What to expect in a bowen therapy session:

Bowen is a ‘complementary’ modality in the sense that it enhances and complements, but does not interfere with, traditional medical attention. Bowen’s input to the nervous system is very subtle, and the body responds over time. For that reason, it’s best to avoid other manipulative therapies for several days before and after a Bowen session lest they interfere with the body’s response to the Bowen.

Treatments tend to last for 30 – 60 minutes. Some people may need longer to rest and integrate the work after the treatment is technically completed. Most people notice changes happening during or after their first treatment. That said however, most people continue to return in order to get the deeper healing that their body needs. After this people usually listen to their body and return as needed for “tune-ups”. The number of treatments required varies so much from person to person, as we are all so unique. The treatment of an acute condition, right after in has happened, like an ankle sprain may only require 1-3 treatments, whereas a more chronic condition, in which your body has found a plethora of ways to compensate, will require more treatments to “undo” the unbalanced patterns. Some of the factors that determine the number of treatments include;

♦ the length of time that you have been living with an illness or issue
♦ compensation patterns that have developed over time
♦ general health, fitness and vitality
♦ the number of surgeries, accidents, and injuries
♦ the number and nature of chronic illnesses
♦ the number of medications currently taking, and so on.

Please do not get discouraged if you think that you will take longer to heal. Remember, it is not a race. With the Bowen Technique, you will almost certainly be pleasantly surprised at how nicely your body responds!

Bowen can help a wide range of age-groups, but because it is so gentle and can be undertaken through light-fitting clothing, it is ideally suited to older clients. With respect to the type of conditions people present with, this varies considerably. Back issues are the most common but people also present with a wide range of skeletal issues (such as neck, shoulder, hip, or knee problems), as well as non-skeletal issues (such as migraines, dizziness, breathing issues, or digestive issues). I have treated clients with conditions such as fibromyalgia, Bell’s Palsy, concussion, chronic fatigue and strokes. It appears that Bowen works well with conditions related to the nervous system.

Another important note to make is that our physical bodies store our life’s experiences on a cellular level. When working with the body in this and other deep ways, it is quite common for people to have what is often referred to as a somatic-emotional release. This is when traumas or experiences that were stored and possibly stuck in the body are permitted to be released. When this happens there is often a remembering of the experience and a re-experiencing of the emotions that went with it. This can be confusing at the time, but with support and gentle guidance, it is a very therapeutic and complete release on a physical, mental, emotional and often spiritual level, which increases one’s overall vitality and wellbeing.

Before the session:

The ideal time for a Bowen session is immediately after an injury. That way, your body can overcome the trauma before it begins to compensate for it. (The compensations often create more problems in the long run than the initial trauma itself.) If you can’t get to a Bowtech practitioner immediately, the sooner you can, the better. Within three days is ideal for the quickest and most complete recovery.

Many people don’t find out about Bowen until weeks, months, or even years of trying other approaches or learning to live with it. If that’s the case with you, you’ll get the best results from your Bowen if you:

  • Don’t have any other forms of bodywork for four days beforehand.
  • Avoid heavy exercise on the day of your session.
  • Don’t use ice or heat on the site of injury.
  • Wear or bring light-weight, loose-fitting clothing that your practitioner can work through. Or be prepared to be worked on in your underclothes, under sheets or blankets for modesty and comfort.
A skilled therapist can ‘read’ the body’s response to a session and adjust the Bowen moves accordingly.
(Image reproduced with the kind permission of First Stone Publishing from “Understanding the Bowen Technique” by John Wilks)

Distance Bowen:

Clients typically expressed their wish to resolve their condition without being reliant on conventional medicines, due to their potential side effects. Clients may have tried a range of complementary therapies, with varying degrees of success, and now want to experience a bowen therapy session – usually on a friend’s recommendation due to its effectiveness.

‘Distance Bowen’ is experienced from the security of your home, without the need for any direct contact with a therapist. The distance between the therapist and client is unimportant – it could be 100 metres, 100 kilometres or more. From a therapists’ perspective, this is an opportunity to treat anyone on the planet, rather than the local area.

Bowen therapists who have used this form of ‘distance’ treatment report positive outcomes. But why this form of treatment is successful cannot currently be fully explained. Although, we must ask, is this important? Surely what is more important is that treatment appears to work and the client experiences some benefit.

What is the difference between distance Bowen and a normal Bowen Therapy session?

Both forms of treatment require a detailed consultation prior to treatment. In the clinic, gentle rolling moves are made of precise muscles and tendons. However, with distance Bowen, I make such moves on a doll with a photo of the client in front of me. I imagine individual muscles responding to each move I make.

At the appointed treatment time, I ask clients to discuss their current situation and then ask them to lie (or sit) in a safe, quiet environment and inform them that I will commence the treatment in a few minutes time.

The distance Bowen treatment lasts approximately an hour. I then text to inquire for any feedback the client may have felt during the session. It is common for people to experience a wide range of feelings – sometimes tingling, warmth, deep relaxation, etc.

The post-treatment protocol involves asking the client to keep well hydrated during the coming week, avoid a very hot bath or shower immediately after the treatment and, in most cases, undertake gentle exercise, such as walking wherever possible. I will usually check in again with the client a week later for feedback.