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What is The Bowen Technique?

Bowen Upper Back

The Bowen Technique is a very gentle, deeply-relaxing, non-invasive technique which comprises sequences of precise rolling moves on the body.  It is neither massage nor manipulation.   It can be done on bare skin or through light clothing. The gentle moves stimulate energy flow allowing the body to re-set itself holistically.  Results can be remarkable, even from the first session; often only a few sessions are needed to address the presenting problem.

There are frequent but very essential pauses throughout the session when the practitioner will leave the room or distance him or herself from the client so that the body is left in peace to respond and start the healing process.  The practitioner can target a specific problem or address the body as a whole.

The Bowen Technique has been reported to bring relief to many conditions and is often effective in treating anxiety and stress, arthritis, asthma and other respiratory conditions, children’s problems (colic, bedwetting, dyslexia & dyspraxia etc.), chronic fatigue, digestive problems, hormonal imbalance, muscular-skeletal conditions, pre and post surgery, as well as many more.  It is important to note that Bowen treats the person as a whole, not the condition.  That said, the practitioner knows which series of moves (known as a procedure) are likely to influence certain areas of the body.

Bowen Neck

Who can Bowen help? Bowen is considered appropriate for anyone from pregnant women and newborn babies to the frail and elderly.  There is even a separate modality of Bowen for treating animals!  It may  assist recovery from many conditions from traumatic injury to chronic illness, depending on each individual’s capacity to heal.  A client occasionally may feel slightly uncomfortable for a day or so after a treatment while the body realigns and detoxifies, but no adverse side effects have been reported in the 60 years of the Bowen Technique being used.

Clients often report major or total improvement in seemingly unrelated problems that they may have forgotten to mention to the practitioner.  Improved energy levels, sleep and general well-being are also often noted.  Whilst not absolutely everyone will respond to a treatment, the Bowen Technique can help in a large proportion of cases.

A Bowen session initiates many beneficial changes that continue for several days.  It is therefore recommended that other manipulative therapies should not be applied between sessions as it can interrupt the process and undermine the overall effectiveness of the Bowen work.  The optimum time between sessions is 6-10 days.

How does Bowen work?

The Bowen ‘move’ comprises a gentle challenge to the muscle (or in some cases tendon or nerve bundles) which is held for a couple of seconds, followed a gentle rolling move.  This creates a piezoelectrical charge which is transmitted to the brain via the liquid crystals contained in the collagen fibres of the muscle fascia.  The liquid crystals hold a memory which, after the Bowen move release held tissue memory patterns, allowing the body to re-set itself to a memory of a previously healthy state.  It seems to act upon the body’s autonomic, or self-governing nervous system to enable it to achieve homeostasis (balance) at a cellular level and to regain its own natural balance

How did Bowen originate?

Thomas Ambrose Bowen (1916-1982) developed his therapy in Australia during the 1950’s and 60’s.  He was not medically trained but was fascinated by people’s different postures and had an amazing ability to ‘read’ a body noting where there were blockages or how this related to their ill health.  A natural healer and a very religious man, Tom Bowen referred to his work as a ‘ Gift from God’.  He was extremely hardworking and it is documented that at in 1975 he was recorded as having treated 13,000 people in the year.  He did not teach his technique and allowed only a few therapists to observe him work.  One such was therapist was Oswald Rentsch who spent many years working with Tom and documenting the procedures, and it is his interpretation of Tom Bowen’s work which is widely taught today as the Bowen Technique or Bowtech, first taught in Australia, 4 years after Tom’s death.  Since then more than 12,000 Bowen practitioners have been trained worldwide.

Conditions that can be treated with Bowen