Bowenwork

Bowenwork® is a form of touch therapy that consists of gentle hand movements over muscle to stimulate the underlying tissue or fascia. The precise movements gently stretch the muscle and tissues, rolling skin over the muscle from one side to the other. These moves initiate an energetic impulse that is believed to create a series of cellular and muscular responses that ultimately stimulate the nervous system, including the brain. Once the brain receives these signals, the nervous system sends messages to reset or restore normal function. 

The series of movements performed during a Bowenwork session are firm enough to move the fascia, a sheet of fibrous connective tissue that surrounds and binds together muscle, organs and other soft tissue structures that lie under the surface of the skin. Although the movements are mild enough to be painless they do elicit a series of energetic impulses that are communicated to the nervous system because of a realignment of nervous microfibers. We hypothesize that the golgi tendons and spindle cells within muscle bellies, along with the surrounding tissue, fascia, and intra and extral cellular fluid are stimulated. This causes a cascade of reactions that ultimately stimulate the autonomic and central nervous systems to re-set pathways throughout the body and improve both local function to specific areas within the body and generalized well being. 

If you have further questions about Bowenwork, we invite you to investigate our additional information or contact the LinkIN! office to speak to one of our staff.

Why should I use Bowenwork?

Although there are very few studies about the effects of Bowenwork®, the therapy is gaining recognition by health care providers throughout the world for its use in:

  • chronic and acute pain, particularly sciatica, back and neck pain, joint pain, and fasciitis;
  • joint dysfunction and reduced mobility;
  • headaches, including migraines;
  • gastrointestinal disturbances, including colic;
  • infertility and other reproductive issues;
  • breast tenderness; and 
  • lymphedema.  

Cancer survivors have found Bowenwork® to be particularly helpful when trying to manage the symptoms associated with chemotherapy (GI disturbances, headache, muscular aches and pains) and surgical complications (lymphedema, impaired mobility, and joint tenderness). It also has been shown to have a positive effect on fatigue and stress because of its calming influences on the nervous system.

How does Bowenwork work?

The series of movements performed during a Bowenwork® session are firm enough to move the fascia, a sheet of fibrous connective tissue that surrounds and binds together muscle, organs and other soft tissue structures that lie under the surface of the skin. Although the movements are mild enough to be painless they do elicit a series of energetic impulses that are communicated to the nervous system because of a realignment of nervous microfibers. We hypothesize that the golgi tendons and spindle cells within muscle bellies, along with the surrounding tissue, fascia, and intra and extra cellular fluid are stimulated. This causes a cascade of reactions that ultimately stimulate the autonomic and central nervous system to re-set pathways throughout the body and improve both local function to specific areas within the body and generalized well being.

Is Bowenwork right for me?

Bowenwork®   requires a certified Bowenworker or therapist that has the requisite knowledge to assess your condition and perform the precise movements. Therefore, you will need to find a Bowenworker in your area that can provide the services you require. Certified Bowenworkers can be identified online or by contacting Bowenwork  Academy USA at 1-866-862-6936. 

The number of Bowenwork® sessions is dependent on your condition but chronic conditions may take between 4 and 8 sessions over several weeks. Usually you will be asked to wait approximately 1 week between sessions to allow your system to re-set. The average cost for each session is between $45.00 and $75.00, which may not be covered by insurance. 

Bowenwork sessions can be done through light clothing.  While treatment sessions usually take place lying on a treatment table, Bowenworkers are skilled in accommodating special needs and will work with you to provide the session comfortably. No special oils or lotions are used. One of the interesting aspects of the Bowen work® session is that between movements, you will be asked to lie quietly while the therapist leaves the room, in order for your body to receive the full benefit of the treatment.

How do I choose a Bowenwork provider?

Bowenwork® originated in Australia in the 1950s by Thomas Bowen. Oswald Rentsch, one of his original students, developed a series of notes and techniques which have since been standardized into the Bowenwork® educational and certification program. These precise movements are taught by registered Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia (BTAA) instructors in a series of basic and advanced courses. In the U.S., the Bowenwork Academy USA (BAUSA) is the only organization recognized to teach and certify Bowenworkers in this technique. This academy maintains academic programs as well as a registry of providers who meet the standards of the Bowen Therapy Academy. Click here to find certified Bowenworkers in the U.S.

