Bowen Therapy is Holistic, Non-Invasive and Effective

Friday, April 17, 2009 by: Cathy Sherman
Tags: Bowen therapy, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) The therapist touches and lightly squeezes the migraine patient in a few places and then leaves the room for two minutes. He repeats this procedure for the entire 45-minute appointment. After several weeks of such sessions, the patient reports that the migraines have diminished in frequency. How could anything so simple do so much?

This technique, which isn't quite chiropractic, not quite massage, and not quite acupuncture, was introduced to the energy healing scene in the 1950's by Australian Tom Bowen. Though untrained, he had learned from watching trainers and therapists. Sensing vibrations and tension in muscles and other soft tissues, he figured out what to manipulate to help the sufferer. Bowen saw thousands of patients a year and claimed an 88% success rate.

Following his death in 1982, his work was documented and introduced to the rest of the world by two of his six apprentices, Oswald and Elaine Rentsch, who established a training school in Australia.

Now we can find Bowen practitioners and teachers throughout the world. Though gentle, this amazing therapy has helped thousands of people, from infants to the elderly, where more conventional procedures have failed.

Based on the energy fields of the body, this non-invasive therapy seeks to restore balance to the body through utilization of nature's own built-in healing processes. It does this mostly through the nervous and bio-energetic systems. Those simple appearing but expert touches by the therapist send neurological impulses to the brain, which responds by messaging the muscles to relax, resulting in a decrease in pain.

At the same time, electrical impulses are also sent to the nervous system; these stimulate the body to remember normal movement in the joints, muscles and tendons. As a result, muscle spasms decrease as blood and lymph circulation is increased, and muscles return to their length before becoming contracted. The increase in blood flow brings more oxygen and nutrients to the injured area, thus speeding up its healing.

Location of the touches and squeezes is critical; most are done at the origin, insertion, or belly of the muscle. If done near a joint, the joint and ligaments are also affected. Many Bowen moves are done along the spine, over the rows of muscles running parallel to and along the spinal column. Therapy in this area often results in referred reactions elsewhere in the body, healing areas unrelated to the patient's main complaint.

Another kind of touch is done on tendons, to relax them. Several locations the therapist touches are also acupuncture points or on acupuncture meridians, locations which are known to stimulate and balance energy in the body.

The touches and squeezes themselves are done by the therapist's thumbs and fingers in a rolling motion on the muscles. Between these sequenced touches, the therapist often leaves the room for a minimum of two minutes. This at-rest time allows the impulses to reach body areas and for the adjustments to take place.

Bowen therapy can be done in such a way as to bring the brain to a deep meditative Alpha state, wherein the Para-sympathetic Nervous System takes over. In this condition, referred to as the automatic repair mode, more healing can take place.

Other Bowen moves can improve posture and bring organs back into a more natural position, allowing them to work better. All this is done without the use of any drugs, making Bowen a totally holistic healing modality. Also, it is done through the clothing, so only the shoes need be removed.

In regard to testing, the Bowen Technique has been researched with a varied list of conditions. An example is one study done on migraine sufferers. For this study, in 2001 - 2002, 39 patients participated, 31 of which reported significant improvement after six weeks of treatment. These patients had been suffering from migraines from ten to thirty-plus years.

Other conditions shown to improve with Bowen include: back pain, carpel tunnel syndrome, bunions, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, frozen shoulder, groin tension or pain, hammer toes, hamstring pain/tightness, jaw pain/misalignment, knee, sacro-iliac and neck pain, plantar fasciitis, sciatica, scoliosis, shin splints, sternal pain, sprung ribs, tennis elbow, ADD/ADHD, restless leg syndrome and colic in infants.

Patients have seen improvement from Bowen with gynecological issues, blood pressure normalization, hiatus hernia, reflux indigestion, constipation and diarrhea. It has been used successfully in rehabilitation after stroke, for sport injuries such as sprained ankles and tennis elbow, some cardiovascular problems, sleep improvement and for respiratory problems such as asthma.

Many of these conditions have been studied, so there is the research to back up the success of the therapy.

