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The Bowen Technique

Understanding the Bowen Technique

The Bowen Therapy is extremely gentle and is considered appropriate from pregnant women to newborn babies to elderly.


A Brief History

The Bowen technique was pioneered by an Australian man called Tom Bowen (1916 - 1982). He was a quiet man who did not communicate much of what he was doing. It is said, that he called his therapeutic work "a gift of god". Tom worked with very few people to pass on his work. One of them was Oswald Rentsch who later on founded The Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia.


How It Works

The Bowen Technique is based on a number of core principles that were observed by its pioneer, Tom Bowen.

Bowen moves involve gently stretching the fascia - the soft tissue that covers all your muscles and organs - to promote pain relief.

Precise and gentle rolling hand /finger or thumb movements are performed over muscles, tendons and ligaments.

The Bowen moves act on the autonomic nervous system - inhibiting the sympathetic nervous system (fight and flight response) and activate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest response).

There are many other explantions as to how the Bowen Technique works. Some of the points addressed relate to chinese meridians and trigger points f.e.

Once the body is in balance and relaxed it can heal.


A Bowen Session

A Bowen session will involve a number of elements:

A detailed case history is important to best approach the session.

After each set of Bowen moves there is a 2-3 minutes pause, where the client is left in his/her own space. The pauses are of great importance to help the body to integrate each move whilst  allowing the healing to take place. In some cases the pauses might be extended, depending on each client and condition.


Silence, no music f.e. is preferred to not distract the brain and to bring the client's awareness and attention to possible subtle sensations like heat, tingling, numbness, cold or other experiences during a session.

Such reactions are common and are always associated with a deep sense of relief and letting go. Some sessions will lead to a deeper approach to supporting the release of post trauma (See Mind Body & Bowen).

The non-invasive touch used is always gentle, nothing that could be painful or uncomfortable and is mostly performed through light clothing.

Ideally a session is one on one, but a Bowen Therapy Group Healing session is an opportunity to get a great introduction to Bowen Therapy and its benefits. Due to the waits between each set of moves the gentle moves can be performed on each participant one after the other. It is said, that Tom Bowen has been treating around 14 people at a time in his clinic.

Please get in touch to find out about the next Group Healing Session in your area.

Mind, Body & Bowen sessions are only available as one on one.


It is always recommended to drink an adequate amount of water (1.5-2l per day) to support the body's detoxing and healing process.


Will Bowen Therapy help me?

Conditions that can be addressed with the Bowen Technique

  • Anxiety/stress-related conditions

  • Back pain, sciatica and spinal problems

  • Newborn baby problems (e.g. colic, feeding problems and sleep-related conditions)

  • Digestive and bowel problems (such as irritable bowel syndrome)

  • Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome

  • General muscle stiffness

  • Gynaecological conditions (such as heavy or painful periods, infertility and fibroids)

  • Headaches and migraines

  • Hormonal imbalances

  • Joint problems (such as tennis elbow, frozen shoulder, ankle and knee injuries)

  • Post-dental trauma, temporo-mandibular joint problems and jaw disorders)

  • Post-operative recovery

  • Respiratory conditions

  • Repetitive strain injuries and carpal tunnel syndrome

  • Sports injuries

  • Whiplash injuries

  • Blood pressure (high or low)

  • Respiratory problems (such as asthma)



There are a number of factors that seem to interfere with the effectiveness of a Bowen session.

Please avoid the following:

  • extreme temperature like hot bath or ice-packs

  • no other (particularly manipulative) therapy such as massage, acupuncture or chiropractic etc.) within a week before and after a Bowen session. This allows the Bowen Therapy to fully integrate and the body to respond.

  • No extreme movements, only moderate exercise and plenty of water intake

"Understanding the Bowen Technique" by John Wilks, Bowen Practitioner and Teacher, UK

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