I am in the process of becoming a Bowen Practitioner. I first learned about Bowen from a dear friend and Bowen Practitioner, Natasha De Grunwald. I became curious and anxious to experience this method and approach. I signed up for a 4-day training course in Portland, Oregon. I was astonished by the gentle pressure and profound results. The Bowen technique is taught in a series of modules and each module we learn a handful of procedures for example, low back procedure, upper back procedure, head and neck procedure, etc. I was one of five women in the class and we all had major transformative experiences giving and receiving this work. We left each day a little taller, our postures improved and aches and pains reduced dramatically.
Tom Bowen developed the Bowen Technique in Australia and his student Ossie Rentsch kept his work alive by teaching and creating BoTech. It is an international community of practitioners and instructors all over the world. The Bowen move is a gentle myofascial manipulation over specific areas of the body that creates a vibration throughout the musculoskeletal system activating a nervous system response to decompress, rest, and relax. The treatments I received over the course of the 4-day training left me pain free. I didn’t feel any tightness, soreness, or pain in my whole body. I felt like a child again! I had a spring in my step and moved with ease and stability. I was astonished with such results from such minimal effort by the practitioner.
Why Bowen works?
Bowen technique works by activating the body’s natural healing response by stimulating certain nerve bundles, tendons, and muscles. This relaxation response helps the nervous system reset and let go of tension that is causing the pain. Fascia has become a buzzword in anatomy and bodywork communities. Fascia is a sheet or band of connective tissue primarily made of collagen that’s under the skin and surrounds and attaches to every structure. The fascia layer needs water so it can glide and slide as we move so hydration is key when receiving this work. Stiffness and soreness are symptoms that can indicate fascia is dehydrated. For any case, hydration is important for this type of treatment to avoid discomfort.
The Bowen Technique is a myofascial treatment which means it targets the release of bound up fascia. Bowen Technique works because when we experience physical and emotional trauma or accident, scarring of the tissue, inflammation, etc. the fascia loses flexibility and causes restriction. Things like habitual poor posture, whiplash, injuries, repetitive stress, tmjd among others have a cumulative effect on the body and its buoyancy. Fascial restrictions can cause all sorts of strange symptoms like fatigue, headaches, limited range of motion, and more. The Bowen Technique intervenes with a combination of gentle myofascial manipulations followed by periods of rests to allow the fascia to bounce back and reset restoring function and comfort to our body.
I strongly recommend trying a series of Bowen treatments. You can find a Bowen Practitioner near you by searching on the Bowen Technique website. I felt the effects of the Bowen treatments I received during the training for three weeks. Bowen is not a typical massage. I would classify it under bodywork but the manual soft tissue manipulation (the Bowen move) is more like an osteopath or chiropractor but instead of adjusting bone you receive a fascia adjustment.
A therapy for more than just physical pain…
The last day of the training we learned the hamstring procedure and for me that unleashed the tears. For someone who has chronically tight hamstrings it was helpful to learn that the hamstrings are a key muscle contracted when our body goes into fight or flight. I experienced a somatic release. Emotional, sexual, and psychological trauma I have been working on for 7 years came to the surface. It was like the energy of these traumas were stored in my hamstrings and in one movement it released. It was a beautiful experience. I felt a deeper connection to peace and freedom and experienced it in my mind and body. Since this experience I have been receiving Bowen treatments to help ground me in my body. If I am feeling overwhelmed and stressed I find myself feeling outside my body. Bowen disengages fight or flight response and helps the body rest. After each session I feel much more myself- centered, calm, and happy.