I was in three accidents in 3 years. I had whiplash and low back injuries. I saw lots of therapists during those 3 years - chiropractors, massage, physical therapy. I had several "left overs" form those accidents. Bowenwork took me over the top in my healing. The "leftovers" are gone!

Janis J.

Bowenwork is selective, gentle touch of muscle and other soft tissue.

Bowenwork®/Bowtech® is unique in the field of bodywork. A Bowenwork session consists of several series of gentle moves through light-weight clothing or on bare skin. In a Bowenwork office or clinic the client usually lies on a soft bodywork table or sits in a chair as needed for comfort (such as pregnancy). However, Bowenwork can be done anywhere: on the sports field, in a hospital room, at the site of an accident, on an airplane or on a train.

This gentle technique stimulates the body to direct its healing attention to the targeted area.  The healing may occur at all levels as needed: physical, chemical, emotional, mental, energetic.

A session typically lasts between 30 minutes to an hour. Few sessions are needed to alleviate discomfort and pain – even chronic pain can be treated effectively quickly! The best part is that the results are long-lasting and don’t “wear off.”

Bowenwork is appropriate for everyone from newborns to the very elderly and frail. There are no contraindications for a Bowenwork session.

Everything you need to know about a Bowen therapy session

How fast does Bowen work?

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.

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 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.

How long are Bowenwork therapy sessions?

A Bowenwork session generally lasts from 30 minutes to an hour with the client resting comfortably on a massage table

How often should I schedule a Bowenwork session?

Ideally between 2 and 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 to 8 sessions. More complex conditions may require additional treatment.

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.

Conditions Helped by



* Frozen Shoulder & Shoulder pain
* Tennis elbow
* Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
* Arthritis
* Fibromyalgia
* Scoliosis
* Migraines
* TMJ syndrome

* Postural and gait problems
* Sports injuries
* Shin Splints
* Plantar fasciitis
* Other foot & ankle issues
* Hernias
* Knee and hip restrictions
* Pelvic problems
* Sciatica


* Colic 
* Crohn's Disease 
* Indigestion
* Constipation 
* Chronic diarrhea 
* Hemorrhoids
* Bed Wetting, children



* Asthma 
* Bronchitis 
* Hay Fever 
* Sinusitis
* Allergies



* Infertility
* Menstrual pain 
* PMS 
* Mastitis 
* Fibroids, breast and uterine 
* Prostate problems


* Chronic Fatigue Syndrome 
* Balance problems 
* Tinnitus 
* PTSD * Ear ache & ear infections 

What to expect at a Bowenwork session

Sessions can be received in loose, comfortable clothing. During a typical Bowenwork session the practitioner performs specific, gentle sequences of Bowenwork moves on the body, and then leaves the room for a couple of minutes, giving the body’s nervous system time to assimilate the instructions it has received. The recipient gradually gets more and more relaxed, often falling into a deep sleep. Many people awaken astonished at the effects, and often are astounded by the changes they feel happening in their body.

Case histories collated from practitioners around the world using Bowenwork show that most people respond within 2 weeks of the initial session. A second session is required to “set” the work. Compared with most other therapies, this is admirable. Clients who do not have such rapid responses usually have a complexity of problems that improve with continuing sessions.

Depending on the condition, Bowenwork is typically received in 2 -10 sessions, ideally one week apart.  Many conditions respond completely in that time.  Complex or chronic conditions may require more involved care, and/or may require occasional “tune-ups”.

After a Bowenwork session you'll feel a deep sense of relaxation, a greater sense of  well-being, and reduced pain.

Bowenwork Methodology

Also known as Bowen Therapy, or “Bowen” after Thomas Bowen, the developer of this prfound form of body work, consisting of gentle rolling maneuvers at specific points over muscle, nerves, and connective tissue. Bones do what muscles tell them to do. Muscles do what nerves tell them to do. Bowenwork communicates with the central nervous system, telling all the body’s systems what to do, in order to come into balance.

The Bowenwork technique is a completely unique, gentle, and non-invasive system of single, multiple, or opposing subtle, and precisely located movements. These ‘moves’ stimulate or sedate body systems and organs depending on the direction the move is done.

Bowenwork is not a form of massage, though it does release areas of built-up stress in the muscles. Clients describe experiences of profound relaxation after a session, often falling asleep after the first few moves.

Bowenwork is a remedial therapy; a therapy used for corrective treatment to directly influence, effect, and restore a specific condition or disorder within the body.

It has been the experience of many thousands of health care professionals around the world that Bowenwork is effective in addressing root causes, and not just the symptoms.

Rather than addressing one particular system, such as the muscular system, or the skeletal system, Bowenwork serves to reconnect the communication pathways between each, and all of the body’s systems, thereby creating the environment wherein complete healing can take place.

Since 1998 the technique has become increasingly used in primary care settings in the UK, with many chartered physical therapists using the technique in hospitals, hospices and other funded health settings.

