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Bowen Technique By Karen

Helping the Body to Rebalance and Repair

Bowen Technique by Karen

01954 260982

07714 995229

[email protected]

Bowen Technique Cambridge

My Blog


Are you unknowingly prolonging your injury?

Posted on 25 July, 2014 at 17:26 Comments comments (0)
Are you unknowingly prolonging your injury?

“You owe it to yourself to take responsibility for your health”

The best of treatments can be undermined with bad postural, movement and dietary habits.  In chronic re-occurring conditions please examine all your daily activities.  Many people have bad habits they are unaware of which exacerbate their condition. Listed are a few of the more common problems along with some basic health tips.

  • Sitting with wallet in back pocket
    (Pelvic imbalance, which side bends the spine and leads to chronic pain)
  • Crossing legs over knee in seated position
    (Pelvic imbalance which side bends the spine and leads to chronic pain)
  • Bad computer, work station, or TV position (Head on an angle &/or not at eye level)
  • Rounding back while at desk/ lounge
  • Cracking own spine regularly
  • Phone held up by shoulder (Use a head set or hands-free)
  • Heavy bag over one shoulder
    (Take out unnecessary items and change to an “over the opposite shoulder” bag)
  • Sleeping on stomach (Head turned to side puts uneven strain on the neck)
  • Sleeping in a draft or with air-conditioner blowing on neck
  • Falsely believing symptom free is symptom eradication (It takes time for an injury to return to full strength. This is why 3 to 6 treatments may be required and monthly top ups)
  • Not resting long enough or not working around an injury (Repair takes time)
  • Watching TV in bed (Head is in an over flexed position)
  • Falling asleep seated on sofa watching TV or reading (Head flops into flexion)
  • Head in prolonged extension in bowl at hair salon
  • Meditation (If you let your head flop while in a seated position)
  • Wet hair in air-conditioner or going out in the cold(Can cause scalp muscles to contract)
  • High heel shoes (Shortens calf muscles and puts strain on hip flexors)
  • Wearing a heel lift in your shoe for a short leg when it often is caused by muscle imbalance (Causes long term pain in many areas of the body – check with your therapist)
  • Shoes that have limited flexibility up & down restrict the foots natural “toe to heel “movement (They need to bend, our feet are not like planks of wood)
  • Shoes that are too narrow
    (Our feet are designed to spread for support & shock absorption)
  • Tight underwear and clothing (Cutting of Lymph, nerve and blood flow)
  • Not keeping reasonably fit and supple
  • Bad eating habits (healthy fuel and not excessive intake)
  • Not drinking enough water every day
  • Not having a regular “Maintenance Treatment” monthly or at least 4 times a year
  • Putting up with pain for so long that you accept it. It will usually become worse! 
  • Analyse everything you do on a regular basis. Work, Hobbies, Sport, Exercise, stress levels and relaxation. 
  • Look for bad ergonomics. 

Your News: The Bowen is a technique like no other

Posted on 24 May, 2014 at 13:29 Comments comments (0)
Your News: The Bowen is a technique like no other
by Louise Dunthorne

The Bowen Technique is a form of body work unlike any other where the therapist is not in constant contact with the body, this is normal and an important part of the treatment.

Imagine, lying face down on a treatment couch where gentle rolling movements are being applied to different parts of the body; warmth or a tingling sensation is often felt over the area just worked. The therapist leaves the room for a few minutes (the breaks). A deep sense of relaxation is felt. The therapist returns and applies more of the moves and disappears again. This pattern continues, turn on to your back and the treatment resumes in a similar style. Often clients may feel like drifting off to sleep this is 

‘The breaks’ are fundamental: a dialogue has started between the brain and the body’s systems so the body can heal itself, Bowen therapists work on the fascia, the connective tissue that wraps around muscles, which they believe can become twisted and cause pain – often somewhere else as the body compensates for the original injury.

Most clients visit their Bowen therapist for muscular-skeletal problems: such as, frozen shoulder, back pain or sporting injuries. It is also beneficial for asthma, arthritis and migraine sufferers, to name a few. It is recommend to try Bowen for almost anything.

Sometimes a client will visit their Bowen Therapist about a particular problem to find that a different ailment has disappeared. Bowen therapists are finding that the body priorities what it wants to heal first. An example of this is when seeing a gentleman with a bad back who failed to mention he had suffered with eczema all his life and suddenly realised after a week his eczema had disappeared. Now how many people would say that was just a coincidence, what would you think?

Have at least 3 sessions to allow your body to hold the changes taking place. Most clients will visit their therapist once a week for two or three weeks then like to have a ‘top up’ between four to eight weeks some manage to go longer between a treatment.

After a first treatment most clients will get up and say. ‘Oh is that it! or, that was really weird but extremely relaxing’!

Children respond very well to Bowen they only need to have a short treatment it can help with poor sleep patterns, growing pains, baby colic, eczema and all sorts of child related problems. Children’s Bowen Clinics are popping up all over the country and many therapists will treat children at a reduced rate.

Depending on the tensions the body is holding, changes take time, don’t expect instant relief, have patience the treatment will continue to work for about a week after a session and the changes can be subtle.

There are now a thousand practitioners in Britain, and it has a diverse fan base, including celebrities such as Elle Macpherson, footballer Dwight Yorke and adventurer Bear Grylles.

Link to original article:

Hands on Healing - How does it work?

Posted on 19 April, 2014 at 11:23 Comments comments (0)
How does Reiki and other methods of hands-on healing work?

People around the world have been using Reiki and other hands-on healing methods to assist individuals in improving their health and state of well-being for centuries. 

As humans and technology have evolved, we began to take a more medical approach to health and wellness (at least in the western world); therefore, Reiki and other alternative methods of healing have been perceived as unrealistic or “mystical”.  

We are now at the point in our human evolution where we are uncovering the science behind formerly “mystical” approaches.  Much the same as once thinking the stars in the sky were all Gods or the world was flat, we now have the technology to look beyond the mysticism and see the reality of what is before us.

Reiki practitioners often describe how their healing modality works as bringing Source energy (God energy, Love energy, Chi, etc.) in through their crown chakra (top of the head), down through their heart chakra, into their arms (extensions of the heart chakra), out their hands and into the body & energetic field of their client — healing, balancing and cleansing them.  

While this explanation is certainly valid, it is difficult for people who need a more scientific or logical explanation of how Reiki works to accept this explanation.

To view this from a logical standpoint we need to understand the electromagnetic field, the myofascial system, chakras, and biophotons.  Once these are understood separately we can put them together to understand the science behind holistic energy healing.

The Electromagnetic FieldTo grasp the basic concepts of energy healing understand first that everything is made up of electromagnetic energy, or simply put, energy.  

