Bowenwork was developed in the 1950s by the late Thomas Bowen of Geelong, Australia. Bowen's approach was to reset the tension in certain muscles and muscle groups by using a unique type of stretch-and-roll-through move and then pausing between sets of moves to give the body time to begin its response.

 He achieved amazing results. According to a 1974 survey of alternative health practitioners performed by the Victorian Government, Bowen was found to be doing over 13,000 sessions per year. In over 85% of his cases, the problems for which his patients sought relief were resolved.

In the last years of his life, Bowen allowed several practitioners to observe him. He recognized only six of them as understanding his work. One of these, Oswald (Ossie) Rentsch, promised at Bowen's deathbed to make his work known around the world. Ossie's interpretation of Mr. Bowen's work is now taught in over 30 countries under the auspices of the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia (BTAA) and is known under the international trademarks Bowtech® and Bowenwork®.