Bowen Therapy



The Bowen Technique



The Bowen Technique is a gentle form of cellular memory of a preferred, relaxed, balanced way of wellbeing. The technique addresses not only the musculoskeletal framework but also the fascia, nerves and internal organs. The body's integrated response improves circulation and lymphatic drainage and aids assimilation of nutrients and elimination of toxins.  The Bowen technique addresses the entire body by restoring balance via the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). The ANS controls over 80% of bodily functions and is very susceptible to external stressors. Most people today live in a constant state of high stress and sympathetic ANS over-stimulation (fight, flight or freeze mode). Healing can occur only after the ANS shifts from sympathetic to parasympathetic dominance (rest, relax and repair mode). The Bowen technique seems to catalyze this shift during sessions, clients often quickly drop into deep relaxation or fall asleep. Both of these changes are indications of a profound release from stress and a shift towards parasympathetic dominance. This shift explains a common observation that Bowen sessions seem to reactivate the recovery process in situations where healing from trauma, sickness or surgery has stalled or reached a plateau.  The Bowen Technique is appropriate for people of all ages, in all degrees of health. body work in which subtle moves are performed over the muscles and connective tissue that send messages deep into the body, retrieving


Bowen Session


A typical Bowen Technique session generally lasts from 30 minutes to 1 hour. Clients usually lie on a massage/bodywork table or bed, or may be seated in a chair if required, for comfort. A 'session' involves one or more 'procedures', each of which consists of several sets of 'moves'. The moves are gentle, but purposeful, and can be done through light clothing. Between each set of moves, the practitioner pauses for as many minutes as are needed for the client's body to begin responding. As the nervous system begins to adjust the tension level in the muscles, the practitioner senses when the client is ready for the next set of moves. A common approach in a session is to balance the entire body by addressing the lower back, then the upper back, and then the neck. To minimize the need for disturbing the client's rest, all procedures that address the back of the client are completed before turning over for procedures that are done with the client lying on his/her back.



How it works?


There are many theories about the physiological mechanisms by which the Bowen Technique brings about the results for which it is famous. In addition to the rebalancing of the ANS, described earlier, Bowtech moves and procedures may reset the body to heal itself by activating, through the nervous and endocrine systems among others, the following mechanisms:


  • Stretch reflex: Most moves are done either at the origin, insertion or belly of muscles where receptors are located, informing the nervous system on the state of tension, length or stretch in the musculotendinous tissue. These receptors are stimulated during the 'challenge' and the 'rolling' part of the Bowen move which changes the stimulus received by the nervous system. This can change a pain/muscle spasm loop.

  • Joint proprioceptors: All moves done around a joint directly affect the joint capsule and ligaments that are richly innervated with proprioceptors. Here again, stimulus will be received by the nervous system, inviting normalization of the joint function without the need for forceful manipulation. Research (Carter, Bernie, 2002, 'Clients experiences of frozen shoulder and its treatment with Bowen technique', Complementary Therapies in Nursing and Midwifery, v. 8, pp. 204-210) has confirmed increases in the range of motion in restricted joints.

  • Fascia: Each Bowen move is done at the level of the superficial fascia and affects the relationship between the fascia and the nerve, muscle or tendon being mobilized. Fascia plays a major role in muscle coordination, postural alignment and an overall structural and functional integrity. All of these are negatively affected when the fascia stiffens, contracts, torques or dehydrates. Following a Bowtech session, it is not uncommon to see adhesions loosen up, scar tissue soften, and posture and mobility improve without harsh mobilization or stretching.

  • Segmental nerves, viscerosomatic spinal reflexes: Several Bowtech moves engage these reflexes. They produce referred reactions to the internal organs through stimulation of the skin, muscles and

  • Harmonic vibration or resonance model: Bowenwork moves set up vibrational patterns which bring the body back into balance and harmony.

  • Lymphatics: Some Bowtech procedures activate draining of the lymphatic system stimulating the immune system.

  • Detoxification is often initiated during a Bowen session, thereby improving the body's ability to function at a cellular level.


The continuity of muscles up the back and down the legs means that this relationship is given a lot of attention in Bowenwork sessions. Manipulation of these muscles can have a profound effect on the spine and posture.



Some of the conditions that often respond favorably to Bowen are:


  • Back pain and sciatica

  • Digestive and bowel problems including IBS

  • Earache, ear infections and migraines

  • Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome

  • Knee, ankle and foot problems

  • Menstrual and hormonal irregularities

  • Neck/shoulder problems including frozen shoulder

  • Groin pain, pelvic tilt and uneven leg length

  • Respiratory problems and hay fever

  • RSI, carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow

  • Sports and accident injuries

  • Concussions 

  • Whiplash

  • Sprains





















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