What is Bowen Therapy?

Where does Bowen Therapy come from?

Bowen Therapy, or Bowen Technique, was developed in the 1950s by the late Thomas (Tom) Ambrose Bowen of Geelong, Australia. He continued to develop and refine the technique throughout his lifetime. Mr. Bowen had a very busy clinic in Geelong, performing thousands of treatments per year before retiring.

Today, the Bowen Technique is known throughout the world and continues to gain popularity and recognition as an effective treatment.

So what is Bowen Therapy and how does it work?

Bowen Therapy is a physical hands-on technique that aims to treat the cause of joint pain, muscle issues, sports injuries, and ongoing and intermittent pain. It involves a series of gentle moves that directly manipulate skin, muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, nerves and fascia. There is no manipulation or adjustment of hard tissue (e.g. bone). The technique has a specific effect on the fascia, which is the soft connective tissue surrounding muscles, muscle fibers and organs and creates a network in the body. Each move the practitioner makes at specific locations on the body delivers signals to the nervous system, stimulating the body’s natural response to bring about self-healing.

These specific moves affects the body’s tissues in a variety of ways. Not only does it relax tight muscles and increase hydration in the fascia, it can increase tone in the core muscles and contractile strength within the fascia. It also has a strong calming effect on the autonomic nervous system.

In recent years research has examined the role of the fascia in the body and how it plays a very important role other than just connecting body structures together. Fascia has “recoil” properties playing an important role in movement. The recoil properties of the lumbar fascia, for example, reduces the effort required by the muscular system when walking or running. It acts a little like a “bungee”. When this recoil property is compromised through lack of reciprocal tension in the fascia, it can result in more exertion required through the muscular system to perform these tasks. This can result in muscular fatigue and tension.

During treatment the practitioner applies gentle rolling-type moves using the thumbs and fingers on precise point on the body, usually over muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments. There are short breaks between groups of moves allowing the body to rest and to give it time to respond and accept the information received. These short rest periods are an important part of the treatment and gives the body the chance to make adjustments, re-balance and relieve tension. Rather than working on a specific area, Bowen addresses the body as a whole due to the myofascial inter-connections throughout the body.

Following treatment it can take up to 48 hours for the treatment to take effect and four days for the body to start the healing process.

Outcomes from Bowen Therapy treatment range from long-term rapid relief and permanent remission, to significant improvement in mobility, stress, pain and general well-being. As it works on the fascia it often successfully treats persistent problems that have not responded to other treatments. Many recipients of Bowen Therapy report having a good night's sleep after a Bowen treatment and often have increased energy, improved circulation and feeling more balanced.

On-going research has demonstrated that the Bowen Technique is helpful in alleviating back and neck pain, reduce headaches, resolve frozen shoulder, reduce pain in fibromyalgia patients and improve flexibility. As research continues in this amazing technique, further evidence will emerge to strengthen and consolidate its effectiveness and usefulness in general health and wellness.

What does a Bowen treatment involve?

An initial Bowen session takes approximately 60 to 75 minutes, which includes a full body assessment and treatment. The full body assessment helps me to determine where the problem is originating from and to help develop the course of action (treatment plan).

The majority of the Bowen moves can be performed through light, loose clothing. Although, I may ask you to remove thick or heavy garments and a light sarong may be used to cover any exposed areas. Some Bowen moves are better performed directly on skin. During the session I will perform groups of gentle movements with breaks of 2 to 5 minutes (sometimes longer) in between each group of moves allowing your body to respond before commencing the next sequence of moves.

Follow-up treatments are generally re-scheduled for 7 to 10 days and takes approximately 30 to 60 minutes, depending on your presenting condition. Usually three (3) treatments at weekly intervals are sufficient to achieve lasting relief, although further treatments maybe required (especially for long-term chronic conditions such as a long-standing injury). I will discuss with you what is appropriate for your specific needs.

How can Bowen Therapy help you?

The Bowen Technique can be used safely for people of all ages and abilities, including new born babies and the elderly. Bowen can be considered for the following:


· Neck and Back pain or restrictions

· Sciatica

· Digestive problems

· Headaches and Migraines

· TMJ (jaw) pain and related issues

· Earache and Tinnitus

· Sinus problems

· Shoulder (including Frozen Shoulder), Elbow and Wrist

· Respiratory problems

· Pelvic, Knee, Ankle and Foot problems

· Sports and Accident injuries

· Stress and Tension

· Menstrual and hormonal irregularities

· Children: colic, bed wetting and postural problems