What is it?

The Bowen Technique is a holistic therapy involving a series of moves at precise points over the muscles, tendons, ligaments and surrounding soft tissue. After each series of moves the practitioner leaves the room for several minutes to enable the body to the move and make fine adjustments in response. There is no manipulation of hard tissue and the treatment is not a form of massage.

It is non-intrusive, very gentle and very effective. Treatment can be carried out through light clothing.

The treatment usually lasts approximately 45 minutes. Often two or three treatments, at weekly intervals, are sufficient to achieve lasting relief from even long standing pain, although some further treatments may be required.

The Bowen Technique is often used as a means of preventing injury and illness by maintenance treatments carried out 2 - 4 times a year.

How does it work?

The Bowen Technique is based on the principle that the body has the ability to heal itself if it is given the opportunity and conditions to do so.

A treatment stimulates the central nervous system, helps release muscle spasm, relieves congested kidneys and stimulates the lymphatic system and circulatory systems.  By doing so, it provides the body with the opportunity to rebalance on many levels.


The Bowen Technique originates from Australia and was developed in the 1930s by Tom Bowen.

After working as a labourer in his youth, Tom became interested in massage and body work and spent time watching football trainers and others involved in sport.

Although Tom had no medical training, he had an incredible eye which was able to spot structural imbalances and identify where these originated.  With a few very simple and gentle moves, he would start the process of repair immediately, often without the client realising that anything had changed.

The results of his treatments spoke for themselves and Tom Bowen was no doubt the busiest therapist of his time.  When interviewed for a parliamentary committee looking into complimentary medicine, he stated, under oath, that he treated around 280 clients a week with the help of an assistant and a receptionist. This makes a total per year of around 13,000 clients, 88% of whom only required two or three treatments. People would travel for hundreds of miles to see him, often in long term pain and would be corrected in a couple of sessions.

Tom also worked on racehorses and greyhounds having a remarkable result with one horse who came second in the Melbourne Cup.

Tom Bowen died in the early 1980s but there are a number of flourishing therapies based on his work.

© Andrea Planchant 2007 All rights reserved.