A Typical Bowen Treatment


Before Bowen Session

The ideal time for a Bowen session is immediately after an injury. That way, your body can overcome the trauma before it begins to compensate for it. (The compensations often create more problems in the long run than the initial trauma itself). If you can’t get to a Bowen practitioner immediately, the sooner you can the better. Within three days is ideal for the quickest and most complete recovery.

Many people don’t find out about Bowen until weeks, months, or even years of trying other approaches or “learning to live with it.” If that’s the case with you, you’ll get the best results from Bowen if you:

  • Don’t have any other forms of bodywork for four days beforehand.
  • Avoid heavy exercise on the day of your session.
  • Don’t use ice or heat on the site of injury.
  • Wear or bring light-weight, loose-fitting clothing that your practitioner can work through (Or be prepared to be worked on in your underclothes, under sheets or blankets for modesty and comfort).

During a Bowen Treatment

Your practitioner will ask you about your health history and reason for the visit so as to find out if there are any moves or procedures that are contraindicated for you, the best procedures to apply, how much of the work your body is likely to be able to assimilate without overloading you. The hands-on work usually lasts between 15 and 45 minutes.

The pressure used by the practitioner is almost always less than you would expect. On occasion, you might feel a momentary twinge. Be sure to tell your practitioner if you are uncomfortable at any time.

Application of the technique involves stimulation of precise points on the body, in groups of 2 – 8 points at a time. Your practitioner will leave the room between groups of moves, to allow your body time to assimilate the work. Points generally progress from the torso/core of the body outward.

In most first sessions, the points used are on the back, buttocks, hamstrings, shoulder, neck, and knees. Additional points may be added in areas where you have symptoms and/or elsewhere throughout the body.

The most common reaction to Bowen is a deep sense of overall relaxation and lessening of muscular tension and pain. These result from the body’s balancing and improved flow of internal energy. The restorative process begins once the body is relaxed. It is common for people to fall asleep during a session.

After Your Treatment

Each person’s response to the Bowen continues for several hours or days, as his or her individual body allows. The benefits will be enhanced by following simple guidelines given by the practitioner. The most common include:

  • Not overdoing things for the rest of that day, with regard to exercise or exertion
  • When getting out of a bed or chair or car, having the weight transfer equally onto both feet
  • Increasing the intake of pure water, to encourage the body’s ability to eliminate toxins released by the muscles and connective tissue during and after the Bowen session
  • Not remaining seated for longer than half an hour at a time (in the case of lower back pain and other conditions related to lower back imbalance)
  • Not overworking the jaw after jaw imbalance is addressed

How Many Sessions?

This varies greatly from person to person. Many conditions are effectively — and lastingly — changed in fewer than 3 – 5 sessions. Musculo-skeletal symptoms generally change the fastest, neurological symptoms the slowest. Some chronic or organic conditions may require ongoing maintenance sessions. Many people choose to have monthly or quarterly maintenance sessions (“tune-ups”) once their initial complaints are addressed.

Reaction to Detoxification

Bowen encourages proper functioning of all body systems, including those responsible for eliminating toxins. If your body has stored unnecessary materials, you may experience one or of these detoxification sensations for a day or after a Bowen session:

Occasionally people feel detoxification reactions, which can include sensations of:

  • Aching muscles
  • Mild nausea
  • Mild headache
  • Changes in sensation of temperature
  • Minor changes in elimination

Your body will function more effectively when the toxins have been released. During the detoxification, the best way to minimize discomfort is stimulate the lymphatic system to increase the elimination of toxins. You can do this by:

Increasing your water intake, and taking distilled water (for a few days only)
Walking 30 minutes each day in fresh air