Helping you understand Bowenwork

What conditions does Bowenwork address?
While Bowenwork cannot be said to cure any condition, many therapists have been successful in addressing problems relating to these and other conditions:
Abdominal pain
Ankle pain
Back pain
Bed wetting
Bell’s Palsy
Breast Lumps
Ileo-Cecal Issues
Infertility (M&F)
Jaw & TMJ
Kidney issues
Knee problems
Calf Pain
Carpal Tunnel
Chest Pains
Cluster Headaches
Coccyx Pain
Diaphragm pain
Digestive Issues
Ear problems
Elbow Pain
Frozen Shoulder
Gall Bladder Pain
Golfer’s Elbow
Groin Pain
Hammer Toes
Hay fever
Heel Pain
Hiatal Hernia
High Shoulder
Leg cramps
Liver issues
Lymph edema
Meniere’s disease
Pelvic Tilt
Planter fascitis
Pre-surgical recovery
Post-surgical recovery
Pregnancy issues
Sacral pain
Shin pain
Shin splints
Sinus pain
Rib/sternal pain
Tennis elbow
Thoracic outlet
Trigeminal Neuralgia
What is Bowenwork?

Bowenwork is a non-invasive, hands-on healthcare system that stimulates the body’s innate healing processes. 

The practitioner applies sequences of light moves over very specific locations that interact with the central nervous system. This stimulation of special receptors in the tendons, muscles and ligaments of the body serve to reconnect communication pathways, reminding the body of its original DNA template. Whole body healing is stimulated, inviting the body to return “home”. 

These stimuli typically result in deep relaxation, resetting of muscular tension and range of motion, lymph drainage, inflammation reduction, and pain relief.

How long does a session last?

A Bowenwork session generally lasts from 15 minutes to an hour with the client resting comfortably on a massage table

How is Bowenwork different from traditional massage and bodywork?

Massage is primarily the manipulation of muscle tissue to product relaxation, and improved muscle function.  Bowenwork is distinguished by its effectiveness in very few sessions to address much more than just the issues associated with muscles. The work is performed with the client lying on a table or sitting in a chair, as with massage. However, the client may remain clothed, and no oil or lotion is used.

How often, and how many times will I need to come?

Ideally, 2 -5 Bowen sessions are scheduled a week apart. Clients usually see significant improvement within these sessions. Additional sessions are scheduled a week to two weeks apart as needed, with most conditions resolving within 3-8 sessions. More complex conditions may require additional treatment.

How soon should I feel relief?

Relief can come very quickly from a session of Bowenwork; sometimes instantaneously. There is a great variability in individuals’ ability to heal and the rate at which they do so, depending on numerous factors. Typically, results come within the first week after the initial session; 3-10 sessions spaced a week apart are sufficient for most issues. This number is still a fraction of the amount of visits and time spent in many other forms of care.

How long do the effects of a Bowenwork session last?

The responses to a Bowenwork session begin during the session and continue for at least 3-4 days after the session (and sometimes up to 2 weeks of subtle shifts are observed). This is why we ask for 5-10 days in between sessions---to give the body the chance to integrate the work before giving it another set of instructions on how to heal.

The problem may come back if issues contributing to the symptoms have not been completely addressed.  If there is muscle weakness, a problem of long duration or re-injury to the area, the problem may return.  Once they have been, supporting your recovery with appropriate activity, good nutrition, hydration, and avoiding re-injury, makes the likelihood of the problem returning very low. Some situations require occasional sessions to maintain the higher level of functionality.

What do I have to do to help my recovery?

Taking a 15 - 20 minute walk, and drinking 8-12 glasses of water a day are suggested to support the work begun during your session. Water acts like a sponge absorbing the particulate that has been released by the work into the blood stream. Not drinking enough water following sessions can result typical detoxification symptoms. While not harmful, they can be uncomfortable.  Walking helps to move the lymph system, which in turn helps support the detoxification process.

Other types or restorative movement may be suggested, depending on the issue being addressed.

What is a session like?

Bowenwork can be received through lose clothing. Typically, a person is laying on a massage table, with a light blanket, or sheet over them. Specific sequences of short, gentle, rolling motions of the thumbs or fingers are performed over specific structures (muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves) of the body. 

Why Does A Bowenwork Practitioner Step Away For Part of the Sessions?

This is one of the more unusual characteristics of Bowenwork. Bearing in mind that anything electrical has a measurable field around it, it is suggested that removing the therapist’s energy field from that of the recipient allows the recipient’s field to process the information without any disturbance or influence from the therapist’s field.

(Note: much to this therapist’s surprise, I find it more relaxing to have the therapist step out of the room during that “cooking” time.)

Why is such light pressure used? How can it be effective?

Quite simply, it has been observed that less pressure brings more results than heavy pressure with this type of work.