All energy vibrates at different frequencies that correspond to sound, light and color. The Eastern explanation of energy refers to this energy as ‘Chi’ (pronounced Chee), the vital life force energy of the Universe, present within every living thing, whereby the Western explanation of energy within the body typically refrains from explaining whatenergy is but instead states that we need energy within our bodies to sustain life and that energy cannot be destroyed or eliminated from our being. 

Western medical science is now beginning to take a serious look at ancient Far Eastern traditions that focus on Chi, the life force energy which flows through the body pathways – known as meridians and chakras – of all living forms, in order to maintain health and wellness, energetically, mentally, physically, and emotionally. 

This life-force energy, or Chi, moves within, from and around our bodies through what is known as an electromagnetic field (see picture above). An electromagnetic field (also known as EMF or EM field) is a physical field produced by electrically charged objects. Humans, animals, plants, cell phones, even planet Earth has an EMF and this Chi flows from all parts in the Universe, in and throughout this EMF continually. 

The Institute of HeartMath is currently conducting enlightening research on the EMF and their findings on how the EMF affects and is affected by our emotions and thoughts, or intention.  It is this field that energetic healers work within to bring about clearing, balancing and healing of the body.

The Myofascial SystemThe Myofascial System, which makes up 60% of your body, consists of fascial tissue (fascia). In the photo to the right you can see that fascial tissue is actually made up of tiny microtubules of callogen, similar to fiber optics, which are hollow and fluid-filled and carry information about proprioception as well as carrying your consciousness throughout your body.

This tissue is a white or clear connective tissue that supports, envelops, and connects our organs, bones, muscles, and tissue together.  The fascia provides a sliding and gliding environment for muscles, suspends organs in their proper place, transmits movement from muscles to bones, and provides a supportive and movable wrapping for nerves and blood vessels as they pass through and between muscles. 

If you ever dissected an animal in your high school biology class, you would have cut through this white, skin-like tissue to get to whatever organ, muscle or bone you were trying to find.

Fascia also conducts your energy; you might consider it an energy highway.  When we send energy from our body to another body it is moving through and from the fascia.  This fascia also creates our chakras or energy centers within the body. These energy centers are where the fascial tissue actually congregates in horizontal bands (see diagram to the left) creating a concentration of energetic vibration and internal power.

The videos below will assist in understanding more about the myofascial system and its role in energy conduction…

Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot of research that has been done on living fascia but in recent years new technology and instruments have allowed scientists, researchers, and doctors to see the fascia up close in a living organism while performing its normal functions.

BiophotonsBy understanding your electromagnetic field and fascia, you can now see how this life-force energy moves throughout and around your body, both physically and energetically.  However, to fully understand energetic healing we must add the variable of biophotons and their role in this fascinating process.All living organisms emit a constant current of biophotons, which are elementary particles of light coming from a biological being. Pictured to the left are biophotons in a drop of water. These particles are emitted and direct instantaneous signals to multiple locations at once, from one part of the body to another, and to the outside world. They are stored in the DNA and their function is cellular communication.  Physicists actually call these light particles the “communicators” in the body because they use your intention to direct other particles to rearrange into either a healthy or non-healthy pattern.  In biology every cell in your body has over 100,000 biochemical reactions per second, all of which must be carefully timed and sequenced with each other. Research has provided evidence that this cellular dance is not random, but rather controlled by these biophotons.  

To further explain, science is showing us that biophotons are in control of virtually every biochemical reaction that occurs in your body through our thoughts, emotions, and intention, including supporting your body’s ability to heal, releasing old patterns or forming new supportive ones.A direct intention manifests itself as an electric and magnetic energy producing an ordered change of photons. 

Our intentions operate as highly coherent frequencies capable of changing the molecular structure of matter.In short, it is the biophotons that allow for our patterns to form and break, allow our emotions to hold a negative charge or balance into a positive experience, and allow our body to be in a state of health or dis-ease.

Taking this explanation of biophotons one step further, we’re going to look at images of biophotons in a drop of water (below). 

In February 2006, using a Somatoscope, which is a darkfield microscope with a magnification of 30,000x, researchers were able to observe the inside structure of biophotons for the very first time. 

What was discovered when focusing on a single biophoton was that in the center of this spark of light a six-pointed star was contained within a hexagonal geometric shape, as is seen appearing in photo 4.  

By photo 6 you can see a Merkaba form in the middle with a hexagon around the edge and by photo 9 you can see the Flower of Life form.  

If you connect Sacred Geometry with healing, you may come to the conclusion that at the center of the flower of life is our consciousness, the consciousness directs the photons, the photons direct our patterns and positive or negative state of being, which means – we completely control our own state of being.  We are not a victim to anyone or anything, we hold all the cards and only we can heal ourselves.

For more information on Sacred Geometry, watch this great little video from our friends at Spirit Science!

Putting it all togetherReiki works when biophotons are brought in from source energy, through the fascia, into the heart and then into the hands of a practitioner or ones’ own hands.  

When a practitioner and a client have a shared intention or when the self has a clear intention on what is wanted the biophotons travel through the fascia of the client or self, moving into the DNA and communicate with other biophotons within the body to allow healing, clearing, balancing, etc.  

In other words the biophotons are directed to restructure the chemical reactions and molecular makeup of the body for health and wellness to occur.

Conducting a healing session anyone can heal and everyone has the power to change the course of their physical, mental and emotional well-being.  

The following is an explanation of one method of conducting a healing session on others, but can easily be applied to the self.  Methods vary from practitioner to practitioner and each method has value and worth.  

If you are not finding success with your own self-healing, seek a local energy healer who can guide you through your release.

To begin, take a few deep breaths with your client to help engage the Vagus nerve which triggers a signal within your nervous system to slow down the heart rate, lower blood pressure, and decrease cortisol, the stress hormone. Then guide them into their heart center (chakra) asking them to connect their heart to yours so that a partnership is formed while conducting the healing process.  

Remind the person you are working on that the practitioner is a conduit to move the energy and set the space for healing to occur—the true healer is the self.

Once hearts are connected begin by placing your hands on your client –go where you feel called to go, listening to your intuition or when releasing old emotion, place one hand on the heart and one on the solar plexus.  Set an intention for the energy and ask to bring in the right energy for the client’s highest and greatest good. 

By setting that intention you bring in the correct arrangement of photons into your crown chakra, down through your heart, out your arms, and through your hands.  

What leaves your hands are biophotons that are in perfect arrangement for the client’s healing and balance. Once these particles of light enter your client’s body, they communicate with the client’s own biophotons to assist in rearranging molecules into a healthy pattern. 

Continue to set these intentions together as you work on various parts of the body or on particular emotional releases, moving this energy through the fascia.  

By doing this rearranging of molecules, energy blockages and old emotions can be released, leaving the client in a healthier, balanced state. There are particular techniques and symbols that are taught in Reiki classes and can increase frequency and direction for the healing sessions; seek a local Reiki instructor for further training to assist either yourself or others.

