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 happens after Bowenwork®?

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.

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.

Will Bowenwork® help new or chronic injuries/pain or 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. 

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.

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.