What is Bowen Therapy?

What is Bowen Therapy and Who Developed it?

Thomas Ambrose Bowen-1916-1982, an Australian, developed what we know today as Bowen Therapy. In the early 1950's Tom Bowen had a day job at the Geelong Cement Works as a general laborer, but on his time off he was treating sport and work injuries. Gradually through word of mouth, his popularity for healing pain traveled, and he began to develop a large clientele.

In the late 1950's Tom Bowen began a full practice. Although the results of his therapy were called "miraculous", he worked very hard and studied long hours for his abilities. His favorite source of information was osteopathic books.


He believed that any muscular dysfunction within the body played a major role in the whole body to function at an optimum level and just treating the symptoms very rarely addressed the root causes. He treated the whole body by developing a safe and gentle system of unique moves which the body seemed to understand and respond too.

Tom Bowen's underlying concept which resides at the root of his work was based on the principle that structure governs function.

Tom Bowen preferred to let the bodywork session speak for itself. Nowadays one theory of how Bowen Therapy works in the body is that a Bowen move is similar to strumming a stringed instrument. On a stringed instrument a string is held at a specific point to obtain a correct tone. Changing the point where the string is held will change the tone or vibrational frequency. The body, comparing it to a musical instrument, can get stuck in a discomfort tone. The body is meant to protect itself and heal from any disorder whether it originates from a physical, mental, emotional or spiritual trauma, but there are times when the body is unable to complete a healing cycle and becomes stuck, unable to totally heal and that's when the Bowen Technique can be beneficial. A Bowen move helps to unlock the fine connections of the brain and the body, reopening communication down to the cellular level. This unlocking re-tunes the body, turning off the pain cycle it's been locked in and reopening the healthy core memory leading the body to heal itself.

Bowen Therapy can also be likened to a reprogramming of the body's computer system. The Bowen software assists in rewiring/recruiting the body's hard drive so that it doesn't crash as often and has a higher speed of responses to stress, trauma and injury.

Bowen Therapy complements and works synergistically with other healing methods, but when too many commands are put onto the body's communication center/computer there maybe a shutdown/freeze and very little or no benefit will come about. That is why it is recommended that Bowen Therapy be used in rotation with other healing therapies.

How is the Bowen Therapy performed?

During a Bowen session a series of moves are performed on the body. The move is started over a group of muscle or tendon. The move is a light pulling back of the skin till there is no more give and then a firmer rolling motion forward. After each set of moves, a few minutes pause is needed where the practitioner leaves the treatment room to allow the body to integrate them and start the process to heal. A session generally lasts 1 hour.

Is there anything important I should do to make the treatments more effective?

Week before treatment:
Avoid any massage or other kind of bodywork, chiropractic, acupuncture, physiotherapy, and dental drilling.

On day of treatment before the session:
Please wear loose fitting clothing i.e. tee shirt and shorts or thin cotton pants. You can change in room if needed.
Drink at least 8 ounces of purified water.
Leave all distractions at home or car i.e. cell phones.

On day of after the treatment:
Refrain from sitting for longer than 30 minutes at one time. Walk around keeps the body from locking in one position. This is important even if you are driving a distance. Stop the car and walk around it a few times.

You may lie down flat and rest/nap without having to get up and walk. Your body will begin to reset itself as you rest.

Avoid strenuous exercise. Gentle exercise such as walking, swimming, golfing or cycling is very good.

Drink at least a ½ gallon of water everyday. ½ cup every 30 minutes is advisable to assist the body in removing toxins and waste from the body.

During the following week:
No massages, chiropractic, acupuncture, physiotherapy, dental drilling, saunas, hot and cold baths, saunas, heating pads, or ice packs. A brief warm shower is acceptable.

Homeopathic medicines and flower essences are welcome.

Keep on drinking at least ½ gallon of water everyday. Your body may detoxify.

Walking is very beneficial.

Don't overwork yourself. You may feel energetic a few days after the treatment, but remember your body needs to rest.

Do not use magnet therapy of any sort! Magnets interfere with Bowen therapy and you may not have any positive benefits from treatments if you use magnets.

How often is the treatment required?

It's highly recommended that the client commit to at least a re-patterning schedule of 3 sessions with 3 to 9 being an ordinary treatment protocol, coming in for a treatment every 5-10 days with 7 days being optimum. This establishes a pattern of healing in the system. If this isn't established the client may not get the desirable results. With chronic conditions ongoing treatments maybe needed to obtain and maintain positive results. Many times clients will come back periodically every month or so for a session to help keep the body balanced. Clients doing this have noticed reduction in illnesses and stress.

With Bowen Therapy the body is always the master healer . At times the present complaint isn't the first one to be resolved. The healing body may have underlying imbalances that need to be addressed first. In these cases some clients may experience increases in symptoms. This is a good sign; it means deep level healing is occurring. After this phase is complete, clients experience relief from symptoms and a deeper sense of health.

Who can benefit from Bowen Treatments?

Bowen treatments are useful from newborns through the elderly . Chronically ill patients benefit as well as the disabled. Some of the diseases which have demonstrated improvement from Bowen treatments are multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and muscular dystrophy. Bowen therapy uplifts the spirit. Clients often state they feel happier.

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