What is the Bowen Technique?

The Bowen Technique or Bowen Manipulation is a very gentle, non-invasive type of body treatment. It is not massage, fascial release, trigger point therapy, or acupressure and it does not use any drugs or surgery. Yet it can be just as or even more effective than any form of bodywork or medical treatment for many musculoskeletal and functional conditions.

What Conditions Are Improved With the Bowen Technique?

The Bowen Technique is useful in the treatment of functional problems such as asthma, arthritis, allergies, and PMS, but is also effective for, but not limited to:

  • Ankle Sprains
  • Back and Neck Problems
  • Chronic Muscle Pain / Spasms
  • Fibromyalgia Pain
  • Frequent Headaches
  • Frozen Shoulder
  • Muscle and Joint Injuries
  • Neurological Conditions
  • Pelvic Problems
  • Post-MVA (motor vehicle accident) Pain
  • Sciatica/sciatic Pain
  • TMJ Syndrome

The Bowen Movement

A Bowen move consists of mild pressure against the side of specific muscle bellies or tendons for about three seconds, then rolling over the top of the muscle or tendon to let it spring back to its normal position. The basic Bowen moves are performed in specific patterns, depending on the part of the body being worked on and the desired effect. When the tendon is pressed sideways, an impulse is sent to the spinal cord that causes a relaxation reflex in the muscle.

The moves are made so gently that patients used to more invasive forms of bodywork may feel that little is being done. The final results, however, contradict this feeling dramatically.

A Typical Session

A typical Bowen session consists of a brief interview to understand the person’s pain or problem, followed by a treatment. The patient rests on a massage table, usually beginning facedown. The treatment can be done fully clothed, although skin contact may be helpful for some of the moves. The practitioner may briefly leave the room or step away for two-minute intervals between moves to allow the full energetic effect to take place without interruption or distraction. Conversation during the treatment is kept to a minimum. Treatment sessions generally run from 20 to 30 minutes (and may be followed by a Craniosacral Treatment to fill out an hour appointment).

Effects of the treatment may be immediate, or take place over the next few days. Sometimes there is some residual soreness, like the after effects of a workout for a day or so, followed by improvement.

People who receive Bowen treatments find them very relaxing and often find their pain and disability markedly reduced after even one or two treatments spaced a week apart. A second treatment must be done a week after the first treatment to “set in” the treatment for longer-lasting results. Further treatments, while not always necessary, can produce even better results.

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