How It Works

The principles of Bowen start with the conviction that the body is capable of repairing itself, given the right time and conditions.

In addition to the rebalancing of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), Bowenwork® heals itself by activating, through the nervous and endocrine systems among others, the following mechanisms:

  • Autonomic nervous system (ANS): Bowen may have its most profound and important effect here where the body’s self-healing mechanisms are governed. The ANS controls over 80% of bodily functions and is very susceptible to external stressors. Many people today live in a constant state of high stress and sympathetic ANS overstimulation. Healing occurs after Bowen shifts the the ANS from sympathetic to parasympathetic dominance, which is indicative when clients fall asleep, drop into deep relaxation, and/or peristalsis is heard. Parasympathetic dominance is release from stress at a deep level.


  • Trigger Points & Acupuncture Meridians: Several Bowen moves overlap with recognized trigger point, acupuncture point, and acupuncture meridian locations. By clearing these points, referred pain will be relieved and joint mobility and muscle coordination will be improved. The indications of Bowen and its effects can be noticed in the immediate changes of acupuncture pulses in response to Bowen. The overlap of these systems helps explain the very strong energetic component of the Bowen technique.


  • Lymphatics: Some Bowen procedures activate draining of the lymphatic system stimulating the immune system. Detoxification, then, improves the body’s ability to function at a cellular level.


  • Stretch Reflex: Most moves are done either at the origin, insertion or belly of muscles where receptors are located, informing the nervous system on the state of tension, length or stretch in the musculotendinous tissue. These receptors are stimulated during the ‘challenge’ and the ‘rolling’ part of the Bowen move which changes the stimulus received by the nervous system. This can change a pain/muscle spasm loop.


  • Joint proprioceptors: All moves done around a joint directly affect the joint capsule and ligaments that are richly innervated with proprioceptors. Here again, stimulus will be received by the nervous system, inviting normalization of the joint function without the need for forceful manipulation. Research has confirmed increases in the range of motion in restricted joints.


  • Fascia: Each Bowen move is done at the level of the superficial fascia and affects the relationship between the fascia and the nerve, muscle or tendon being mobilized. Fascia plays a major role in muscle coordination, postural alignment and overall structural and functional integrity. All of these are negatively affected when the fascia stiffens, contracts, torques or dehydrates. Following a Bowtech session it is not uncommon to see adhesions loosen up, scar tissue soften and posture and mobility improve without harsh mobilization or stretching.


  • Segmental viscerosomatic spinal reflexes: Several Bowtech moves engage these reflexes. They produce referred reactions to the internal organs through stimulation of the skin, muscles and nerves.

A key feature of  Bowenwork® is that of the practitioner leaving the room in between certain moves in order to allow the work to take effect. With the move being as subtle as it is, the body and the brain need time to establish a) what has happened and b) what action if any needs to be taken as a result. In the process of this interpretation, a point of reference is created and blood is sent to nerve endings in the areas being worked. Our practitioners are trained to know if and how the body is responding, and when enough is enough. In order to not overwhelm the system with Bowen moves, less is more.

The result is affect within the entire body – fascial, musculoskeletal, nervous, endocrine, digestive, reproductive, and eliminatory systems, as well as the emotional body. Messages to watch for include:

  • Increased Calmness
  • Improved Posture
  • Deeper Sleep
  • Improved Digestion
  • Energy Spurts
  • Decreased Swelling
  • Healing of Old Injuries

True healing is possible and is achieved!