top of page

Light Touch Manual Therapy

What is Bowenwork®?

Specifically, Bowenwork® is a slow, non-invasive and gentle soft tissue technique that stimulates receptors in specific areas, mostly acupuncture points, motor points, and neurolymphatic points on the body.  The manual technique is performed by a series of hand movements over soft tissue followed by rest periods for the body to incorporate the neural input to assist in deep relaxation and changes in soft tissue tension leading to body to self-healing and self-regulation.  

This ability to heal itself is called innate healing and our bodies do this all the time.  For example, when you cut your finger, your body stops the bleeding and will heal itself if the cut isn't too severe.  Our bodies have powerful systems that will heal tissue, relieve pain, recover function and much more.  Sometimes our bodies innate healing becomes delayed or even halted due to stress, overuse, and injury.  Bowenwork® will help the body's innate ability to heal itself and get back on track. 

What is a Bowenwork® move?

Moves are light, rolling movements made with thumbs and fingers over specific structures on the body (muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc.).  Moves are light because it results in greater physiologic response than heavy pressure (Schultze law). Each series of moves are followed by rest periods to allow the body to incorporate the work.

What does Bowenwork® help?


Infants to Elderly For:

*there are only a few contraindications, which are certain procedures for certain circumstances. 

  • Orthopedic Conditions - acute and chronic

    • Neck and back pain- sciatica, spinal stenosis, vertebral disc

    • Head - TMJ, tinnitus, concussion

    • Upper extremity -  frozen shoulder, elbow pain, tennis/golfer/little league elbow, wrist pain, carpal tunnel, trigger finger, etc.

    • Lower extremity -  piriformis syndrome, plantar fasciitis, bunions, knee tendinitis, etc. 

    • Miscellaneous - arthritic pain

  • Respiratory Conditions

    • Asthma​

    • Allergies

    • Nasal/sinus trouble

  • Digestive

    • Irritable bowel syndrome​ - diarrhea, constipation

    • Leaky gut syndrome

  • Reproductive

    • Incontinence​

    • Infertility

    • PMS, menopause, heavy/painful periods

    • Hormonal problems

    • Pregnancy

    • Prostrate problems

  • Circulatory

    • Fibromyalgia​

    • Lymphedema

    • Heart rate variability

    • Blood pressure regulation

  • Neurological

    • Multiple Sclerosis​

    • Migrane/headache

    • Bell's palsy

    • Meziere's disease/vertigo

  • Psychological

    • ​ADD/ADHD

    • Anxiety/stress

    • Depression

  • Infant/Child problems  

    • Colic 

    • Sleep-related problems 

    • Bed wetting

  • General 

    • Fatigue

    • Post-operative recovery

    • Post-chemotherapy recovery

Is Bowenwork® safe and how is it different from massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, and other treatment?

Bowenwork® is safe for all ages, babies to elderly, and all levels of fitness, very fit to immobile.  Bowenwork® does not hurt like deep tissue massage may and it does not require oil or lotion like massage.  During Bowenwork®  the client remains clothed and will lie on a table or sit on a chair or stand. Bowenwork® is non-invasive and gentle.  It has very few contraindications and is practiced in some American hospitals (Kaiser Permanente, Swedish Hospital).  It also can be used with other therapies as long as they are spaced apart appropriately.  Having multiple sessions of Bowenwork® before switching to another treatment typically results in better results.


What about Bowenwork® and medications or surgery?

There are no known negative interactions between Bowenwork® and medications.  Before changing any medications, always consult with your doctor.  Having Bowenwork® before and after surgery allows the body to relax and recover faster.

Will Bowenwork® help new or chronic injuries/pain or stress or help to de-stress?

Bowenwork® will help recent and chronic injuries.  For recent injuries, the sooner Bowenwork® is applied the faster an injury will recover.  Chronic problems and pain, including pain some health care professionals may have told you that you need to "deal with it", will benefit from Bowenwork®.  However due to the deep compensating patterns for pain or function, it may take longer for the body to re-train and respond to Bowenwork®.  Because Bowenwork® engages the parasympathetic nervous system ("rest and digest"), stress is reduced immediately.  Often during sessions, a lowered heart rate and breathing rate are experienced by the client and after a session clients report a sense of calmness. 

At times we do not have ailments but we need to destress, relax, and recalibrate. Similar to how massage can be de-stressing, Bowenwork® also provides a deep sense of relaxation by engaging the autonomic nervous system ("rest and digest") and this state of being is where healing happens.  Bowenwork's ability to engage the "rest and digest" part of the nervous system also improves sleep!  So many restorative and renewing processes happen in our brain and body when we sleep, and when it is disturbed, those important processes are also interrupted.  If you can sleep consistently, uninterrupted, and adequate length of time, healing and renewing can take place leading to a much healthier life.     If you want a Bowenwork® session to relax and reset your nervous system as part of a self-care routine, that is perfectly fine!

What does a Bowenwork® session entail?

The first Bowenwork® session involves taking a full history of the client - current medications, past history of falls, surgeries, conditions, tried treatments, lifestyle, etc., and the current signs and symptoms of the complaints.  All information is confidential.

The Bowenwork® is performed while the client is lying on a table, seated or in some cases standing.  All work is performed over light weight clothing however at times the practitioner may ask to move an article of clothing such as a bra strap to allow for greater contact.  Ideally the environment should be warm with dim lighting and conversation should be limited to treatment specific concerns to help calm the body.  It is important to have as little mental distractions as possible during the treatment so the cortex of the brain can effectively provide the body with feedback.


