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Frequently Asked Questions

What is The Bowen Technique?

The Bowen Technique is a remedial therapy tool. That is, it is used  by therapists mainly to help people who are in pain or discomfort for  one reason or another. It is a gentle therapy that works over the soft  tissue of the client and features lots of rests in between moves to  allow the body to start working with the information. Developed by Tom  Bowen, many valid forms of his work exist in the world today.

How does it work?

There have been many theories put forward. Recently  the concept of the way in which the brain reacts to neural stimulus has  been looked at in more detail and is the subject of ongoing research by  ECBS.

The brain emits in the region of 600,000 signals per second, all of  which both send out signals and in turn receive information from the  body. A muscular movement for example begins from the primary motor  cortex at the front of the brain and is sent, via the spinal cord, to  the arm or leg where it is translated into movement. In order to gauge  this, however, the brain needs to receive a signal telling it what is  happening and what to do next and this it does via the parietal lobe of  the brain.

The effect is a kind of looping circuit travelling at massive speeds,  sending and receiving information. A Bowen move which is a series of  gentle rolling moves, followed by breaks at certain intervals,  interferes with this signal and creates another set of parameters for  the brain to examine. Once the brain starts to reorder the signals it is  also able to reinterpret the information coming from other areas, an  example of why Bowen will often set off reactions in areas that haven’t  been treated.

How is it different from other therapies, such as chiropractic, osteopathy or physiotherapy?

All these therapies are excellent therapies, but Bowen differs in  several respects. Osteopaths and chiropractors often use adjustments or  ‘cracks’ to realign the structure of the body. They will make a  diagnosis of the patient and treat the area of concern. With Bowen  therapy the approach is rather different. The therapist will take a case  history but the treatment does not set out to treat specific conditions  or ailments. Instead, the body is treated as a whole unit, without  referral to named disease. For instance if someone came to a Bowen  therapist with cancer, we would not claim to be able to help the cancer  or even to treat it. Instead we are trying to help the person.

Does Bowen work on meridians or acupuncture points?

There are points that are on or very close to  acupuncture points, but this is not the approach that is taught. Many  practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine comment on the moves and  their relationship to meridian points but there is nothing consistent  enough to draw comparisons. Tom Bowen drew much of his knowledge from  books and an understanding of meridian points seems quite probable.

Is Bowen a form of massage?

No, not really. The treatment can be performed through light clothing  and no oils or prolonged pressure is used. Also, there is no rubbing or  friction in the move, which uses the movement of skin to effect a  rolling type of action over the muscle.

How many treatments will I need to have?

There are no guarantees here because everyone responds differently  but, on average, the number of treatments required for, say, a stiff  neck or back is around three. Some problems need more treatments and  some even fewer, but what won’t happen is that you will be required to  have a long course of treatment, only to find that it hasn’t helped.  Although there are never any promises, you should in most cases start to  see change fairly quickly.

What can it treat?

Although we say that we do not treat specific conditions, we know  that many common complaints are helped by the Bowen Technique’s holistic  approach. For further information refer to the ECBS website at  www.thebowentechnique.com.
There is no condition for which Bowen therapists would not offer  treatment. Even in very serious or acute conditions, where an injury has  just occurred, Bowen can be used to very good effect. As well as bad  backs and necks, Bowen also is extremely effective on more complex or  organic problems such as asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, migraines and  stress.

Who offers treatment?

There are hundreds of therapists around the UK and Europe who offer  treatment. Some of these people are experienced in other forms of  treatment such as reflexology, aromatherapy, sports injury or massage.  In addition there are a number of chiropractors, chartered  physiotherapists, osteopaths, GPs and surgeons who have learned and  practise the technique. 

The information on this website is not intended

to replace guidance from your doctor

or other suitably qualified medical professional

who should be contacted for advice

if you have any health concern.