What is the Bowen Technique?
How does Bowen Therapy work?
There are many theories about the physiological mechanisms by which the Bowen technique brings about the results for which it is famous. Rather than focusing on a single complaint, the Bowen technique addresses the body as a whole, by restoring balance via autonomic nervous system (ANS). The ANS controls over 80% of bodily functions and is very susceptible to external stressors. Most people today live in a constant state of high stress and sympathetic ANS over-stimulation (‘fight, flight or freeze mode’). Healing can occur only after the ANS shifts from sympathetic to parasympathetic dominance (‘rest, relax and repair mode’). The Bowen technique seems to catalyse that shift. During sessions, clients often quickly drop into deep relaxation or fall asleep indicating a profound release from stress and a shift towards parasympathetic dominance. This shift could explain, in part, the common observation that Bowen sessions seem to reactivate the recovery process in situations where healing from trauma, disease or surgery has stalled or reached a plateau (frozen shoulder).
In addition to the rebalancing of the ANS, Bowen moves may reset the body to heal itself by activating, through the nervous and endocrine systems among others, the following mechanisms:
- Stretch Reflex: Most moves are made where proprioceptors are located, informing the nervous system on the state of tension, length or stretch in the musculotendinous tissue. These receptors are stimulated during the ‘challenge’ and the ‘rolling’ part of the Bowen move which changes the stimulus received by the nervous system.
- Joint Proprioceptors: All moves done around a joint directly affect the joint capsule and ligaments that are richly innervated with proprioceptors. Here again, stimulus will be received by the nervous system, inviting normalisation of the joint function without the need for forceful manipulation.
- Fascia: Fascia plays a major role in muscle co-ordination, postural alignment and overall structural and functional integrity. All of these are affected when the fascia stiffens, contracts, torques or dehydrates. Following a Bowen session it is not uncommon to see adhesions loosen up, scar tissue soften and posture and mobility improve without harsh mobilisation or stretching.
- Lymphatics: Some Bowen procedures activate draining of the lymphatic system, stimulating the immune system and reducing swelling.
Special advice after your Bowen treatment
In contrast to other hands-on disciplines, where the practitioner imposes correction on the client through the technique performed, the Bowen technique allows the body to heal itself with minimal intervention. Because of the subtlety of Bowen work and the body’s continuing response to it, other forms of manipulative therapy performed up to 4 days before or 5 days after, a Bowen may interfere with its effectiveness.
During the first week post treatment, you should avoid
- Rubbing or massaging any sore area
- Very hot or cold showers/baths , heat/ice packs
- Sitting longer than 30 minutes on the day after your visit, good to get up and walk and move around, have a stretching
- Stimulating substances like coffee (pain killers & anti-inflammatory medications are okay
For the first week after your treatment it is advised to
- Walk for at least 20 minutes a day for next 3-4 days
- Drink at least 5 glasses of water a day for hydration of tissues and to help flush toxins from the body
You may experience reactions from the Bowen session like hot and cold flushes, emotional releases, headaches and body aches. These reactions are common; they often indicate that the healing process has begun.
When do I come back?
Results can be remarkable, even from the first session; often only a few sessions are needed to correct the presenting problem.
However, chronic or long-standing conditions or repeat injury may require additional treatments. Some patients have periodic Bowen therapy sessions to maintain body integrity and balance and to prevent the onset of problems.
Common conditions that Bowen Therapy can help reduce and may resolve
- Chronic lower back pain
- Frozen Shoulder
- Scoliosis (functional)
- Carpal tunnel
- Acute Bursitis
- Trigeminal Neuralgia
- Shin splints
- Sinus congestion
- Plantar fasciitis
Prices vary according to the practitioner and length of treatment. Please visit our Online Bookings page or call our clinic for further information.
Our Bowen Therapists are also fully qualified Remedial Massage Therapists. Hicaps private health insurance claiming is available for those clients holding private health insurance coverage on Massage Therapy.