Bowen Somatics

(Shiatsu by another name)


The Bowen Technique is a truly holistic therapy. Many therapies claim to be holistic, but the phrase is often used to describe something that is merely different or alternative. Bowen is holistic in the true sense of the word, because it approaches the body as a unified and integrated whole. It works on a variety of levels including; the musculoskeletal, myofascial and autonomic nervous system (ANS). Tom Bowen the creator of Bowen Technique, initially modelled his work on western massage and Osteopathy and later  he appears to have discovered  Shiatsu  and added its techniques to his evolving  repertoire. I think it is that historic connection that gives Bowen Technique its characteristic focus on finger / thumb pressure on specific points of the body. Bowen also mirrors Shiatsu’s use of general body treatment combined with specific protocols for defined conditions.


I deliver treatments both on a massage couch and on a Shiatsu floor mat for those that prefer a more Shiatsu like, stronger approach.


The techniques within the Bowen repertoire, act variously upon muscles, sometimes on connective tissue (myofascia) and sometimes on nerves. The aim of the light rolling “Bowen Move” is to create a gentle disturbance in a part of the fibrous net, known as Fascia. Our understanding of the fibrous net (Fascia) is well illustrated in the linked video titled “A stroll under the skin". The clips show in amazing detail the miracle of the fascial net, a living fluid intelligent machine! What has been revealed is that the inter fascial spaces are occupied by a fluid with liquid crystal properties that constantly change shape at great speed in response to the movement of the body. Some elements of Bowen Technique are aimed at this fluid and the fascia that it links together (the myofascial net) . If you’ve never experienced a Bowen Session see the video clip below, presented by Mitchell Mosher.


Somatic re-education is designed to address a phenomenon called Sensory Motor Amnesia (SMA). It sounds complicated but is very simple; everybody understands the concept of muscle memory. Over time what was once complicated becomes simple and eventually automatic, think of learning to tie shoe laces. As a child it was complex and required concentration, however over weeks and months of repetition it becomes automatic, something you could do in the dark while taking a phone call. SMA is the same effect, but relating to bad movement habits. Occupational / lifestyle stressors can cause  our muscles can forget how to do certain things properly and we create what are called compensations or adaptations. We walk incorrectly, carry our body in an awkward manner creating pain and fatigue. Somatic re-education reminds our muscles how to do something correctly. It isn’t intended to be strenuous, rather it’s gentle with a high level of awareness. “Feel the movement - Remember the movement”. Combining Bowen and Somatics provides a complete integrative approach to therapeutic bodywork. Go to the Client Resources Page to find links to some Youtube videos demonstrating some Somatic exercises.


As a Bowen therapist I do not seek to identify and diagnose specific ailments, rather I view symptoms in the context of the person’s general well being, lifestyle and personal history. 


The other key aspect of effective Bowen Therapy is integrating work on the Autonomic Nervous System, often referred to as the “Fight or Flight” system, if the ANS is not settled and functioning well he physical intervention will not be fully effective. It took my me many years to fully appreciate this crucial aspect of the treatment protocol. Every session starts with a relaxation protocol to bring the ANS into a receptive state, to maximise the benefit of the treatment. Please see more on the BREATHWORK page for more.


If you wish to know more please get in touch via e-mail.


Bowen Technique on a table is charged at £45 and on a Shiatsu mat is £55

A Stroll Under The Skin examining the Fascial Net

Tom Bowen

Tom Bowen

1916-1982

A Bowen Session

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