A Complementary Alternative
What is Bowen?
Bowen is a simple yet powerful technique that helps alleviate all kinds of pain, It is non-invasive and so gentle that it can be used on everyone from newborn to the elderly, it is aso safe for pregnant women. It is based on the recognition (by Tom Bowen), that the underlying cause or source of many musculoskeletal, neurological, neuromuscular and other health or pain problems could be found in the soft tissue or fascia. Fascia is a specific type of connective tissue that forms a 3-dimensional web that surrounds every tissue in the body. It is the body body's organizer that embraces all nerves, bones, veins, arteries and muscles. Therefore fascia dysfunction can affect every structure, muscle, and organ in the body.
The Bowen Technique is NOT massage, acupressure or chiropractic. There are no manipulations, adjustment or force used. The practitioner uses a thumbs and fingers approach to gently move muscles and tissues or fascia release and integration techniques. These stimulate specific receptors that enable the body itself to correct dysfunction and restore balance on a holistic level. Through treating the cause rather than the symptoms Bowen Therapy has consistently shown it can have profound and permanent healing and pain relief. In between each set of moves there is a pause to allow the body and brain to process. The practitioner may leave the room. This . . .jjhjj. m ngbhjrelief is experienced by many people who present a wide range of painful conditions, even where other modalities or treatments have resulted in transient or little improvement.
Importantly, Bowen Therapy, being holistic, does not rely on a detailed diagnosis of the problem and its origins, which is often costly and indeterminate. Bowen Therapy treats the whole body, and its holistic effects are apparent in patients who find resolution to problems above and beyond those for which they have sought treatment, for example lack of energy, stress or emotional issues.
A Brief History of Bowen
This technique was developed in Australia in the 1950's by Tom Bowen (1916-1982), a gifted healer. He was a gentle, quiet man who spoke of his skill with great humility, he called it a "gift from God". Tom opened a clinic in Geelong, in Victoria where he treated thousands of people each year. Once a month he ran a free clinic devoted to children with disabilities and on Saturday nights he would open his clinic to injured football players.
After years of clinical work and much reading and study of other modalities he developed a unique set of specific moves associated with different sequences and timing intervals. Although he himself was untrained, he claimed his fingers could sense vibrations in the muscles, nerves and soft tissues.The tension in the muscles helped him find the right places to manipulate, these moves provided fascia release and integration stimulating a variety of anatomical or physiological responses frequently resulting in long term and often immediate resolution of the majority of presenting problems and pain conditions.
In 1975 the government instituted Webb Committee of Inquiry into Chiropractic, Osteopathy and Naturopathy in Australia reviewed Tom Bowen’s work. They found he was seeing some 13,000 people a year and achieving a success rate in his practice of over 80% of presenting conditions. From its Australian origins his innovative and unique technique has now been adopted world wide with devotees and practitioners in countries including New Zealand, USA, Canada, United Kingdom and European Union members.
Commonly Treated Conditions
There is a very wide range of acute and chronic conditions for which Bowen Therapy has provided outcomes ranging from long-term rapid remission to significant improvement in presenting problems, mobility, physiology, pain, stress and general well being.
Conditions that can respond well include:
- Acute and chronic pain with musculoskeletal or neurological origins
- Back pain
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Neck pain,
- Arm pain & carpal tunnel syndrome
- TMJ syndrome
- Shoulder pain (frozen shoulder)
- Leg and foot pain (plantar fasciitis)
- Emotional depression and stress
- Sporting & other trauma injuries
While it can help speed up recovery time, Bowen is not meant to replace medical treatment. However due to it's growing success, more members of the medical profession continue to be amazed and have begun to add the Bowen Technique to their practices.
*This treatment can only be done in person, please contact for info on appointments.
During a consultation and treatment a professional exchange is made between the client and practitioner, to exchange important information such as history, medications, symptoms so that an assessment can be made about present condition. The client will the be invited to drink plenty of water before and after treatment. This is important as effective fascia release requires the adequate hydration of cell, muscles, and tissues.
A treatment can last 30-45 minutes, it may be done over light clothing and no oils are used. The practitioner will initially make some primary basic moves and then follow with the thumbs and finger approach rolling moves over different muscles, across fascia or soft tissue associated with particular muscle groups and tendons. A pause interval is included between each series of movements allowing the brain and body to respond, Thixotropy to occur, tissue re-hydrate, relieve tension and reduce pain and its own healing process begins. During the pauses the practitioner may leave the room.
Man people experience pain relief just after one session, two to three treatments are usually sufficient to achieve long-lasting relief until there is re-injury to the body. Even long term conditions may respond very quickly. It is ideal to receive three treatments, once per week without receiving any other manipulation to the body such as massages, acupressure, chiropractic etc.
