Is Bowen Therapy massage?

The short answer is no, Bowen Therapy is not massage. But why? While it is a form of bodywork that utilises soft-tissue manipulations, Bowen Therapy is not massage. 

Here’s why.

Massage typically:

  • Uses oil on bare skin.
  • Utilises almost constant contact – the massage therapist’s hands rarely leave the body.
  • Involves long strokes in the direction of muscle fibres or deep tissue manipulations.
  • Allows the client to dictate how much pressure is used.
  • Can be taxing physically on the practitioner. Injuries such as RSI and arthritis are common.
  • Contraindications may include people on anti-coagulants (blood thinners), people with lymphoedema and lipoedema, muscle or tendon damage, skin conditions, and sometimes pregnancy.

In Bowen Therapy, we:

  • Do not use oil.
  • Can perform the moves over light clothing or on the skin.
  • Are very gentle using minimal pressure. 
  • Use minimal interventions – there may be as few as six moves in one Bowen Therapy session! Less is more.
  • Do not impose forceful manipulations. 
  • Use short rolling moves at musculotendinous junctions or across the body of muscle fibres. 
  • Pause between moves. The practitioner leaves the room to allow the client to relax and the body to integrate.
  • Has few contraindications. 
  • Focus on the whole body rather than just the presenting source of pain, because the site of our pain might not be its source.
  • Can typically sustain a much longer career due to its gentle and easy application. 

Here’s two visual demonstrations that further highlights the differences.


Bowen Therapy:

As you can see, they’re quite different!

Just to be clear, we’re not saying either modality is better. While we are somewhat biased towards Bowen Therapy, we’re in full support of whatever works best for your body. As the saying goes, different strokes for different folks!

Keep in mind that what works for you and your body might not work for another. But if you haven’t tried Bowen Therapy before, we suggest you do! You can contact one of our trainers who are highly experienced Bowen Therapists here, or visit to find a Bowen Therapist near you. Live outside Australia? Visit

Keen to join us and learn Bowen Therapy? Download a free course information pack here.

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