Bedwetting & Bowen Therapy

| June 18, 2014 | 14 Comments

Bedwetting (nocturnal enuresis) is a frustrating situation for parent and child. According to Charlotte Meerman, a Bowenwork® practitioner in Australia, bedwetting is a complex problem that can stem from developmental, physical or emotional issues. In addition, about 25% of children with Asperger’s Syndrome and ADD/ADHD wet at night.

Have You Heard of Spinal Galant Reflex?

Developmental causes of bedwetting may include delayed integration of neonatal reflexes that have served their purpose prior to and during birth and are no long necessary to the growing child. Meerman states in an article (see note 1) that the Spinal Galant reflex is normally integrated by six to twelve months. However, a retained (unintegrated) Spinal Galant reflex is found in a high percentage of bedwetters over five years old. These children often do not like pressure in their lumbar (lower back) regions from belts, elastic waistbands, back rubs or even chairs. Hyperactivity, poor concentration, poor listening skills and other issues often attributed to ADD/ADHD can also be a symptom of a retained Spinal Galant reflex.

Test Your Child for Spinal Galant Reflex

Parents can test for a retained Spinal Galant reflex at home.

  1. Ask the child to go down on all fours (horseback ride position).
  2. Lightly draw your fingers down one side of the spine from the midpoint of the back to the base of the spine.
  3. If the child moves his or her back away from the stroke, or arches away from the pressure, the reflex is likely present.

Read about additional tests for retained reflexes on the Retained Neonatal Reflexes.

Bowen Therapy Integrates Spinal Galant Reflex

If a retained Spinal Galant reflex is the cause of the bedwetting, the Bowen Therapy Bedwetting Procedure will assist in the integration. A parent is present during the session. The child remains fully clothed. After four sessions one week apart, if there is no change to the bedwetting pattern, an underlying medical or emotional issue may need to be addressed by the appropriate professional. If there is improvement, Bowen sessions continue until there are seven consecutive dry nights.

Bowen Therapy for Other Causes of Bedwetting

Physical causes of bedwetting can include diabetes, bladder infections, hormone imbalances, sleep disorders and other conditions correctable by medical means. A thorough investigation by a pediatrician is important to rule out physical causes.

Emotional causes of bedwetting can include anxiety and stressors caused by life events (death of a loved one, divorce, family conflict, moving, bullying, etc.) and traumatic experiences. Bowen Therapy is unique among other bodywork modalities in that it addresses the autonomic nervous system, moving the body from “fight or flight” stressed mode, to “relax and repair” mode. Bowen Therapy sessions will calm the child and thus facilitate therapy by a child psychologist or other qualified counsellor.

Moms, if you suspect a developmental reason such as retained neonatal reflexes may be the cause of your child’s bedwetting, try Bowen Therapy.

For a limited time, I’m offering the initial 60 minute Bowen Therapy consultation and session free of charge. Contact the Integral Health Clinic located in downtown Ottawa at 613-241-0005 to make an appointment, or book online at

Learn more about Bowen Therapy at .


1. Treating Bedwetting with the Bowen Technique – Part I, Charlotte Meerman, author. Published in Bowen Hands, The Journal of the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia, March 2014.

2. Photo Credit: Alyzza by Peter Dahlgreen, CC License

Madeline McBride

Upon retirement from a 30+ year career as a professional engineer and manager in the federal public service, Madeline McBride planned an encore career in the complementary health field. She discovered the effectiveness of Bowen Therapy when massage, osteopathy and chiropractic treatments provided only short term relief from chronic back pain aggravated by work stress.

Madeline became a certified Bowenwork Practitioner in 2013, joining a small but growing number of practitioners in Ottawa who offer this gentle, very powerful complementary healing modality that originated in Australia.

