2021 Alternative Therapies Bowen Therapy

Is Bowen Therapy Effective? 14 Things You Must To Know

Note: before diving into this article, see here if you’re looking for a beginner friendly introduction to Bowen Therapy

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and am not offering medical advice. Please consult your doctor if you have any medical concerns.

1 – What Is Bowen Therapy?


Bowen Therapy is a bodywork therapy that involves a series of gentle massage-like movements. Patients are fully clothed, and the practitioner stretches and relaxes the body’s soft connective tissue (fascia). This calms the body’s feelings of fight or flight allowing the body to heal itself naturally


This short video by NST Health gives a visual demonstration of what Bowen Therapy is and how it works:



2 – Is Bowen Therapy Effective?


While the scientific evidence is still inconclusive, the anecdotal evidence of Bowen Therapy’s effectiveness is quite strong. Bowen Therapy has been found to be effective at treating aches and joint pains, frozen shoulder, headaches, migraines, as well as helping to relieve stress, anxiety and depression.  


This video by Brigid Fitzgerald demonstrates a short Bowen Therapy session and show’s its effectiveness in action:



3 – What Are The Benefits Of Bowen Therapy?


Bowen Therapy is used in the treatment of musculoskeletal conditions, such as chronic pains including: back pain, shoulder pain, knee problems, as well as acute conditions like sports injuries and recovery after a car crash. Bowen uses gentle massage-like moves to encourage natural healing


Additionally, the benefits of Bowen are that it is a holistic therapy, meaning that it looks to understand and heal the entire body as a whole, rather than view each symptom in isolation. The human body is a complex ecosystem, with each piece working together as a cohesive whole. 


For example, if someone was experiencing back pain, the root problem may not actually be their back, but rather a knee injury which caused poor posture and ultimately resulted in the back pain. Specialists who just focus on the back, may miss the bigger picture. 


The Government of Victoria has stated that Bowen therapy is safe for anyone to use, from newborns to the eldery, and can be used for any musculoskeletal or connected neuromuscular conditions. Bowen is a holistic therapy that works to treat the whole person and the underlying root causes, rather than just putting band-aid solutions on symptoms.   


This video by the Bowen College takes you through and explains in simple and concise terms, the benefits of Bowen Therapy:



4 – What Happens After A Bowen Therapy Session?


After a Bowen Therapy session, avoid extremes – extreme hot, extreme cold, extreme physical activity, for at least 7 days. It is also recommended to avoid other treatments like acupuncture, massage, chiropractics, or sports like martial arts or power-lifting, until the body finishes adjusting. 


While Bowen doesn’t have any side-effects in the conventional sense, some post-therapy reactions to watch for are relaxation, drowsiness, warmth, and emotional release. In more extreme cases, patients have reported headaches and sensations resembling the on-set of a fever


While these symptoms are rare, they are important to watch for. Some patients have also reported sensations of achy or sore muscles, which felt similar to the soreness experienced after strenuous physical activity, such as long-distance running, or heavy weightlifting at the gym. 


For the Bowen Treatment to have maximum effect, it is recommended to avoid any extreme hot or cold for one week after treatment, including hot tubs, spa pools, overly hot showers, or sleeping with an electric blanket. Similarly avoid cold showers or excessively cool drinks


5 – How To Do Bowen Therapy On Yourself?


Unless you are a skilled practitioner, it is not recommended to do Bowen on yourself. Bowen, like any therapy, needs to be handled with the utmost respect and handled by a professional. Attempting to do Bowen on yourself, may result in adverse and unwanted impacts


To give you a better sense, this video by the Integrated Bowen Therapy, takes you through exactly what a full 30-Minute Bowen Demonstration looks like:



6 – How Do You Perform Bowen Therapy?


Bowen Therapy works by stretching and relaxing the body’s soft connective tissue (also known as fascia). By inducing a state of relaxed being, the body is able to begin its own natural healing process. Moves are done using the hands in gentle, rolling movements


The Bowen Technique is done while the patient is fully clothed, wearing light and loose fitting clothing. This allows the practitioner to easily reach every part of the body and perform the technique. Hand movements are massage-like and very gentle and pleasant.  


There is no forced manipulation during a Bowen session, meaning that sessions are easy and pain-free. This makes Bowen suitable for both babies and the elderly, as the moves are light, gentle and feel similar to getting a calming massage


Performing the Bowen Technique has been found to reduce pain and inflammation, as well as improve mobility and flexibility. Most patients seek out Bowen as a remedy to their back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, or general aches and pains through the body. 


This video by the NAT Education, shows you in 5 minutes exactly how to perform a Bowen Therapy session:



7 – Bowen Is A Non-Forceful, Calming, And Holistic Healing Therapy


Bowen Therapy is designed to calm and relax the body, allowing it to enter a state of relaxed healing, opening up the body’s natural energy pathways. The body has a powerful natural ability to heal itself, but this often gets blocked by stress, tension and high cortisol levels.


