Bowen Therapy is a gentle, non-invasive healing technique that uses specific rolling motions over muscles and tendons to stimulate the body's own healing processes. It effectively transitions the nervous system from a stress-induced state to a restorative state, making it suitable for individuals of all ages with various health concerns.

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What is Bowen Therapy?

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Bowen Therapy, a holistic technique that has gained recognition for its effectiveness in treating various ailments, is a gentle, non-invasive form of physical therapy. The Bowen technique was developed in Geelong, Australia during the 1950s by Tom Bowen. The concept behind Bowen therapy is to treat the body as a whole. The Bowen technique is an alternative form of bodywork that utilises gentle rolling motions to help heal muscles, relieve pain and enhance overall well-being.

Bowen Therapy is often referred to as Bowen Technique, Bowen Therapy, Bowen, Bowtech, or Bowenwork®.

How does Bowen Therapy work?

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Bowen Therapy works on our nervous system by promoting the ‘parasympathetic’ (rest and digestion) aspect of our Autonomic nervous system – thus further promoting a relaxed body and mind to achieve Homeostasis (the bodies ability to heal itself).

A typical Bowen Therapy session can be very relaxing, as one of the many ways it helps is by working with the body's nervous system, assisting it to switch from sympathetic (SNS) to the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). The SNS controls the body's responses to a perceived threat and is responsible "the fight or flight" response, including stress and anxiety. On the other hand, PNS controls homeostasis and the body at rest and is responsible for the rest and digest function.

A key aspect of Bowen Therapy's effectiveness lies in its impact on the nervous system. By stimulating the body's transition to the parasympathetic nervous system, this physical therapy encourages a state of relaxation and healing. This not only aids in pain relief but also supports the body's overall health and well-being.

What does a Bowen Therapist do?

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Bowen Therapy is a gentle non-invasive, hands-on therapy which can be highly effective on acute and chronic conditions for athletes and all people with musculoskeletal and nervous system concerns.

A series of small specific ‘rolling’ moves over key muscles and tendons assist your body to return to its balanced state of being pain-free and relaxed. Bowen Therapists believe that your body knows what it needs to do to heal itself - and that their job is to initiates this process through Bowen Therapy.

Our muscles are surrounded and permeated with a weblike structure called ‘fascia’ which essentially holds our muscles and skeleton together. The ‘rolling’ Bowen moves signal the fascia to return to their original relaxed state, and thus the muscle is returned as well.

Our amazing Bowen Therapist, Russell Evans, would love to explain his specific methodology in your Initial Bowen Consultation. Book now and try out this incredible Natural Therapy for yourself!

What do they do in Bowen Therapy?

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During your Initial Bowen Therapy consultation, your Bowen Therapist will discuss with you your medical history and assess your particular needs for the session.

They will then begin your actual treatment. As a patient, it may seem to you that Bowen Therapy involves only a small amount of adjustments by your Bowen Therapist. This is because the practice of Bowen Therapy requires the therapist to apply gentle pressure and movements, with time left afterwards due to the belief that the body needs time to return to its natural state and heal after each adjustment.

You may be left to relax between each Bowen move for as long as 20 minutes, depending on the particular move the Bowen Therapist is making and the particular treatment they are working towards. Use this as part of your session and enjoy meditating or sleeping in the moment to give your body the ultimate benefits and the best acute effect from the motion.

Is Bowen Therapy safe?

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Bowen Therapy is suitable for most people and is seen to be safe for newborn babies through to the elderly. It can be profoundly effective on athletes as well.

The Bowen technique is safe to use on anyone, from newborns to the elderly and for any musculoskeletal or related neuromuscular complaint. It is a holistic treatment that treats the whole person and aims to treat the cause of problems, rather than the symptoms. (Source)

Some therapists advise their clients to avoid other muscle-manipulation therapies for at least 1 week after the session to allow the body to adjust. (Source) Bowen Therapy sessions are also usually spaced at least a week apart for the same reason.

Can the Bowen Technique help me?

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The original Bowen Technique is extremely gentle and is considered appropriate for anyone from pregnant women to newborn babies, the frail and the elderly. It can assist in recovery from many conditions, from traumatic injury to chronic illness, depending upon each individual's capacity to heal. No adverse side effects have been reported.

The technique can be considered for:

  • back pain and sciatica
  • scoliosis
  • migraines and headaches
  • digestive and bowel problems including IBS
  • ear-ache, ear infections
  • fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS)
  • knee pain, ankle and foot problems
  • menstrual and hormonal irregularities
  • neck/shoulder problems including frozen shoulder
  • groin pain, pelvic tilt and uneven leg length
  • respiratory problems and hay fever
  • RSI, carpal tunnel syndrome and tennis elbow
  • sports and accident injuries

Conditions Treated by Bowen Therapy

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Bowen Therapy's versatility allows it to address a wide array of conditions effectively. From chronic pain, joint pain, and low back pain to more specific ailments like carpal tunnel syndrome and anxiety, Bowen Therapy offers a holistic alternative to traditional medical treatments. Its ability to improve symptoms related to stress and injury, and improve the health and flexibility of your connective tissue, makes it a valuable holistic therapy for many patients seeking relief and a gentle healing process.

Chronic Pain and Bowen Therapy

One of the most significant benefits of Bowen Therapy is its ability to manage and alleviate chronic pain without medical intervention or drugs. By focusing on the whole person rather than just the symptoms, Bowen therapists can promote pain relief and improve pressure pain thresholds, offering a sustainable form of relief for those suffering from long-term pain conditions.

