The Original Bowen Technique

Over the last twenty years there have been a number of interpretations of the Bowen technique that have appeared and then faded away, partly because they have been based on a limited understanding of Tom Bowen’s work and failed to offer a comprehensive view of the intricate and complex approach that the Bowen technique provides.

A lot of people ask – what is it about Bowtech and the ‘original’ Bowen technique training that makes is so unique? And why has it been so successful? The answer is simple: firstly, it works extraordinarily well in preparing therapists for clinical practice and secondly, there is no other training that offers nearly the same level of professionalism and wide-range of topics in its curriculum.

Some teachers claim that their interpretation of the work is the best and the only one to offer a full range of assessments, but this is simply not true. Bowtech courses have been offering a range of classes in assessment for the last fifteen years or more. Making assessment a useful tool in helping to know when and how to apply Bowen is a complex issue. It is not as simple as applying standard chiropractic, osteopathic or orthopaedic tests, as apart from anything else, an understanding of the complex way that fascia maintains posture and integrity in the body is vital.

Other teachers put a strong emphasis on creating ‘symmetry’ in the body and stress the vital importance of leg-length discrepancy. Although these can be important and helpful factors to take into account, there are by no means as important as is sometimes made out. As Robert Schleip recently stated, psychological and emotional issues are equally, if not more important, than purely structural considerations when it comes to addressing a client’s pain. If our aim is simply to ‘straighten people up,’ then we can fail to take into account the reasons why they adopted impotent compensation patterns in the first place. There may also be psychological and emotional factors that need to be taken into account when addressing postural issues.

Although some commentators have stated that Bowen has its origins in acupuncture and shiatsu, this is only part of the story as recent research on the physiology of fascia has shown. Although Tom Bowen was interested in chiropractic and some of his students practised it, chiropractic assessments and techniques have limited value when it comes to understanding how Bowen initiates change on a deep level in the body.

Bowen is certainly an art, but this is not something that can be learnt on a two-day course. It takes many years of applying the work and seeing the extraordinary results that happen on a daily basis with people who have taken Bowtech courses. The art of Bowen is when we take into consideration a client’s whole life history, their physical and emotional health and allows their body to respond to a Bowen treatment. Some teachers put a lot of emphasis on testing during a treatment until something is ‘fixed,’ but this doesn’t always allow the body to respond at its own pace. It can also unhelpfully impost a therapist’s own view of what a client’s body needs to do to heal. Other teachers say that the two-minute breaks are of limited importance, but this is clearly erroneous, as outlined by important recent research by the neuroscientist, Dr. Bud Craig.

The Bowtech training is based as far as possible on recent research and likes to keep fully abreast of continuing developments in fascia, body psychotherapy, immune system health, psychoneuroimmunology, understanding chronic pain, assessment and trauma, to name a few. To this end, as well as offering high quality training in the manual application of Bowen technique itself, it supplements the course with additional modules on the topics listed below. The range of courses is constantly being extended and are taught by highly experience Bowen practitioners in their own right who have spent many years using these principles in their own clinical practices. All our teachers are part of a large international group of teachers who exchange ideas and developments.

Some of the topics offered in Bowtech-accredited courses* include:

  • Assessment models, including Myofascial Lines Testing
  • Understanding and Treating Back Pain
  • Neck and Whiplash Injuries
  • Ligament Stimulation Techniques
  • Working with Pregnant Mothers and Babies
  • Women’s Wellness
  • Bowen for People Living with Cancer
  • Chronic Conditions and Bowen
  • Working with Stroke Patients
  • Dental and TMJ-specific issues
  • Kinesiology Taping and Bowen
  • The Lymphatic System and Bowen
  • Bowen and the Meridian System
  • Bowen and the Ayurvedic System
  • Body-Mind Approaches to Bowen
  • Bowen in Palliative Care
  • Understanding Fascia
  • Deep Anatomy
  • Pathology
  • Bowen-specific Business and Ethics
  • Communication skills
  • Four modules of Advanced Bowen techniques only taught in the Bowtech system

We feel we offer the best balance of professionalism and expertise and aim to offer the most comprehensive approach to working with the Bowen technique in order to give the broadest possible benefits for practitioners. We pride ourselves on being inclusive and supporting practitioners with the highest quality training from around the world. We will continue to do this and no doubt others will continue to bring their versions of Bowen and promote them as ‘the best.’ We would encourage practitioners to cultivate discernment and not to take everything presented at face value.

*Note: Not all workshops offered in Australia. BTA is committed to having International Instructors visit down under to present their workshops which include material not currently available in Australia. Visiting Instructor workshops will be announced on the BTA website here and Facebook page here. Visit to see worldwide offerings. Continuing education workshops are not part of the nationally-recognised training here in Australia, however they are Bowtech-accredited.

By John Wilks, Instructor UK

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Categories Practitioners, Training | Tags: , , , , , | Posted on April 3, 2018

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