The Bowen technique enables the body to heal itself through the gentle massage of specific points throughout the body.
Thomas A Bowen who was born in Australia in 1916 developed this fascinating Holistic therapy. Thomas left school at 16 and became a carpenter like his father. His wife suffered from severe asthma and through helping to relieve her respiratory congestion, he developed the technique that eventually improved the lives of thousands of people. While working for Geelong Cement Works in the 1950s, Thomas started his healing clinics. He had no formal training and we only know of his works today through the records kept by those he trained.
The Bowen technique works through rebalancing of the Autonomic Nervous System, which controls over 80% of bodily functions and is very vulnerable to physical and emotional stress. Such rebalancing involves a shift from Sympathetic (fight or flight) mode to Parasympathetic (vegetative) mode, which enables the body to unwind and start the process of healing.
The Bowen technique also activates other mechanisms that help the body heal itself. These include:
- Joint proprioceptors: The joint capsule and surrounding ligaments have a rich supply of prorioceptors. Surprisingly, a gentle stimulation of these prorioceptors sends the appropriate messages to the nervous system restoring normal joint function.
- Fascia: Bowen manipulations involve very slight movement of the superficial fascia in relation to whichever nerve, muscle, or tendon needs mobilization. A session often results in loosening of adhesions, softening of scar tissue, and improvement in posture and mobility without the need for strenuous maneuvers.
- Segmental visceromatic spinal reflexes: A number of Bowen moves on the skin, nerves, and muscles stimulate these reflexes resulting in referred reactions to the internal organs.
- Harmonic vibration or resonance model: Gentle manipulations initiate vibrations that restore balance and harmony in the body.
- Lymphatics: Certain Bowen moves result in lymphatic stimulation and drainage that has its own benefits.
- Detoxification: Bowen therapy often initiates detoxification that improves the body's function at a cellular level.
Due to the holistic nature of the treatment, the practitioner will treat the person as a whole rather than concentrate on the presenting problem because the origin of the condition is not always clear.Three to four sessions are recommended, with five to seven days between each to determine if the person is likely to respond. Post-session reactions are not uncommon and include headaches, tiredness, flu-like symptoms, thirst, and a temporary increase in the original symptoms. In the event of a strong reaction, a client is likely to need a few extra sessions to ensure they receive the full effect from the treatment. Dress code for a client is relaxed and there is no need to undress for the therapy that lasts up to an hour. To give the body a chance to respond to the manipulations, the practitioner takes short breaks throughout the process and may leave the room.
Loud 'gurgling' sounds from the client's abdomen indicate that the client's body has gone into Parasympathetic mode and has started detoxification via the gastrointestinal system. It is recommended that a client avoid other complementary therapies for a week afterwards to enable the body to continue its healing. Regular, gentle exercise is also encouraged, as well as plenty of water to aid detoxification. Bowen therapy is used to treat a wide range of acute and chronic conditions and is gentle enough for newborn babies, the frail elderly and animals. Healing continues over time but if necessary, a client can return for further sessions to boost the healing process.