The Bowen Technique is a relatively new modality (introduced in 1989 in the US) which is empirical in nature. There are not enough "scientific" researches proving its effects and mechanisms of action.
Most of the researches that have been done are considered anecdotal and not "scientific" enough to satisfy the Cartesian medical mind. As a consequence too many mainstream medical practitioners will not give it a try. This explains why the Bowen Technique is not yet widely used in mainstream medical settings. This is unfortunate as the only risk taken in trying such a safe and gentle modality on patients is to make them feel better and possibly find the solution to what is ailing them. Bowen challenges the mind, belief systems and materialistic sense of reality of both the patient and the practitioner who are not familiar with the use of such a minimal stimulus to provoke a self healing reaction from the body. A lot of people have a hard time being open to the fact that so subtle intervention can have such a powerful effect and that sometimes it can just take one session were a practitioner may spend a total of 10 minutes maximum hands on, doing little painless mobilizations to relive years of chronic pain. This is what happened to a student practitioner who was able in one session to totally alleviate a women who had been suffering chronically for 20 years from acute lower back pain due to herniated disks. This woman had tried many different forms of therapy and seen various kind of practitioners for years. They all came to the conclusion that she had to live with it. Some days her pain was so bad that she couldn't get out of bed, walk or dress herself unassisted. I personally met this women months after and she was still totally symptom free. That one session changed her life !
I was trained following the medical model as a physical therapist and even though I had extensive experience in practicing alternative forms of healing for 12 years with great success, when I encountered the Bowen Technique for the first time, I have to admit that I had to get over my French skeptical and critical mind and take a leap of faith. I couldn't understand how doing so little structural work could have such a deep impact on patients physically but also often energetically and psychologically. It just looks too simple and easy. As Gene Dobkin, a long time practitioner, puts it: "The magic of Bowen is not so much that it works, but that it works doing so little".
Bowen is the homeopathic approach to bodywork. Bowen and Homeopathic medicine are very similar in many ways, they use a minimal stimulus to provoke a self healing reaction from the body. Less is more is their motto. The Bowen practitioner is merely a catalyst setting the stimulus in motion for the body to heal itself and comes from a rather egoless position believing that it is the patient and his body that does the healing not him the practitioner.
As a practitioner, I often compare practicing Bowen and Zen :
• In giving a session, you are focussed with intent without being attached to the outcome.
• In doing "the move", you are present and give it your best, then let go and step aside to let the body take over and do its self healing.
THE BOWEN TECHNIQUE AN IMPORTANT HEALTH CARE MODALITY :
* Most Bowen practitioners are masseuses, bodyworkers, physical therapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, acupuncturists, naturopaths, homeopaths or medical doctors. Some use exclusively the Bowen Technique and other have integrated it in their treatment program.
* Some chiropractors use it to treat whiplash injuries when muscle spasms and pain prevent them from being able to do any adjustments, acupuncturists use it with patients that are afraid of needles or when needing a more hands on structural approach, MD's often use what we call a quick fix during a consultation then refer out to a Bowen practitioner for a more thorough treatment. Homeopaths find it to be a great complement to their homeopathic treatment as Bowen is the homeopathic approach to bodywork and both systems support the body in mobilizing its self healing and regulating mechanisms.
* HMO: Audrey Butko M.D. who used to work in an HMO practice found the Bowen Technique to be a blessing in such setting because of its simplicity, results and patients satisfaction and time management with the ability to treat several patients simultaneously. The Bowen Technique nearly eliminated her need to use cortisone injections. Her best results were with shoulder impingement with near full range of motion regained in one visit. She also found that elderly patients with arthritic knees walked away with less pain. She routinely used the Bowen Technique for acute asthma, low back pain, patello-femoral and carpal tunnel syndromes.
* Podiatry: Mitchell R. Mosher, DPM claimed that the Bowen Technique was one of the most powerful physical medicine technique that he learned in 24 years as a podiatrist attending countless podiatry related seminars. He routinely used the Bowen Technique to complement his treatment of various foot and ankle conditions (hallux valgus with bunion, hallux limitus rigitus, joint pain, hammer toes, burning foot, ankle sprain, leg/foot cramp, heel pain, fasciatis) and applied it pre and post surgery to reduce pain and support healing.
* Alternative Integrated Medicine (AIM for Health): this program at Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital,NC. (LINK TO CONTACTS) under the direction of Gerry Townsend, M.D., is an outpatient program that offers Bowen to acute and chronic patients that have not responded to traditional treatment for myofascial pain syndrome, back pain, TMJ, fibromyalgia, arthritis, fractures, soft tissue trauma, and gynecological dysfunction. C.S.Whitman MD, an orthopedic surgeon who refers regularly patients to the program although skeptical at first declared the Bowen Technique to be his modality of choice for treatment of most myofascial pain syndrome.
D I S C L A I M E R
The healing modalities portrayed on this website have not been evaluated for their efficacy by the FDA, AMA, or any government/medical agency, and are not intended to diagnose or treat any illness, injury, or ailment. If you have a history of, or are currently experiencing a medical problem, it is highly recommended that you first consult with your physician and discuss with him/her, all of the treatment options that are available. The information contained on this website is intended as a general reference and/or for educational purposes only. The healing modalities should not be construed as making any medical claims or as a substitute for consulting your physician or getting conventional medical exams or treatments.