technique and massage.
From Catherine Arbeid:
Having now had five Bowen Technique sessions with you, I am no longer taking the Steroids and other medication prescribed to control the condition with which I was diagnosed just over two years ago, knows as Crohns Colitis.
As I think I told you after the first treatment, the following day was the first morning I have woken up free of the stomach cramps and other, more unpleasant symptoms which have for the past few years heralded the start of each day; in fact I felt so good, I forgot to take my prescribed medicines. In the time that has followed that first treatment I have been able to greatly reduce my medication and now, just four weeks later, I have stopped taking any of my prescribed tablets – with no ill effects whatsoever.
The relief and general well being I now have are something I had forgotten I could feel, and thus my life in general has improved vastly, thanks to you.
I now wish to continue seeing you periodically, in order to maintain my general health and well being; I find the treatments so relaxing I would be loath to go without them for too long.
From Barbara Davis:
I would like to thank you for all you have done for me in the few weeks I have been having treatment by yourself using the Bowen Technique. After suffering with scoliosis (a curved spine) all of my life, with varying degrees of pain and discomfort, especially after the birth of my daughter, I was surprised by how quickly and effectively the treatment has worked. Not only did the pain disappear after the second treatment but to my surprise my posture has improved noticeably and for the first time ever my back looks and feels ‘normal’.
I would most certainly recommend you to anyone with the same condition. Thank you again.
From Peter Gore:
I am writing to you because I wanted you to know that the three sessions of the Bowen technique that I underwent at the Clinic have produced really amazing results. If you recall, I came to see you because at the time I was suffering from severe congestion in the sinuses alternating with heavy sneezing and also a constantly runny nose. Moreover, my general disposition and frame of mind were poor, and I asked you if you might be able to help improve these areas.
I have to admit that I approached the first session with a little skepticism, as you don’t appear to do much. However, I did notice a distinct improvement in the sinus area after a couple of days. Within days of finishing the third session it became very apparent that my sinuses had cleared and that the continual sneezing and runny nose had stopped. Furthermore, my general disposition has improved out of all recognition to the extent that family and friends continually remark on it.
I would like to thank you for achieving these remarkable results. As you know, I have recommended two friends to pay you a visit, and they also have found your treatments to be of benefit. I will have no hesitation in recommending other friends to visit the Clinic to find relief from their ailments. I plan to return to visit you at the beginning of the hayfever season to see if a course of Bowen technique treatment will be as successful for me. I must say that I have every confidence that it will and I am looking forward to the distinct possibility of a sneeze free summer.
From Anne Gruenberg:
I came to Mark first about six months ago for Electro-Crystal therapy initially as I was suffering from emotional and physical trauma following my ex-partner’s head injury and the subsequent violent behavior which manifested.
Electro-Crystal therapy worked to an extent and I continued with Mark for a couple of months, but then he suggested trying Bowen’s technique, as the pain in my neck, particularly, hadn’t resolved.
I explained that I was undergoing craniosacral treatment, and Mark said that I had to discontinue this if I was to start having Bowen. This I have done, and three months on, I am feeling an enormous change and will continue with Bowen for as long as it takes.
I will also add that my son Ben, who is nine, has received both Electro-Crystal and Bowen and both times has responded well and enjoyed the treatment.
From Pauline O’Driscoll:
I have been treated by Mark Lester for some months now. Firstly I had Electro-Crystal therapy to improve my vitality and overall health following an illness last year. I felt my stamina was greatly increased. I was fine on a long-haul 35-hour journey to Australia both ways.
I also had some very powerful results following Electro-Crystal therapy to my eyes. I am short-sighted and have stigmatism's in both eyes. I don’t wear my glasses but when I am tired my vision is furry and I see double images when reading signs or small print. Following one session of Electro-Crystal therapy my eyesight was very dramatically improved. I had like perfect 20:20 vision (almost) for a day or two. I still need to continue the treatment to maintain the effect but it definitely works.
I also had sessions of the Bowen technique. The first time I had bad bronchitis, which looked, set in to last weeks. After one session by the evening I was about 50 per cent improved and it cleared up completely within about four days. I also had a Bowen session to clear up a cold again; within a few days it was completely gone when it looked like it would have lasted much longer.
I continued with Bowen sessions to see if it could help an old symptom. I have a coccyx, which was completely twisted in on itself and fibrosed in that position. It was almost like there was no tail bone or what was there was very deformed. I had had this at least fifteen years following my daughter’s birth, maybe even longer. Following about six sessions I noticed sensations and a slight ache in the area. I was then examined by an osteopath (who had seen it previously) who confirmed it has now become released. This is an amazing result and I am very pleased. The coccyx still tilts to the left and I am continuing treatment.
I think Mark Lester is a very competent practitioner. I am a practitioner myself.