Bowen Technique

Where does the Bowen Technique come from?

What is ‘Bowen’ like?

How does it work?

What does it help?

Who can have Bowen?

What to expect

How often should I come?

After your treatment

VHT- Vibromuscular Harmonisation Technique

Appointments

Fees

Websites for further information


Bowen Cartoon

Bowen Technique

Your body-mind is a great resource. Treat it with respect and it will serve you well. It prefers to be treated gently when it has problems – the Bowen Technique will subtly remind it how to fix itself.


Where does the Bowen Technique come from?

This technique was developed by Tom Bowen, an Australian who lived and worked in Geelong. He had no medical training, but over his working life, from just after World War Two until his death in the 1980s, he gradually developed his own treatment for the thousands of people who came to see him. It is not certain where his ideas came from. They are not aboriginal, or linked to any other known treatment. It is likely that Tom Bowen had ‘sensitive hands’ and could in some way feel the effects he was having, keeping the moves that were effective, and discarding the others. What is certain is that he had dramatic effects. A study into complementary therapies in Australia included his practice, and showed that he was having a 90% success rate with one or two sessions!

Tom Bowen taught four different therapists his method, and each one learnt at a slightly different stage of Bowen’s development of his technique. Some of those people taught what they had learnt to others, and the result is that there are at present three different versions of work being taught, all recognisably Bowen. I have studied two of them, and use a mixture of the best of each.


What is ‘Bowen’ like?

The Bowen technique is a gentle and subtle form of treatment using touch, which depends on the body’s own ability to heal for its success.

The ‘moves’ are a gentle rolling with the fingers of a muscle or tendon, creating an effect a bit like barely plucking a guitar string. With some moves a limb is also gently moved to a different position, and then returned to its former place. In between sets of moves the client is left to relax for a few minutes, while I go out of the room. This enhances the healing effect, as the body can respond to the ‘information’ it has just been given. The treatment is very relaxing, some clients even fall asleep!

‘Bowen’ is not at all like other treatments, it is not massage, or manipulation.


How does it work?

The ‘moves’ create changes both in the fluid content of the body, and in the ‘fascia’. Fascia is the very thin membrane that covers all muscles and organs, and all the fascia in the body is connected, so a move in one place can be picked up in any other. Recent research suggests that fascia is capable of carrying messages a little as nerves do, but in a more general, less specific way.

A Bowen treatment acts on the body a little like a homeopathic remedy does – by giving it a ‘wake up’ call.

It is possible that acupuncture works similarly, passing messages or stimulation up what Chinese medicine calls ‘meridians’. However, Bowen does not use acupuncture points, but its own ‘message release centres’, only one or two of which are the same as acupuncture points.

Do not assume that because acupuncture, or any other ‘alternative’ modality has not worked for you, that Bowen will not. It is as though each of these types of treatments address the body in a different language, so if your body ‘understands Bowen’ you will get results, even if it did not ‘understand shiatsu’, or any other treatment.


What does it help?

The Bowen technique is most commonly used for mechanical, musculo-skeletal, problems. Bad backs, stiff or sore necks, frozen shoulder, carpal tunnel, sciatica, knee or ankle problems commonly respond well. More serious complaints such as scoliosis, symphysis pubis problems in pregnancy, and difficulties caused by uneven leg length can often be helped. Sports injuries are usually quick to respond, particularly if the patient is seen fairly soon, not only after a long course of physiotherapy has been tried.

Internal problems can also be addressed by Bowen, and some respond very well. Migraine, sinusitis, hayfever, irritable bowel, asthma, period and menopausal problems are examples of conditions which usually respond well.

Because the treatment is very relaxing, most people will get a general sense of well-being, sleep patterns may improve, and in some cases post-viral fatigue syndrome and similar complaints will dramatically improve. Some patients have reported having more energy, losing food cravings, or in the words of one delighted woman: “I think I've been healed!”


Who can have Bowen?

