HOW EFFECTIVE IS THE BOWEN TECHNIQUE
Many inroads have been made in the recent years to start research projects evaluating the effectiveness of the Bowen Technique.
* Effectiveness of the Bowen Technique: A study by Amy Norman presented in 1998 at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Physical Education, Exercise and Sport Science, compared practitioner and patient responses in a survey evaluating the efficacy of the Bowen Technique in the treatment of pain. Practitioners rated the Bowen Technique effective in 85% for back pain with an average of 4.3 sessions, 88% for neck pain with 4.5 sessions, 83% for stress & tension with 4 sessions, 83% for other conditions with 5.8 sessions and 80% for fibromyalgia requiring longer treatments. Effectiveness rated by patients was 85% for back pain, 80% for stress & tension, 95% for TMJ, 80% for hip pain and 75.6% for other conditions.
I would say that from my own experience, efficacy average 80% and usually relief is experienced immediately in about 75% of the time; if not it will gradually happen in the days following treatment. Most often, most conditions can be improved if not resolved in a few sessions. Complex chronic conditions will require longer treatment but not always.
* Effects of the Bowen Technique on Autonomic Nervous System and the heart: this study, by Dr.Whitaker, MD, has shown that the Bowen Technique affects the Autonomic Nervous System by measuring changes in value and pattern in Heart Rate Variability before and after treatment.
* Psychological effects: Ashley Pritchard, at the Swinburn University department of Psychophysiology, Melbourne, showed that the Bowen Technique consistently reduced subjects level of anxiety, and enhanced individuals positive feelings by reducing tension, anger, depression, fatigue and confusion. Objective measures of decrease in Heart Rate Variability and muscle tension correlate with subjective feelings of relaxation.
* Fibromyalgia: this study by Dr. Whitaker, MD showed the positive effect of the Bowen Technique on patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia, they all experienced various degrees of relief which lasted from a few days to several weeks. The measurements of shifts in the Autonomic Nervous System by Heart Rate Variability studies fully complemented the clinical assessments.
* TMJ : a research project on the application of the Bowen Technique on TMJ abnormality was started in Durango, CO by Dr.John Bauman, DDS. Assessment of masseter tension by Bio Feedback, measurement of bite and subjective symptoms were compared before and after treatment. Immediately after the 1St. treatment one third of patients felt dramatic relief in some of their symptoms and 20 out of the 22 patients showed significant improvement on the post Bio Feedback assessment.
* Blood chemistry: Dr. Whitaker, using darkfield, phase and fluorescent microscopic live cell analysis, has shown blood chemistry changes following treatment. These changes corroborate the reports by certain patients, of experiencing transient flu-like symptoms, due to detox reactions lasting up to 5 days following a session.
* Frozen shoulder: Recently published study from England on Frozen shoulders by Dr. Bernie Carter and Rick Minnery & Bran Clarke as the Bowen Therapists at the Metropolitan University of Manchester (UK). This study involved 20 participants diagnosed with frozen shoulder and treated by the Bowen Technique. Participants claimed a high level of satisfaction with the therapy, a commitment to using Bowen in the future in case of relapse or for another condition and the intention to recommend the therapy to friends and family. 70% of participants regained full mobility (equal to the non affected side) by the end of the treatment. The other participants showed significant improvement in shoulder mobility and associated function. Some still reported some mild ache but none reported any of the intense pain they experienced before receiving Bowen. Even if the outcome of this small study doesn't show 100% success, it showed that Bowen was a very effective treatment even with people who had a long standing condition with only 3 to 6 visits. This is a good outcome as other studies done on long standing frozen shoulders showed poorer results. From these 20 participants, 6 received 5 treatments, 6 received 4 and 8 received 3 treatments before being discharged from the study. You can read more about the outcome of this research here http://www.bowen-technique.co.uk/research.php
* Maternity Research: Midwife and Bowen therapist Rick Minnery in 2000 started a long term study on the effectiveness of the Bowen Technique with maternity patients. Some of the research topics were:
• Pre-natal morning sickness, heartburn, breast discomfort, symphyseal pain, lower back pain during pregnancy
• The Bowen Technique as an aid to relaxation and reduction of the experience of pain in labor and the reduction of time of labor
• Post-natal problems such as perineal trauma and particularly breast problems (engorgement, lactation, milk or venous engorgement, mastitis, poor or excessive milk production ).
* Other Research: you can visit the pages below for updates on research conducted by various Bowen organizations
HOW SAFE IS IT
From Tom Bowen treating 13000 patients per year and the experience of thousands of other practitioners since, we can say that the Bowen Technique is safe to use on anyone no matter the age or physical condition, from the new born to the elderly, from the disabled and chronically ill to the competitive athlete.
The only risk taken in trying such a safe, gentle and non invasive modality on patients is to make them feel better and possibly find the solution to what is ailing them.
The only temporary contra indication is to perform the coccyx procedure during pregnancy as there is a risk of provoking undue labor but all other procedures are safe to apply during pregnancy. The only unpleasant possible and occasional reaction that some patients can experience for usually a couple of days and usually following the first session or couple of sessions, is a temporary discomfort due to the body detoxifying itself .