How do I talk to my healthcare provider about using Bowenwork?

Inform your healthcare provider about your use of Bowenwork and your reasons for its use. Stress that you are not replacing your conventional therapy, but using this to complement the treatment and to help you deal with some of the effects of that therapy. Keep notes/journal that summarize or document your responses to the therapy sessions, including any changes in mobility or symptom distress (such as pain, nausea, GI disturbances, and emotional state). That way your provider can ask about responses you might be having and monitor you for  changes in medications and treatments that may be needed once you experience positive results.
 
Do not stop medications you might be on, hoping that Bowenwork®   will decrease your need for these medications.  Your healthcare provider can advise you if changes are needed. If you are seeking Bowenwork®   to help with lymphedema, it might be helpful to tell your provider that there are no oils or lotions that are applied, and that the movements are done over light clothing, so that ports/lines and radiation tattooing will not be affected by the therapy. Bowenwork will not puncture the skin or use any mechanical devices during the treatment session.

Have others with cancer used Bowenwork?

Bowenwork has been used by cancer survivors to help cope with pain, lack of mobility, and lymphedema as well as other side effects of cancer treatment. Some of those using Bowenwork have stated:

  • "My shoulders started bothering me. After months of pain that kept getting worse, I was diagnosed with a frozen shoulder. I received two cortizone shots in my shoulders and was given exercises to do. It didn't have any effect. So I was sent for physical therapy. After 12 painful sessions of therapy they said they had done all they could, which wasn't much. My doctor then said he could break loose the shoulders with force. I decided to try the Bowen Technique. After one session of the Bowen Technique, with Jackie, I started getting more mobility and less pain. After the 2nd session, and simple, easy exercises my mobility was improved almost 50%. After my 4th session I'm about 90% improved. I am amazed that such a non invasive procedure could have such a positive effect."
  • "Several years ago, I began having problems with my feet. When I walked for longer than 10 minutes, I would notice numbness and tingling in them that then turned into an ache. I went to see a foot doctor who gave me a Cortisone shot. No change in status. He then had me wear pads on the bottoms of my feet which I kept up for about 12 months. He also gave me a series of 3 alcohol shots. I had some relief for a short amount of time, and then the symptoms returned. I inadvertently saw Fia Linn for Bowenwork and rather miraculously (and unexpectedly), my feet were healed! It made me feel a little crazy because suddenly there was no more numbness, tingling or pain in either of my feet! I now walk for an hour every morning (I've been doing this now for about 3 years and have begun to run for the first time in my life...beginning in October, 2008). I now have "Happy Feet"! I did not come to see Fia to heal my feet. I didn't know Bowen could do that! I am so happy to have regained the full use of my feet."
  • "I am a terrible skeptic and recently became critically ill with an exceedingly bad multiple sclerosis exacerbation. I was in significant muscle pain with reoccurring muscle spasms. A Bowen practitioner came and visited me in the hospital and did a session on me. I was so ill and in pain at the time, I thought I'll try anything. After just a few minutes (after the session) - no more than 2 -3, - the pain I had been heavily medicated for completely disappeared and never returned.At first, I couldn't walk or really move my left side much - but since 3 visits total - I can walk - unsteadily, without a walker for short distances. I am astounded something so simple and painless works - but it clearly does."
  • "I had a bilateral mastectomy over 10 years ago. While I don't have significant lymphedema, I began to notice that my upper body (shoulders, arms, hands) flexibility has decreased over time. It became so bad that I couldn't put on necklaces or earrings without a struggle. After 2 Bowenwork sessions, I can now reach around my back and I seem to have regained my ability to move like I did before surgery. And two months after completing my treatments, I have not lost any of that mobility."

What is Bowenwork like?

If you're interested in finding out what it is like to receive a Bowenwork treatment, we invite you to watch the following video presentation by Dr. Christine Hansen.

Downloads: 
Contributors: 
Christine Hansen, PhD, RN , Certified Bowenworker
Dara Deaton , Student , University of Arizona
Expert Reviewers: 
Mary Koithan, PhD, RN, CNS-BC
Christine Hansen, PhD, RN