Bowen Therapy Works By These 12 Ways:


  1. Calming and relaxing the body
  2. Allowing stuck energy to get ‘unstuck’
  3. Encouraging deep breathing
  4. Reducing cortisol levels
  5. Opening natural energy pathways
  6. Encouraging the body to self-heal
  7. Increasing blood flow 
  8. Stimulating the lymphatic system
  9. Untangling tense muscles and tendons
  10. Encouraging emotional release
  11. Inducing a state of calm presence
  12. Soothing and relaxing 


8- How Often Should You Do Bowen Therapy?


Unlike pharmaceuticals, Bowen Therapy cannot be overdone. Typically, an initial 2-3 sessions are scheduled with one week gaps in between. For less severe cases, this will usually be enough, however for more serious cases, 6-12 sessions will be needed for the body to fully heal.  


9 – Bowen Therapy ‘Wait A Week’


After receiving a Bowen Treatment, it is recommended to drink water, go for walks, and wait a week until the next session (the 3 W’s). Waiting a full week allows the body the opportunity for the moves to settle in to complete the healing process. It cannot be rushed


Attempting to do too many Bowen Sessions within too short a time period, can confuse the body. It will be in the middle of healing one part of the body, and adding more sessions too quickly will undo the previous work


It takes a full week for the moves to ‘settle’ and for the body to reach its new state of normal. It can be exciting to try to fix everything at once, but do remain patient, and maintain at least 1 full week between each Bowen Session


10 – Does Bowen Therapy Make You Tired?


Bowen Therapy by its very nature is a relaxing and calming therapy, leaving many patients feeling drowsy and sleepy afterwards. This is all part of the body’s natural healing process. If possible, have a friend pick you up or call a taxi/uber if you’re feeling tired. 


It is also recommended after your session to take a light walk to get the blood pumping again and bring your body back to a calm state of alertness. Take some time to move your body. Have a walk around the block, or go longer if you have the energy


While it is not the intention of Bowen Therapy to put you to sleep, it is important to remember that sleep is essential for allowing the body to heal. This is when the magic happens. Ensure you’re getting a full 8 hours of sleep for your body to fully recover


Keep hydrated, move your body, stay well rested, and you’ll be on track to recovery. 


11 – Bowen As An Alternative Healing Therapy


Bowen Therapy provides an alternative modality to healing the body from traditional western medicine. It provides holistic approach to understanding the body, and is an alternative to many mainstream therapies that require forceful manipulation or result in heavy side-effects


Many patients prefer Bowen due to its alternative nature, and focus primarily on activating natural ways of healing the body. Many people have become frustrated with the mainstream medical establishment, feeling they’re unable to get the treatments they need


Additionally, because Bowen emphasises the body’s natural healing mechanisms, there are no serious side-effects. This can be a huge relief for patients who are tired of the roller coaster ride brought on by prescription medications


12 – Bowen As A Holistic Healing Modality


A major distinction between Bowen Therapy and conventional Western medicine, is the primary focus on the holistic being. Bowen is a healing modality that views the person as one entire being, as opposed to being the sum of its parts


This means that Bowen Practitioners are concerned about how each piece of the body is interconnected together. By healing the whole body as one, Bowen Practitioners are able to see the bigger picture, and bring about real healing


Bowen Therapy is dynamic, using gentle stimulation of the soft connective tissue to encourage the body’s natural healing mechanisms. This makes the modality a powerful way for practitioners to heal patients that have been told by the medical establishment that there is no cure for them


13 – How Long Is A Bowen Therapy Session?


Bowen sessions are short, generally lasting 30 minutes, but up to 1 hour if needed. For maximum effectiveness, wear loose clothing. Typically 2-3 sessions spaced one week apart will be adequate to complete the series, but under certain situations more sessions may be required. 


When conditions are more complicated and serious, involving many parts of the body all at once. Your Bowen Therapist may require you to come for a series of appointments. This allows them to work each part of the body, slowly healing as they go. For maximum effectiveness it is best to remain patient, and follow through with all appointments. 


14 – Benefits Of Bowen Therapy


Some patients view Bowen as the miracle cure-all, and while that is likely a stretch, Bowen has helped countless people around the world to live happier and healthier lives. Through a holistic approach to health, Bowen is able to bring about deep relaxation within the body


In a state of relaxation, the body is able to ‘switch on’ its own natural healing mechanisms, allowing it to overcome pains, aches, soreness, inflammation as well as a whole range of flexibility and mobility issues


While generally considered a treatment for musculoskeletal concerns, Bowen Therapy has also been used extensively for mental health conditions related to stress, anxiety and depression, due to Bowens simple and natural ability simple to calm the body down. 


Most human beings are pretty stressed all the time – and when we’re stressed our cortisol levels (stress hormones) spike through the roof. This can be a great short term response to help get us out of danger, however the long term effects are highly detrimental to the functioning of the body

Bowen works to relax the body and drop down those cortisol levels, and induce its own natural healing process. The body’s energy ways are opened up, and the body can finally take care of business. It is shocking how powerful relaxation is to the body’s natural healing rhythms.

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