The Bowen Technique is a versatile and gentle treatment.
Given the current discussions and challenges by the Advertising Standards Agency towards any advertising by therapists the following definition is the how one Health Council advises its members to use when describing the Bowen technique:
"Bowen therapy is a soft tissue remedial therapy that involves the therapist using fingers or thumbs to move over muscle, ligament, tendon and fascia in various parts of the body. This therapy can be effective to help relieve everyday stresses and revitalise the body.
Each Bowen therapy session varies according to the particular problems of the client. By focusing on the lower and mid back and legs, the upper back and shoulders before finishing with neck moves a sense of wellbeing can be achieved, helping relaxation, aiding sleep – helping to remove every day stress and anxiety that can make us feel under-par or prevent us functioning at our optimum.
Choosing a practitioner
It is important to choose a qualified Bowen therapist who has undertaken all the necessary training to understand the theory and practice of Bowen therapy."
Bowen Practitioners use a light touch - mostly using just fingers and thumbs - to support changes in the physical structures in the body, including muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia.
We generally use a 'rolling' movement over the muscle belly or tendon that we call a 'move'. A treatment consists of a series of gentle moves either through light clothing or directly on the skin. The moves are made on very specific points on the body bringing about gentle muscle release.
During a session there will be times when the practitioner steps away from the client for a few minutes - the 'break' - in order to allow the body to settle before more 'moves' are made. Some practitioners will leave the treatment room during this time - so do not be surprised if there are times when you are left alone to relax and allow the process to proceed at its own pace - the practitoner will be back!
The first session will include an assessment of individual need.
Treatment is usually started with the client lying face down on a therapy couch and then further work is carried out with the client lying on their back. Treatment can also be carried out seated. In fact, treatment can be carried out with the client supported in whatever position is most comfortable for them.
Judith does not usually use music during the session, prefering a calm, quiet atmosphere to allow the client to focus on what is happening within the body, giving feedback where appropriate.
In the Bowen Technique it is usual to start with a basic set of procedures which are intended to assist in bringing balance to the whole body. These include working on the muscles of the back, neck and upper leg. This may be all that is completed during the first session; later sessions will usually add more specific procedures for the rest of the body.
Sometimes the number of moves carried out in one session will be minimal as some clients will react strongly to a small stimulus. Other clients may respond better to a larger number of procedures. At times the duration of the break will be longer depending on the reactions experienced by each client.
Practitioners are taught to be sensitive to the needs of each individual and to be aware of when a client has had enough treatment for that session.
A session usually lasts up to an hour and frequently results in a deep sense of relaxation, allowing the body to recharge and re-balance itself.
After a Session
After a Bowen session clients are usually encouraged to
At Every Body's Better, we ask clients to keep a brief diary of how they are feeling between sessions and to bring this next time. It can be a useful tool in discussing progress and planning future treatment.
A description and demonstration of the Bowen Technique by John Wilks, a senior UK BowTech tutor is available on: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaoCZECEkFg&NR=1
Another video, this time produced by the Bowen Therapists European Register is availble on : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOfyZHBcDsY
Brief History of the Bowen Technique
The technique was first developed in Australia by Thomas Ambrose Bowen (1916 to 1982).
After serving in the world war two, he intuitively began working with this gentle technique discovering that certain moves on the body helped recovery from many conditions. His work in his popular clinic in Geelong, was verified by the 1975 Victorian Government Inquiry into alternative health care professions. It is recorded that he saw some 13,000 patients every year – an incredible work-rate !
Tom Bowen taught his methods to a small number of chiropractors and massage therapists ("Tom's Boys"), before he died in 1982. Each saw Tom at different stages of his practising life and developed the technique in their own way after his death. There are differences of interpretation between these early pioneers of the Bowen Technique. Students of these early pioneers have gone on to shape and mould the basic Bowen work again and so we have a large network of practitioners around the world who may all practise 'Bowen' but do so in slightly different ways; but all with the same intent of relieving pain and stress.
The most commonly taught has become known as "The Bowen Technique", which started being taught in Australia in around 1986, a few years after Tom Bowen's death. The technique arrived in the UK around 1993 and is now widely practised in this country and throughout the world.
Learning the Bowen Technique
Bowen Technique is taught in different ways, depending on the training organisation, but each practitioner will attend several days of a taught course completing a varying number of case studies and practical treatments and then sit exams as to their practical and theoretical knowledge. Judith qualified with BowTech - see links page for more details. Other Bowen associations are available in the UK including the European College of Bowen Studies [E.C.B.S.]
Fully registered practitioners of the BowTech organisation will have a qualification in Anatomy and Physiology and a First Aid Certificate.
Practitioners are required to attend Continuing Professional Development study days every year to keep up to date with their skills.
The teaching of the Bowen Technique has developed and several additional courses are now available aimed at specialist areas of treatment. Some of those currently offered by BowTech are :