The Bowen technique

This weekend I began the next chapter in my training.

I’ve spend the past 3 days in Exeter on the first of five modules learning about the Bowen Technique.

So what is the Bowen Technique?

The Bowen Technique is a remedial tool, it uses light, gentle movements across skin, fascia, muscle, tendon and other soft and connective tissue. I will use my fingers or thumbs to apply gent pressure to effect a movement of the tissue.

There is no hard tissue manipulation, no adjustment, no massaging or use of oils, do deep or prolonged pressure and no equipment used.

It’s not a form of massage, it has very little in common with massage, in fact there is no movement across the skin, no strokes at all, the skin is moved across the underlying structures.

There are a few different treatments like Bowen but the key thing that makes a treatment Bowen is the breaks in between the gentle moves. I may only perform 2 – 4 moves and then I leave the room for 2-5 minutes, these breaks give the body a chance to process the fact that something has just happened.

Many of my massage clients will get off the massage table feeling looser with improved range of motion – this isn’t as common with Bowen, in fact you may not feel any different when you get off the table, the improvements tend to happen over the next few days when you realise that the stiffness and pain you used to feel is no longer there.

I first found out about Bowen over 20 years ago when I was suffering with lower back pain. I’d been to an NHS physio but hadn’t found it helped much. I didn’t want to go to a chiropractor as I’d seen my dad have to keep returning to one week after week for years. I was told about Bowen by a friend of the family, the reason I went for it was because you can only have 3 sessions, so I knew they weren’t going to be able to keep me coming back week after week. After the first session I felt like the therapist hadn’t done anything, I didn’t feel any different – but by the end of the third session, the back pain that had been causing me problems for months was no longer there. I hadn’t been given lots of exercises to do, I wasn’t being told to change my posture, I wasn’t having an uncomfortable sports massage, just a series of small moves and it worked.

It then worked for my dad for his back and my mum for her shoulder. It is the only treatment my Dad will have, since discovering Bowen he’s not seen an osteopath or a chiropractor – he won’t even have a massage (not even a free one from me).

I’m studying with the College of Bowen Studies. The reason I’ve chosen them is because of their desire to find out why Bowen works, there are studies showing it does work, but why is not known, it is believed to be a form of myofascial release. The principle of the college is passionate about anatomy and sharing his knowledge with others, it was this that attracted me to that particular college.

The course takes about 10 months, with 5 modules. I will be looking for case studies so if you’d like to know more about Bowen or you’d like to be a case study then get in touch

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