Thomas Ambrose Bowen
Thomas Ambrose Bowen

Bowen therapy is a massage treatment developed in Australia by Thomas Ambrose Bowen (1916-1982). Unlike many other types of massage, Bowen therapy is administered with the client fully clothed. The goal is to stimulate tissue and nerve tracts to create a healing focus for the brain.


Thomas Bowen didn’t keep much documentation of his techniques, so the treatments given today are based on interpretations of his work. The dominating line of Bowen therapy was developed by Oswald Rentsch, an osteopath that had observed Bowen’s work.


Bowen therapy in its various incarnation is marketed under many different names, such as Bowenwork, Bowen Technique Therapy, Bowen massage, Integrated Bowen Therapy, Neurostructural Integration Technique (NST), and Smart Bowen. Examples of techniques focused on the face are Fascial Bown and Fascial Kinetics.


The massage

Bowen therapy massage involves a lot of careful rolling movements along muscles, tendons and fascia. The therapist will carry out very distinct massage movements at very specific points of the body, moving the soft tissue in a special way.


The therapist mostly use their thumbs and index fingers, and the skin’s natural flexibility will be utilized to move underlying tissue. The treatment of each distinct area will depend on how much the client’s skin can move right there.


The movements are interspersed by long pauses, which are believed to give the body a chance to reset itself. According to Tomas Bowen, the client should ideally be left alone in the treatment room for a few minutes during each pause. The therapist should then return and inspect the body to see how the body has responded to the massage. The body’s response will impact the continued treatment during that session.


About Thomas Bowen

Bowen didn’t have any medical education, but claimed to be an osteopath. In 1981, he applied to be put on the official list of osteopaths in Australia, but was denied since he didn’t fulfill the requirements.


According to Bowen, his ability to heal through Bowen therapy was a gift from God.


Bowen was famous for treating many patients each day. In1973, he claimed to treat an average of 65 patients per day.