What is Bowenwork®?

Deborah Walker
Deborah Walker

Bowenwork® is a type of gentle bodywork or massage developed by Australian Tom Bowen in the 1960s. It consists of small, precise rolling movements over the muscles, fascia, nerves, and connective tissues at specific locations around the body. These movements aim to shift the body from the stressed fight-or-flight response to a state of relaxation that reminds the body how to heal itself. Many Bowenwork® clients report improvements in their condition following treatment. According to the Bowenwork® Academy USA, this bodywork has minimal side effects and is safe for people of all ages and conditions.

A Bowenwork® session may be conducted in almost any location. If the session takes place in an office or clinic, the patient lies on a padded therapy table or sits comfortably in a chair. The therapist can do the moves through loose clothing, so no disrobing is required.

When the patient is ready, the therapy begins. During the session, the bodyworker uses a light touch. Massage lotion or body oil is not necessary. After each set of movements, the therapist leaves the treatment room so that the client's body has a chance to respond to the work. The bodyworker returns to the treatment room and continues the session after the muscles have relaxed a bit. Most sessions run 15 minutes to one hour and scheduled at least five days apart.

There is no clear-cut scientific evidence that this form of bodywork is effective. Even so, according to providers and patients, some of the conditions that have responded well to Bowenwork® in the past include bedwetting, abdominal pain, kidney problems, and frozen shoulder. The therapy may also help back pain, sciatica, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, migraines, asthma, carpal tunnel, and neck pain. Case histories collected from practitioners around the world suggest that most people experience improvement in their conditions within 14 days of the first session. The Bowenwork® company does not claim that the therapy cures any illness or disease.

It is probably safe to do Bowenwork® when taking over-the-counter or prescription medications. This bodywork can also be combined with other forms of hands-on therapy, such as massage, as long as the sessions are spaced several days apart. The only noticeable side effect following a session may be some muscle soreness. This is especially true if the patient is being treated for a chronic condition, if the treated area is weak, or just not used to moving. As always, someone considering Bowenwork® may want to consult with a professional healthcare provider first.

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