The Bowen Technique is a remedial, hands-on therapy that is applied using very gentle pressure. The practitioner uses thumbs and fingers on precise points of the body to perform Bowen’s unique sets of rolling-type moves which stimulate the muscles and soft tissue of the body. There is no manipulation or adjustment of hard tissue and no force is used. The experience of a treatment is gentle, subtle and relaxing. It is believed that the Bowen Technique prompts the body to reset, repair and balance itself and clients report the experience of pain relief, improvement of function and recovery of energy.
How does it work?
We aren’t sure, but here are some ideas! One of the least understood areas of the body is the brain. Even specialists in the study of the brain will disagree about its most basic of functions, with some people saying that the brain is a whole and others insisting that it operates within a modular system with a bit for each mental function. And yet we can be sure that it is the brain which is responsible for the entire system and that any attempt to effect physical change has to be examined and accepted by the brain.
There are something like 600,000 signals that travel from the brain into the body every second and these in turn come back to the brain with information which is then interpreted and sent back out. Whenever we feel, hear, see or even think something, the brain brings in past experience in order to categorize the sensation and create an appropriate response.
In the case of the Bowen move, the brain is unable to do this instantly and needs more information to form a response. As it is, just when the brain is asking for more info, the therapist has left the room, and therefore the brain has to send specific signals to the area in order to gauge a response. If the client is lying down, the immediate response is nearly always rapid and deep relaxation. The client will also often report that they feel a tingling sensation or warmth in the area just worked. “It felt like your hands were still on me,” is a common comment.We believe this demonstrates that because the move is out of the ordinary, the brain is looking for information about what happened.
One of the more difficult elements to come to terms with is how little is done during a session. In addition, the client may well walk out of the treatment room having felt little or no improvement over and above a sense of relaxation. However, the reactions to Bowen in the days following a treatment can often belie its soft and gentle approach. Stiffness, soreness, headache and feeling like “I’ve been run over by a bus!” are common.All excellent signs, they demonstrate that the brain and body have started the process of repair.
This process, when started, is generally rapid and it is not uncommon for even longstanding pain to be reduced or resolved in two or three treatments. Most sports- or work-related problems can often be dealt with within the two or three treatments, making Bowen not only good remedial treatment, but cost effective for the client as well.
Although musculo-skeletal problems such as frozen shoulder, back and neck pain account for the majority of conditions brought for Bowen treatment, it can also be helpful with more systemic problems. Clients have reported significant improvements with asthma, migraines, irritable bowel, infertility and other reproductive problems. Even hay-fever has been brought to Bowen.
There are no such things in this life as guarantees and this can be said of Bowen as well. If the body responds to the treatment, then it can and will start the process of repair. If it doesn’t respond, then no harm is done.