Although it is typically very difficult for many to accept changes in the way we view the world and the advances we are making that assist us in understanding it, we know that we have much to learn and our growth is not nearly complete. As a society, the more open we are to looking beyond what has been and open up to what we are currently learning, the more progress we will make as an evolving species.

Written by: Charlie Wedel & Kelly Schwegel

To see original article, videos and pictures go to;

Bowen Therapy is Holistic, Non-Invasive and Effective

Posted on 19 April, 2014 at 10:35 Comments comments (96)

Bowen Therapy is Holistic, Non-Invasive and Effective

Friday, April 17, 2009 by: Cathy Sherman

(NaturalNews) The therapist touches and lightly squeezes the migraine patient in a few places and then leaves the room for two minutes. He repeats this procedure for the entire 45-minute appointment. After several weeks of such sessions, the patient reports that the migraines have diminished in frequency. How could anything so simple do so much?

This technique, which isn't quite chiropractic, not quite massage, and not quite acupuncture, was introduced to the energy healing scene in the 1950's by Australian Tom Bowen. Though untrained, he had learned from watching trainers and therapists. Sensing vibrations and tension in muscles and other soft tissues, he figured out what to manipulate to help the sufferer. Bowen saw thousands of patients a year and claimed an 88% success rate.

Following his death in 1982, his work was documented and introduced to the rest of the world by two of his six apprentices, Oswald and Elaine Rentsch, who established a training school in Australia.

Now we can find Bowen practitioners and teachers throughout the world. Though gentle, this amazing therapy has helped thousands of people, from infants to the elderly, where more conventional procedures have failed.

Based on the energy fields of the body, this non-invasive therapy seeks to restore balance to the body through utilization of nature's own built-in healing processes. It does this mostly through the nervous and bio-energetic systems. Those simple appearing but expert touches by the therapist send neurological impulses to the brain, which responds by messaging the muscles to relax, resulting in a decrease in pain.

At the same time, electrical impulses are also sent to the nervous system; these stimulate the body to remember normal movement in the joints, muscles and tendons. As a result, muscle spasms decrease as blood and lymph circulation is increased, and muscles return to their length before becoming contracted. The increase in blood flow brings more oxygen and nutrients to the injured area, thus speeding up its healing.

Location of the touches and squeezes is critical; most are done at the origin, insertion, or belly of the muscle. If done near a joint, the joint and ligaments are also affected. Many Bowen moves are done along the spine, over the rows of muscles running parallel to and along the spinal column. Therapy in this area often results in referred reactions elsewhere in the body, healing areas unrelated to the patient's main complaint.

Another kind of touch is done on tendons, to relax them. Several locations the therapist touches are also acupuncture points or on acupuncture meridians, locations which are known to stimulate and balance energy in the body.

The touches and squeezes themselves are done by the therapist's thumbs and fingers in a rolling motion on the muscles. Between these sequenced touches, the therapist often leaves the room for a minimum of two minutes. This at-rest time allows the impulses to reach body areas and for the adjustments to take place.

Bowen therapy can be done in such a way as to bring the brain to a deep meditative Alpha state, wherein the Para-sympathetic Nervous System takes over. In this condition, referred to as the automatic repair mode, more healing can take place.

Other Bowen moves can improve posture and bring organs back into a more natural position, allowing them to work better. All this is done without the use of any drugs, making Bowen a totally holistic healing modality. Also, it is done through the clothing, so only the shoes need be removed.

In regard to testing, the Bowen Technique has been researched with a varied list of conditions. An example is one study done on migraine sufferers. For this study, in 2001 - 2002, 39 patients participated, 31 of which reported significant improvement after six weeks of treatment. These patients had been suffering from migraines from ten to thirty-plus years.

Other conditions shown to improve with Bowen include: back pain, carpel tunnel syndrome, bunions, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, frozen shoulder, groin tension or pain, hammer toes, hamstring pain/tightness, jaw pain/misalignment, knee, sacro-iliac and neck pain, plantar fasciitis, sciatica, scoliosis, shin splints, sternal pain, sprung ribs, tennis elbow, ADD/ADHD, restless leg syndrome and colic in infants.

Patients have seen improvement from Bowen with gynecological issues, blood pressure normalization, hiatus hernia, reflux indigestion, constipation and diarrhea. It has been used successfully in rehabilitation after stroke, for sport injuries such as sprained ankles and tennis elbow, some cardiovascular problems, sleep improvement and for respiratory problems such as asthma.

Many of these conditions have been studied, so there is the research to back up the success of the therapy.

Not uncommonly, following a Bowen treatment one experiences a cleansing reaction. This has in some cases resulted in a flu-like condition as toxins are released. There can also be an emotional release, manifested in a deep sense of relaxation or irritability. A third reaction is structural, as balance is achieved by different areas of the body. It is recommended that at least eight glasses of water be consumed following the treatments and in the following days to help flush out toxins and pain.

Dr. Michael Austin, a Bowen Practitioner/Chiropractor in Tucson, Arizona, described another unexpected result from Bowen treatment: recruitment pattern elimination. Such patterns, which develop after an injury, result from the natural tendency of our bodies to remember - to be patterned - by repetition of a particular movement. He gives the example of a person who limps after a leg injury. This limp can be remembered as an altered gait pattern, so the person continues to limp even after the injury heals.

According to Dr. Austin, "Altered gait patterns can create imbalance in the body as well as pain. It would take many months, sometimes years, of physical therapy to restore normal gait patterns and relearn walking, if at all possible. But even physical therapy will not eliminate the neurologic pathways that remember the limp. Bowen therapy appears to somehow eliminate or reduce the influence of the neurons that remember the limp. This is a remarkable process that is not seen in any other therapy."

Dr. Austin, a Bowen Teaching Assistant, travels internationally to spread the teaching of Bowen Therapy. He shares many of the remarkable results from his practice. A few of them are described below.

A woman with over ten-years of low back pain had tried allopathic treatment, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and physical therapy. Her reported pain scale was eight out of ten. Initial Bowen treatment included the basic relaxation moves with hamstring, sacrum, neck, and knee procedures. One week later, the patient reported no back pain. She related that she went to a baseball game with her grandson the day after her initial treatment and didn't realize that she had no back pain until she arrived home!

Dr. Austin treated a 72-year-old female with a history of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, and bilateral knee and hip replacements. Her reported pain scale was nine out of ten. Previous treatment included allopathic treatment, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and physical therapy. Initial Bowen treatment included the basic relaxation moves plus other procedures. Upon completion of the Bowen session, the patient reported that she had no pain.

A man with bilateral knee pain from a partially torn meniscus in both knees had been told to have surgery by his orthopedic surgeon. The patient was told that though Bowen treatment would not mend the torn tissue, it might relieve the pain. At a one-week follow-up, the patient indicated his pain level was down to two from an initial eight out of ten. An OTC homeopathic remedy was recommended with a repeat of the previous Bowen session. A week later, the pain level was zero out of ten.

