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A little gentle pressure can go a long way. The Bowen Technique uses low-pressure contact moves to stimulate muscles, nerves and connective tissue. The technique is unusual in its use of extended pauses in between sequences of moves. Good things come to those who wait, though; the gaps are intended to give the body time to react and begin the process of self-healing.
The softly-softly approach of the Bowen Technique means that it’s not necessary to strip off to benefit from the treatment. Though some therapists prefer to work on skin, if you’re more comfortable in your clothes your therapist should be able to work through them – though, of course, a thin shirt is preferable to a woolly jumper.
Once you are comfortable on the massage bed or chair, your therapist will make sequences of moves with his or her hands, across your back, legs and neck. In between the sequences, the therapist may leave the room for a minute or two. This is to allow your body time and space to decide how to react to the moves.
Eventually, by causing mild confusion in the nervous system, the aim is to cause your body to ‘reset’ its systems. When your nervous system un-muddles itself, you should benefit from a greater internal self-awareness, as though you’ve completed a top-to-toe audit.
Tom Bowen was a holistic healer. He developed this technique in the 50s, despite having no therapeutic qualifications. He honed the technique by holding clinics for Australian cement workers, using his magic touch to heal and soothe their muscles at the end of a hard day's work.
Bowen therapists would suggest that everyone can benefit from the treatment; it’s used to promote general wellbeing as well as to treat specific complaints such as back pain, frozen shoulder, neck pain, hay fever, asthma and migraines.