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Bowen Therapy

Relief for Chronic and Acute Pain, and Speeds Recovery from Injuries

Bowen Therapy is perhaps one of the fastest, pain-free pain relief and injury recovery bodywork modalities available today. When integrated into their patient’s treatment plans, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors, physical and sports therapists all report startling successes with Bowen Therapy. It has even been referred to as the “homeopathy of bodywork” in that minimal outside influence is required to achieve phenomenal, lasting results.

Bowen Therapy has the ability to tap into the body’s blueprint and reset the body to heal itself, often with only a few precise Bowen moves (a Bowen Therapist’s treatment motto is “less is more”). And because Bowen Therapy balances the autonomic nervous system and detoxifies the body, it is effective for a wide range of mind and body conditions. This hands-on, total body-balancing modality embraces the physical, chemical, emotional and mental aspects of the individual receiving the treatment.

Bowen Therapy accelerates healing and recovery by actually stimulating the body’s own natural healing capacity to achieve overall balance and harmony. The work is performed on a physiological level by touching sense receptors under the skin which can alert the brain to any problem areas that exist in the body. It is administered without any forced manipulations, with the body either accepting or declining the signals. The brain sends the appropriate signal to the tissues encouraging the release of any tension, thus allowing for structural alignment. It is gentle, its effects are powerful, and recovery from pain and injuries is quick and safe. Most people experience substantial relief after the first session, and often the results are surprising. Clients report that while they were undergoing Bowen treatment for one condition, they had other, quite different ones, fixed.

Bowen Therapy stems from the ingenious work of Tom Bowen, an Australian Manipulative Therapist (1916-1982). His natural gift and abilities enabled him to develop an entire system of movements and procedures to counteract a wide spectrum of internal conditions, as well as musculoskeletal complaints. He claimed that his work was a “gift from God that could address on all levels any and every condition that inflicts a person.”

A 1975 Australian Government inquiry into alternative health practices determined that Bowen was successfully treating an astonishing 13,000 patients a year using Bowen Therapy, yielding reported results of an amazing 80 to 85% success rate, often after only one or two sessions.

After his death, many of Bowen’s students continued the legacy of his work. To date, Bowen Therapy is practiced in 36 countries and taught in over 25, with more than 20,000 trained practitioners worldwide.


It has been suggested that in relation to a Bowen treatment, the body is much like a stringed instrument. When a Bowen move is performed, it creates a resonance effect wherein specific harmonic frequencies are thought to affect particular parts of the body. By creating a vibrational pattern that correlates with a specific frequency to correct tissue tension in the body, Bowen assists with fine tuning the body to improve overall function and mobility.

For the most part, a person’s unique needs and structure dictate the format of the treatments. A Bowen treatment consists of sequential series of small light-touch moves that cross fibres, muscles, tendons and ligaments at specific sites on the body. The practitioner generates energy in the area as he moves over the tissues, and the tissue’s energy reverberates between the blocks until the tissue tension in the area is reduced and therefore relaxed. For the bulk of the treatment, the client lies comfortably with no physical interaction with the practitioner. Periodic breaks for two to five minutes at a time are required during the treatment to allow the body time to realign and rectify itself before beginning the next sequence of moves.

One treatment takes about an hour. Treatments are spaced a few days apart for optimal results. Three to five treatments are generally recommended for most conditions, each building on the last.


Regardless of a person’s age or physical condition, Bowen Therapy can be effective in relieving acute and chronic pain, improving posture and joint mobility, speeding recovery from injuries and accidents, relieving physical and emotional stress, and improving overall health and energy levels.

A study titled Exercise and Sport Science by Amy Norman was presented in 1998 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Physical Education. It compared practitioner and patient responses in a survey evaluating the efficacy of the Bowen Technique in the treatment of pain. Practitioners rated the Bowen Technique effective in 85% of back pain cases with an average of 4.3 sessions, 88% for neck pain with 4.5 sessions, 83% for stress and tension with four sessions, 83% for other conditions with 5.8 sessions and 80% for fibromyalgia requiring longer treatments. Effectiveness rated by patients was 85% for back pain, 80% for stress and tension, 95% for TMJ, 80% for hip pain and 75.6% for other conditions.


I have been fortunate in my Bowen Therapy Practice to experience many success stories. Shah, a 34-year-old male, had food allergies so severe that he ended up in emergency several times over the last few years with his neck swelling up and closing over. Because of these food sensitivities, he had a huge fear around eating. After only one treatment of Bowen Therapy he is now eating with no allergic reactions.

Another truly amazing and inspiring success story comes from a client in Newfoundland. Here is her testimonial:

“It is common these days for friends and acquaintances who haven’t seen me for several years to not immediately recognize me. My weight loss is noticeable and prompts people to ask what I have been doing. Besides the weight loss, what amazes them (and me) is that over the past several years I have reclaimed my life in many other ways.

A serious traffic accident in 1979 left me with major injuries to my neck, both legs, and one foot. In the subsequent years follow-up surgeries, physiotherapy, chiropractic adjustments and other treatments helped me regain some measure of mobility. However, as the years went by, significant leg-length discrepancies resulting from the accident and other misalignments from knee and foot injuries began to impact more severely on my mobility. I did not know what it was like to move without discomfort. Some mornings my feet and legs hurt so much that it was almost impossible to get from the bed to the bathroom. Back pain, accompanied by hip, knee, leg and foot pain, became a constant companion.

When I first heard of Bowen Therapy through the medical clinic I use, I had resigned to living with constant pain. Because there is no Bowen practitioner in my community, I only had treatments twice yearly when Sharon Walsh visited for several weeks. After my first series of five or six treatments, I could already feel a difference. The neuromuscular-skeletal realignment which Bowen promised seemed to have begun. I was slowly able to begin walking again, starting with ten minutes and increasing slowly. Over the next two years, with a twice-yearly series of five or six treatments, I could feel my body realign itself. For the first time in about 25 years, my body felt as though both sides were balanced. Movement became easier and the pain slowly disappeared as did the weight. Over a two-year period, I lost 100 pounds and gained more mobility than I had ever thought possible. Ten-minute walks slowly increased to where I could undertake two or three hour hikes. The pain in my back, hips, knees, legs and foot went away. Only someone who knows what it’s like to experience chronic pain with every step can understand the life-altering magnitude of such a change. My life was back!

Four series of treatments over a two-year period brought me to a point where only rarely do I feel any pain at all. Stiffness and discomfort indicate that it is time for a “tune-up” as I like to call it, in the form of two or three Bowen sessions. These days, I no longer have to search for a close parking spot or queue for the elevator. In fact, my new-found mobility has encouraged other work colleagues to begin taking the stairs in our office building. I would never have thought it possible, but at the age of 51, for the first time ever, I joined a friend for a walk to and from Signal Hill – one of the steepest walks I have ever undertaken. Since that time, I have walked not only that particular trail, but many others besides. For me, there certainly is life after 50 – and Bowen has been a very big part of that. (Marie-Louise Greene, St.John’s, Newfoundland, July 20, 2008)

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