Musculoskeletal Benefits

For individuals experiencing musculoskeletal pain or soft connective tissue injury, Bowen Therapy provides a gentle yet effective treatment option. By applying soft, non-invasive moves on the body, therapists can relieve pain, reduce tension in the muscles and tendons, and promote a faster recovery process.

Our Bowen Therapist, Russell Evans, became a Bowen Therapy Practitioner after he found incredible results from having his acute back injury treated by Bowen Therapy. Now he shares his own success with his patients, helping them in their journey to better health and less pain!

Holistic Approach to Health

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Bowen Therapy's holistic approach extends beyond physical symptoms, addressing the emotional and psychological aspects of health. By treating the whole person, Bowen Therapy aims to restore balance and promote a sense of well-being, making it a comprehensive form of therapy for those seeking an alternative to traditional medical treatments.

Does Bowen Therapy Actually Work?

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While more studies are needed to fully understand the acute effects and long-term benefits of Bowen Therapy, preliminary research and systematic reviews have shown positive outcomes. Studies on healthy subjects and those with specific ailments have reported improvements in pain relief, postural sway, and overall well-being.

Research Backs up Bowen's Success Rates

Studies have been conducted on the impact on Bowen Therapy on a wide variety of ailments ranging from fibromyalgia and migraines to asthma and Parkinson's disease. Here are some of the findings:

Bowenwork(®) may provide a noninvasive and affordable complementary approach to improvements in health. This intervention may offer improvements in pain reduction for various conditions such as frozen shoulder and migraines. (Source)

A more recent 2020 study looked at how effective Bowen therapy is for treating lower back pain. The researchers found that people experienced a short-term reduction in pain compared with a control group.

In a 2018 study, researchers looked at how Bowen therapy affects back pain. The authors write that about 66% of the participants reported very good results following their third session, with most respondents describing the first treatment as “mostly good.”

While specific research on Bowen Therapy's effects on Parkinson’s is limited, it is generally found to alleviate pain, stiffness, stress, anxiety, and sleep issues, among other conditions like asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, and migraine. People with Parkinson’s and their carers may benefit from its symptom-reducing and wellbeing-enhancing effects, including stress and muscle pain relief for carers. (Source)

However, high quality scientific data regarding the effectiveness of Bowen therapy are limited. Data from existing research show mixed, though mostly positive results. (Source)

It is always important that you make your own decision about the effectiveness of any alternative therapy, and to see a doctor if you suffer any side-effects.

How Much Does Bowen Therapy Cost?

Bowen Therapy at Brisbane Livewell Clinic costs $120 for a 60 minute initial consultation. Our subsequent consultations cost $99, and you can purchase a package of 3 discounted subsequent consultations for $270.

From the Author

I once underwent a year-long course of Bowen Therapy for some chronic health and musculoskeletal problems. In my experience, Bowen Therapy does work, and it is incredibly effective. I found the sessions to be amazingly relaxing - even more than massage therapy. It felt like my whole body gave a big sigh of relief after each movement, and my pain and tension melted away. (Rachelle Hare, Owner of Brisbane Livewell Clinic)

Author's Recommendation

From my experience, Bowen Therapy is a powerful Natural Therapy and I recommend that everyone seek Bowen Therapy. Plan on a course of 5 or 6 sessions to get the best chance of healing and the best response from their bodies.


Bowen Therapy represents a significant advancement in the field of holistic health, offering a gentle, effective treatment option for a wide range of conditions. Its focus on the soft connective tissue, the nervous system, and the body's natural healing processes makes it a unique and valuable form of therapy.

As research continues to uncover the full extent of its benefits, Bowen Therapy remains a promising option for people seeking relief from pain, stress, and various health issues. Whether you're dealing with chronic pain, musculoskeletal issues, need lymphatic drainage, a systematic review of your health, healing of your soft tissue, or are simply looking for a holistic approach to health, Bowen Therapy may offer the relief and well-being you seek.


1. How many Sessions of Bowen Therapy do I need?

Many Bowen Therapists recommend that their patients attend the Initial Bowen Therapy Consultation then a further 3 Subsequent Consultations. This is to give the therapy the best chance of working. At the end of the 4th consultation, your therapist will discuss with you any future treatment options and recommend where to go to next.

Many Bowen Therapists will recommend that you attend regular "maintenance sessions", which may be monthly after an acute injury or issue has been resolved. This is because Bowen is considered a preventative therapy, not necessarily a reactive therapy - it can be used to prevent issues from occurring in the future.

2. Can I claim Bowen Therapy on Medicare?

Bowen Therapy is unfortunately not claimable on Medicare in Australia at the current time. However it may be claimable under your private health insurance.

3. Can I claim Bowen Therapy on Private Health Insurance?

Private Health Claims can be processed directly through your health fund if Bowen Therapy is included in your cover. Bowen Therapy is a recognised modality through many of the major health funds - but please contact your health fund to confirm as they all have different policies.

4. Should I wear Clothes during Bowen Therapy?

The best Bowen moves are performed directly on the skin, however most Bowen Therapists will treat their patients clothed for modesty.

Bowen Therapy can be performed through light clothing (gym wear is ideal, whereas boardshort material is less effective and jeans will make treatment through clothes difficult so you may be asked to remove them and used a towel instead).

Your Bowen Therapist will work with what is comfortable for you.

5. Who regulates Bowen Therapy in Australia?

In Australia, Bowen Therapy is regulated by several professional associations rather than a single governmental body. These associations ensure practitioners meet certain standards of training and professional conduct. The most notable organisations include:

These organisations play a crucial role in maintaining the quality and safety of Bowen Therapy services provided in Australia. They offer resources for both practitioners and those seeking therapy, including directories of certified therapists.

Last Updated on 21 July 2024 by Brisbane Livewell Clinic