It often puzzles people how incredibly effective Bowen is in resolving issues and managing pain with very little bodywork. Caretakers of the technique, Ozzie and Elaine Rentsh, and their wonderful team of instructors continually remind us in our training of the philosophy "less is more". This can be seen in many facets of Bowen, from the amount of pressure the Bowen practitioner applies to the amount of Bowen treatments recommended.
Less is more for the amount of pressure the Bowen practitioner uses.
Bowen is well known as a gentle therapy. The pressure we use is no more than you would use when rubbing your eye. Many of my new clients say “you can go harder if you like”, but Bowen doesn’t work that way. Bowen relies on the muscles being relaxed so that they can react in the correct way to the Bowen move. If the practitioner places too much pressure in the challenge and the move, the body would tense up to protect itself from harm, and when this occurs the effect of the Bowen move is reduced.
Less is more for the number of issues addressed by the Bowen practitioner.
Bowen seems more effective if the body has only one job to heal at a time. The first treatment has one objective, and that is to relax the body and set it up for healing. This treatment addresses the lower back, the legs, the upper back, the mid back and the neck. This should be the longest and biggest treatment, but only has one objective – to relax the body. It is amazing the results this has on its own, and often we don’t see the client again because their problem vanishes even though we haven’t actually addressed it. If the issue has not resolved, subsequent treatments are then able to focus on the most important issue. Once that issue clears, the next issue may be addressed. Addressing more than one issue at a time will reduce the effectiveness of the treatment and therefore you will not get the desired result.
Less is more for the number of moves the Bowen practitioner makes.
Once the body is prepared for healing by the first relaxation treatment, the Bowen practitioner will try to address the problem with as few moves as possible. Some procedures have no prerequisites, and some procedures have many prerequisites. In general though, the less done the better the outcome. Keeping it simple seems to be the key.
Less is more for or the stimulation during the treatment session.
For your body to integrate the effect of the Bowen treatment it needs to have an environment where stimulation is minimised as much as possible. There will be no nice relaxing music for you to listen to you as this will distract your body from doing the work it needs to do. I will not communicate with you except to give you some directions and unless you ask me to do something for your comfort or ask a question relating to the session.
Less is more for the amount of time the Bowen practitioner stays in the room.
Bowen’s characteristic “waits” make it so different from other therapies. After a few moves the Bowen practitioner actually leaves the room for two minutes or more. Sometimes they will even come back in to check you and then leave for some more time without doing anything.
Bowen practitioners around the world agree that the “waits” are the most important part of a Bowen treatment. During this time the Bowen move is integrated and processed by the body. The Bowen practitioner leaves the room so that they do not get involved nor inhibit this process. It is important that the client’s body does this by itself, so that it learns to heal itself without reliance on other stimuli or energy.
Sometimes the client will feel sensations within their body during a “wait”. It is important to recognise that whilst ever this is occurring the body is still processing. If the practitioner continues with more Bowen moves the original processing will be interrupted and the effect will not be as great. It is very important that you let me know if there are still things going on in your body when I come back in the room after a "wait" so that I don’t go ahead and do more.
Less is more for the amount of treatments you receive.
Whilst I always explain that the first session will be relaxing your body and not necessarily addressing the issue, and I encourage clients to give Bowen three treatments a week apart to see if it will make a difference, there is no need to keep coming back for subsequent treatments if the issue is no longer present.
Sometimes problems are so deep it might take months to resolve. These people have faith that Bowen is working because they have noticed a small improvement (even if it’s just sleeping better) over the first few treatments, often where other therapies have had no impact at all.
Other times what seems like a major issue is not so deep and is resolved after just one session. It is these people who often discount the effect of Bowen, putting their recovery down as a coincidence. Unfortunately often these issues recur and when they do the client doesn’t seek Bowen again because they don’t recognise it has helped. If these people would return for more Bowen they might find that it would resolve the issue once again, more sustainably the next time, and the issue may not recur for a longer period, if at all.
To find out more about Bowen please check out the website www.bowentherapydubbo.com.au, or make an appointment by emailling me or calling 0427 143 743.
Hi, I'm Prue Duffy, a Bowen Therapist and Equine Muscle Release Therapist in regional NSW, Australia. I've been doing Bowen since 2007, and opened a practice in Dubbo in 2012. The results some of my clients get through Bowen is truly amazing.