This post comes at the behest of one of our patients, who suggested we should highlight this particular form of therapy as she feels that people should be more aware of its benefits. The Bowen Technique is one of those treatments that people tend to have vaguely heard about but don't fully understand its application or its indication. Indeed, our patient (whom we shall call Christine for the sake of anonymity) had never come across it prior to having it.
So what is it?
Well it is classed as a complementary manual therapy - 'complimentary' in this case meaning it can be administered alongside mainstream manual therapies and other conventional medicine interventions. It is applied by a Bowen practitioner, someone who undergone specific training in the technique to ensure it is administered safely and effectively.
The actual application of the Bowen technique involves the practitioner applying a gentle rolling action with their hands and fingers over the soft tissues (muscles, fascia, tendons). Unlike the majority of other manual therapies, the patient remains fully clothed throughout the treatment session - the technique is applied through the clothing.
The Bowen Technique has been observed to help in the following areas (amongst others):
Its key points/claims are
Clothing stays on
There is no manipulation or adjustment
It is different from massage
Relief is regularly felt straightaway
Chronic conditions may take more than the average 4 sessions
And it has been reported to help improve:
Concentration & focus
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE EVIDENCE? I hear you ask...
Well, as with most complimentary and alternative therapies, there isn't any good evidence of effectiveness. Most evidence you will find is anecdotal; that is, based on personal accounts (such as the following account from Christine). From our experience, there are certainly no negative side effects associated with the technique, and anecdotally our patients on the whole report positive effects.
To finish with, here is Christine's experience:
"I was diagnosed with triple negative grade 3 breast cancer in April 2014. The treatment was over 9 months in the NHS. I had chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery. I was fortunate enough to get a good result but the strain on my body (I was 70 at the time) was hard to recover from. I was lucky to be referred for short sessions of acupuncture, reflexology and Reiki, as well as physiotherapy for 9 months after. When the NHS treatment ended, I was again lucky to get help from a local cancer support charity where I received the Bowen Technique. Within a short time I was able to pick up my usual activities, but also my overall wellbeing as enhanced. I would describe the Bowen experience as very gentle but healing, and made me 'feel whole again.' I really recommend this holistic approach with the Bowen Technique wholeheartedly."
Our massage therapist Sarah is a trained Bowen practitioner, and will happily provide further information should you require it. Alternatively, you can find out more at www.thebowentechnique.com