Case Studies

The 4th Formed Spine - An Intriguing Mystery

For some years now I have been observing a pattern with those whose birth order is Number 4. This could either be the 4th sibling or a person whose spinal column was the 4th formed also counting miscarriages. This would be even if the pregnancy had only been for 1 or 2 months.

Typically, these clients present with chronic low back and/or neck and shoulder problems, which require continuing treatment and attention. They often seek assistance from many therapies always looking for an answer for their recurring problems.

The fascination began when I observed a client with a distinct circle of hair on his low back, adjacent to Lumbar 5 Sacrum 1 (L5-S1). His condition was so severe he had been told that he would be wheel chair bound in a few short years. I rang a doctor friend and asked if the circle of hair had any significance, and she told me it often indicated spina-bifida occult - or an abnormality in the L5-S1 area, concealed only by the skin and often a corresponding weakness around the Cervical 7 and Thoracic 1 (C7-T1) area.

Since that time many clients have confirmed that scenario, saying that they had X-rays, scans and MRI's indicating vertebral abnormalities, bulging discs or deterioration of the spinal column in that area and, yes, they had a corresponding weakness in the neck and shoulder area.

Sometime later I was given a book on birth order by a fellow Bowen Therapist, which added further insight into my understanding of why some clients respond so well to Bowen Therapy, and why some don't.

With my intense interest in the mind-body connection in my Bowen Therapy treatments, I began adding a further question to my client case histories. "What number child are you?" Interestingly, a large percentage of clients with recurring low back, neck and shoulder problems noted they were either 1st born or 4th born. However the 4th borns far exceeded the 1st borns.

Those who were 1st born almost always recorded very traumatic births and their muscle spasms and tension often recovered dramatically, whereas those born 4th were the ones with the X-rays, scans and MRI's evidencing actual spinal abnormalities.

So frequently were these clients appearing for assistance at my Clinic, as well as practitioners attending our Mind Body Workshops, I began recording their case histories. Since May 2007, I have recorded over 500 such cases.

At one of our workshops, a Chinese Herbalist-Acupuncturist-Bowen Therapist said she might be able to shed some light on the cause. She began by saying "All animals after giving birth, ingest part of the placenta". She also noted that many native cultures performed rituals that included ingesting part of the placenta after giving birth, also noting that the Chinese recognised the need to help restore that vitality of the new mother and prescribed certain preparations to compensate. However, in our Western culture, this important fact seems to have been forgotten - why the 4th born, she had no idea.

It is interesting here to note the mother's vitality appears to return for the 5th, 6th and 7th child, then dips again for the 8th, revives for the 9th, 10th and 11th, then down it goes for the 12th. Not that there are many 8th or 12th borns coming to my attention, but occasionally one comes along with often the same pattern. How absolutely fascinating!

Being very determined and overzealous often characterises these individuals. When questioned, they admit to "pushing themselves to the limit", (often far beyond their capabilities). To understand and acknowledge this vulnerability is invaluable for your client.

But the story does not end there. As I have been observing these cases for quite some years, with many of them living in my home town, I have noted their strength returning, their recurring problems disappearing, the need for treatments getting further apart and also the circles of hair or pigmentation disappearing. Mind you, for some, this has taken 5 years.

This outcome has been achieved by, firstly, using Bowen Technique progressively, and recognition of the original cause, which begins with conception and the initial formation of the spinal column. This is also assisted with sensible rehabilitation activities, appropriate to the personality of the client and also mineral supplementation.

This remarkable journey of recovery validates our understanding that the Bowen Technique truly balances the body so that repair can be achieved.

It would be of great interest to me to hear from others who could shed further insights re. these intriguing phenomena, or who could add further information to my already mounting evidence.

This is in no way suggesting that all 4th borns have problematical back, neck and shoulder conditions, however a significant proportion of clients fall into this category.

The Bowen Techniques procedures that are often indicated with this scenario are - kidney, respiratory and psoas procedures with the appropriate pre-requisites.

Anne Schubert


Bowen is very gentle, relaxing and non-invasive involving no manipulation, and is therefore ideal for everyone including children and the aged.