Another patient, a woman with a history of bilateral shoulder pain and tendonitis, had tried allopathic care and physical therapy. Initial Bowen treatment included basic relaxation moves and other upper body procedures. At her first follow-up, the pain was reduced and the previous week's Bowen procedures were repeated. Dr. Austin added half an organic lemon to each glass of water to alkalize her body's chemistry. One week later, full range of motion was restored and the shoulder pain was gone.

Another woman patient with a history of Rheumatoid Arthritis was treated once a week for four weeks. She was still pain-free two and a half years later. Dr. Austin reports that other autoimmune issues, such as lupus, have also been successfully treated by using Bowen, while other lupus patients reported a lessening of pain, rather than complete relief.

Dr. Austin also reports that many of his patients are referred to him by a local pain center. When the pain center's treatment has not helped the patients, they are sent to Dr. Austin and do receive the needed relief from many different sources of pain. This is another proof that Bowen Therapy succeeds where other treatments have failed.

Bowen Therapy is an exceptional treatment modality that offers an excellent holistic source of pain relief and accelerated healing from many disorders. 


Austin, Dr. Michael, "Bowen Therapy".

Ariff, Nikke, "The Bowen Technique; National Migraine Research Program". October 2001 to April 2002.

McCusker, Robert M., "A Brief Anatomical and Physiological Explanation for the Medical Profession".

Cathy Sherman is a freelance writer with a major interest in natural health and in encouraging others to take responsibility for their health.

Bowen – What’s It All About?

Posted on 21 March, 2014 at 6:08 Comments comments (0)
BOWEN – What’s It All About?

Being quite an active person over the years I have suffered various injuries and general aches and pains. Due to an accident I had in my teenage years I have been prevented from doing high impact sports such as running as it causes severe knee pain. I have found Pilates invaluable for realigning my body, strengthening the muscles around my joints and generally helping me to avoid lower back and knee pain.

In the past I have tried osteopathy, reiki, sports massage and even visited a chiropractor to treat minor sports injuries mainly in my neck and shoulders. 

Nearly everyone I have seen have come up with similar conclusions, due to the trauma I suffered from my accident my body has mis-aligned in the pelvis causing other parts of the body to over-compensate. This has led to, amongst other things, my left foot turning inwards and my right shoulder becoming slumped.

Now don’t worry, these are all subtle differences, I don’t go around looking like Quasimodo but this imbalance and over-compensating is generally what leads to aches and pains in all of us.

Up until recently I had never heard of Bowen but it has been cited in the media as a miracle cure for treating not only recent but underlying and long-term health problems. After a friend suggested I tried Bowen I started to do a little research and this is what I came up with…

The Bowen Technique is becoming recognised as one of the most effective complementary therapies. Developed in the 1950’s by an Australian chiropractor Tom Bowen, this remarkably powerful technique encourages the body’s realignment from within. Bowen addresses the body as a whole and aims to get to the root of a problem.

This all sounded great – particularly the part about treating the body as a whole, so when I found the Bowen Way just up the road in Stoke Newington I had to give it a try. 

My practitioner Marty Fabianova, who is not only a specialist at treating sports injuries but is making it her goal to help women to get balanced and attuned in their body and mind, suggested three sessions to cover my catalogue or ‘symptoms’. She described Bowen to me like this

“The use of Bowen is very versatile. It helps the body to relax, recharge and realign. Therefore it is very effective for almost any body ailment, but especially musculoskeletal problems – pains, aches, tight muscles, pulled ligaments etc. Bear Grylls swears by it, as it helped him recover after a parachute jump that went wrong. And as he says, it helps him to keep his body in shape after all the ‘bashing’ he puts it through.”

Prior to my first session, I filled out a brief questionnaire covering my health history, how I felt in terms of pain (1-10) and where I felt it using a diagram.

As it was quite difficult for me to get to the clinic during working hours, Marty arranged to come and treat me at home. At my first appointment, Marty made me feel totally at ease and thoroughly explained how the treatment works and sensations I may feel.

After looking at my posture and making answering a few questions about how I was feeling that day we began the treatment. I lay on the bed face down and Marty performed a series of light moves on one part of my body before leaving the room to let my body listen to what it had been told and start to change. Her hands felt like they grew hot as they made the moves which gave a feeling of energy passing between us. When I was left alone, I experienced a tingling sensation running up and down my legs – not unlike how your muscles start to twitch after doing exercise.

Marty repeated this a few times on different parts of my body each time leaving the room to allow my brain to ‘talk’ to my body and let the healing process begin. Once the session was over Marty asked how I felt and explained the treatment would continue to work over the next few days and weeks. We arranged an appointment for 7 days later to continue the treatment.

Over the next few days I felt like subtle changes were beginning in my body but most significantly my mind, I felt more open, more positive and energised.

At my next appointment Marty made an assessment of the changes which had been going on in my physical and mental state. And looked back at the previous week’s pain levels to see if any had gone up, down, or remained the same. At week 2 all the areas I had felt pain in the week before had reduced, some significantly. We continued with the treatment and this time it felt like Marty had gone into greater depth and we had a stronger connection. In the periods of rest when Marty left the room, I felt the sensations were stronger, sometimes I felt an intense tingling up and down my legs, radiating around my knees.

Over the next week I noticed my posture changing, where before my right shoulder would slump causing pain in my neck during the weights section of Frame METHOD, I could see in the mirror they looked more even and I felt no pain. I really felt on great form throughout the following week and was looking forward to my last session. Unfortunately towards the end of the week I fell, injuring both my knees and causing pain and difficulty walking, cycling or even bending, it made it impossible to kneel down and made sleeping very uncomfortable. I emailed Marty and explained what had happened and she suggested in the next session we focussed on the areas of most recent injury.

In our next session, although I had a fresh injury, Marty thought she felt an improvement in the tension throughout my body. The next session continued as before and again I felt a strong tingling sensation of energy rushing through me. At the end of the session Marty and I chatted about how the treatment had gone and the benefit of Bowen for both long term chronic injury and more recent acute pain.

In the next week I recovered fairly quickly and began to feel my energy levels improving. Now, a month on, I am completely healed and I have really noticed a change. Not only has my posture improved and my pain levels decreased but I really feel energised and positive. We are all aware of the ‘placebo’ effect but Bowen is a way, not of tricking your mind but of accessing those neurological pathways which are so often blocked by modern life.

If you attend Yoga classes at Frame you will know that we are holistic beings and the power of the mind is so powerful, it can help overcome pain and push your body to achieve phenomenal goals. One of my favourite pieces of ‘Frame advice’ is…

“when your body wants to give up just hold on for three more breaths”

…and it works! Proving the body gives up well before the mind and once you can control your mind, you can control your body. The beauty of Bowen is that all the hard work is done for you, you just need to allow it to happen.

