This therapy envolves the application of gentle movements in rotations at key points of the muscles, tendons and joints. Bowen is a gentle and subtle technique pioneered in Australia between the 1950’s and 1980’s, by its namesake Tom Bowen.
Thomas Ambrose Bowen, to give him his full name, was a body worker and lay healer, who believed that the whole body should be treated, in a holistic way, rather than just the immediate area of the problem.
Bowen Technique or Therapy employs a series of rolling moves over muscles, tendons and ligaments – a hands-on approach which consists of small precise movements on specific points of the body in a very light and gentle manner. It is suitable for all ages and involves the practitioner working to either ‘tighten or loosen’ muscles, with frequent pauses of about two to five minutes, to allow body to respond to the stimulation, also allowing for the release of stress in the muscles.
Tom Bowen taught his method to an Australian osteopath, Ossie Rentsch, who continued Bowen’s work after his death in 1982. Subsequently Rentsch and his colleagues has passed on the technique to practitioners in Australia, New Zealand, North America, Germany, UK and Portugal.
Bowen therapy generally does not aim at diagnosis, but is found to help a broad range of physical and psychosocial problems, including back and joint pain, sports injuries, frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis), gastrointestinal symptoms, fatigue, anger and depression.
Afterwards clients often report that they feel not only relieved of their physical symptoms, but also totally relaxed.
Bowen Technique works in an quiet, understated way. The Bowen Practitioner will not diagnose, prescribe or alter any medication that you may be taking. This non-invasive form of treatment is not intended to replace or substitute any medical advice or treatment that you may be receiving from your doctor.
However it may be suggested that a new client should not undergo any other physical therapy for five days before coming to treatment, nor for two weeks afterwards. This is so as not to overload the system with conflicting messages that might neutralise the subtle power of the Bowen treatment.
It is suggested that you come to the session in loose clothing. You will be asked to lie on a massage table, usually starting face down. The technique uses movements on specific points on muscles, tendons and nerves that last only a few seconds, and the therapist works in sets, with frequent but important pauses between sets.
This is a unique feature of the Bowen treatment: there are frequent breaks of a few moments in a treatment session, during which the therapist not only pauses the treatment, but may actually leave the room. These breaks are considered essential as they enable your body to absorb the information presented by the therapist and allow you time to rebalance, and for the healing process to begin.
Each time the therapist returns to the room, he or she will assess the changes in muscle tension and alignment of the body, and any comments you make. The therapist will then decide on which adjustments to make, dependent of how the individual responds to each set in the treatment.
Bowen therapists believe that the effectiveness of the treatment is reduced if the body is given more information that it can deal with, so may end the treatment earlier than expected. The therapist may also give you exercises, and Flower essences herbal medicine and homeopathy may be used alongside a Bowen treatment.
After treatment, you will be recommended to drink lots of water to help recovery.
Initially directed at acute musculoskeletal complaints, acquired through work or sports injuries, but Bowen believed in treating the whole body and the set moves that Bowen developed which addressed muscles and connective tissue in each area, could also be applied to a number of specific conditions, such as: asthma, bronchitis, allergic response, sinus congestion and headaches, gastrointestinal reflux. The Bowen Technique allows the body to return to more balance state of equilibrium.
Bowen Therapy is remarkable for its simplicity, and also for the wide range of conditions to which it can be applied, because of its holistic approach.