I had little idea when first introduced to the Bowen Technique in the mid 1990’s, that it would become the founding therapy of my practice. A change of circumstances in the early 2000’s led to a whirlwind journey that has driven and defined my life ever since. All choices I have made subsequently to train in further modalities are based upon the concept that they will work both alone as individual techniques, but also will complement each other.
Bowen appears to awaken the body’s natural healing mechanisms, but because it is so gentle it can be used alongside, or in a support role, to other interventions, such as medication, surgery, or certain other complimentary therapies, such as osteopathy, chiropractic, acupuncture or indeed counselling.
What is it about Bowen that is unique enough to base the core of my practice upon, and to use as a base to my choice of further therapeutic training. The technique is not easily described in relation to other bodywork techniques. Research continues to study exactly how the technique works but it is proposed that every molecule of tissue and cell in the human body is ‘wired’ directly to the brain. This follows the concept that the body-mind are one, a complex system of interactive processes from head to toe. In other words, Bowen is said to encourage the body to heal itself, the gentle, precise moves on specific areas can be looked at as ‘resetting’ the body’s processes.
Bowen is considered effective for conditions of back pain, sciatica, neck restrictions, sports injuries, knee problems, frozen shoulders, bronchial and asthmatic problems, tennis elbow, menstrual irregularities, headaches and migraines plus stress and tension. It is also used as a support for many chronic conditions such as ME and arthritic symptoms. The success of Bowen is not limited to purely physical conditions and many therapists report distinct improvement to patients’ emotional well-being.
Bowen appears to stimulate circulation, encourage lymphatic and venous drainage, promote assimilation of nutrients and elimination of toxins, increase joint mobility and improve posture. Bowen has spread to the professional sports world too, with sports therapists saying its results often rival physiotherapy. Tests have shown that competitors having regular Bowen treatments consistently perform better with an accelerated rate of recovery after injury.
Across the world therapists are successfully working with Bowen as their only therapy, or like myself, as part of a group of ‘complimentary’ techniques. Bowen attracts a broad range of professionals within established medicine, as well as complimentary medicine; medical doctors, midwives, nurses, plus osteopaths, chiropractors, physiotherapists, acupuncturists, who “praise the technique for its power”.
How Australian Tom Bowen came to his remarkable technique is something of a legend. He claimed his discovery was “a gift from God”. Perhaps it was, it is certainly extraordinary, and was seen as such by the Australian government in 1975 when it released the Webb report, in which Tom Bowen was revealed to be [successfully] treating some 13,000 patients a year.