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Gene Dobkin was always fascinated with alternative modes of healing. Medical and surgical fixes have their place — mostly, it seems, in acute and emergency situations  but do not seem nearly as coherent or philosophically sound in  maintaining long-term health and soundness among sentient humans (and other creatures!).

But therapy as a career was not yet to be. Gene’s first love was music and he spent the post-college years playing the bass-fiddle in various groups (one of the first touring members of the band Asleep at the Wheel, for you country swing fans).

This leaning continued for several years — if not literally musical jobs, always a tonal sensibility, constantly looking to involve itself into something not yet visible.

In the 1970’s outside of Mendocino, CA, Gene worked at a variety of occupations:  carpentry, land surveying. managing and doing applied kinesiology in a natural food store, and teaching tai chi in a number of areas.

Practicing Tai Chi ca 1980

In the early 1980’s Gene began his full-time study and practice of body modalities — Anatomy and physiology and  multiple therapeutic classes studied and taught.

Part science and part art form, these studies become quite absorbing — and cumulative — And cyclical:

An aesthetic appreciation of the whole functioning body gives way to anatomical dissection of the parts, to micro-scrutiny of the cells and chemical elements, and finally back to the vibratory magic of the whole. Muscle techniques lead to Fascia, to Joints, to Bony matrix and back to Muscle. That which expresses first as Liquid becomes Gelatinous, then Solid, then Liquid once again. The student becomes teacher, to balance the equation, and to expand his research base, which in turn demands a lifetime of study.

Every new technique has its tale to tell, and further therapeutic value, but some dimension was still lacking. In 1992 Gene was exposed to a demonstration of Bowen’s technique and began studies. Here was the missing piece — once again he was playing music; now on a live human instrument.  Plunking on and “tuning” human sinews felt as natural as coaxing a a rhythm and counterpoint out of the bass.

Following were dozens of Bowen classes — participating in, assisting with, and by 1994 teaching through the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia. Gene taught more than 50 classes with the academy, in the U.S. and the Middle East. He published a two volume training manual, which is still in use in 15 countries worldwide.

In 1998 Gene traveled to Australia to seek out and learn from more of Tom Bowen’s students and others who were representing the work. He left the Bowen Academy and began working through the International Institute of Applied Health Services teaching Neuro-Structural Technique (NST) with founder Michael Nixon-Livy. Gene has taught 30 classes through this institute.

Almost any variation of Tom Bowen’s work is good, and will produce gratifying and sometimes startling results. However all of the popular systems taught had in common that degree of exclusivity and austerity — a reliance on strict protocols that was widely and mistakenly attributed to Tom Bowen himself. Every good therapeutic practitioner has the inborn talents of intuition and improvisation, but these were not encouraged.

Beginning in 2000, Gene began teaching his own Bowen classes. The idea behind them is to use basic osteopathic principles (which Tom Bowen himself professed to follow) to guide one’s moves, rather than an historical or generic patterning. This awareness, added to honing the student’s natural sensitivity of touch, produces not only a high level of results, but also a more engaging and satisfying therapeutic experience for the practitioner.

Gene believes that therapeutic work is not an arena apart from the rest of one’s life. Rather, the totality of who one is, right down to the spiritual core, becomes the toolbox for healing encounters. Functioning mechanically will stifle our inborn curiosity and  creativity. Focused attention and patience are the true healers. Those who have the courage to go inside for the answers, and to surrender to something higher than themselves, will always be the winners. Relative to this, the specific techniques used almost don’t matter!

Ultimately, though, some modalities are more conducive to a respectful and nuanced therapist/client interaction (clients have their own higher Source as well!). Some techniques have a deeper and longer-lasting effect, though they may seem understated and perplexing in the moment. Some techniques insist on pulling us further into our sensitivity and intuitive sense. People who are actively engaged in the quest for therapeutic answers  will be those most interested in Gene Dobkin’s Neural Touch.

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