A Typical Bowen Treatment

Bowen treatments typically occur on a “massage” table, with the patient dressed in loose fitting clothes, and covered with enough blankets so that they are comfortably warm. Patients will usually begin by lying on their stomach with pillow support if needed for comfort. As the treatment continues, they will often lie on their back. Side lying, sitting or standing are also possible depending on the needs of the individual. Comfort and warmth are of great importance as this supports the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which becomes dominant during relaxation.

Bowen is unlike any other form of bodywork, in that it completely trusts that the body will do exactly what it needs to do, when it needs to do it, without the practitioner’s guiding influence. This is why after every couple of “moves” Dr. Howe will leave the room for a couple of minutes. This allows your body to do exactly what it needs to do without being watched. This also allows the couple of minutes required by your fascia to adjust and integrate the “moves”.

What exactly are these “moves”? With the pads of the thumb(s) or finger(s), typically directly on the skin, skin slack is taken up over specific parts of the body. This is followed by a gentle sinking into the tissues to a comfortable depth, a challenge or pressing into, usually the side of the muscle, and then a movement through/past or over the muscle. People find the movement very relaxing and satisfying.

Treatments tend to last for 30 – 60 minutes. Some people may need longer to rest and integrate the work after the treatment is technically completed. Most people find significant relief in the first treatment. That said however, most people return on average from 3-8 times initially, in order to get the deeper healing that their body needs. After this people are encouraged to listen to their body and return as needed for “tune-ups”. For some this is yearly, or twice yearly, and for others monthy. The number of treatments required varies so much from person to person, as we are all so unique. Some of the factors that determine the number of treatments required include;

• the length of time that you have been living with an illness or issue
• compensation patterns in other parts of the body that have developed over time
• general health, fitness and vitality
• the number and severity of surgeries, injuries and illnesses 
• the number and nature of chronic illnesses
• the number of medications being taking, and so on.

Please do not get discouraged if you think that you will take longer to heal. Remember, it is not a race. With the Bowen Technique, you will almost certainly be pleasantly surprised at how nicely your body responds!

Another important note to make is that our physical bodies store our life’s experiences on a cellular level. When working with the body in this and other deep ways, it is quite common for people to have what is often referred to as a somato-emotional release. This is when traumas or experiences that were stored and possibly stuck in the body are permitted to be released. When this happens there is often a remembering of the experience and a re-experiencing of the emotions that went with it. This can be confusing at the time, but with support and gentle guidance, it is a very therapeutic and complete release on a physical, mental, emotional and often spiritual level, which increases your overall vitality and wellbeing.


White Pines Naturopathic Clinic

Waterdown - Ontario - Canada