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Category: Family, Tips

About the Author ()

Lyne is a Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI), Certified Professional Wedding Consultant, and an Event Planner. It has always been her dream to create a website dedicated just for Moms since her children were young. Thus, after 10 years, she finally accomplished it, and the Ottawa Mommy Club was born in May 2011. She loves all things Disney and is an avid chocoholic. She was also the Queen B of the BConnected Conference, Canada's Digital Influencer and social media Conference in Ottawa and Toronto. She coordinated the Annual Infant Information Day/Early Years Expo for the City of Ottawa for 8 years. She was also the co-chair of the Navan for Kraft Hockeyville 2009-2011 committee that organized five community events within 6 months, and helped Navan reach the top 10 finalists in Canada. In April 2011, she received the City of Ottawa Mayor's City Builder Award.

Comments (14)

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  1. Randa @ The Bewitchin' Kitchen says:

    I have never heard of this before, but it makes so much sense. I am going to pass this along to a friend of mine who has been having troubles with her child.

  2. ourfamilyworld says:

    WOW, I have never heard of this test. My sister was bedwetting and we never knew why

  3. Gingermommy says:

    I know many families struggle with bed wetting. I am so happy we never had that problem. I can imagine it is stressful for all

  4. Angie@Echoes of Laughter says:

    Wow! I had no idea that this could be a possible cause. I just learned something new. One of my son’s friends has been bedwetting for years and he won’t go to sleepovers because of it. I feel so bed for children who suffer from this and I think it’s so important for parents to know about any therapies that might be helpful! Great post!

  5. Suzanne Rudge (MapleMouseMama) says:

    I have never heard of Bowen Therapy before and it is something that we might be able to use. It is very stressful for a family, and more so for the child, if they are older and bedwet. We have struggled for years to find a solution. Maybe this is it!

  6. Madeline McBride says:

    If any are interested in meeting me and other local Bowen Therapy practitioners, and experiencing a demo, we’ll be at the Cosmic Pathways Healing Fair on Sunday, June 22 at the Glebe Community Centre, 175 Third Avenue.

    I’ll be at the booth from 1 p.m. to closing. I’d love to meet you in person. 🙂

  7. Amy Lovell says:

    thanks this article was very interesting! My daughter is 4 and she bedwets occasionally. Some great tips here tho, Im def gonna try the test for the Spinal Galant Reflex.

  8. Victoria Ess says:

    Interesting. I haven’t heard of Bowen Therapy before.

  9. Heidi C. says:

    I had not heard of this before. It is good information to keep on hand as I know a number of families dealing with this issue.

  10. Brenda A says:

    I am going to sound like a sceptic, I suppose, but I was not confident in understanding very much after reading this article. Did I miss where the definition of Spinal Galant Reflex and its purpose? Doubting Debbie again, but I do not know a single young child that would not react to a finger being lighting traced down their spine (after all, I am still very tickling!).

    How do other countries that practice infant pottying (elimination communication) deal with bedwetting? Does it exist in as high of numbers as North America where the practice is not as mainstream? Just some interesting questions I am curious about.

  11. Madeline McBride says:

    Hi Brenda,

    There are many potential causes of bed wetting, developmental delays being only one possibility. The Spinal Galant Reflex test is one of several tests on the Retained Neonatal Reflexes web site.

    The purpose of the tests is to see if a developmental delay may be a possible primary cause of the night time bed wetting. As you know, no two children talk, walk, and have bladder control at exactly the same age, but most get there at their own pace without help. If a developmental delay is the issue, Bowen Therapy can give little nudge physiologically to help a child develop bladder control. It’s like the child is stuck in an old (neonatal/pre-birth) pattern, and Bowen gives a little boost to move him or her ahead developmentally.

  12. kathy downey says:

    I have never heard of this test.I will recommend this to my friend who is having a problem with her son

  13. Reese Speaks says:

    Thanks for sharing this post! This confition is a real eye-opener. I’ll be checking my little ones to see if they have this condition.

  14. Madeline McBride says:

    Here’s a testimonial:
    “Bowen has made all the difference for our 12 year old son. After just 4 Bowen sessions, he went from wetting the bed 2 or 3 times/week to once every 2 weeks and it continues to improve. Thanks so much!” – Chris P.

    Find a Bowen Therapy practitioner located near you at:

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