Anybody! 85% of people will respond to Bowen.

Bowen works well on all ages, and also on animals (though I do not offer an animal service).

Babies can be treated in their mother’s arms, and small children can receive treatment ‘on the move’ as they play with the toys. Older children and adults will be asked to lie down, at first on their stomach (not as uncomfortable as some people imagine, and pressure can be taken off the neck or breast by careful placing of pillows,) and then on the back. If the client is unable to get into the optimum position, the treatment can still be given in a chair or another comfortable position. Pregnant women can be treated up to term.


What to expect

The Bowen technique was developed in the warmth of Australia, and ideally clients should strip to underwear. But in our colder climate I find it fine to work with the client in a loose tee-shirt, although it is usually best to remove the trousers – even if you have come with a neck problem, your lower body will be included in the treatment.

Some clothes must come off – corsets and roll-ons, tights, jeans, trousers of slippy materials, and ties. Please do not use oily or slippery moisturisers just before your session – these prevent me getting a good move on the skin, if it just slides away! This therapy uses no oils or lotions for this reason.

Your treatment will last between 40 and 55 minutes. You will lie on a couch, covered by light blankets. In between the moves you will be on your own in the room for a few minutes. This gives a sense of deep relaxation.

You may notice effects and benefits immediately, or soon after your first treatment, but many people who go on to have very good response to the therapy do not notice any benefit until after the third or fourth treatment. For this reason, you should not ‘give up’ on the treatment until you have had at least three sessions.


How often should I come?

Most of the action of a Bowen treatment is over the twelve days following it, so it is good to have your repeat treatment within that time. Most people opt to come weekly at first.

Once you know the therapy works for you, any spacing of treatments is fine. Some people have a course of three or more, and then never need to return. Others need some on-going help, and may choose to attend intermittently, as their symptoms occur, others opt to attend every month or six weeks to keep ‘topped up’.


After your treatment

Your body begins to respond to the treatment straight away. You can help it by:

  1. Drinking extra water. You should try to drink about 6-8 glasses of still water, depending on your size, in addition to your tea and coffee, particularly for the first 3 days after the treatment.
  2. Being careful not to stay in the same position for longer than 30 minutes: if you are at a desk, on the couch, or in the car, be conscious of making an opportunity to walk around a little. Do not book cinema or theatre tickets for the three days after your treatment!
  3. Avoiding very hot baths or showers, and the use of heat or ice packs on painful areas.
  4. Having no other physical treatments until more than 12 days after your last ‘Bowen’. This means no massage, facials, acupuncture, reflexology, shiatsu, reiki, physiotherapy, chiropractic, osteopathy etc. These other treatments, while fine in themselves, will interfere with your body’s ability to respond to your Bowen treatment.

Conventional or homeopathic medicines should be continued as prescribed and as necessary.


VHT- Vibromuscular Harmonisation Technique

This is a variant of the Bowen Technique, in which all the possible moves are given to the body, and there are no breaks between each move, just one in the middle of the session and one at the end. This is the way Bowen practised later in his career, and is suitable for those with good overall stamina, who want a dynamic body-balancing.

Generally I start clients with the original ‘gentle touch’ therapy as described above, but some clients are suitable for the more dynamic version, and we may use it at a subsequent session.


Appointments

Appointments Thursday and Friday mornings, Monday Tuesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons.

Latest appointment: Tuesday 7.00, Monday and Thursday 5.30 and Friday 4.30

Because of the gaps in the treatment, I can treat two people at the same time, so it is often possible for two friends or relatives to share the journey.


Fees

The price per session of Bowen Technique for all ages is €50.

VHT sessions (for adults only) are €80

I accept cash or cheque, and can give receipts for tax or insurance.


Websites for further information

The Accredited Bowen Therapists of Ireland is on www.bowenireland.com
Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia: www.bowtech.com
European College of Bowen Studies: www.thebowentechnique.com