I’m so thankful to Marty for introducing me to the Bowen Way.

Link to article;

Frame Blog
Feb 2014

How is Body Imbalance Determined?

Posted on 28 April, 2013 at 8:07 Comments comments (7)

Interesting image to show how imbalance in the body can cause ongoing problems in seemingly unrelated areas......

YOGA Magazine Article 2012

Posted on 28 April, 2013 at 8:00 Comments comments (7)

The founder of the Bowen Technique, Tom Bowen (1916 – 1982) was born in Brunswick, Australia. He started by treating the injuries, aches and pains of local sportsmen, friends and family and colleagues in Geelong.  

He had a particular interest in back pain and in the 1960s, he opened his own clinic and developed the therapy.During the 1970s, the Webb Report (Australian Government Report into Complementary Therapies) found that Tom Bowen was treating 13,000 people a year. The Bowen technique is now being taught to final year university students of Osteopathy in Australia.

Bowen Therapy is an alternative complementary therapy which has over the last 20 years become the treatment of choice for people worldwide. The Bowen technique is a drugfree, non-invasive, hands-on remedial therapy which can be administered through light clothing, with the client sitting, standing or lying. Releasing stress at a very deep level, it then stimulates the body to realign, addressing imbalances in functions and chemical composition and, restoring physiological equilibrium. 

It prides itself on being able to trigger the body’s own healing systems. Bowen can help with a wide range of conditions, physical and emotional, and is suitable for all ages, from new-born babies to the elderly and infirm.

With primarily fingers and thumbs, the Bowen practitioner makes small, rolling movements over muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissue at precise points on the body, using only the amount of pressure appropriate for that individual. No hard-tissue manipulation or force is needed or used.  

Rather than ‘making’ the body change, Bowen ‘asks’ the body to recognise and make the changes it requires.  Between each set of moves, the body is allowed to rest for a few minutes, to allow it to absorb the information it has received and initiate the healing process. 

Each session lasts between 30-60 minutes, depending on the age of the client and the nature of their condition. Many clients become so relaxed they fall asleep during the treatment.  

Short-term (acute) injury may be resolved in one to three Bowen treatments, while longstanding (chronic) conditions may require longer. A gap of five to ten days is recommended between Bowen sessions, so that the body can process the subtle information it has been given. It is advised that clients do not have other hands-on therapies while receiving Bowen, as this can confuse the body’s response and inhibit the healing process. 

This remarkable technique can be quick and effective in helping people that suffer from the following ailments:
• Muscular and skeletal problems in neck, shoulder, hip, knees, ankle and back, including sciatica
• Frozen shoulder, tennis and golf elbow, R.S.I. (Repetitive Strain Injury) and carpal tunnel 
• Whiplash and sports injuries 
• Problems with posture and body alignment 
• Migraine and recurring headaches
• Bell’s Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease and the difficulties suffered by stroke victims
• Respiratory, bronchial and related conditions such as hay fever and asthma 
• Digestive problems such as IBS 
• Arthritis 
• Hormonal, pregnancy and fertility problems
• Stress management, ME, fatigue and sleep problems.

The BTPA (Bowen Therapist Professional Association) the principal registering body for Bowen practitioners have carried out a number of studies over the years on the effectiveness of Bowen Therapy. 

A study into the effects of Bowen Technique on Knee Pain and Ankle Pain was conducted between June and August 2009. 110 clients received treatments, of which 69 per cent reported a partial recovery and 19 per cent reported a full recovery. 

The cause of ankle joint pain is often associated with an imbalance in the muscle tensions around the leg or foot. Bowen Therapy is thought to provide a trigger that the body uses to reset muscle spindle length, reducing the tightness within the muscles and tendons, and easing compression on surrounding tissues, such as blood vessels and nerves. Pain relief occurs as the body’s natural healing mechanisms are stimulated.

BTPA also carried out research on migraines over a six week period; each participant received three Bowen treatments. The participants had all been suffering Migraines for at least ten years, some for over 30.  The results were very positive; of the 39 participants in the programme, 31 volunteers reported an improvement in their migraine condition.

Bowen can provide fast and effective pain relief and in some cases permanent correction that can last up to two years.  

A study into the effect of Bowen Therapy on shoulder or neck pain was conducted in the summer of 2008.  271 clients new to Bowen were treated and of these 86% showed a full or partial recovery after only 3 treatments. 

Shoulder and neck pain can be particularly debilitating especially where there is restriction as in adhesive capsulitis or frozen shoulder. It can also be linked to emotional problems and where the client is experiencing particularly stressful situations. Shoulder and neck pain can be linked to RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) and carpal tunnel problems which are conditions that can respond well to Bowen Therapy.

Another study into the effects of Bowen Therapy on Back Pain was conducted in June 2007. The outcome was on the whole very satisfying, not to mention revealing, with almost 90% of treatments given resulting in either a complete or partial recovery. 

By triggering a re-balancing of the muscles around the lumbar and pelvic areas, Bowen Therapy may help to stabilize a weak area, reduce compression around the nerve roots or improve circulation to the spinal discs, muscles and joints. Bowen therapy helps to reduce pain and also improve range of movement throughout the body.

To find a Bowen Therapist in your area, visit

To undergone Bowen therapy from accredited, trained Bowen practitioner it is best to search for a member of the Bowen Therapy Professional Association. BTPAapproved establishments, have certificates in Anatomy and Physiology and First Aid, have professional insurance and have undertaken continuing professional development (CPD). 

BTPA has a ‘find a therapist’ list available to people seeking a qualified practitioner on their website


Posted on 20 January, 2013 at 8:36 Comments comments (176)
THE TIMES                                                                      
SATURDAY NOVEMBER 22, 2003                           
alternatives body & soul


Kick the inhaler into touch   A gentle therapy can be a breath of fresh air for asthma sufferers.  Celia Dodd reports   

Simon Thomas won’t go anywhere without his inhaler.  Simon, 35, an assistant transport manager, has suffered regular asthma attacks all his adult life.  Winters have always been the worst:  last year he suffered a slight attack nearly every day and, if not nipped in the bud, they became severe several times a week.  

“I would have to sit down and try to catch my breath and use the inhaler to get the attack under control.” 

His job means that he can’t avoid two key triggers:  cold weather and diesel fumes.  Fur, feathers, hay fever and any kind of exertion could also set off an attack. 

But now, after ten months of Bowen Technique therapy, Simon is thinking seriously about leaving his inhaler at home for the first time in 20 years.  

After just four weeks of the therapy – which involves gentle manipulation of the soft tissue in specific areas of the body – the attacks decreased dramatically.  Last month he used his inhaler just once, when he visited friends with a pet rabbit. 

Simon had never heard of the Bowen Technique until he saw an advertisement last January for volunteers to take part in a nationwide study into its effect on asthma.  He was pretty sceptical, but he thought it was worth a try. 