Bowenwork® consists of “moves” on specific areas of the body followed by rest periods to allow the body to integrate the input. The rest periods will vary in time based on the condition/s and person’s sensitivity.  While the client is resting, they may experience sensations of heat, tingling, numbness, pressure as if the move is still being applied, changed emotions, or other sensations.  It is important that these sensations resolve before more moves are applied so please let the practitioner know if you are still experiencing sensations.  


After a Bowenwork® session, the practitioner will instruct you to “walk, water, and wait” meaning hydrate the soft tissue by drinking plenty of water for the rest of the day and days after Bowenwork®, keep moving every 30 minutes until it is time for bed on the day of Bowenwork®, and wait the next few days to feel the changes Bowenwork® can make.  It is possible to be stiff, sore, or have a headache after Bowenwork®.  This is a sign that the brain and body started responding and to not get discouraged that feeling worse came before feeling better.  It is also the reason that it may take several sessions to feel improvement.  Sometimes practitioners will also recommend changes to posture, environment, diet, and exercises to reinforce the Bowenwork®.  Bowenwork® practitioners will also refer to a qualified registered dietician and/or nutritionist or appropriate physician, chiropractor, natural path doctor, etc. 


Bowenwork® practitioners will also ask you to refrain from extreme temperatures, such as hot packs and ice packs, and other manipulative therapy such as chiropractic care, massage, and acupuncture, which may interfere with the sensory input from Bowenwork® for at least 5 days before and after Bowenwork®.


How long will it take for me to feel better?

Clients typically report a great night's sleep and sense of relaxation after the first session.  Each session is spaced 5-10 days apart depending on the age and condition.  It is hard to predict how many sessions are needed.  Typically for a condition/injury that has been present for years, it will take more time to work through than a recent or acute injury/condition.  Everyone is different in their healing process as age, stress, lifestyle, genetics, etc. all play a part in healing.  The "number of visits" maybe less than the number spent at other treatment options.

After a Bowenwork® session, one of the most common effects is the feeling of well-being and calmness.  This is due to its influence on the autonomic nervous system, specifically the parasympathetic nervous system or the part of the nervous system that says, “the crisis is over and you can rest and digest.”  This part of Bowenwork® is particularly important for those who have long-term stress which negatively effects sleep, immune system function, digestion, and many other aspects of health, and those who have suffered a trauma such as a fall, car accident, violence, and even a brain injury.  Bowenwork® can also be a complimentary therapy to other therapies such as chemotherapy.

Usually Bowenwork® results in relief either after the session or days after a session while the body is still adjusting .  At times, Bowenwork® may cause a feeling of getting worse or the "flu" and this should not cause extreme alarm.  This is simply the body responding to Bowenwork® and initiating systems that may have been suffering for a long time.  It is important to continue with Bowenwork® to assist the body.

If you are having pain and discomfort, usually one session is not enough to address the complex layers of the body. Additionally, pain and patterns can exist for several weeks to years and based on the half-life of fascia/connective tissue, thus a few to several sessions will be required to retrain movement patterns.  The goal is to have you organized and supported to find your way in the world.  We try for 1 time a week and give you ways to support the work during the week in between sessions.  Eventually the weekly sessions can be spaced apart as your body adjusts.  For this purpose, there is a 3 session package available.

Can I exercise after a Bowenwork® session?

YES.  Practitioners will ask you to "walk" or keep moving after a Bowenwork® session and it is OK to moderately exercise as well.  We recommend that you do not lift heavy weights (strength training) for a few days after a session as the body accommodates new patterns.

Are Bowenwork® practitioners all the same?

Certified Bowenwork® Practitioners from the American Bowen Academy were all trained in the same methods, however some practitioners will vary in their technique.  Certified Bowenwork® Practitioners are required to have continuing education credits.

History of Bowenwork®

Bowenwork®, or Bowtech® (Bowen Technique) as it is called in Australia, was developed by Thomas Ambrose Bowen, who was born in 1916, in a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. From the 1950’s until his death in1982, he developed his soft tissue therapeutic technique that is strongly rooted in osteopathic medicine and Japanese acupuncture concepts.  He was intrigued by the posture people displayed and how it related to their health or pain.  He desired to help people even though he only allowed a small number of therapists to observe his work.  One observer in particular is Oswald Rentsch, who worked with Bowen for many years and documented his work.   It wasn’t until 1987 when Rentsch and his wife began to teach the therapy and founded the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia.


Mr. Bowen’s work is now taught in over 30 countries in the world.  Eventually his work led to treating animals, which sparked what is now called Equine Muscle Release Therapy (EMRT) and Cat and Canine Muscle Release Therapy (CCMRT).  


Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia was accepted into the British Complimentary Medicine Association in 1993 and Bowenwork is recognized by the Canadian Naturopathic Association and by the Oregon Board of Chiropractic Examiners and the Oregon Association of Naturopathic Physicians in the US.


For more information please go the the U.S. Academy at Bowenwork® Academy USA.


Bowenwork practitioners do not diagnose or treat and Bowenwork is not a cure.  Bowenwork practitioners assess clients' concerns and facilitate deep relaxation and balance in the body which assists the body to heal itself.  Please consult your physician for any serious conditions or concerns.

YouTube videos:

Other Websites about Bowenwork
Other Certified Bowenwork Practitioner Websites
Other Practitioners Who Support Bowenwork
bottom of page