Stephen Forde - The Bowen Artist
I’ve been involved in physical therapy since the early 1990’s, over the years I’ve explored many styles and approaches. They all have something to offer, Sports Massage does pretty much what you’d expect for the audience that you’d expect. AnMo (Chinese Bodywork) is a sophisticated modality following the world view of early Chinese Medicine. Shiatsu a Japanese manual therapy similar to An-Mo but often (schools vary) more rooted in current western anatomy. When I started to study Bowen, although I was unaware of its history at the time, its similarity to Shiatsu and AnMo was obvious to me.
Bowen Technique is usually delivered on a massage table and is generally relatively light in touch, Shiatsu is normally performed on a padded floor mat, because of the greater leverage and weight transferral available on a mat Shiatsu tends to be slightly deeper in pressure and lends itself to including passive stretching in a treatment.
I’ve been fortunate to be able to meet and study with two great Australian Bowen Therapists; Graham Pennington and Dr Romney Smeeton. Dr Smeeton was one of only six people to train directly with Tom Bowen. Graham is a pioneer in using Bowen in a targeted manner. Unfortunately over many hears due to the subtlety of Bowen Technique, many practitioners and teachers failed to grasp the fundamentals of Bowen and resorted using ‘by the numbers’ protocols, in the hope that something would work. Graham has helped to bring Bowen back to a targeted therapy.
Closer to home in the UK I’ve trained with Alastair McLoughlin, Alastair brings a level of refinement and freedom to Bowen Therapy, again removing the protocols enabling a trained therapist to respond freely to what they find through examination. It was Alastair that helped me realise that there is at least as much Art in Bowen as there is Science.
Moving from tradesman to craftsmen to artist is not an easy path and the boundaries are not clearly defined, but what we can be sure of is that you have to strive for artistry to achieve it.