The Bowen Technique is a Gentle Method that Can Help Many Conditions

It was a Thursday afternoon and I was in the right place at the right time. A friend of mine approached me and pointed out an interesting program on TV that was demonstrating a new treatment technique. This was my first introduction to the Bowen Technique and I knew from that moment on that this was something I had to try.

The treatment was unlike any other therapy I have experienced. The practitioner started by applying some “Bowen moves” in my lower back and upper gluteal area in a set pattern. Bowen moves are gently challenging, rolling movements applied with either thumbs or fingers to key soft tissue points in the body; these moves are akin to gently strumming a guitar string. She then left the room for two to three minutes before returning to apply two to eight more Bowen moves, and then left again for another two to three minutes. This routine continued on for the rest of the treatment which lasted about an hour.

I was impressed by how gentle and soothing it was. When the session was over I got up feeling light, refreshed, and completely relaxed. That treatment truly changed my life as well as my physical well-being. I could immediately begin to feel the aches and pains diminishing in my back, right hip, and right shoulder. Some of these are aches and pains I had been coping with for over 12 years. I have tried various other bodywork techniques and found that, although they helped, they did not work as rapidly or as effectively as Bowen did to remove my discomfort and physical limitations. Over the next three to five days I experienced even more profound results as my body continued on this course of self-healing until I was completely pain free.

Five months later, as I write this article, I am amazed and happy to say that I am still pain free. In talking to other Bowen practitioners and patients I have learned that I am not the only one to experience such rapid relief. I thought I might be a special case. In many ways it feels like it’s too good to be true.


In Bowen, the routine of applying the moves and then leaving the room is unique and necessary. These short pauses between sets of moves allow the body to fully integrate the stimulus received. This stimulus triggers the parasympathetic nervous system and puts the body into a state of deep relaxation. In this state the body is reminded how to heal and balance itself. It begins to correct itself, striving toward finding homeostasis and achieving a total sense of health and well-being.

One of the wonderful principles of this modality is that “less is more.” The essence of Bowen is simple, yet highly effective. The moves are light, and it only takes a few precisely located moves to achieve profound results. Bowen is also holistic, working to heal the body not only on the physical plane, but on the mental and emotional levels as well. As the body progresses through its healing cycle, it experiences the release of stress, toxins, and old patterning which inhibit the body from achieving complete health.

Bowen helps to balance and stimulate the flow of energy through the body. For many people Bowen therapy interrupts what is known as the “pain-spasm” cycle that occurs with an injury. Once this cycle is broken both pain and muscle spasm begin to subside and patients experience substantial relief from many of their symptoms such as: an improvement in joint mobility and muscle flexibility; an improvement in the circulation of lymphatic and venous fluids; better assimilation of nutrients and the elimination of toxins; a reduction of physical, emotional and mental stress; and a better overall flow of energy through the entire body. Bowen has been found to significantly help people with the following conditions:

• frozen shoulder
• shoulder pain
• tennis elbow
• carpal tunnel syndrome
• arthritic pain
• sporting injuries
• headaches
• TMJ syndrome
• scoliosis
• migraine
• postural problems
• gait disorders
• leg length discrepancies
• plantar fasciitis
• shin splints
• fibromyalgia
• foot and ankle problems
• hernia
• knee and hip restrictions
• pelvic problems
• sciatica

• asthma
• bronchitis
• hay fever
• sinusitis
• allergies

• constipation
• colic
• Crohn’s disease
• indigestion
• bowel problems

• infertility
• mastitis
• premenstrual syndrome
• breast lumps

as well as…
• chronic fatigue syndrome
• balance problems
• tinnitus
• bed-wetting in children
• prostatic problems
• hemorrhoids
• earache and ear infections

These above lists have been reproduced with permission from Jonathan Damonte,

Bowen is non-invasive and does not require the use of any medications. Another remarkable thing is that most patients experience substantial to complete relief from their signs and symptoms after one to three sessions. In a few cases, those with long-standing, chronic conditions may need five to seven treatments. Sessions are commonly spaced seven days apart and are safe for anyone from the newborn to the elderly since there are no vigorous manipulations and few contraindications to this modality.

This technique originated in Australia where it was developed by Tom Bowen, a Manipulative Therapist. From the 1950s into the 1980s he worked on thousands of patients. He even found the technique to be very beneficial at treating dogs, horses, and many other animals. In 1975, spurred by many skeptical concerns about the technique’s effectiveness, the Victorian government conducted an inquiry into Tom Bowen’s practice and discovered that he was successfully treating 13,000 patients per year with this technique. The investigation also found that a majority of these results were being obtained in only two to three sessions per client. Before he died in 1982 he trained Oswald Rentsch, an osteopath, in the technique. He asked Rentsch to go out and teach it to the rest of the world. He is currently doing this with his wife Elaine. Together they have taught Bowen in over 15 countries, only recently reaching Canada.

Although Bowen may not be the miracle cure for everyone, without a doubt everyone who tries Bowen will benefit from it in some way as its primary aim is to put the body into a deeply relaxed state so that it may heal naturally, on its own.

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