Not uncommonly, following a Bowen treatment one experiences a cleansing reaction. This has in some cases resulted in a flu-like condition as toxins are released. There can also be an emotional release, manifested in a deep sense of relaxation or irritability. A third reaction is structural, as balance is achieved by different areas of the body. It is recommended that at least eight glasses of water be consumed following the treatments and in the following days to help flush out toxins and pain.

Dr. Michael Austin, a Bowen Practitioner/Chiropractor in Tucson, Arizona, described another unexpected result from Bowen treatment: recruitment pattern elimination. Such patterns, which develop after an injury, result from the natural tendency of our bodies to remember - to be patterned - by repetition of a particular movement. He gives the example of a person who limps after a leg injury. This limp can be remembered as an altered gait pattern, so the person continues to limp even after the injury heals.

According to Dr. Austin, "Altered gait patterns can create imbalance in the body as well as pain. It would take many months, sometimes years, of physical therapy to restore normal gait patterns and relearn walking, if at all possible. But even physical therapy will not eliminate the neurologic pathways that remember the limp. Bowen therapy appears to somehow eliminate or reduce the influence of the neurons that remember the limp. This is a remarkable process that is not seen in any other therapy."

Dr. Austin, a Bowen Teaching Assistant, travels internationally to spread the teaching of Bowen Therapy. He shares many of the remarkable results from his practice. A few of them are described below.

A woman with over ten-years of low back pain had tried allopathic treatment, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and physical therapy. Her reported pain scale was eight out of ten. Initial Bowen treatment included the basic relaxation moves with hamstring, sacrum, neck, and knee procedures. One week later, the patient reported no back pain. She related that she went to a baseball game with her grandson the day after her initial treatment and didn't realize that she had no back pain until she arrived home!

Dr. Austin treated a 72-year-old female with a history of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, and bilateral knee and hip replacements. Her reported pain scale was nine out of ten. Previous treatment included allopathic treatment, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and physical therapy. Initial Bowen treatment included the basic relaxation moves plus other procedures. Upon completion of the Bowen session, the patient reported that she had no pain.

A man with bilateral knee pain from a partially torn meniscus in both knees had been told to have surgery by his orthopedic surgeon. The patient was told that though Bowen treatment would not mend the torn tissue, it might relieve the pain. At a one-week follow-up, the patient indicated his pain level was down to two from an initial eight out of ten. An OTC homeopathic remedy was recommended with a repeat of the previous Bowen session. A week later, the pain level was zero out of ten.

Another patient, a woman with a history of bilateral shoulder pain and tendonitis, had tried allopathic care and physical therapy. Initial Bowen treatment included basic relaxation moves and other upper body procedures. At her first follow-up, the pain was reduced and the previous week's Bowen procedures were repeated. Dr. Austin added half an organic lemon to each glass of water to alkalize her body's chemistry. One week later, full range of motion was restored and the shoulder pain was gone.

Another woman patient with a history of Rheumatoid Arthritis was treated once a week for four weeks. She was still pain-free two and a half years later. Dr. Austin reports that other autoimmune issues, such as lupus, have also been successfully treated by using Bowen, while other lupus patients reported a lessening of pain, rather than complete relief.

Dr. Austin also reports that many of his patients are referred to him by a local pain center. When the pain center's treatment has not helped the patients, they are sent to Dr. Austin and do receive the needed relief from many different sources of pain. This is another proof that Bowen Therapy succeeds where other treatments have failed.

Bowen Therapy is an exceptional treatment modality that offers an excellent holistic source of pain relief and accelerated healing from many disorders. For help finding a practitioner, go to .


Austin, Dr. Michael, "Bowen Therapy".

Ariff, Nikke, "The Bowen Technique; National Migraine Research Program". October 2001 to April 2002.

McCusker, Robert M., "A Brief Anatomical and Physiological Explanation for the Medical Profession".

About the author

Cathy Sherman is a freelance writer with a major interest in natural health and in encouraging others to take responsibility for their health. She can be reached through

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