After the treatment client will be asked to drink additional water, be advice of possible changes (physical or emotional) that may occur, with recommendations for post treatment actions and activities. Feedback is welcomed.
Day of Treatment
- MOVE the pain out of your body: after the treatment you will be asked to take a 15-20 minute walk. For the rest of the day do not sit loner that 30 minutes, get up and walk around a bit. Laying down is ok, Sitting puts the most pressure on our back, but still walk around throughout the day.
- FLUSH the pain out of your body: Drink plenty of water to flush out toxins, drink at leats 8-10 glasses of water to keep muscles hydrated.
- EASE back into exercise: avoid heavy lifting, extreme heat or cold. Avoid heating pads, ice packs, cold/hot baths or showers.
- BALANCE yourself: put both feet on the floor as you stand up to get up from bed, or chair. This will teach your bdy to balance the weight.
The week following your treatment it is recommended that you continue to walk at least 20 minutes or take 2-3 short walks daily, however do not exercise heavily conserve your energy for healing your body. Continue to drink lots of water to keep hydrated an continue flushing toxins. Continue to avoid extreme heat or cold and any type of bodywork, even a back rub can "short-circuit" the healing process.
Eat plenty of fresh fruit and raw vegetables, these help "soothe" the body, reduce pain and inflammation.
Migrane Research Study
London-based Bowen Technique practitioner Nikke Ariff completed the Bowen Technique Migraine Research Program which studied the efficacy of the Bowen Technique in treating migraine headaches. The 39 migraine volunteers consisted of 37 women and 2 men. Thirteen of them had been suffering from migraines for 1-15 years; seventeen of them had been having migraines for 16-30 years; and nine had had migraines for over 30 years.
In all, 31 participants experienced a positive result, representing 79.5% of participants. At the end of the program, 36 of the 39 said they would recommend Bowen as a treatment to a friend or colleague.
- In a study of twenty patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia conducted by Jo Anne Whitaker, M.D., at the American College of Rheumatology, almost all participants experienced various degrees of relief which lasted from a few days to several weeks.
Most reported immediate relief following a Bowen treatment. For some, repeated Bowen therapy maintained complete clinical remission. The results were statistically significant and correlated with improvement of clinical well-being.
- A pilot study on the effect of Bowen treatments on fibromyalgia sufferers was carried out by Tim Willcocks (Bowen Practitioner and Trainer). Four participants (aged 39-52) who were diagnosed with fibromyalgia from 3 to 5 years, were give four Bowen treatments over a five week period.
All four participants experienced improvement, including better sleep, ease in walking, cessation of vertigo, eased neck pain, improved balance and less exhaustion.
Asthma Research Study
Nikke Ariff is a Bowen therapist who, between 2002 and 2004 carried out a research program to test the efficacy of the Bowen Technique with Asthma sufferers. The research was carried out over a twelve month period. The majority of participants had been suffering from Asthma over 5 years, most for over 15 years. The results were very positive. Eighty-three percent of the participants reported a reduction in the frequency of their asthma attacks and 75% of the participants reported using less medication than before the Bowen Research project.
Of the 24 Volunteers who completed the program, 22 reported that secondary health concerns had also improved, including back, neck and shoulder problems; knee and joint problems; headaches and migraines; hay fever; irritable bowel syndrome and digestion; circulation; insomnia; anxiety, stress, depression and energy level improvement.
Excersice & Sports
A study at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill compared practitioner and patient responses on the efficacy of the Bowen Technique in treating pain. Practitioners rated its effectiveness as 85% for back pain, 88% for neck pain, 83% for stress and tension and 80% for fibromyalgia. Patients rated the Bowen Technique at 85% for back pain, 80% for stress and tension, 95% for TMJ, 80% for hip pain and 75.% for other conditions.
Frozen Shoulder/Job Related Stress
Julian Baker and Helen Kinnear of the European College of Bowen Studies (UK) investigated the effect of the Bowen Technique on patients with long-term shoulder pain and stiffness. Results indicated that Bowen significantly improved shoulder function through increasing range of motion and reducing pain.
Bowen & Parkinson's
In the last few years Bowen Therapy has become more widely known as an effective Parkinson’s disease treatment.
After years of clinical work and much reading and study of other modalities he developed a unique set of specific moves associated with different sequences and timing intervals. The moves provided fascial release and integration stimulating a variety of anatomical or physiological responses frequently resulting in long term and often immediate resolution of the majority of presenting problems and pain conditions