What is Bowen?
Bowen is a type of treatment and therapy that uses very gentle pressure to stimulate the body to ‘reboot’ or ‘readjust’ itself.
The practitioner uses thumbs and fingers on precise points to perform Bowen’s unique set of rolling-type moves that stimulate nerve bundles through different densities of tissues that can have an affect on every area of the body.
The Bowen experience is subtle, healing and relaxing.
By stimulating meridian points in a specific order and with careful pauses in between, Bowen Therapy prompts the body to reset, repair and balance itself.
It is one of the strongest, fastest and most effective modalities for treating people with pain, chronic illness and improving overall health.
The first treatment is actually a “Reboot” treatment, which enables the body’s different programs to “re-start” and align. As Bowen is not purely a “physical” therapy, it integrates mind-body connections.
It is different from other body work techniques:
Gentle in its nature, this technique can be performed on areas without concern of harm.
After a Bowen Therapy treatment, clients feel relaxed and renewed. As the therapy is conducive and conductive to healing from inside out, patients often report symptoms of physical detoxification and emotional clarity after a treatment.
Bowen can stimulate cellular (and nervous system) communication as opposed to pushing tissue into different positions.
As a result, the therapy reaches deeper tissues and organs. The technique effectively treats people with virtually all types of imbalances. The body responds in the way it needs to and is empowered to heal.
A typical consultation and treatment takes approximately an hour.
During the treatment the practitioner performs a series of “autonomic integrating moves (AIMs)” at various points on the surface of the patient’s body and then leaves the room so that the nervous system can communicate the information throughout the body.
Treatments are normally performed once per week until recovery is achieved and then less often for maintenance and improvement of health.
Treatments should be at least 5 days apart in order to give the nervous system time to integrate and for the corresponding healing to take place.
Bowen is gentle and suitable for people of all ages.
Unlike many other body-work techniques, Bowen therapy works quickly and often, permanently.
Most patients report 50 – 80% improvement after 3 treatments and complete success before 10 treatments.
This means less time and cost to the client.
How Does It Work?
Based on our understanding of physiology, we believe Bowen works with the nervous system through a variety of mechanisms:
Stimulates the superficial fascia
underlying the skin and subcutaneous fat tissue. The fascia is the matrix that holds our body together. It is a semi-conductor involved in cellular communication. The body responds to Bowen stimulation by enhancing local healing and encouraging remodelling of fascia to promote mobility.
Stimulates the local sensory nervous system
causing a reflex impulse through the spinal cord to the brain and returning to the location of the stimulated point.
This process is believed to be the mechanism by which Bowen breaks the cycle of dysfunctional repetitive pain loops that are often continuously firing, even after any evidence of tissue damage is gone.
Stimulates blood circulation
This process allows nutrients and healing factors to arrive at injured tissue or sluggish organs, increasing healing.
This is often noted by clients whilst still on the treatment couch. The body’s temperature changes as the work starts to take affect.
Stimulates lymphatic drainage
This process allows broken down cellular debris to be removed from the body and reduces swelling.
As the majority of our lymphatic system operates with the different densities of fascia (which we are working indirectly on) we often see an almost immediate change.
Bowen allows the body to switch from a ‘stress’ (sympathetic) mode to healing (parasympathetic) one…
…so that the body can repair. With our current lifestyle, we tend to almost constantly be in sympathetic mode which substantially reduces our body’s capacity to heal. Regular treatments retrain the body’s autonomic nervous system allowing better balance and more time spent able to heal.
What Bowen Treats:
People presenting with the following conditions typically respond well to Bowen…
Lower back and body pain
Upper body, neck and shoulder pain
Stress, anxiety, depression
Increases proper metabolism
Headache and migraine
Jaw and facial pain
Breathing related sleep disorders
Pregnancy and post natal
Sports injuries, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendon strains and hamstring tension
This list is not exhaustive… Because Bowen carries very few contra-indications to treatment you will either see a positive change in your symptoms or no harm is done.
The Origins of Bowen
I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
Stephen Grellet 1773 – 1855
Thomas Ambrose Bowen (1916-1982)
Tom Bowen of Geelong, Australia, was a quiet, reserved and enigmatic man with an uncanny gift for healing. By the mid 1970’s, Tom’s reputation had spread and his clinical skills in his ‘Bowen Therapy’ were in great demand. In 1975, Tom was treating an astounding 13,000 people per year. Tom was not only a healer, but a gifted teacher, truly generous with his gift. He chose not to claim or copyright any of his work, but taught a number of students with the hope that his technique would grow and spread around the world.
Tom did not ‘teach’ his work to anyone but rather gave permission for people to witness treatments he performed in the treatment room. Each person that came to learn from him would create their own interpretation of his work through what they saw at that time and in that place.
Tom never saw his work as a finite modality, but rather as a work in progress. His vision remains intact through the continued refinements and adaptations of his work by Bowen practitioners around the world.
We are grateful for the influence of Ozzie Rentch’s and Romney Smeeton’s interpretation of Tom Bowen’s work, clinical practices pearls from Gene Dobkin, Ron Phelan, Graham Pennington and John Garfield and insights shared from colleague Bowen practitioners.
Our interpretation of Bowen is aligned to the healing principles of medicine from Dr. Samuel Hahnemann and further interpreted by Dr. Andre Saine.
Our approach encompasses a collaborative effort with an insight into the workings of fascia by Dr Robert Schleip founder of the Fascia Research Society and Craniosacral work; Dr. Hamid Tajbakhsh’s training in Kinesiology and his unique advanced understanding of Chinese medicine.