Besides asthma, Bowen is used to treat muscular-skeletal problems in the back, neck and knees, and a widening variety of problems, from migraines and irritable bowel syndrome to anxiety and even chronic infection.

In Simon’s first hour-long session, Janie Godfrey, the Bowen therapist, took note of what triggered his asthma, how it behaved at its worst and how it responded to medication.  

She then used the standard Bowen procedure, followed by the treatment specifically for asthma.  Both consist of a series of “moves”, which Godfrey describes as a “tiny, rolling motion over the muscles”. Between each set of moves there are breaks during which the therapist leaves the room for a few minutes while the patient remains relaxing on the bed.  

Janie explains this unique feature of the technique:  “As we understand it, the breaks give the body a chance to respond, to take on board the moves that have been made.  It’s as if you get into a dialogue with the body.” 

Simon was impressed:  “The treatment was gentle, although some of the moves felt strange at first.  You wear loose clothing and lie on the bed, covered in blankets, apart from the area of your body that is being worked on.  It’s pleasant, and afterwards you feel relaxed. 

“What I found really surprising was that during the first few sessions I started to have muscular spasms, in the thighs or in my upper body – not in the area Janie had just worked on.  But as the sessions went on the tremors decreased and then stopped entirely.”  

The asthma attacks decreased, too, and his hay fever, which he usually has for two months, this summer lasted a week.  Janie explains:  “It seems that Bowen works by breaking a trigger.  The body knows how not to have asthma, so you just need to find ways to help it not to be triggered to have an asthma response.  If the body is capable of dealing with a condition, Bowen is usually able to trigger its ability to do so.  

It has a profound effect on stimulating the body’s own systems to sort themselves out.”   

According to Janie, most Bowen patients experience a significant improvement, and often total recovery after about four sessions, although some asthma patients need as many as 12.  

Most patients come back for top-up treatments, which serve as a reminder to the body.  All asthma patients are told to come back if they have an attack.  They are also taught an emergency move, which involves pushing your thumb into the soft stomach area and is illustrated on .  

Janie wishes everyone knew how to do it, because it can break even quite dangerous attacks. 

For Simon the acid test will be the next few months of chilly 3am starts.  He says: “If I get through to the new year without an attack I might leave my inhaler behind.  But it will be odd to give it up – it’s a crutch I had always assumed I would need for the rest of my life.” 

Trigger happy:  the Bowen Technique helps the body to break the trigger that causes an asthma response                

THE BOWEN TECHNIQUE is a soft tissue manipulation therapy that is applied to the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the body very gently and with minimum pressure.  

No one – perhaps not even Tom Bowen, the techique’s Australian creator – has fully understood how the moves work, although it is thought that the unaccustomed stimulation they cause, may lead the brain to investigate the area and release any tension.    

SUITABLE FOR children and adults for a whole range of conditions, inducing asthma, hay fever, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines and stress, as well as sports injuries, bad backs, stiff necks and frozen shoulders.  The emergency move for an asthma attack is illustrated on   

DR TOBY MURCOTT                                                                                                                                                                           CAN THE BOWEN TECHNIQUE REALLY CURE ASTHMA? 
Bowen practitioners do not claim to cure asthma, but do say that it can be very effective in managing the condition.  Many patients, particularly children, report that they found relief with the technique.  

There are two studies currently under way in Britain that hope to provide a clearer picture of whether it works.  The Bowen Technique National Asthma Research Programme is two thirds of the way through its year-long study of 30 patients and 19 therapists.  

The other, on childhood asthma, is being run by the Bowen therapist Alastair Rattray, who is hoping to recruit 100 children.   

Professor Bernadette Carter, of the University of Central Lancashire, has published a pilot study on the Bowen Technique and frozen shoulder.  This is a common, painful complaint that is particularly difficult to treat and can take years to clear up.  

Professor Carter found that between three and five Bowen sessions improved the patient’s shoulders considerably.  In fact, she was so surprised by the results that she repeatedly checked them to make sure she’d got them right.  

This backs up another larger but unpublished study by the European College of Bowen Studies that found it very effective for frozen shoulder.  

The National Asthma Campaign ( recognises that many asthmatics find complementary therapies useful, but advises patients to consult their GPs beforehand and always to continue to take their medication.  

It is gaining acceptance, not through a scientific understanding, but because some doctors and physiotherapists find it helps patients.   

The basic idea of drawing the brain’s attention to a problem then allowing the body to heal itself does not fit in with a conventional view of physiology.  

It’s likely that working with a kindly, interested therapist will make anyone feel better, but it’s harder to explain the reported emergency asthma treatment and frozen shoulder studies in this way.   

Dr Toby Murcott is a former BBC science correspondent   

2009 Update:  
Simon has remained virtually free of asthma in the intervening years.                                                   

Contents provided by the European School of Bowen Studies (ECBS)   

For further details about the Bowen Technique please contact Karen on 01954 260 982 / 07714 995 299 or email [email protected]

THE BOWEN TECHNIQUE – gentle and effective antidote to pain

Posted on 20 January, 2013 at 6:17 Comments comments (97)
N2N Nurse to Nurse              Vol 1  Issue 12   June 2001 

The proactive interactive nursing magazine, produced by nurses, for nurses    

THE BOWEN TECHNIQUE – gentle and effective antidote to pain 
by Janie Godfrey  

In an article about The Bowen Technique which appeared recently in Therapy Weekly, Bowen practitioner Paula Esson noted:  “More and more physiotherapists and doctors are incorporating the technique into their working lives as an excellent additional or primary tool for addressing dysfunction.  The collaboration between Bowen and conventional, orthodox medicine is indicative of a subtle shift away from a drug-dependent medical culture to one that recognises the benefits of treating the whole person.”  

Paula has a very busy Bowen practice at Claypath Medical Centre in Durham, which acknowledges Bowen’s important role in a busy practice.  The Durham clinic will see between 40 and 50 people a week, mostly by word of mouth and referral.  

Individuals who have visited it specifically for Bowen have provided case studies such as this one from 32 year old David Jacobs who was experiencing significant pain from an Achilles tendon inflammation.   

“I recently changed my running shoes and began to notice an uncomfortable strain down my left Achilles.  On finishing each run the area would burn and be painful for some hours later.  This developed until running became impossible without pain.  Direct work with massage and other hands-on approaches to the area created little relief.  On seeing a Bowen practitioner a suggestion was made that the problem could be coming from the sacroiliac joint in the lower back.  Three sessions working in this area gave permanent relief.  I now see the practitioner only if I am preparing for a big race."

Lympheodema nurse and Bowen practitioner, Eilish Lund has used Bowen with great effectiveness in her practice and wrote, in an article for the British Lymphology Society Newsletter:    

"I have treated two patients with bilateral groin dissection and radical vulvectomy who were referred within 3 months of surgery who achieved wonderful volume reduction in both legs, even though they presented with class 2 hosiery which did not seem to be addressing the problem. For me the most amazing results are not the reduction in limb volume but the effect this treatment has on pain.”   

