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Bowen Therapy History

Tom Bowen was the creator of Bowen Therapy and the therapy used and taught today is based on his way of working. Tom was born on the 18th of April in 1916 in Victoria, Australia and passed away at age 66 on the 25th of October 1982. He only began his work as a therapist in his forties after working in his earlier life as a carpenter and serving in World War II. He started his work as a therapist in his spare time after work but as his therapy yielded great results, he soon couldn’t keep up with demand and decided to open a full time practice. His clinic was extremely busy! Tom saw around 13,000 clients a year and would often have 20-30 people waiting to see him at a time. This forced him to work quickly, he usually spent around 7 minutes with each client. Although he used a quick treatment time, Tom was very generous with offering his services. He often offered free treatments for the disabled or elderly and free workshops for sporting clubs

No one really knows where or how Tom Bowen specifically devised his method and he is said to claim it was a gift from God. Some have claimed he learned by watching massage therapists and physiotherapists at football games. A healer from the 1930’s, that used a similar flicking method to Tom, named Ernie Saunders is also said to have been Tom’s mentor. But what is known is that through his observations, he could see that certain moves in particular sequence would have certain effects on the body. Many other health professionals of his time were baffled by the outstanding results he achieved.

Luckily, Tom passed on his therapy to 6 observers who brought the technique to a global audience and this is why Bowen Therapy is so well known today. One of the most well known of these was Oswald Rentsch who documented Tom’s technique and then taught it after he passed away, under the name Bowtech. This was started in 1986. The technique is also used on animals such as horses and dogs and has very impressive results.

Bowen Therapy itself is generally very gentle and non-invasive. It consists of flicking and rolling movements made across the fibres of the muscles and tendons. It stimulates the movement of water throughout the fascia, which in turn affects the energy flow through the body. Like many other complementary therapies, it stimulates the body to heal itself by innate mechanisms. It has provided great relief to many with aches, pains and other health issues but the degree of results can be limited by the present health and body condition of the client.