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What is Bowen Technique or Bowen Therapy?

The Bowen technique was developed from the amazing work of the late Mr Tom Bowen of Geelong, Victoria. Taught and practiced all over the world since the 1980's, Bowen Therapy is now one of the fastest growing natural therapies of current times.

The Bowen technique is a holistic approach to pain relief and healing that is based on the recognition that the underlying cause or source of many musculoskeletal, neurological, neuromuscular and other health or pain problems can be found in the form of an imbalance of the energetic and facial systems of the body.

Fascia is a specific type of connective tissue that forms a three dimensional web surrounding every tissue in the body. Considered the body's connecting web, Fascia embraces all nerves, bones, arteries, veins and muscles. Fascial dysfunction can affect every structure, muscle, nerve and organ in the body and has therefore become the subject of increasing research and recent studies, showing it to be the largest sensory organ in the body.

The Bowen Therapy technique is a very gentle and non-invasive, but extremely powerful, soft connective tissue hands-on therapy that addresses whatever is out of balance within the body. It works so well and quickly because it works on stimulating the flow of water throughout the body - water which carries energy around the body through the soft connective tissue (Fascia). This energy has been referred to by many names from many cultures for thousands of years; Chi, Life Force, and Prana to name a few. It is not important to label it, but simply to understand that without a free uninterrupted balanced flow of this energy, and water, throughout your body, you will have health challenges of varying kinds and severity.

The Bowen technique addresses pain and restriction anywhere in the body. Some of the most common ailments attended are:

  • Back and neck pain
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Hip, knee and ankle problems
  • Menstrual disorders, ovulation pain, mood swings (PMS), tender breasts and painful periods
  • Digestive problems
  • Asthma, shortness of breath
  • Sciatica
  • Chronic fatigue


In memory of Tom Bowen

This illustration was created by artist Simon Cowell.


Bronson's mentor, Robert Haines talks about the Bowen Technique


My name is Robert Haines and I have been a Bowen Therapist since 1993. I am very passionate about using the Bowen Therapy technique on patients (human and animal) and teaching it to anyone who is interested. This therapy evolved from the work of the late Mr Tom Bowen from my hometown, Geelong, Victoria, Australia. Tom was a truly amazing man who developed this very powerful technique over 20 years of practice on hundreds of thousands of people and animals with remarkable results.

I am one of very few Bowen teachers in the world who was treated by Tom. I have a closer association than most with Tom as he was a close family friend. Tom met my mother in about 1934 when he worked as a milk carter for my mother’s grandfather’s dairy in Geelong. Later Tom worked with my father at Burns Scouring Mills and then later at the Geelong Cement Works along with my grandfather and uncle. Tom (as a carpenter) helped build our family home in 1955 in Geelong where my mother and father still live today (2010).

I had the privilege of teaching Bowen Therapy to one of Tom’s daughters and granddaughters and as Tom treated our family over a 20 year period. I feel privileged now, to be treating one of Tom’s daughters, his son in law and two granddaughters and proud and honoured to be passing on my interpretation of Tom’s wonderful technique.

Tom was so popular that he chose to (or under time pressure was forced to) spend only a few minutes with each patient (achieving in most cases amazing results) and therefore he was working in a very therapeutic way. Back then people were very happy that their immediate aches and pains could be addressed in such a short time, maybe because they did not understand the implications of the lifestyle choices they were making had on their overall health. Nowadays people are becoming more educated about lifestyle choices and how they impact on health.

As a result Bronson Bertschinger and myself have developed a system to give our Bowen students the option of working in a more holistic way, and therefore take longer with each patient, to deliver a better value for money service.

While Bowen Therapy is extremely powerful, it is not a “cure all” and needs to be done in conjunction with whatever other treatment is appropriate to address the cause of the symptoms presented. Bronson and I believe that the healing event is such as hard thing to define. What actually was the “event” ie treatment, that got the result of relieving someone’s pain, is often impossible to put a finger on. Based on this idea we believe that there is no right or wrong way to treat people in terms of which techniques are used to achieve the outcomes you are looking for.

What we offer is a course containing a broad range of Bowen moves so you will have a big set of powerful yet simple techniques to help relieve pains, disease and discomforts of your friends, family or patients. Bowen therapy is such a powerful tool that some people, who teach and treat people professionally, have staggering results from 2 simple Bowen moves. When Tom Bowen treated me for a knee injury he only did 2 moves on me knee and said “You’ll be right now mate” and I was done!

This and lots of other information on Bowen Therapy has led us to developing a course that teaches how to use the Bowen moves based on intuition and feel. Whichever set of techniques you learn it is important to listen to your intuition and trust that this is what this particular patient needs at this moment in time.

I believe that the majority of the outcomes you experience with patients are mostly a result of the practitioner and the patients focused attention on healing and only slightly on the techniques used. Bowen Therapy as a wonderful gentle and relaxing way to treat someone. It does not matter if they present with chronic problems they have had for years or if they are only seeing you for what I call a “tune up and service” or preventative maintenance treatment.

In the past most manual bodywork therapies in the western society that I have experienced or know about have been quite heavy handed or strong, where the therapist has been imparting pressure or force into the body and don’t consider the energetic aspect of the human body. Many people have been brainwashed into believing the concept of “no pain, no gain”, or if it’s not painful or hurting it is too soft to be doing any good.

Bowen Therapy is generally considered to be a gentle treatment however at times it can be painful (momentary) when a Bowen move is made over an active trigger point for instance. Whilst treating Tom’s daughter Heather, on many occasions, we have spoken at length about how she experienced her father’s healing hands, and she says that at times some of the moves he made were quite painful. However, what is being taught these days in the Bowen world is a more gentle. Bronson and I like to express the facts about Bowen Therapy and leave it up to peoples intuition to decide with what pressure the application of a Bowen move should be done, leaving it open to change the pressure of the move for each person you treat. Therapists who apply the Bowen move with an almost feather like pressure get the same results as the practitioner who is more heavy handed.

I believe we are moving toward a world where most healing therapies will be more energetic in nature as they are in eastern traditions and were in ancient traditions from all around the world (which have been practiced for thousands of years), where often little or no physical contact is necessary. It could be many years before we see this become part of our western society again, but the natural healing world and the medical world is already moving in that direction quite rapidly as we can see with the growing popularity of yoga, meditation, Energetic Healing, Reiki, and Quantum Touch, etc.

To me Bowen Therapy represents a middle ground or transition stage we can use to satisfy the left-brain thinking of many people who at this stage cannot grasp the concept of healing taking place without some physical touch. I have had many men over the years who have admitted that when they were having their first Bowen treatment from me, that they thought “this is a waste of time and money” or “this bloke is just ripping me off”. Their attitude quickly changed when they got up from the treatment table and could feel and measure considerable improvement, and over the next few days continued to improve. Many of my patients have commented about how relaxing and enjoyable the treatment is compared to other manual therapies that they have experienced. From my experience, most people who experience Bowen Therapy choose to have Bowen as their treatment of choice in the future.

Bowen can be practiced safely on the new born through to the elderly and also very successfully on animals as well. It can be used as a self-healing modality by simply applying the Bowen moves on yourself.

In summary, what we are offering you here, is different, and we believe better than anything else in the Bowen world available today, because we are offering Bowen training with a more holistic approach to the healing.

This means that with training and a little practice you will be on the way to becoming a powerful Holistic Natural Therapist. Healing and helping people and animals brings great joy to your life and your patients will be most grateful to you for your caring, knowledgeable and holistic approach to helping them.

Take the first step and enrol in one of our courses to get started on your new and rewarding career or hobby. 

Robert Haines