Bowen therapy is a touch healing system invented by Thomas Ambrose Bowen (1916-1982) in Australia. It is also commonly called Bowtech or Bowen Technique. This healing system uses gentle touch to treat the soft tissues of the body. It is used for many general health problems, but it is known especially for treating back pain. Thomas Bowen had no medical training and considered his treatment a gift from God. According to original Bowen texts, it is not even understood exactly how the healing works. It is believed to work by stimulating the body’s own healing mechanisms.
Bowen is a holistic treatment and really has no health risks whatsoever. The only real risk involved is that of the financial sort, if the patient invests a large amount of money and finds no relief from multiple therapy sessions. However, this financial caution certainly applies to virtually all back pain treatments and at least Bowtech does not demonstrate other more meaningful risk factors.
Bowen employs a philosophy similar to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Practitioners cite that it is important for the body to maintain proper energy flow and this touch therapy is designed to encourage balanced life energy throughout the body. Patients have been known to report physical stimuli ranging from tingling to heat to relaxation during treatment.
The goal of Bowen is to create optimum health, increased performance and the release of internal muscular tension. Scientific evidence of Bowen's efficacy is limited at best. Many doctors consider it to be far more likely to work by placebo effect, if at all, than for any conclusive anatomical benefit provided. However, a great number of patients swear by its effectiveness for many health conditions and credit their trusted Bowen providers for helping them to live better and longer.
I have witnessed a few Bowen treatments and in every case, nothing seemed to happen. Bowen practitioners say that the patient will know if the technique will help them after 2 or 3 treatments. In my view, it takes 2 or 3 treatments to either realize that this is little more than a soothing massage or to get a strong placebo reaction and feel better. Sure, maybe there is more too it than I witnessed, but I certainly could not even venture a guess at how it may work. As with many other treatment options, I can tell you that if a patient believes that it will work, they will likely see at least some benefit. The powers of the mindbody interactions are really that strong.
If you want to give Bowen Therapy a try, go for it. It can't hurt and at least you will not have to wait months to find out if it is working for you. I give some Bowen therapists a lot of credit. They are some of the few practitioners that do not make a client wait and wait in the hope that treatment will finally work for them. Most therapists will confer with the client after a few sessions and gauge the effectiveness of treatment before taking any more money. This practice shows a very ethical side to an interesting back pain treatment choice.