When Dr. Howell was a young medical student, he treated a middle-aged woman for low back pain, and, at first, the pains were in the “bellies” of her large back muscles. As he worked more deeply, he felt tension patterns and lumps in the fibers of the tendons of the muscles. His teacher remarked that working out those lumps and bumps in the tendon was called Rolfing.He didn’t think about it much at the time. Instead he enjoyed the praise the woman heaped on him for working those knots out!
Over the years, Dr. Howell kept working on his treatment methods to make them give lasting results for ever increasing levels of success. The first ten or fifteen years, the structural approaches to musculoskeletal corrections worked well. Then treatments seemed to stop improving more—his level of success stopped improving, and stable predictable results became the norm.
There was a core group in the practice who did not get enough better—they could stop getting treatments. They really didn’t heal. This was especially true of people who had surgically reconstructed body parts, extensive scars, adhesions, etc. He wondered what could be done for them?
The problem was that working the muscle and bone positions with massage and manipulations didn’t change the tendons and ligaments that had lumps and bumps left over from the injuries. Even the Rolfing didn’t help with those.
Whenever Dr. Howell gets stuck and frustrated with his work, he meditates or prays, asking for help to create a solution. Sometimes he gets answers. This is how he has developed many diagnostic and treatment methods–by being quiet and listening to messages from within.
He has been practicing for nearly forty years. Sometime recently Dr. Howell was led to work—not on the ligament and tendons of a man with a club foot—but on the periosteum (the bone coating) that becomes the ligament or tendon. When there is a strain or sprain, the pulling on the connective tissues of the ligament or tendon pulls some of the periosteum off the bone.
When normal healing occurs, the tissues usually heal flat and smooth, like wallpaper glued properly on the wall. These special, troubled people had scarring in the periosteum, and this leads to problems.
The people that Dr. Howell found with these periosteal problems were his most chronic, desperate people, with terrible pains and chronic joint problems. His wonderful discovery was to find out that treating these lumps and bumps gave these people relief and long lasting results. Somebody made a joke that this wasn’t “Healing,” it was “Howelling”—and the name stuck.
The concept that needs to be understood here is that the old scars and adhesions prevent normal function of the muscles, tendons, ligaments,and nerves. Howelling is the method of melting the scars and adhesions to allow the damaged tissues to regrow normally. It works best to schedule Howelling in one- or two-hour sessions. Some people will get four hours of Howelling in a day, but Dr. Howell needs a 30-minute break between two-hour Howelling sessions.