Bowen Therapy

Bowen Therapy is a gentle and effective physical therapy that creates a deep state of relaxation. This subtle, hands-on approach stimulates the body to heal, often profoundly, with minimal intervention. Bowen Therapists take a ‘whole-body’ approach to facilitate optimal rest, recovery and revitalization. As a result, Bowen Therapy can provide relief for many types of chronic pain and health conditions. Bowen Therapy is appropriate for everyone and is gentle enough to address the needs of newborns, pregnant women and the elderly.

Health Conditions that Respond Well to Bowen Therapy

Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue

Myofascial pain

Back pain and sciatica

Migraines and other headaches

Hip, knee, ankle and foot pain

Neck and shoulder pain, including frozen shoulder

TMJ and ear pain

Sports and other traumatic injuries

Digestive and respiratory issues

Stress, grief and PTSD

Depression and anxiety


How Bowen Therapy Works

Many people today live in a state of chronic or acute stress, especially if we experience chronic pain. This creates over-stimulation of the sympathetic autonomic nervous system (ANS). As a result, we get caught in ‘fight, flight or freeze’ mode. Healing occurs when the ANS switches from sympathetic to parasympathetic dominance, also known as ‘rest, relax and repair’ mode. Because the ANS is very susceptible to external and internal stress, this adjustment in how our nervous system responds is vital to healing. Bowen Therapy enables that shift.

By triggering a rest, relax and repair response, Bowen Therapy sends signals to the brain that result in decreased muscular tension, increased range of motion, as well as reduced inflammation and pain. Bowen also improves circulation, stimulates lymphatic drainage, enhances the assimilation of nutrients and encourages the elimination of toxins. It is truly holistic in its benefits as it improves the functioning of the musculoskeletal framework, fascia, nerves, and internal organs.

What to Expect in a Bowen Therapy Session

A typical Bowen Therapy Session lasts from 45 to 90 minutes. A session involves one or more procedures, each of which consists of several sets of ‘moves’. The moves are gentle, but purposeful, and are done through light clothing. The moves deliver signals to the nervous system at specific locations (on muscles, tendons, ligaments, or nerves). Between each set of moves, the Bowen Therapist leaves the room to allow the body to fully relax and begin to integrate the work. The body continues to respond to the signals to the nervous system for several days after each session.

Typically, Bowen Therapy sessions are scheduled seven days apart to allow for deep and lasting integration of the work. Three to five sessions are usually all that are required for most sports injuries, work-related injuries, and problems brought about by long-term overuse. Clients with more complex conditions usually improve with additional sessions. Neurological conditions, as well as certain other chronic conditions, may require ongoing maintenance sessions.


What to Expect After a Bowen Therapy Session

Some changes may be noticeable right away, including reduced pain, greater range of motion, and a sense of relaxation and well-being. You will most likely notice changes for several days after a session as your body continues the process that began during your session. Sounder sleep and increased energy are commonly reported.

The benefits will be enhanced by following these simple guidelines:

Don’t overdo exercise or exertion for the rest of the day of your session.
Do increase your intake of pure water to encourage your body’s ability to eliminate toxins released by the muscles and connective tissue.
Don’t remain seated for longer than half an hour at a time. If a longer rest is needed, laying down is preferable to sitting.
Do take mild walks around your home or outside.

The Rule of Thumb is:  WATER. WALK. WAIT.

If you’re assigned homework exercises, you should do them daily, beginning on the day after your session. This is an essential part of your care and will improve your results.

Please keep in mind that Bowen Therapy encourages proper functioning of all bodily systems, including those responsible for eliminating toxins. If your body has stored unnecessary materials, you may experience one or more of these detoxification sensations for a day or so after a Bowen Therapy session: aching and/or stiff muscles, mild nausea, mild headache, changes in sensation of temperature, minor changes in elimination

NOTE: Your body will function more effectively once the toxins have been released. During detoxification, the best way to minimize discomfort is to increase the elimination of toxins by stimulating the lymphatic system. You can do this by increasing your water intake and walking 30 minutes each day in fresh air. Remember! WATER. WALK. WAIT.


The History of Bowen Therapy

Thomas Ambrose Bowen (1916-1982) pioneered the work that now bears his name. He began developing his technique in the 1950s in Geelong, Australia when he became interested in ways to alleviate human suffering and began to notice that certain moves on the body had particular effects. He continued to develop and refine the technique throughout his lifetime with the help of his friend and secretary, Rene Horwood.

By the 1970′s, Bowen was treating 13,000 people a year, with a documented success rate of over 85%. Among those treated were those who attended his free clinics for children, people with disabilities and community service workers. In 1974, he invited Oswald Rentsch and his wife Elaine to study with him and document his work.

Honoring their promise to Bowen they began to teach the Technique after his death. They founded the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia in 1987, which is dedicated to preserving the technique and ensuring that it is taught in its original form.

For further information, please go to the international website at