It is a treatment with very profound effects on the nervous system; Bowen produces a deep feeling of relaxation and well-being, promoting rapid and lasting pain relief.
More precisely, Bowen therapy focuses on small and smooth movements in specific parts of the body that can relieve pain and balance the nervous system. And it’s not a traditional massage treatment, although, it can seem like it in some cases. A conventional massage uses oils and has other objectives and effects. In the Bowen therapy, no oils are used, and the goal is to stimulate a layer called fascia that we have under our skin.
The fascia is equivalent to “a white layer of skin that appears when we are cutting pork meat for dinner, it is a translucent fibre layer”, explained Bowen therapist Raquel André. The movements lead to the manipulation of specific points on the body at the level of the fascia that has immense sensory nerves.
This stimulus will have many effects on the body, namely in terms of immediate pain relief, or even psychological issues - like stress and anxiety- , or hormonal balance, for example, it can help in terms of menopause, menstrual imbalances or even thyroid problems. Sometimes, when some musculoskeletal require surgery, the Bowen Therapy could potentially help to avoid this, or alternatively it can be used as a complementary treatment to promote the easiest recuperation possible.
According to Raquel André, 80 percent of people react immediately to Bowen Therapy in the first session. Between these, depending on the condition being treated, success rates are at 95 percent.
It’s weird how these small movements can have such positive effects on our body, so I went to a Bowen Therapy session to find out what it is and to try it for myself.
My Bowen Therapy experience
After a conversation about the therapy, in which Raquel explained the whole process, I lie down on the massage table. The first thing that I wondered about was when she asked me to lie down on my stomach and I didn’t have anywhere to put my head, like we are used to when we go to a massage. She explained, that she doesn´t use it, as it would comprimise the treatment due to the pressure on the face that will block the points.
Bowen can also be performed while sitting, for example, on pregnant women. That means the treatments adapts to the patient, not the patient to the treatment. “It is essential that the person feels comfortable, every treatment is unique to the individual”, she explained.
The small movements lasted relatively little time and were interspersed with pauses of two minutes. This intrigued me so I asked what the reason for the pauses was, to which she replied that they are fundamental: “because the body has to assimilate the step, during the pause the body is receiving information through the stimulation of a certain point, we cannot move during the pause”, she said. What happens if we don’t take breaks? “You get extremely tired”, she answered. The breaks were two minutes long, but might be five or ten, depending the treatment. The only negative point I found was the fact I could not do Yoga for the next five days. I usually do some Yoga during the weekend to exercise, be active and stay focused, but after the treatment Raquel André made it very clear that I only could do light exercise during the next five days. Once I had my fascia twitched, when exercising it could potentially cause some damage and increase the pain instead of improving it. The exception is for simple physical activities, such as walking, things that do not involve a lot of body effort to not hurt the tissues.
Fortunately, I don’t have many painful problems. I just had a pain caused by bad posture that disappeared immediately. Furthermore, one of the effects that I felt almost immediately was the increased need to sleep, that night I fell asleep at 7:00 pm – usually I go sleep between 11:00 pm and midnight – so for me the main effect was that I slept like a baby. Since then I have started to sleep better which has been a good result.