- Holistic soft tissue technique that helps the body to relax, balance and heal
- Helps the body to reset by activating the parasympathetic nervous system
- Involves a series of rolling moves over specific points on the body
- Moves are usually applied through clothing
It was – and still is – hailed as “A dynamic system of muscle and connective tissue therapy that is revolutionising health care worldwide”. I have been using Bowen Therapy in clinical practice for 22 years since first completing training in 1997.
What is Bowen?
Developed over many years by the late Tom Bowen in Geelong, Australia, Bowen therapy consists of a specific, rolling type of move or gentle manipulation of the soft tissue, usually over a muscle or tendon. Tom Bowen eventually ran a successful clinic reportedly treating 13,000 people each year in the 1970’s. He developed procedures for dealing with numerous health issues from back pain to migraines or even kidney disease. Today, it continues to show success in a wide variety of musculoskeletal and functional disorders from infertility, to post-concussion syndrome to work related injuries and repetitive strain injuries.
Bowen work is holistic, meaning it simultaneously and profoundly may address a wide range of systemic issues throughout the body. At each treatment session the intent is to balance and relax the whole body, and encourage the inbuilt healing mechanisms to work more effectively. The therapy allows the body to reset and heal itself with minimal intervention, in contrast to other hands on modalities where the therapist imposes the healing mechanism on the patient through the technique performed.
How It Works
Bowen therapy accesses the innate healing mechanisms at a cellular and autonomic nervous system level. It has been shown to directly influence the proprioceptors located within muscles and connective tissue which connect to the central nervous system. When there has been an injury or infection resulting in nerve damage, the body can be trapped in a ‘pain spiral’ that paralyses the body’s healing response, leading to chronic and acute pain and a downward slide in condition. Bowen therapy can help the body come out of the downward pain spiral and recover lost function and balance in its structure. It is both a structural and an energetic healing modality.
Application of the technique involves stimulation of precise points on the body, in groups of 2 – 8 points at a time. The most common reaction to the therapy is a deep sense of overall relaxation and lessening of muscular tension and pain. These result from the body’s balancing and improved flow of internal energy which. The restorative process begins once the body is relaxed. Many conditions are effectively – and lastingly – changed in between one to five sessions.
Many people choose to have monthly or quarterly maintenance sessions (“tune-ups”) once their initial complaints are addressed.
Will it Help You?
This depends of three key factors:
• Each person responds differently, at different rates and to different degrees.
• You will respond according to your own body’s ability to heal.
• It also relates to your level of hydration, electrolyte balance and nutritional status along with any stressors or toxins that are affecting your body.
The fact is everybody will benefit from a Bowen treatment no matter the condition, some people will even enjoy a session simply for the deep relaxation and emotional effects gained.
To summarise, Bowen therapy allows the body to reset itself and brings balance and harmony to the body’s regulatory systems, enhances innate healing potential from cellular level to the whole, induces whole-body/mind relaxation, breaks down structures in the body that cause pain and restrict healing, increases circulation, lymph flow, decreases pain, improves drainage, impacts connective soft tissue, muscles, ligaments, tendons, neural pathways, dissipates scar tissue, calcification, knotted muscles, oedema, emotional disturbances.
This technique stands alone as a whole treatment, or can be used with other therapies like nutrition and herbal medicine for specific problems. Bowen therapy is safe for all ages and there are few contraindications.
For more information here is a Bowtech Systematic review (Study) on Bowen therapy.