What is Bowen Therapy?
The Bowen Technique is a form of soft tissue manipulation created by Thomas A. Bowen (1916-1982) of Geelong, Victoria in Australia. Each treatment consists of sets of soft tissue manipulations on muscle, nerves and tendons, interspersed by short pauses that allow the body to integrate the effects.
Bowen Therapy’s gentle resetting of the physical body encourages the brain to integrate itself according to its own blueprint. As a practitioner we provide an environment in which the body can initiate this healing process. The Bowen Therapy ‘moves’ stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system and the proprioceptors, sending off information through the central nervous system to the brain.
The spindle cells and Golgi tendon bodies reset the muscle’s resting tension level. The surrounding fascia becomes more fluid, allowing greater movement of blood and lymph through the tissue enhancing nutrition to, and waste removal from, the site.
With the release of toxins and old patterning, the moves begin to accomplish holistic balance almost immediately. Since Bowen addresses the body as a whole, rather than just the symptoms it embraces the physical, chemical, emotional and mental aspects of each individual that receives Bowen.
Bowen Therapy is a complimentary modality which means that it will enhance and complement, not interfere with other forms of medical intervention and therapeutics.
How does Bowen Therapy work?
There are many trains of thought on how Bowen Therapy works. As mentioned above, Bowen assists in rebalancing the parasympathetic nervous system. Let’s have a look at some other ways to describe how Bowen Therapy works.
Stretch Reflex – Many of the ‘moves’ applied to the body (gentle soft tissue manipulation) are done on the muscle belly or at the origin or insertion of the muscle. This is where receptors are located to communicate to the nervous system what is happening in the muscle (tension, length, stretch). During the move the nervous system is stimulated and encourages change in the pain feedback loop.
Fascia – Fascia is connective tissue found all through the body. It wraps around muscles, connects muscle to bone and skin and runs in many continuous lines throughout the body. Every Bowen ‘move’ essentially affecting not only the muscle but the fascia itself. Fascia is critical in postural alignment and structural integrity. Bowen releases stiff, twisted and contracted fascia to increase mobility and function.
Trigger Points and Acupuncture Meridians – Bowen moves overlap many acupuncture/acupressure meridian lines and trigger points, bringing about immediate change in acupuncture pulses in response to Bowen. Bowen is said to have a strong vibrational component and is effective at encouraging positive effects on the internal organs.
Viscero-somatic Spinal Reflexes – Many of the Bowen moves are done adjacent to the spine over the erector spinae muscles. Because Bowen ‘moves’ directly stimulate the nerves through the skin and muscles there is a reflexive response which affects the internal organs associated with spinal segments.
Joint Proprioception – Bowen moves done around a joint affects the joint capsule, ligaments and tendons which are filled with proprioceptors. Communication with the nervous system through the pproprioceptors encourages joint normalization and function.