Autonomic Nervous System

Painful Joints

The Automatic Nervous System consists of two parts, the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Systems. The Sympathetic System is known as the “Fight of Flight”System. The Parasympathetic System is known as the “Eat, Sleep, and Heal” System

An important thing to note is that the Digestive System cannot work effectively while you are in Sympathetic-On. We often get stuck in Sympathetic-On.  While in this mode, the digestive system doesn’t function well, sleep is difficult, and healing cannot occur.

Bowen Therapy and NST (Neurostructural Intigration Technique) put your body into the Parasympathetic so your body can heal itself and you can get well.

Bowen & NST helps restore you to balance and health.

Common questions about Bowenwork

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.

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.

How safe is Bowenwork? Are there any negative side effects?

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.

How is Bowenwork different from traditional massage and body work?

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.

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.

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.)

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.

Bowen therapy is an ideal treatment for a wide range of conditions

What conditions does Bowenwork help?

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
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.

Does Bowen therapy interfere with any medication?

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. (Always consult the health care professional who prescribed it to you before reducing or discontinuing any medication!)

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.

Can Bowenwork help chronic pain?

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.

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.

Can Bowenwork help surgery?

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.

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.

Bowenwork & Fibromyalgia

We all have at least one client who we consider an amazing recovery. Just a couple of sessions or even just one, and we are nearly as astonished as they are. The amazing results of Bowen cannot be repeated enough. Then there are the slower to completely recover, or the purely chronic cases which do not entirely fit into the mold. I am talking about Fibromyalgia and what it is….

Fibromyalgia is simply connective tissue pain. Severe pain in some, mild in others- in the early stages. Again to be clear Fibromyalgia is only issues in the CONNECTIVE TISSUES of the body. More accurately, there are 16 specific areas in which most diagnoses is made, and generally six points (zones) are usually enough for an M.D. to make a diagnosis of fibro. There are several sensitivities that are common in most cases and usually are warnings to the fibro sufferer that a “flare” or “spell” is imminent. These are common in most clients and vary from case to case, from noticeable to very strong, with light sensitivity being the first and most evident. This seems due to the amount of fluorescent lighting exposure, which causes headaches and often migraines. The second is usually a heightened sense of smell – to the point of hyper-sensitive reactions to even the mildest odors. Following is sound sensitivity which seems to be less frequent.

Physically, several areas are usually sensitive to touch. Those are: vastis lateralis and vastis medialis , adductor longus (slightly superior to the knee), most of the inferior border of the rib cage (move 3 and 4 respiratory and similarly moves 1 and 2 gallbladder) along the rectus abdominus, which will be sensitive to touch and swollen or puffy, and often times pressure
sensitive. Again the pain is in the connective tissue and not in the joints.

There is compelling research that the Bowen Technique may be effective in relieving the painful symptoms of fibromyalgia. In a study of twenty patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia conducted by Dr. Jo Anne Whitaker at the American College of Rheumatology, almost all participants experienced various degrees of relief which lasted from a few days to several weeks. Most reported immediate relief following a Bowen treatment. For some, repeated Bowen therapy maintained complete clinical remission. The results were statistically significant and correlated with improvement of clinical well-being.

Can Bowen help with Infertility?

Can complementary therapies really help couples desperate to have children? Apparently so, discovers Sally Brown of The Guardian (UK)

It has been found that Bowenwork has a surprisingly high rate of success in treating infertility….

“For infertility, we use a particular system of moves that addresses the endocrine [hormonal] system and the pelvic area,” says Dr. Jaimini Raniga at the Hale Clinic, London. “Mental and emotional stress can cause muscles to tighten and restrict the natural blood-flow, lymphatic drainage and nerve supply of the body, which can all affect fertility.” Women see Raniga for a session on the first day of their menstrual cycle and are then told to abstain from intercourse until after a second session, on day 14. “Most of my patients conceive after two sessions,” she adds.

Bowenwork and Newborns

Registered nurse, Sandra Gustafson, on the benefits of Bowenwork during and after pregnancy.


In the early stages of extra uterine life of the baby, Bowenwork can be lifesaving in helping the infant to expectorate any fluid or mucous it may have inhaled. I shall quote a couple of experiences from Rick Minnery:
“The anecdotes with newborns are simply endless – I got the reputation on the postnatal ward of being the midwife who settled the babies with a special “cuddle” (Bowen Practitioners know what I mean). The colic procedure had given me god-like status among some new mums!”

“Two special instances come to mind. First was a 10 minute old baby whom I’d delivered, suddenly became cyanosed (blue skinned) – I was sure it had aspirated some mucous. The colic moves were performed and a few short seconds later the baby produced a huge blob of mucous and straight away, pinked up again – I was astounded but couldn’t really relate what had happened either to colleagues or the parents. It was a special private moment for the Bowenwork and me, as was the second occasion with a newborn.

