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The Bowen Technique

Bowen technique Vali Grigore

How It Works

The practitioner asks the person to lie comfortably on the bed, covered with a blanket. He waits a few minutes while the patient's body heats up. Then he makes a few very accurate light moves, followed by a pause of 2 to 15 minutes. This allows a much needed break for the body to integrate and manage the "information" received.
A session lasts usually between 15 and 45 minutes.  Although the moves can be done through light clothing, it is easier and more efficient for the practitioner to work directly on the skin.
Often people fall asleep during treatment.

One of the peculiarities of the Bowen Technique is the calm in which the meetings are held. It is necessary to minimise interference from other stimuli: sound, light, smells, etc.

Patients are advised not to use other manipulative techniques (massage, chiropractic) four days before and five days after a Bowen session because they can interfere with the effectiveness of treatment.



Each Bowen move is done at the level of the superficial fascia and affects the relation between the fascia and the nerve, muscle or tendon being mobilised.

The fascia (sheets of connective tissue) connect everything in the body: muscles, bones, internal organs and central nervous system. It plays a major role in muscle coordination, flexibility, postural alignment and overall structural and functional integrity.

Following injuries, all these will be negatively affected, because the fascia will stiffen, contract, torque and dehydrate.

With each Bowen move, the fascia is rocked and minutely “disturbed”, but is not forcefully separated. The musculoskeletal structures are then able to increase their range of motion and in addition nerves, blood vessels and lymph nodes located in this released tissue are able to function more optimally.

Tom Bowen, founder of Bowen therapy

Tom Bowen, founder of Bowen therapy

What Is It?

The Bowen Technique is a dynamic therapeutic system that addresses the body as a whole by activating the body's own self-healing mechanisms . By its uniqueness, this technique installs vitality, removes the effects of stress but also offers considerable improvements in many acute and chronic diseases and in recovery from trauma or surgery.

The treatment is deeply relaxing and comfortable and consists of delicate movements that are applied at precise locations on the patient's body, the muscles, tendons, ligaments or fascia. The therapist thus transmit signals to the nervous system and each body responds at it's own pace and according to its possibilities.


There is growing evidence that the deep relaxation, experienced by most people following a Bowen session positively influences and stimulates the Autonomic Nervous System, which controls over 80% of bodily functions (cardiac, respiratory, peripheral circulation, reproductive, endocrine, gastrointestinal), to initiate changes in the body.

Bowen “moves” also stimulate the proprioreceptors, which are sensory fibers at the end of the peripheral nervous system. This encourages the body to realign and return itself to its natural state of health. Proprioreceptors provide the perception of the body’s position and movement situated within connective tissue, muscle, tendons, ligaments, and fascia.

Most moves are done either at the origin, the insertion, or the belly of the muscles, where the “Golgi” cells receptors are located, informing the nervous system on the state of tension, length or stretch in the musculo-tendonous tissue. These receptors are stimulated during the “challenge” and the “rolling” part of the Bowen move. In case of a pain – muscle – spasm loop, we can break this vicious circle by changing the stimulus received by the nervous system.

Fascia: the tissue that holds you together.

Fascia: the tissue that holds you together.


We owe this technique to Mr. Thomas Bowen (1916-1982). His extraordinary ability to observe the movements and patterns of the body helped him to develop the method in the 50's in Geelong, Australia and then continued to refine it over time. Asked about the technique that made him famous, Tom Bowen often said it was "a gift from God." Gifted with a huge interest in the human body structure and a remarkable intuition, he noticed the special subtle movements that can help and heal in so many situations.

According to a study on alternative healthcare work commissioned in 1975 by the government of Victoria (Australia), Tom Bowen treated over 13,000 people each year. Those who carried on his work after his death were Ossie and Elaine Rentsch, founders of The Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia. They also named the therapy in the memory and honour of Mr. Bowen. Because this technique is so effective, it spread rapidly to thousands of practitioners worldwide. Learn more >> 

To learn more about the Bowen technique, you can

download free of charge The Little Bowen Book

The Bowen Technique is not intended as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. We recommend you consult your own doctor about any health concerns you may have.