Bowen is a unique treatment that treats all kinds of musculoskeletal issues, both acute and chronic for example injuries like:

  • Whiplash
  • Repetitive strain injury
  • Frozen shoulder
  • Less well known is that it is also effective for a wide range of conditions where stress is a factor:
  • Depression
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Improving the quality of life for those suffering terminal illness.

Bowen is not really a massage treatment as such, but it is included here because it is a gentle and relaxing way of working with issues that most massage can't touch, such as frozen shoulders. So if you are looking for gentle adjustments for a chronic problem, Bowen is a great option.

What happens in a session?

You will be asked questions about your medical history, lifestyle and the issue that brings you. The treatment is given clothed either on a massage couch or chair. The practitioner makes small, rolling movements over muscles, tendons and ligaments with their fingers at specific places on your body. The work is subtle and spare; there's less 'work' done in a Bowen treatment than other modalities; there's a short break after each move, which allows your body to absorb the change. The sessions are gentle and relaxing and last between 30 and 60 minutes. Acute conditions can be sorted out in 1-3 sessions but chronic conditions will need more.

In common with other kinds of energy work, it's possible for you to have post-treatment reactions such as tiredness, aches or vivid dreams. These are considered signs that your body is healing and coming back into balance.

Why does it work?

No one really knows why Bowen works so well. Bowen practitioners say they are using their touch to 'ask' the body to recognise the changes that need to be made. The release of the stress at a deep level balances the autonomic nervous system. As there are no forced adjustments, it starts the process of repair and if the body doesn't respond, then no harm has been done.

Who is it suitable for?

Everyone from babies with colic to the elderly can receive Bowen technique, there are no known contraindications. It is comparable to chiropractic work, so anyone who dislikes a firm adjustment will benefit from the more gentle Bowen approach. There are also many practitioners who treat horses and dogs.

Who shouldn't go?

Anyone who prefers firm adjustments might not take to Bowen. There are some people who have not taken to the rest periods between each adjustment and find themselves unnerved by the therapists' coming and going.

Where does it come from?

Australian Tom Bowen treated sports injuries and back problems in Geelong, Australia. In the 1970's he was reputed to be treating 13,000 patients a year! These days Bowen is taught to Australian osteopaths in their final year of training.

The Bowen Therapy Professional Association -

Bowen Therapy Technique Practitioners -

The Bowen Association UK -