The Bowen Technique is a non-manipulative, hands-on therapy which encourages the body to heal, realign and relax itself.
What can the Bowen Technique treat?
Practitioners claim the Bowen Technique can help treat:
- back and neck pain
- knee problems
- sports injuries
- frozen shoulder
- respiratory conditions such as asthma and hayfever
- chronic fatigue
- kidney problems
- conditions requiring lymphatic drainage
- headaches and migraines
- stress management
- difficult/painful menstruation
- menopausal symptoms
The Bowen Technique was pioneered by the Australian Thomas Ambrose Bowen during the Fifties. Bowen had a life-long interest in massage and body work and, by the time he was in his forties, he had established a full time practice in remedial therapy using and continuing to learn more about his techniques. In 1973, in an interview with a parliamentary committee looking into complementary medicine, Bowen stated that he treated about 280 patients per week, a total of 13,000 patients per year. Eighty eight per cent of patients required only two or three treatments.
The Bowen Technique is not a form of massage but is rather a non-manipulative, hands-on therapy which encourages the body to heal, realign and relax itself. The gentle moves of a Bowen treatment seem to stimulate ‘energy’ flow, prompting the body’s own self-healing resources to restore balance; facilitate lymphatic drainage of toxins and waste products; promote good circulation; release tension and increase mobility.
It encourages deep muscular relaxation which allows for structural realignment and organic changes where the body has been trying to readjust. By relaxing the patient physically, it also seems to allow any emotional blocks to be released. Practitioners believe it works so deeply mainly because it works at the body’s own pace. Nothing is forced to happen – the therapist simply does the work and stands back to allow whatever changes the person is ready for to take place, whether these are physical, mental or emotional.
Consultation and treatment
A Bowen session takes approximately 45 minutes and most of the work can be performed through light clothing. Practitioners use their thumbs and fingers to make rolling type moves on the body which aim to disturb the muscles, soft tissue and energy. During the session, the patient is left to ‘rest’ for short periods of time. These periods allow the body to take in the ‘information’ given by the moves and absorb the benefits of the therapy, making the subtle adjustments which will help it heal and rebalance.
Two or three treatments, at weekly intervals, are normally sufficient to achieve lasting relief from even long-standing complaints or pain and restriction from old injuries. People who use the Bowen Technique as a means of stress management and health maintenance see their therapists two to four times a year.
Costs start from £15 for a treatment session. Sessions last between 40 and 60 minutes.
It is not possible for clients to practice The Bowen Technique on themselves.
How to find a practitioner
The Bowen Association is a member of the British Complementary Medicine Association and is affiliated with international Bowen Associations. Training follows the curriculum approved by the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia and comprises four modules, taken over a period of seven to nine months. The training leads to accreditation with the Academy and practice in the original method of the Technique. Therafter, there are postgraduate courses and all practitioners must do a minimum of 16 hours hands-on revision with instructors per year to keep Academy accreditation. Minimum hours required to qualify as a Bowen Association practitioner is 110 hours, excluding case studies, as well as a current first-aid certificate and anatomy/physiology qualifications.
Formed in 1998, The Bowen Technique European Register (BTER) establishes and enforces training and qualifications criteria for membership and maintains a list of accredited practitioners. Full BTER training courses in The Bowen Technique take a minimum of 9-12 months part-time study spread over five levels of instruction. Courses at all levels are available throughout the UK and EU countries.
Treatment with The Bowen Technique is not restricted by age. The treatment choices open to practitioners enable them to tailor treatment to those who are very young or in a weakened or fragile state.
There are no conditions that necessarily preclude use of The Bowen Technique. For maximum benefits, however, do not mix with other physical therapies such as Massage, Physiotherapy, Reflexology, etc. A break of between seven and ten days is recommended between Bowen and any other physical therapy.