The Bowen Technique
Since 1986 the name of the Bowen Technique has been gaining recognition and popularity worldwide for its non-invasive, gentle yet highly effective way of helping people to be free of pain without resorting to manipulation, needles, pills or massage.
The Bowen Technique has been described as being "one of the most down to earth therapies in the book". Developed from the 1950s until his death in 1982, the acclaimed Australian therapist Tom Bowen helped many thousands of people overcome their pains and conditions using a series of gentle, non-manipulative moves over muscle and connective tissue using nothing more than his thumbs and index fingers.
In most cases, only two or three treatments were required for people to be free of pain, permanently, which is one reason why the Bowen Technique is so popular. In 1974 Tom Bowen commissioned a natural therapist, Oswald Rentsch, to study and document the complete work. He was the only person to do so and the work took over two years to complete.
Before Bowen passed away, Oswald Rentsch made a promise that Bowen's therapy would become known worldwide and together with his wife Elaine, formed "Bowtech" to teach and share with others the unchanged method of Mr Bowen's amazing work.
The Bowen Technique itself consists of a series of gentle moves where the trained practitioner uses thumbs and index fingers, making very gentle rolling-type moves over precise points on the body. These gentle moves aim to affect the muscles, connective tissue and subtle energies within the body creating balance and stimulating energy flow.
Then, as a standard and important part of the Bowen Technique treatment, the practitioner steps back and allows the patient to absorb the work and for the healing to begin.
The moves used by the practitioner balance the body, allowing self-healing with minimum intervention. During the course of a treatment, the client is left resting several times, allowing the body time to incorporate the gentle healing moves which have just been performed. This allows the body's different systems to respond to the moves with the subtle and fine adjustments that help to relieve tension, reduce pain and initiate the healing process.
The practitioner will often note subtle and sometimes quite dramatic changes taking place during the breaks, and can adjust the next set of moves accordingly. A feature of the Bowen Technique is that nothing is forced to happen - the therapist gently and precisely does the work which triggers the body's natural healing responses. Improvement is often experienced within a few days. The body is prompted to readjust itself by tapping into its own resources for self-healing.
Producing a deep sense of relaxation and providing lasting relief, the Bowen Technique has impressed practitioners of all modalities with its simple and effective method of helping people.
Bowen is a gentle, non-invasive, safe practice, and works well with all ages from newborn to the elderly. It also has a very beneficial effect on animals and there are courses available to learn a horse version of the Technique, called EMRT (Equine Muscle Release Technique), which is run under the auspices of the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia.
Thanks to Aura Publications for this article
More about Bowen
Although the Bowen Technique is relatively new to the UK, studies in the USA and Australia have shown the technique to be highly effective in the treatment of 'difficult' conditions such as Fibromyalgia, and chronic back pain - conditions which are often expensive to treat using surgery and other orthodox techniques.
In the UK the technique has proved itself as a highly efficient and cost-effective tool for physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths and other CAM practitioners. A recent study on the evaluation of the Bowen Technique in the treatment of Frozen Shoulder reviewed in 'Complementary Therapies in Medicine' Issue 01/032, 'Health Which' (July 2002) and Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery undertaken by Dr Bernie Carter, principal lecturer in Children's Nursing at the University of Central Lancashire found:
- 'A high level of satisfaction with the therapy, a commitment to using Bowen in the future should they require it for another episode of frozen shoulder or other condition, and the intention to recommend the therapy and therapist to friends and family'
- 'A significant improvement in shoulder mobility and associated function for all participants, with 70% of participants regaining full mobility (equal to the non-affected side) by the end of the treatment.'
- 'Markedly reduced pain intensity scores and pain quality descriptors for all participants, although some participants recorded scores of 1-3 that they described as a slight ache to a mild pain. Participants at the end of the study no longer used the intense and invasive pain descriptors.'
The Bowen Technique cannot, from this study, claim to be 100% successful but it demonstrated a significant improvement for participants, even those with a very longstanding history of frozen shoulder. For the majority of participants it provided a good outcome particularly in relation to improved mobility.
All participants experienced improvement in their daily activities. None of the participants reported that their pain was having a severe impact on their daily activities, and there was a decrease in the reports of mild and moderate impact by the end of the treatment. For the majority of participants (even those with a longstanding problem) it provided a good outcome particularly in relation to improved mobility.
In terms of the outcome measures used in other studies - success rate, mobility, pain and functional status - Bowen can be seen to be a positive intervention and certainly one which participants in the study evaluated as being highly satisfactory.
Other studies currently underway sponsored by the Bowen Association UK include a study of the technique on post-operative breast cancer patients and the effect of the technique on Heart Rate Variability. The Bowen Association has been closely involved with the Prince of Wales' Foundation for Integrated Health over the last 4 years and has been working towards the development of National Occupational Standards for the technique in the UK.
