How Bowen Therapy Works
Bowen Practitioners respect and regard the body as capable of healing itself innately. Through the Bowen Technique, the body is encouraged to respond by stimulating its own natural healing abilities.
As a unique form of neuromuscular patterning, Bowen Therapy works primarily through the autonomic nervous system to align and balance the body both structurally and energetically. During a Bowen session, the body is “programmed” to a chemically balanced state of restoration in order to activate healing. Practitioners predominately use their thumbs and fingers on a prescribed area of the body to perform precise Bowen moves which work with the body’s natural circulation. These moves elicit neuro-chemical responses in the body, immediately transitioning the body from a state of chronic stress to restoration. Simultaneously, at this point, the body’s natural healing mechanisms are triggered.
When the body is attempting to function in an unnatural state of perpetual stress (our fight-or-flight/protective mode), our innate healing systems gradually become less efficient and begin to shut down. Subsequent illness and injury ensue, and a pain/spasm cycle becomes constant. This is like switching on a circuit breaker to restore power (i.e., the body’s healing systems), which has been cut off (due to stress, injury, trauma, toxicity, dehydration, etc.). In a Bowen session, as the body moves out of a perpetual stress mode, deep relaxation is induced almost immediately. As the body receives the Bowen signals, it processes this information and readjusts accordingly.
Very specialized, gentle, rolling movements performed by the practitioner predominately over nerve-dense fascia (as well as muscle, other connective tissue and nerve bundles) elicit a systemic, cellular response so powerful that momentary pauses are observed between sets of "Bowen moves". These pauses are critical to the maximum effectiveness of Bowenwork. By implementing these short waiting periods between the sets of moves, the brain is able to more fully assimilate and interpret the sensations received and then send positive impulses back to the area of origin.
The signals generated by Bowen movements encourage and facilitate muscular relaxation, which allows for structural alignment and organic changes to occur in the body. Simultaneous responses/changes occur on multiple levels during a Bowen session. For instance, as the muscles relax and attempt to release from spasm, this allows for greater circulation. Hence, more oxygen and nutrients are able to circulate through the body to enhance healing. As the pain/spasm cycle is interrupted, Bowen works to keep the body out of spasm (both in the present and for the future). Lymphatic drainage is stimulated and toxins are eliminated as waste fluids. The natural flow of energy, as well as electrical activity in the nervous system, is stimulated and intensified. Additionally, the important process of body-balancing begins as the body’s systems communicate with each other more efficiently to initiate healing. Overall, the body’s self-repair mechanisms are "re-booted" and accelerated.
On an energetic level, Bowenwork is analogous to tuning a stringed instrument that sends harmonic vibrations or subtle energy releases rippling outwards - to encompass the entire body. Through this action, specific messages are sent throughout the body to balance the autonomic nervous system (especially the stress response/fight-or-flight), sedating or stimulating specific organ systems, to initiate healing for specific areas of concern. Because it works in harmony with the body, Bowen is highly effective for acute and chronic muscular, skeletal, and nervous system imbalances. Release of energetic blocks, such as emotional energy, can also be triggered - further accelerating the healing process. In Bowen, the Mind-Body is influenced on every level - physical, physiological, mental, emotional, energetic - and the rate and type of healing that occurs is based on the body’s priorities.