Eilish tells of a 58 year old lady who developed Lymphoedema following a varicose vein operation and was referred from another Lymphoedema clinic, in class 3 rigid hosiery with severe pain which was present most of the day and was at 7 - 9 on the pain scale.  She was not compliant with the garment as she found it too difficult to wear.  

Eilish treated her only with Bowen, and the lady was pain free after two sessions and does not wear any hosiery now.   

Another case history of Eilish and Bowen is of a 35 year old female who was referred by her GP at the request of her Macmillan Nurse. This lady had been referred to the Macmillan Service for pain control as she was having uncontrolled pain and was very reluctant to resort to opiates.  

She had developed swelling of her right side after her pregnancy and when she stood you could see that the skin colour on one side of her trunk was different to the other.  She had severe pain in her leg and arm and had been informed that her lymph system on the right side was barely functioning.  

Eilish fitted her with a class 3 garment and commenced Bowen Technique treatment.  Within two days, the pain level reduced and after 3 Bowen treatments, she was pain free.  She stopped wearing the stocking long ago and her leg has reduced from being 25% greater to 18%.  She is now maintained with one ½ hour Bowen treatment a month.   

The side effects, cost, discomfort and invasiveness of some of the pain remedies on offer lead many people to search for relief with complementary therapies.  

Margaret, a woman in her 40s, is a typical case.  She had been limping for 4 months due to a painful foot.  Her doctor diagnosed her problem as Interdigital Neuritis (Morton’s Foot Pain) and made an appointment for her to see an orthopaedic specialist, saying that surgery might be the answer.  

After only one treatment with The Bowen Technique the pain disappeared and Margaret happily cancelled her hospital appointment.   

17-year-old Samantha, from Jersey, was experiencing extreme pain in her shoulder and arm and her GP diagnosed a suspected trapped nerve.  She went Bowen practitioner Peter LeBreuilly and he noted that an area around her right scapula was raised, appearing to be in spasm.  

After the first treatment, Samantha experienced extreme pain.  However, within 2 days that had subsided.  After the second treatment she reported no apparent pain or problem but just a slight stiffness.  After the third treatment the stiffness had gone and pain free state was holding.   

U.S. medical doctor and Bowen Technique practitioner JoAnne Whitaker headed a 1997 study into the effect of The Bowen Technique on fibromyalgia as assessed by clinical observation and also by the measurement of Heart Rate Variability (HRV) which is a relatively new, non-invasive methodology that can evaluate both cardiac and Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) function.  

In her paper she wrote: "In our clinical practice, we have had the opportunity to observe numerous positive effects following both the basic and more advanced Bowen protocols. Examples of presenting symptoms that have responded to Bowen work are: acute and chronic lower back pain, frozen shoulder, TMJ discomfort and dysfunction, and Tic Douloureux.  Sports- and work-related symptoms, which have improved following Bowen work, include: runner's knee, tennis elbow, hamstring and rotator cuff injuries. There are specific sets of moves that were developed by Mr Bowen which address the muscles and connective tissue in each of these areas.  Other incidental symptoms that have shown improvement with Bowen work include gastrointestinal reflux, sinus congestion and associated headache pain and bronchoconstriction secondary to allergic response or reactive asthma." 

In their study, subjects with moderate Primary Fibromyalgia were diagnosed by a rheumatologist and were characterised by the presence of widespread chronic pain and tender joints as per criteria for diagnosis by the American College of Rheumatology.  

It has been hypothesised that fibromyalgia is an energy deficient state in the muscle tissues due to reduced circulation.  It is known that fibromyalgia subjects convert muscle protein to glucose at an unusually high rate and this has been interpreted as one of the main reasons for pain, aching and fatigue.  At present there is no ideal conventional medical treatment for fibromyalgia.  The use of an antidepressant (such as amitriptyline) or an anti-inflammatory (such as ibuprofen) has yielded poor to moderate results. 

Amongst the fibromyalgia subjects in Whitaker's study, two things were clearly evident. First, all experienced some immediate relief post-Bowen treatment.  Second, this decrease in symptomology persisted over widely varying time periods ranging from a few days to several weeks.  

One subject reported that her fibromyalgia symptoms continued to be relieved over a six-week period. Dr Whitaker and her team concluded their study by stating that they feel there is also a need to document the value of the Bowen Technique in emergency medicine.  

“There are specific moves reserved for acute and emergent conditions such as asthma attacks, severe migraine headaches and angina pain which would lend themselves to easy documentation with short-term HRV studies of the ANS balance.” 

District Nurse Ann Offord, from Essex, says:  “What nurses are crying out for is a treatment they can use in the context of their typical hectic workloads which is portable, safe, and effective.  There is no other therapy I know which fits these needs like Bowen does.” 

Anne is trained in several other complementary therapies, but chooses Bowen every time.  It does not require equipment, it is time-effective and there are no side effects.  Bowen is so adaptable that, even with just a few moments of time available, Anne can offer patients something that really helps.

Contents provided by the European School of Bowen Studies (ECBS)   

 For further details about the Bowen Technique please contact Karen on 01954 260 982 / 07714 995 299 or email [email protected]

Bowen and Osteopathy - the Missing Link

Posted on 20 January, 2013 at 6:04 Comments comments (0)
OSTEOPATHY  TODAY   ·   September 2002                                                                                                              

Bowen and Osteopathy  -  the Missing Link           
by Julian Baker  

There is little argument that modern osteopathy is one of the widest ranging of therapies currently in practice in the world today.  Encompassing as it does articulation, adjustment, massage, stretching, etc., there is, in theory, nothing that is missing from the osteopathic tool kit. Important however is the need for the therapist to continue to expand in their view, to broaden their outlook in the search for more varied and appropriate ways of treatment.  

A therapy only recently introduced to the UK, The Bowen Technique is starting to make waves in the osteopathic and physiotherapy community. 

In many ways this somewhat renegade therapy owes its roots to the same pioneering spirit of Andrew Still, coming as it does from an untrained and largely self-educated man from Victoria, Australia, Thomas Bowen.  

Bowen left school at the age of fourteen and started work as a labourer in various jobs.  A keen sportsman he coached a boys swimming team and was involved in cricket, bowls and Australian rules football and it was this sporting interest that led him to look at ways of addressing physical structure quickly. 

His major skill lay in his incredibly keen eye, which was able to spot imbalances almost instantaneously, and when these were detected the smallest and quickest of moves were applied in order to start the process of change. 

Most of the few men he taught were conventionally trained therapists from the field of massage, osteopathy or chiropractic and Tom Bowen was very keen to be viewed in the same light, calling himself an osteopath until the profession was regulated in 1974.  

Indeed he did apply to register but was turned down, due to his lack of formal training. Word spread and Bowen was introduced to the UK public in 1994 after an article appeared in the Daily Mail.   

