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How does Bowen work?

Bowen Therapy was created by the late Tom Bowen from Geelong, Australia and didn't make it's debut in the US until the 1980's {that's my guess.} Even in the the early 1990's when I discovered Bowen, one had to go to Australia to learn it as there were only a very small handful of practitioners and teachers in the US.

Since Bowen is relatively new, it is not well known as a massage therapy modality although, slowly gaining recognition and popularity. It certainly doesn't hurt to have someone like Bear Grylls give a public shout out about how Bowen has helped him.

When ever people ask me about Bowen Therapy, I give my standard, canned quick response...... Bowen Therapy is a hands-on, soft tissue massage modality that consists of gentle rolling moves that are done cross fiber over muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. These moves trigger the body to reset the tissue tension in the muscles. Not only do the muscles relax but the entire body and nervous system are able to relax and reset.

I must admit, that is pretty vague in my opinion and if someone said that to me, it wouldn't be good enough and I would want to know more. Like a toddler.... but why? but how?

With Bowen, healing occurs at all levels in the body: physical, chemical, emotional, mental, and energetic.

Physically: The Bowen moves stimulate the Golgi Tendon Organs. When these fibers are stimulated, it causes its associated muscle to relax by interrupting its contraction. The nervous system is gently triggered to reset the tension in the muscles and tendons naturally without having to bruise muscle tissue with hard and painful pressure.

Neurologically: When the above mentioned process happens, the Autonomic Nervous System naturally slips from being in a Sympathetic fight, flight, freeze mode, into the Parasympathetic rest, digest, and heal mode. It is only in the Parasympathetic state that the body can begin to heal itself.

Emotionally and Psychologically: STRESS!!!

Stress is our physiological and emotional response to life and everyday events. Our emotional response to stressors trigger a physiological stress reaction. This shows up in myriad ways from headaches, gut issues, and increased heart rate, to anxiety and depression.

The stressors will never go away, but how we respond to them can change. If we permit our nervous system to have a break….to get out of the chronic, overstimulated, and potentially dangerous Sympathetic dominant cycle, we create potential to respond to stressors in a non reactive and easy way. When that happens, positive neurochemical responses in the brain and body occur. Check out this article from Psychology Today

How can something so light and gentle like Bowen possibly be effective? I attempt to describe the concept of less is more when it comes to body work in this very amateur video I made a while ago.

Bowen Therapy and Reiki Energy Healing facilitate in down-regulating the Sympathetic Nervous System which can lead to:

  • better sleep

  • reduced pain

  • increased energy

  • decreased anxiety

  • increased concentration

I hope this helps explain in a bit more detail about how Bowen works and how it can help.


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