The Bowen-Therapy

Using thumb and fingers the Bowen therapist makes gentle rolling movements at precise points, over muscles, ligaments and tendons. This is called “Bowen-Move”. While the patient lies mostly on the massage-table, the therapist moves (roles) over determined points. This is always done with very little presure and will always feel pleasant to the patient.

After a set of Bowen moves a 2-minute break will be taken before another set of moves follows. Within these brief pauses the body gets a chance to process and integrate seamlessly the stimulation. The “moves” stimulate the body, so that it regulates itself in a better way. The circulation of blood and lymph in the treated areas of the body is increased. The general improvement of fascia function is crucial. The fascia is a “skin” surrounding the muscles, the organs, blood vessels and nerves.

How does Bowen Therapy work?

Bowen Therapy works through the so called fascia. Fascia is the connective tissue structure that covers the entire body content in different units like a plastic film. Fascia is relevant for the form and function of the coated structures like muscles and organs. The research of Dr. Schleip at Ulm University suggests that the effect of Bowen Therapy comes about through the fascia, particularly through their innervation with sensory nerve endings, which are very receptive to pressure and traction.

Via Bowen-Move, malfunctions of the fascia are resolved by using the dynamic relationships of muscles and the autonomic nervous system (Neuro-muscular-relationship).
By challenging the muscle with a Bowenmove at a point where nerves innervate the muscle, the muscle sends a message to the brain. Because the therapist does not give specific guidance, neither streches the muscle nor kneads it, the brain sends back a default message to the muscle. That ‘default message’ ultimately sets the muscle to it’s resting length, a healthier and more comfortable position.

Bowen-Moves have relaxing, draining and stimulating effect on the whole organism, and in particular on the autonomic nervous system.

Tom Bowen, creator of the Bowen Therapy in Australia

Bowen Therapy is a method of bodywork developed by Tom Bowen (1916-1982) in Australia by observing physiotherapists and osteopaths at work. His work was not easy to categorise within the field of alternative medicine. Oskar Rentsch, one of the few people Tom Bowen allowed to watch him closely at his work, published an abstract with the title:” An interpretation of Tom Bowen’s work”.

Later these observations became set procedures, which we call ” sequences”. Tom Bowen himself did not stick to a fixed procedure, even though he obviiously repeated several “sequences” on many different patients. Today Bowen therapists work with defined procedures, which may be altered, when it makes good sense.

Bowen-Therapy explained on YouTube. Clicking this preview-picture, the YouTube-player will open. Privacy policy of YouTube (Google).

When is Bowen Therapy useful?

  • dorsal pain of various origins
  • muscular tension, neck pain
  • sports injuries
  • disorders of the upper extremities, such as tennis elbow, carpal tunnel syndrome, frozen shoulder etc.
  • disorders of the lower extremities especially the feet, such as bunions, hammer toes, ankle injuries, knee pain, functional leg length differences etc.
  • anxiety
  • PMS
  • rheumatism, soft tissue rheumatism, fibromyalgia
  • headache, migraines
  • asthma, chest tightness due to muscle tension or vertebral deformities
  • impaired lymphatic flow
  • asthma, chest tightness due to muscle tension or vertebral deformities visceral problems (internal organs) concerning digestion and urological systems
  • stressrelated symptoms
  • adynamia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
  • vegetative imbalances of all kinds


If you suffer serious illness or physical injury or there is suspicion of such, do always consult your doctor!

Perhaps Bowentherapy in your case could be a helpful accompanying treatment. Do not hesitate to tell your doctor about BT. Many doctors today are openminded about alternative methods.

If you have further questions, contact me.

What to do after a Bowen session

  • After a Bowen session you should not be seated for longer than 30 minutes throughout the rest of the day. Just a few steps are enough to interrupt the sitting.
  • After treatment please avoid or reduce strenuous activities for the next 48 hours.
  • Avoid hot or cold applications (such as ice, fango, hot shower, electric blanket, hot water bottle, warming ointments for the next 24 hours.
  • Take a stroll for at least 20 minutes.
  • Drink enogh water or herbal tea without sugar.
  • do not be fooled by any temporary periods when your pain is aggravated. They are part of the body’s restructuring to better health. You’ll see it’s worth it!