So what is it? 

The key to Bowen lies in its simplicity and ease of application.  Neither the therapist nor the client is put under any sort of physical pressure, meaning that patient acceptance is very high.  The moves are a series of soft tissue releases over specified areas, made by the therapist applying gentle pressure with thumbs or fingers. 

The moves use the available skin to create a disturbance of connective tissue, which in turn has the effect of interfering with proprio-reception.  The pressure used is described as being similar to that which can be applied to the eyeball and the moves are a roll rather than the flick that can be associated with other fascial release techniques. 

The indication of movement external to the body requires a response from various parts of the brain in order to assess what action, if any, is appropriate.  

In many cases there needs to be no action on the part of anyone in order for a physical response to occur.  For example, if I hold a brick above my head and indicate a desire to throw it at you, the limbic system prepares you for either running away or defending yourself.  In turn there will be a measurable galvanic skin response (GSR).  Your heart will start pumping more blood, your temperature will rise and you will start sweating in order to dissipate the heat. 

The brain at any one time is dealing with over 600,000 signals per second, in a frenzy of cerebral activity, much of which is being dealt with on a ‘need to know’ basis.  

A series of Bowen moves draws attention to a particular area and requires that priority of response be given.  In order to do this the brain will often move to an alpha state.  

Alpha brain patterns vary from deep alpha, a state of deep relaxation often referred to as the "twilight state" between sleep and waking, to the higher end of alpha which is a more focused yet still very relaxed state.  

Bowen capitalises on this relaxed state through the use of a series of short breaks of approximately two minutes, when the work is allowed to take effect. 

The key principle behind Bowen is that essentially the therapist is simply pushing the body to start the process of structural restoration, without having to do very much.  The result is that a response is generally very rapid and results can be seen in a very short time, with the majority of clients reporting significant improvement or even resolution in two or three treatments. 

In addition to the normal improvements observed, a common reaction is that the patient reports other changes unrelated to the original presentation.    These ‘serendipitous’ outcomes are probably one of the most often reported reactions to Bowen.  

“Yes my shoulder improved, but my stomach cramps also went away.” 

Edward Hough qualified as a physiotherapist in 1966 and became an osteopath in the early 1980’s.  His successful practice was going well when he first heard about Bowen in 1995 and after making enquiries, completed the Bowen training in 1998.  

After four years of using it extensively, Hough estimates that Bowen now accounts for approximately 80% of his practice.  His original approach was to use Bowen in place of massage for relaxation, but quickly found that he needed to use fewer techniques, with more and more resolutions coming from one or two Bowen treatments.  

He now uses Bowen for a first presentation, moving on to other techniques if there is no improvement.  He says,  “I like the holistic aspects of Bowen very much.  It can be a preventative treatment as well and, of course, the other tremendous bonus is that the patients are very relaxed:  first because Bowen is such a gentle treatment and then because the Bowen treatment itself induces a profound relaxation in almost everyone.”  

Nowadays, Hough tries to keep the manipulation to a minimum as much as possible.   “When you have a joint injury or strain and the joint rotates slightly or is misaligned, the muscles around accommodate it – some go tight and some stretch and hold the joint in that position.  It can be painful but it is nature’s way of holding the joint, nature’s splint.  So you work on the surrounding muscles first and relax them so the manipulation doesn’t tear the muscles.  The body strives to right itself and I find that often the Bowen Technique will stimulate the muscles to realign the joint on their own.”   

Research as with any modality, the need for ‘scientific’ research into the effects of Bowen has been called for.  It could be held that science is a particularly blunt tool with which to dissect reality and that absence of proof does not demonstrate proof of absence.                  

In 1999 it was decided that at the same time as running a trial into the effects of The Bowen Technique, we would also test the oft-cited ‘placebo effect’ as being the cause of any improvements.  

A hundred people diagnosed with ‘frozen shoulder’ were given either Bowen or what they thought was a Bowen treatment.  The results were remarkable, with the control group reporting improvement, but with no statistical significant improvement at all in their measured range of motion.  The treated group had a significant response to treatment with an average 70% improvement in pain and range of movement. 

In order to stabilize data, treating practitioners did not give exercises or address other conditions that might also have impacted on the shoulder.  

Because Bowen tries to treat as a whole, rather than isolating and treating specific conditions, the ability to run standard research protocols is restricted and other ways of demonstrating outcomes need to be found.  

In addition these also need to be acceptable to the communities for whom evidence based medicine is paramount. The Bowen Technique is not an easy ride for many formally trained therapists as the training takes a fundamentally non-pragmatic view of diagnostics. 

The Bowen view is that therapists should avoid the diagnosis and treatment of specific problems.  By focusing too narrowly on a certain area the clear danger is that we can miss other contributing factors, especially where there is a degree of obscurity, or the immediate relevance is not obvious. Another key element is the need for time.  

It is not uncommon for a patient to leave a Bowen treatment with the same level of pain or discomfort as when they arrived, and the therapist must avoid the temptation of ‘pain chasing’.  

If, as we claim, we are asking the body to repair itself then a level of trust that this can happen is implicit as part of the process. It is this element of trust required that makes Bowen a difficult modality for some to grasp.  

In addition, therapists who are accustomed to a deeper or more physical approach, find the gentle pressure and minimal moves require a radical change in the idea of what determines therapy. 

 As one osteopath struggling to come to terms with Bowen put it, “It just didn’t make sense.  How could one perform these seemingly insignificant moves and expect to change structure?  In the end I set out to disprove what my instructor was propounding.  In a very short space of time, the results spoke for themselves.  I was sadly a convert!” 

On a practical level Bowen is ideal for the busy therapist.  The nature of the work means that it can be performed through light clothing, making it ideal for use in situations where removal of clothing might be an issue, particularly children or the elderly.  

The series of breaks that define what is or is not Bowen, mean that two or even three patients can be treated simultaneously, although this does require a degree of practice. Because the work being performed is very gentle, the therapist can maintain a high patient turnover, without detriment to his or her own physical state.  

After all who wants to retire tired?                   

About the Author JULIAN BAKER is the Director and Principal Instructor of the European College of Bowen Studies (E.C.B.S.).  Originally from London, he undertook extensive training in The Bowen Technique when living in Australia.  

Returning to Britain in 1992, he initially ran a busy Bowen clinic but soon began teaching the technique full time in response to the tremendous demand for training.  

As a result of his devotion and boundless energy, he has been responsible for the rapid growth of the technique in the UK, travelling throughout the country teaching and promoting it.  He is the author of The Bowen Technique, the first book ever to be written about the technique, which was published by Corpus Books in September 2001.  

Julian is married with two young children.          

Contents provided by the European School of Bowen Studies (ECBS)   

For further details about the Bowen Technique please contact Karen on 01954 260 982 / 07714 995 299 or email [email protected]