That Bowenwork works with such light pressure follows a physiologic law, the Schulze law, which states that the body responds more deeply and positively to low level stimuli than it does to painful strong stimuli. Tom Bowen discovered the principle long before Schulze formulated his law.

You don’t need a sledge hammer to turn on a light, right? Most of our body’s healing processes can be activated without over stimulating the tissues.

Why are there so few touches to the body?

Bowenwork uses fewer touches because of the precision used with their application. Like a diamond cutter using one blow to create a gem out of a stone, Bowenwork gets the most out of each touch.

Do all Bowenwork practitioners work the same way? Why would I care if my practitioner is not current with their certification?

Although practitioners may vary some in their technique, all accredited Bowenwork practitioners use the same protocols and address problems in the same way.

We have observed that it is easier than one realizes to gradually migrate away from doing the moves correctly and in the correct locations. Being sure your Bowenwork practitioner is current with their certification assures you will receive the best results from the work.

Is Bowenwork practiced in American medical institutions?

Yes. Bowenwork is being used in some American hospitals. In the Swedish Hospital in Seattle, WA, some occupational therapists are now incorporating Bowenwork in their practice, too. There are several medical doctors who have taken the training and incorporate Bowenwork into their practices. Some physical therapists in Kaiser Permanente in CA and in Ann Arbor, MI have learned the work and apply it for their patients.

Will I have to hurt more before I feel better?

In most cases, no. If the problem is of long duration, or there has been extensive weakening of the area, there may be discomfort from new movement in a previously "rusty" area or from using a muscle that has decreased strength and stamina.

What conditions does Bowenwork address?

While Bowenwork cannot be said to cure any condition, many therapists have been successful in addressing problems relating to these and other conditions:



Will Bowenwork help a recent injury?

The sooner Bowenwork is applied to an injury, the faster and more powerful the recovery can be. Bowenwork helps the Body bypass the unnecessary pain and inflammation reactions and get right to healing.

Will Bowenwork reduce stress?

Bowenwork reduces the effects of stress immediately. During sessions clients reportsensations of calmness. The pattern of shallow breathing, rapid heart rate, andhypersensitivity, so common to highly-stressed individuals, often changes dramatically.Breathing deepens, heart rate slows, jumpiness decreases. Using Bowenwork regularly lays the groundwork for a healthy anti-stress regimen.

I have chronic pain. Can Bowenwork help?

Thousands have tried Bowenwork as a last resort after having been told "you must live with your pain." Bowenwork practitioners regularly see significant change if not complete recovery in many, many our clients.
Chronic problems may respond more slowly as the Body works to change a, ingrained, unhealthy pattern to a new healthy one.

Does Bowenwork have any negative effects, or any contraindications? How safe is Bowenwork?

Bowenwork is appropriate for all ages and stages of health from babies to the most frail and elderly, for the extremely fit and the sedentary or debilitated. Bowenwork is so gentle in application, partnering with the body for healing, that there is no possibility of harm.

There can be residual soreness from the release of fatigue products, from positive shifts inthe structural alignment of the body, or the return of movement to an area previouslyunused. These effects are usually minor and quickly dissipate. Always contact your Bowenwork practitioner with any concerns you have about your condition.

Although there are three circumstances in which a specific series of moves is contraindicated, there are no contraindications for a Bowenwork session, as other parts of the body, and the body as a whole will still benefit. Virtually any condition can be improved because Bowenwork tends to bring about balance between the body’s systems. Bowenwork is completely safe from pre-cradle to grave.

Can I do Bowenwork along with other forms of therapy, such as chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, or Rolfing?

Bowenwork can be effective with any modality; however, if the treatment is applied too soon before or after a Bowenwork session, it can counteract or reduce the effects of either type of therapy. There simply needs to be a careful scheduling of the modalities; generally speaking they should be about a week apart.

What about Bowenwork and the medications I’m taking?

Bowenwork has no negative interactions with medications. However, there may be a long-term benefit of reduced need for medication as a result of Bowenwork. (Before reducing or discontinuing any medication, always consult the health care professional who prescribed it to you.)

What about Bowenwork and homeopathy?

Bowenwork and homeopathy are very similar in principle and work very well together. Bowen has been called the homeopathy of body therapy with its especially gentle application and dramatic results.

What about surgery. Can Bowenwork help?

Using Bowenwork prior to, and/or after surgery has been amply noted to reduce complications and speed recovery. Bowenwork helps balance communication between the body’s various systems. Better communication means less static for the body to sort out, allowing better, faster, more complete healing. In addition, Bowenwork can reduce anxiety and relax the body so more of its energy is going towards healing.

To find current, accredited, certified Bowenwork Practitioners, go to or, click on United States, and use the FIND PRACTITIONERS search tool.