From Understanding the Bowen Technique, John Wilks, First Stone Publishing, 2004. England
Bowen Therapy, also known as the Bowen Technique, was pioneered in the 1950’s by Tom Bowen (1916-1982) from Geelong, Australia. Tom was a natural healer with an ability to observe how people walked, sat and moved. His fascination with bodywork came out of a desire to help people who were suffering.
Tom Bowen became a celebrated therapist treating over 13,000 patients a year. He got results very quickly only after a few treatments.
In 1974 he invited Oswald and Elaine Rentsch to study with him and document his work. The Bowen Technique as it is taught today is based on their interpretation of Tom Bowen’s work.
Bowen Therapy is safe for all stages of pregnancy, for the elderly, newborn babies and even those with chronic illness. It is pain free and does not use forceful manipulation to impose change.
Bowen noticed that the body maintained structure through bands of muscle called fascia (when preparing meat you may have noticed white, translucent sheets of tough tissue – this is fascia). Fascia provides a covering for every structure in the body and is instrumental in maintaining posture because it supports the spine. Some complementary therapies manipulate the spine to address individual bones. In contrast, a Bowen treatment addresses the muscle and fascia relationships that are holding the spine in that position so it will adopt a better position.
Bowen Therapy addresses not only the fascia and musculo-skeletal framework, but also nerves and internal organs. The body's integrated response improves circulation and lymphatic drainage as well as aiding in the assimilation of nutrients and the elimination of toxins.
Pain relief is common. Most pain and injury will respond with two to five sessions, depending on each individuals’ capacity to heal. Followups may be required.
A Bowen move involves a rolling type motion by the therapists fingers being placed on the body or on light clothing. The skin is drawn away, gently challenged and pushed over fascia, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves and joints.
It is a unique feature of the Bowen Technique that there are at least two minute breaks in which the practitioner leaves the room. These pauses are crucial as they allow the body time to absorb the messages presented by the moves.
Sessions last up to an hour and are spaced a week apart. A Bowen session initiates a cascade of beneficial changes that continue for several days. For this reason applying other manipulative therapies during this time can interrupt and undermine the overall effectiveness of Bowen work. It is therefore recommended that the client wait a week before commencing any other manual therapy.