What is The Bowen Technique?

A remedial therapy in which the practitioner uses thumbs and forefingers on precise points on the body to make rolling type moves which gently stimulate the muscles, soft tissue and energy within the body. These moves prompt the body to make the adjustments which help to re-balance, relieve tension and reduce pain.

There is no manipulation or adjustment of hard tissue. It is not a form of massage. The treatment affects the body in ways which promote healing, pain relief and recovery of energy. The experience of the treatment is gentle, subtle and relaxing and it is these features which make The Bowen Technique so unique. It is generally regarded as safe and effective for people of all ages.


The Bowen Technique was pioneered by Thomas Ambrose Bowen of Geelong, Australia. He had a great interest in massage and body work and spent time observing football trainers and others involved with sports. By the time he was in his early 40’s, this gifted man had established a full-time practice in remedial therapy using the technique he had developed. In 1973, when he was interviewed by a parliamentary committee looking into complementary medicine, he stated, under oath, that he treated about 280 patients per week – an incredible 13,000 patients a year, 88% of whom only required two or three treatments! Mr Bowen was able to treat 2 or 3 patients in different treatment rooms during the same time slot because of the short breaks which are part of a Bowen Technique treatment. Mr Bowen died in the early 1980’s, age 66, but today there are a number of flourishing therapies based on his work.

Common Presenting Problems

The Bowen Technique has provided help and relief for a great variety of conditions.

These include:

  • back and neck pain
  • knee problems
  • mastitis/tender breasts
  • sports injuries
  • RSI frozen shoulder
  • tennis elbow hayfever & asthma
  • PMS/menopausal symptoms
  • heel and foot pain
  • shinsplints bunions

In addition, the following conditions have often responded well to Bowen Technique treatment:

  • chronic fatigue
  • high blood pressure
  • headache
  • kidney problems
  • arthritis
  • lymphatic drainage

Bowen in Sports

A growing number of athletes and their physios are discovering that regular Bowen Technique treatments enhance performance and reduce the incidence of injury.

When they do have an injury, the Bowen Technique brings rapid relief and gets them back to the game quickly.

Bowen in Stress Management

Some people use The Bowen Technique as a means of stress management and general health maintenance, seeing their therapist regularly 2 – 4 times a year.

Babies, Children, Elderly

It is generally regarded as safe, gentle and effective for people of all ages. The treatment choices open to practitioners of The Bowen Technique enable them to tailor a treatment to those who are very young or in a weakened or frail state.

Compatibility with Orthodox and other Complementary Medicine

To receive maximum benefit it is recommended that other physical therapies are not mixed with The Bowen Technique, e.g. massage, physiotherapy, reflexology, etc. Ensure a break of 7 to 10 days between Bowen and any other physical therapy or consult your local Bowen Technique practitioner.

Consultation and Treatment

A Bowen Technique treatment will take approximately 45 minutes and most of the work can be performed through light clothing. The practitioner uses thumbs and fingers on precise points on the body to make rolling type moves which aim to disturb the muscles, soft tissue and energy within the body. During the treatment there are periods where the client is left resting to allow the body to absorb the gentle moves that have been performed, giving the body time to make the subtle and fine adjustments which help to re-balance, relieve tension and reduce pain. The Bowen Technique encourages the body to realign itself; there is no manipulation or adjustment of hard tissue and no force is used or needed. The Bowen Technique is not a form of massage. Two or three treatments, at weekly intervals, are often 5 sufficient to achieve lasting relief from even long-standing pain, although further treatments may sometimes be required.

Treatment Cost

From £20 – £40 for a treatment session (higher in large cities such as London). A treatment usually lasts between 40 and 60 minutes.