I was performing a routine examination of a newborn at 5-10 minutes after birth. The baby was crying lustily and appeared somehow “angry”. It had been a long difficult labor and the baby had not been in the ideal position to deliver easily (occipito-posterior). On observing the baby’s jawline – it was very apparent that the jaw was out of position which I’m sure was contributing to the baby’s look of anger. Without any great expectation of a speedy response, I performed the TMJ (temporo-mandibular-joint) moves, and before my eyes, over the space of 1-2 minutes the baby’s jaw re-aligned itself, much to my astonishment and the baby’s – who looked up at me with a look as if to say “what the heck did you to do to me?”

Bowenwork for Kids

Research on children’s health has shown that children are just as susceptible to the same effects of stress as adults.  Bowenwork helps children release stress, realign structural imbalances, stimulates the immune system and helps to detoxify  the body. The goal of Bowenwork for kids is to help children perform better academically, excel in sports, get along with others socially, and are happier and more productive.


When working with kids, the Bowenwork procedures are done very similarly to those of adults. However, with younger children there is frequently no rest between moves, so a treatment may take just 15 minutes or less. This allows us to be able to work on even the most rambunctious of toddlers. Infants respond remarkably to Bowenwork as well. The gentleness of the touch is great for work on their neck, jaw, spine and pelvis. These are the major joints of their bodies that can get out of balance during birth. For the baby with colic and upset stomach, Bowenwork can work wonders at calming their digestive systems and giving their little bodies some peace.

Bowenwork and Asthma

Bowen and Asthma
Tom Bowen’s wife suffered from asthma and was hospitalised many times before he developed a respiratory procedure, using his technique of gentle “moves” in specific places on the body, to help her. She was never hospitalised again.

Asthma and Bowen
Whatever the level of asthma, or similar respiratory problems, Bowen often seems to reduce the level of attack very quickly, and effectively. A number of Case Studies forming part of a study over several years will illustrate how very successful the technique is proving to be.
As Bowen is both very gentle and non-invasive, there is no danger in using it with asthma and other respiratory conditions. The many cases treated have shown often to produce results very quickly which last. Treatment usually does not need to be continuous, and often just a very few sessions will change the situation for the sufferer. As with any allergy, the avoidance of contact with the allergen is an essential part of the treatment. However, what Bowen does seem to achieve very often is the release of tightness in the chest which aids both asthmatics and other respiratory sufferers.

The study being undertaken by Alastair Rattray, a very experienced Bowen Therapist, and Teacher with the European College of Bowen Studies (ECBS) is showing that it makes no difference as to whether the person is under a regime of medication, or not. The results are proving, so far, to be usually exactly the same. The attacks often lessen until they no longer seem to be a problem. There are many cases recorded at all ages.


The continuing success of the technique resulted in his being asked to appear on Discovery Health Channel in the series called Complementary Kids, which was broadcast in the autumn of 2002 and subsequently repeated many times. His work has also featured in both The Sunday Times and Allergy Magazine. Alastair is an Associate member of the Royal Society of Medicine and secretary of the FA Medical Society. He is now Registered with the only Regulator recognized by the NHS, the CNHC (Complementary and Natural Health Council) as a Qualified Bowen Therapy Practitioner.

There may come a time (probably sooner rather than later), when you find yourself caring for a person or child who is having difficulty breathing or experiencing an asthma attack. In such circumstances, what can you do to help? The Bowen Asthma Release Move may help relieve attacks by releasing tension in the diaphragm and easing tight chests and wheezing.

History of Bowenwork

I get asked all the time, “So how did Bowenwork come about?” – Here’s a brief history!

Tom Bowen was born in 1916 in the state of Victoria, Australia. Tom did not receive any specific education in healing arts. Higher education was a luxury item for most families in those days, picking up the pieces after the 2 world wars.

Mr Bowen developed his own understanding of how the body reacts to disturbances and what facilitated its healing. He happened to have had a very strong sensitivity for tissue tension patterns in the body, and how to reset them. He called his skill “a gift from God”.

The name “Bowenwork” was acquired posthumously. Mr Bowen called himself a “Manipulation Therapist” because he was not recognized by any of the bodywork/chiropractic associations of his time. However, this did not deter clients from seeking his help. In 1973, a national survey was done in Australia to determine how many people sought therapy outside the conventional medical systems; Tom Bowen’s clinic was recorded as having 13,000 clients per year, an average of 60 people per working day.

While no one knows for certain how Tom Bowen discovered the precise locations and sequences of his “moves”, we do know that Bowenwork’s use of light pressure follows the “Arndt-Schulze law,” which states that the body responds more deeply and positively to low-pressure stimuli than it does to painful strong stimuli. Tom Bowen discovered and employed this principle long before the Arndt-Schulze law had been formulated.

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®.