What is the Bowen Technique?

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  • Written By: J. Hahn
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 25 December 2019
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The Bowen technique is a healing technique that utilizes gentle touch to ease pain. It was developed by Thomas Ambrose Bowen, a laborer from Geelong, Australia, who was born in 1916. Despite the fact that he had only an 8th-grade education, Bowen developed his technique to treat other laborers and athletes who were suffering from pain. In the 1950s, Bowen had developed such a following that he was able to practice his method full-time.

The Bowen technique involves light touching and gentle motion that involves a rolling action to stimulate a certain point or set of points, followed by a pause to allow the touch to integrate. The gentle touches are meant to stimulate the body into healing itself. The Bowen technique is performed on clients while they are clothed and lying on a bodywork table or bed, although a chair can be used if the client is unable to get onto a table. Sessions depend on the therapist and the client's needs and can last anywhere from a few minutes to up to an hour.


Many Bowen technique therapists recommend a series of sessions to achieve the best results. Bowen technique practitioners say that it can be practiced on people of all ages and there are no contraindications for pregnancy. Bowen technique practitioners say that it can be used to help ease many different types of pain, from sciatica to bunions to back pain to sports injuries. In addition, they claim that it is useful in combating ADD/ADHD, pre-menstrual syndrome, headaches, respiratory problems and more. The Bowen technique can also be used on animals.

There is much debate about how Bowen therapy works. Bowen himself said that each touch was either "positive" and stimulating energy flow, or "negative" and blocking or reflecting energy. Practitioners say that each touch relieves tension in the surrounding areas by stimulating the nervous system, allowing more lymph and blood to move through the area. Bowen himself recommended that his clients avoid any other therapies, either holistic or medical, for one week after a treatment in order to let the body heal itself.



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