There are currently 10 instructors in the UK who have been accredited by the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia, by far the largest and longest-established Bowen teaching organisation in the world having trained over 9000 therapists.
Bowen Association teachers are currently teaching the technique in many European countries including the Republic of Ireland, Spain, Italy, Austria, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium and France.
Bowen in Womens Health and Pregnancy
Bowen therapy can be used to relieve menopausal symptoms, for menstrual disorders and to enhance fertility. It can help relieve pregnancy aches and pains, and assist in re-aligning the pelvis to help the baby find an optimal position for birth. Bowen therapy is extremely gentle and can be easily performed with the expectant mother in a sitting or side-lying position. It can be of use with sciatica, aching legs, carpal tunnel (wrist) syndrome, lower back / sacro iliac pain, pubic symphesis discomfort, heartburn and many other pregnancy associated discomforts. After the birth it can help the mother recover more easily, and also assist baby with colic, reflux, and trauma after birth. Later it can help relieve bedwetting, asthma and other childhood issues.
Appointments available with Lina:
BOWEN THERAPY consultations/treatments in Shoreham by Sea:
UK £45 for first visit (consultation and treatment approx 90 minutes)
£35 per treatment thereafter (approx 60 minutes)
(those in hardship £20 or make a donation)
Lina incorporates the use of Bach Flower remedies, counselling, nutrition, stress management and lifestyle coaching when required.
Lina also offers therapeutic massage for women
Specialising in pre and postnatal massage.
please send enquiries on email via this website.
I thought I would put down in writing how life changing your treatments have been, and to make it clear exactly how life changing I need to tell you the past first.
Some 8 years ago I suffered two prolapse discs in my back, one at the base of the spine and one at the top. I simply could not explain the pain at the time. The doctors gave me so many anti inflammatories that my stomach could no longer take them; even today one will bring massive stomach cramps. The doctors advised me that I had no alternative but to have an operation, which I refused. I was lucky enough to find a chiropractor that was able to help and reduce the pain. Every year since my back has had a relapse, my daughter only two years ago had to call an ambulance. Each year my doctor gave me valium, which stopped me moving for two or three days.
It is important to remember that over the past 8 years I have always been in pain, to the point I could not even iron a shirt without sitting down afterwards. To manage this pain I would take an enormous amount of pain killers, I would say up to 8 to 10 a day, a good day would have been 6 but these did not happen often.
I came to you on recommendation and with no expectations at all but what I have received is a god send. After two treatments I was able start cutting down the pain killers and then on the third treatment, I suddenly realised I was not in hardly any pain at all, as for the pain killers now down to 2 a day, which I have no doubt will stop soon.
Unless you have lived with constant pain, you cannot understand it, nor can you appreciate the life change when suddenly it is gone. I thank you so much for all that you have done and very much hope others find you.
I would like to deeply thank Lina here with my whole heart, not to only make this experience happen, but also for her sensitivity, expression of joy and curiousness for life and learning and showing me yet again many more options to approach life and the happenings within. I feel extremely comfortable and confident within her care as a therapist. Thank you Lina!
Today my shoulder feels amazing! no pain! i am extremely impressed!
After having severe muscle strains in my neck and back from working out with
weights Lina gave me a number of Bowen treatment over a period of
weeks. Almost immediately I could feel a relaxing effect and noticed that on
the following days I had greater flexibility and less pain. One day my
symptoms were extremely painful, I could hardly turn my head at all and I was
quite distressed and thought I wouldn't be able to sleep at all that night.
That evening Lina did a treatment on me and even though I was still sore I had
the best nights sleep I could remember having for ages! I would certainly
recommend having Bowen treatment for any kind of muscular pain or injury.
Thanks Lina for your skilful treatment, your tenderness, compassion and loving
kindness - you are a natural and gifted healer!!!
Love and gratitude,
I went to Lina with chronic shoulder pain. I really enjoyed Lina's treatment - within five minutes of the first session, I was falling asleep, and deeply relaxed. That night, I slept really well. My shoulder pain had improved immediately - I didn't need my usual sleeping regime of sleeping pills and placing a pillow under the upper arm to keep the shoulder in a relatively pain-free position.
After a few days, I did some lifting and played guitar for several hours - all work related - and re-injured the shoulder, though the pain was not nearly as noticeable. The next treatment with Lina was equally relaxing, and I fell asleep on the couch again. I found her very sensitive and nurturing, and felt very trusting of her touch. The shoulder continued to improve, and after the third session, I have had very little trouble with it, except when I got very hot and pre-menstrual, and the ligaments became dry and inflamed. I took some cooling herbs, and since then, my shoulder has felt better than it has in over eight years.
I am really really impressed, because of course I've tried so many ways to treat this long standing pain, and this was so fast and so subtle, and has had the most amazing result.
I'm incredibly grateful, to Lina and to Mr Bowen, for this discovery. I am defiinitely a convert to the efficacy of the treatment!