We get asked this question a lot, and for good reason. It is not a common therapy compared to the likes of say Acupuncture or Herbal Medicine and the name of the therapy doesn’t explain what it may entail. It is also a relatively “new” therapy, it was developed in the 1950’s by Tom Bowen in Australia. Word spread about this man and the therapy and people from all over Australia came for treatment for all their untreatable ailments.
So, what is Bowen Therapy exactly? It is a form of bodywork that involves stretching the soft tissue, or the fascia that covers all of your muscles and organs. It also focusses on the muscles, tendons and ligaments. The therapy uses gentle rolling-type movements using the thumbs and fingers on precise points on the body, which are known as cross-fibre manipulations.
These manipulations stimulate nerve pathways which allow for a “conversation” to take place between different nervous systems of the body. They help to stimulate the body’s own energy, allowing the body to reset and heal itself. The practitioner will carry out each manipulation and then leave the room for a few minutes to allow the communication process to take place without any interfering energy. The breaks increase the effectiveness of the next set of manipulations.
What conditions does Bowen Therapy treat?
Bowen Therapy is mainly used for pain relief by stimulating the nervous system. It acts on the automatic nervous system by inhibiting the sympathetic nervous system, which controls your fight or flight response. It activates your rest and digest response, which is controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system. This is the prime state for your body to be in, in order to heal. It is said to penetrate at a deep cellular level and also stimulate the release of toxins.
Some common pain related conditions it can be beneficial for include headaches, back pain, neck pain, knee injuries, frozen shoulder and tennis elbow. However, as it helps to reset and heal the body, it is also commonly used to address other issues such as IBS, high blood pressure, asthma, fatigue and in improving motor function. In addition, it is used to help support emotional based disorders such as stress, anxiety and depression. It can be a valuable form of treatment for a wide array of conditions.
What does Bowen Therapy feel like?
Gentle pressure, it is not painful in any way. Many people report feeling a tingling sensation or a feeling of warmth on the area being worked on.
Are there any side-effects?
Some people may have some stiffness or soreness in the days following a treatment. Some may get a headache and might feel like they are coming down with the flu. This is called a healing reaction and is indicative that the brain and body have started the process of repair.
How many sessions will you need?
This will vary for each client and will depend on the nature of the problem, and how long you have been suffering with it. However, it is not uncommon for some people who have had long standing pain, for it to be significantly reduced or resolved in just two or three treatments.
Who can benefit from Bowen Therapy?
It is safe to use on anyone, from newborns to the elderly. It is a holistic treatment that aims to treat the root cause of the problem and not just the symptoms. Animals also love Bowen Therapy too! It is said that cats, dogs and horses respond well from this healing modality.