Bowen Therapy / Bowen Technique Fact Sheet

What is the Bowen Technique?

The Bowen Technique is a drug-free, non-invasive, hands-on remedial therapy which can be administered through light clothing, with the client sitting, standing or lying.  Releasing stress at a very deep level, it then stimulates the body to realign, addressing imbalances in functions and chemical composition and, as far as possible, restoring homeostasis (physiological equilibrium).

Bowen can help with a wide range of symptoms, physical and emotional, and is suitable for all ages, from new-born babies to the elderly and infirm.

Bowen Therapy works on layers of fascia throughout the body. Recent advances in the research and understanding of fascia means we are beginning to have a better idea of how Bowen Therapy affects the body in the way it does. This clip from Dr Robert Scheilp and Dr Heike Jaegor explains how Bowen Therapy and other soft tissue therapies enable the body to make the changes it needs
N.B. the Rolfing Massage Technique shown in the clip is not Bowen Therapy.

Practitioners do not diagnose, nor do they prescribe or alter medication.  They may, however, advise clients to be regularly assessed by their doctor, in case their medicine doses need to be adjusted. There are no known contra-indications to treatment.

Tom Bowen

How did it get its name? Tom Bowen (1916 – 1982) was born in Brunswick, Australia. He started by treating the injuries, aches and pains of local sportsmen, friends and family and colleagues in Geelong. He had a particular interest in bad backs. In the 1960s, he opened his own clinic and developed the therapy. During the 1970s, the Webb Report (Australian Government Report into Complementary Therapies) found that Tom Bowen was treating 13,000 people a year. The Bowen technique is now being taught to final year university students of Osteopathy in Australia. Bowen in the UK BTPA members are trained and accredited at BTPA-approved establishments, have certificates in Anatomy and Physiology and First Aid, have professional insurance and undertake continuing professional development (CPD). BTPA has a ‘find a therapist’ list available to people seeking a qualified practitioner. What is the treatment like? With primarily fingers and thumbs, the Bowen practitioner makes small, rolling movements over muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissue at precise points on the body, using only the amount of pressure appropriate for that individual. No hard-tissue manipulation or force is needed or used. 

Rather than ‘making’ the body change, Bowen ‘asks’ the body to recognise and make the changes it requires.

Between each set of moves, the body is allowed to rest for a few minutes, to allow it to absorb the information it has received and initiate the healing process. Bowen is generally pleasant to receive, each session lasting 30 – 60 minutes, depending on the age of the client and the nature of their symptoms.  Many clients become so relaxed they fall asleep during the treatment.

Short-term (acute) injury is usually resolved in 1 – 3 Bowen treatments, while long-standing (chronic) symptoms may require longer. A gap of 5 to 10 days is recommended between Bowen sessions; so that the body can process the subtle information it has been given. It is advised that clients do not have other hands-on therapies while receiving Bowen, as this can confuse the body’s response and inhibit the healing process.

Equine Bowen Canine Bowen

Bowen for horses and animals

Tom Bowen treated race horses and other animals. Following his example some practitioners go on to train in Canine or Equine Bowen Therapy.

Click here for details of Equine and Canine courses and practitioner registers