What is Bowen Therapy?

Bowen Therapy was developed by Tom Bowen in Geelong, Australia in the early 1960’s. It was popularized by students of Tom in the eighties, and training in this technique became readily available for the first time in 1986. Since then it has been taught extensively throughout the world. The therapy has achieved a high status in natural therapies where it is accepted with other modalities displaying a much longer and established history, which indicates that there is something special about this therapy.
Fascial Kinetics is a version of Bowen Therapy that is setting the standard in Bowen education. It differs from other Bowen schools in that its curriculum is based on a holistic model. Russell Sturgess, the founder of Fascial Kinetics learnt Bowen Therapy in 1986, in one of the earliest classes taught by one of Tom Bowen’s students, Ossie Rentsch. Russell was given the opportunity to begin teaching overseas in 1989, which he continued for six years before commencing his teaching in Australia. The Fascial Kinetics course honors the tradition of Bowen, but grounds it in science and balances it with heart.
What to expect from a treatment
Bowen moves may be done on skin, or through clothing. The technique consists of a series of gentle moves over soft tissue. Frequent pauses between moves give the body time to process and benefit from each set. By combining moves, the practitioner can either benefit the body as a whole, or target a specific problem.
It is a gentle therapy that does not require deep pressure, although we vary the depth of the pressure for each client according to their specific health status. Most people usually become very relaxed right away, and even fall asleep during the treatment. Rapid results are common. Most injuries and pain respond in 3 or 4 sessions, but there is no limit to the number of treatments a client can choose to receive. "Top up" treatments are of great benefit to help keep your body in a state of optimal balance and to prevent re-injury. Clients usually experience a deep and long-lasting relief, even from long-standing injury or pain.
We do the minimum needed to bring about a healing response in the body. Clients often tell us that they have received faster results than other therapies, especially on acute injuries.
Bowen Therapy balances and stimulates energy flows, resulting in a deep sense of overall relaxation. The restorative process begins once the body is relaxed, and the healing process continues to work after the treatment.
Common responses to the treatment often involve feelings of improved energy, better mechanics and reduced pain. However, if you are dehydrated, with ‘gluing’ patterns in your fascia, it is not uncommon for post treatment reactions to include tiredness, shifting musculo-skeletal discomfort and frequent urination. Generally these reactions only last for 24 – 36 hours. Drinking water both pre and post treatment will reduce the intensity of any reaction.
Bowen Therapy is appropriate to use on everyone—babies, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with long term pain.
How does Bowen Therapy work?
There are few explanations of how Bowen Therapy works but the most popular theory explains how the technique uses a series of selectively placed transverse muscle-fibre moves to stimulate the soft tissue of the fascia found between the muscles and the skin. This effect creates a window of change for the fascia to become rehydrated. This in turn assists the structures housed within this tissue. These structures include nerves, muscles, lymph and vascular structures, and organs. Improved function in these structures leads to improved general health and decreased levels of pain.
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A deeper understanding of Bowen Therapy

Working with Connective Tissue
Bowen Therapy is a new concept in bodywork and achieves its profound and long lasting effects by working with the superficial and deep connective tissue in the body. This connective tissue is called fascia. Fascia forms one continuous structure in the body, and is the medium through which communication between cells occur. It forms the spaces between the cells and is a major fluid transit pathway in the body. Blood vessels deliver nutrients and oxygen into this tissue, lymph vessels collect waste, nerves are protected by this tissue, muscles and bones supported and encased in its structure.
The health of this connective tissue determines to a large degree the healthy functioning of all other systems in the body.
During a Bowen Therapy treatment, we enhance the health of connective tissue in two main ways. The transverse push and pull of the Bowen move releases stuck and glued fibres in the fascia, allowing the fluid transit routes to be reopened. The compression of the move restores the bioelectrical capacity of the tissue, allowing the area to rehydrate and the fluid pathways to remain open. Nutrients and oxygen can be efficiently delivered to the tissue, waste products removed and nerve impulses transmitted more effectively.
New research into this connective tissue shows that connective tissue plays a major role in the structure of the body and the maintenance of our posture. This continuous sheath is a large fluid filled sack that holds us upright. Muscles and bones are encased in the connective tissue to provide the energy and direction for movement, but it is the connective tissue that determines how we move and how easily we move. Misalignments in this tissue, adhesions and gluing patterns cause inefficient and restricted movement and eventually pain and inflammation.
When a Bowen treatment is given, the glued fibres are gently pulled apart and released to their natural alignment. Each treatment addresses the whole body, not just the area of injury or pain. Postural misalignments are released, effective movement patterns are restored. Muscles pain, sprain and strain can heal more rapidly.
Treating the whole body holistically
Bowen Therapy, however, does more than just allow muscles to heal and rebalancing postural realignment. Because we work on reopening one of the body’s major fluid pathways that deliver nutrients to tissue and removes waste products from the tissue, we are also working on the total health of many systems of the body. Bowen has been shown to help with a large range of health issues such as skin problems, digestive problems and respiratory problems.
The meridian system of Traditional Chinese Medicine also runs through this connective tissue; the superficial and deep fascia in the body, and by releasing restrictions in this tissue we are also allowing the energetic pathways to be unblocked and rebalanced. It is now believed that the chemicals that create our emotional responses also travel through the fascia. Our fascia has been called “the skin of the spirit”; the place of transformation; the medium through which the body and spirit communicate. Realigning the fibres in the connective tissue opens up a window of opportunity for change allowing old patterns and behaviours to be released.
Deep relaxation promotes the balancing and healing process
Bowen Therapy balances and stimulates energy flows, resulting in a deep sense of overall relaxation. The restorative process begins once the body is relaxed, and continues as the body allows. The moves bring about effective results by penetrating to a deep cellular level, incorporating the body's unique ability to heal itself.
With the release of toxins and old patterning, the moves begin to accomplish holistic balance almost immediately. Since the Bowen Therapy addresses the body as a whole unit rather than just the presenting symptom, it embraces the physical, chemical, emotional and mental aspects of each person receiving a treatment.
The Bowen practitioner is a catalyst, setting the stimulus in motion for the body to heal itself. The success of the outcome of the treatment is enhanced by the practitioner's experience and assessment skills, and their ability to view the body as a whole unit and understand where the root of the problem lies. By combining moves, both in placement and in combination, the practitioner is able to address the body as a whole or target a specific problem.
 

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School of Fascial Kinetics
Principals: Lynne Brown & Mark Hunter
Contact: 0409 277341 or email