Bowen Therapy consists of a series of precisely placed, soft tissue, “moves” that involve lightly ‘rolling’ across and affecting various muscles and to a lesser extent, tendons and ligaments. The effect is very gentle and pain should never be a part of the treatment.
A Bowen practitioner typically performs these very subtle and delicate “moves” using the pads of the finger tips and thumbs. Undue force and pressure are not needed – indeed too much force would impede the success of Bowen Therapy.
This approach gives rise the credo among Bowen therapists that “less is more”.
One unique feature of Bowen therapy is that the practitioner will leave the room frequently during a session to allow the neurological process to integrate without any extra input. It is a quiet and deeply relaxing process that can have wonderful long-term therapeutic effects as the body is encouraged to heal.
The often-heard statement among first time recipients of Bowen is, “how could something so gentle and non invasive achieve ANY results?”. Skepticism is not uncommon. The results though, speak for themselves and converts to the efficacy of Bowen include many Doctors, Chiropractors, Osteopaths, Physiotherapists and Naturopaths.
Simply put, Bowen is unlike anything else, when it comes to whole body safety, gentleness, effectiveness and results.
How does Bowen Therapy work?
Since its’ discovery under the skilled hands of Tom Bowen in the 1950s, Bowen has proven itself to be an effective method of dealing with imbalance in the body, engendering health and well being. While there is much that we have come to understand as to why it works as well as it does, there is still much for us to discover.
Physiologically, we know that healing can only take place in the body when the Autonomic Nervous System shifts from Sympathetic dominance (the “fight, flight, or freeze” mode) to Parasympathetic dominance (the “rest, relax, and repair” mode). The Sympathetic state is what we enter into when our bodies are experiencing stress – stress from the lion jumping at us from the bushes or stress from the every day living of life. In today’s world we tend to have a lot of this constant stress in our lives which often prevents us from having true balance, balance that encourages healing and wellness. Bowen seems to both facilitate and catalyze that shift in Autonomic Nervous System balance. The pauses that are part of the Bowen treatment allow the nervous system to make these necessary shifts.
Bowen works primarily on the connective tissue, or fascia, of the body. This is a seamless web of tissue that essentially covers every part of our internal system: muscles, tendons, bones, organs, etc. When this fascial structure is not operating properly we can experience it in our bodies as pain and disease. Correcting this imbalance can have profound effects as it allows the body to readjust to a more healthy state.
There are continuing efforts to understand Bowen better. The bottom line, though, is that the incontrovertible testimony of thousands and thousands of people stand as evidence that while we may not understand all the reasons why Bowen works it remains one of the most effective ways to deal with assisting the body to heal itself.
THOMAS AMBROSE BOWEN (Tom Bowen) – 1916-1982, an Australian, created, refined and practiced what we know today, as Bowen Therapy. With an eighth grade education and no formal medical training, Tom Bowen began working on sports and fellow worker’s injuries in the early 1950’s while working as a laborer in a cement factory. He did his treatments in the evenings and on weekends and would often have people lined up on his lawn waiting to see him.
In the late 1950’s he moved into a permanent, full-time practice and treated many thousands of people. Tom created his technique from an uncanny ability to assess just what “moves” a client needed and to apply them quickly and accurately. Tom Bowen practiced and refined his technique over some thirty years, working right up to his death, in 1982. Although he did not document his techniques he did authorize Oswald Rentsch, one of a number of students who worked with him at various times, to teach his findings after his death. Rentsch did just that by systematizing Tom’s work and teaching it around the world.
How safe is Bowen Therapy?
Bowen has been taught and applied around the world by thousands of practitioners, for many years. It has been used on expectant mothers, before and during labor, newborn babies and young children, on up through all age groups to the very elderly. We are not aware of any reference to Bowen causing harm to those it has been used on. (Please note that some procedures are contra-indicated for pregnant women and are not used).
How long is a typical Bowen treatment?
A typical session will last between 30 – 60 minutes, depending on the individual and specific requirements. Our approach to any session is not time-driven, but identifying and applying the most appropriate Bowen “moves” and optimizing the amount of work done, so as not to overload the client. The first session will be longer given the initial discussions surrounding the client’s health and purpose for the visit.
Why are there pauses during a Bowen session?
Typically during a Bowen session there are a number of short (two minute) pauses, where the therapist will leave the room. These pauses are critical to allow the body to adjust to the previous procedures. While the moves are very gentle they are also very powerful and the pauses ensure that the body’s senses are not overloaded with too much information at one time.
What am I going to feel during and after a Bowen session?
Most people feel a deep state of relaxation during the Bowen session. There is a general sense of calm with many people falling asleep during the process. This is due to the gentle and non-invasive nature of the moves. However, while it is an extremely gentle therapy, it is also a very effective method for helping the body reset itself towards a self-healing state that relieves pain and other symptoms.
Since Bowen gets to the core of the body’s self-healing clients will generally feel positive, energized and upbeat, with a reduction of pain and presenting symptoms. In some instances the ‘correcting process’ brings with it some discomforting feelings and emotions, such as: lethargy and fatigue; difficulty sleeping; shifting body sensations and emotional fluctuations. In some (rare) instances a short term worsening of symptoms has been known to occur. This is known as a ‘healing crisis’ and while very rare, is typically short in duration.
How many Bowen Therapy sessions should I have?
Typically, most clients find relief in 3 – 5 sessions. That said, the number of sessions is very much determined by:
What the problem is?
How acute (severe) the problem is?
How complex the problem is?
How long you have had the problem?
Will your lifestyle continue to contribute to the problem?
Have you multiple problems – if so how many?
The decision on the number of treatments is governed by results. If you are seeing real and measurable results and improvements we would recommend that you continue treatment. If you are seeing absolutely no positive results after the second session, I would seek to find other alternatives with you, rather than proceed with another session.
How often should I have a Bowen session?
The effects of a Bowen treatment seem to continue to be incorporated into the body over a 5 – 7 day period. Because of that we recommend a week between treatments if possible. When first having treatment a range of 5 -10 days seems to work well. Treatment times are extended if the condition requires a longer period of intervention with some people coming in every month or two for a “tune-up” if they need it. Once again we try to let the body direct the optimum times for treatment.
What should I wear to a Bowen session?
Bowen is usually performed through (light) clothing. I request that my clients wear loose fitting clothing – preferably t-shirt and shorts, but lightweight blouses/shirts and slacks are acceptable and won’t impede the effectiveness of a treatment. Your comfort is important at all times and a light sheet can be used to ensure that you are comfortable with the whole process.
What are your treatment fees?
My current fees for consultation and treatment is $70.00 for initial session.
Subsequent sessions are $35.40 + $4.60 for a total of $40.00 per session.
The initial treatment will normally run for about one to one and a half hours.
Do you accept insurance payments?
As a member of APNN (a national association of naturopathic consultants) I am able to offer insurance options for those who have those services as part of their package. You may need a doctor’s referral as you would for any chiropractic, massage, or physiotherapy treatment. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
Does Bowen use oils, lotions or creams?
No – a Bowen session does not use oils, lotions or creams. We also try to keep the whole experience as fragrance-free as possible.
Are you going to try and sell me other products?
As a naturopathic consultant I regularly suggest certain supplements or other dietary options. Some of these are carried in the clinic for convenience since they may not be available locally. However, there is no obligation to purchase anything from our clinic as part of the treatment process. I simply recommend and allow you to make the purchasing decision. Further, any products are kept in a separate room away from the treatment area.