The Bowen Technique - for a breath of fresh air

Â?Every summer, itÂ?s the same. From the beginning of June until the end of August, I greet each new morning with runny nose, itchy eyes and a sneeze. I never used to be a hay fever sufferer, but then, all of a sudden, I was, and over the past six or seven years, the symptoms have gradually worsened.Â?

So wrote journalist Sarah Lonsdale in her article about The Bowen Technique, which appeared in the Daily Telegraph in August 2000. Just as her hayfever was developing into its usual summer misery, she went to see Bowen practitioner Jill Lebor for quite a different complaint. She was feeling constantly tired - the result, most likely, of being the mother of two small children. She was astonished to find that, after her Bowen treatment, her hayfever vanished. When she phoned Jill, in great excitement, with this news, Jill told her that her patients often report a disappearance of hayfever as a side effect of the Bowen treatment. People usually seek Bowen for things like frozen shoulder, back pain or bad knees - not imagining that it could have an effect on allergic and respiratory problems like hayfever and asthma.

A casual Bowen treatment brought spectacular results to six year old Tim. He had developed hayfever just after recovering from chicken pox, and this recurred over the next two years, steadily becoming worse; hayfever is carried in motherÂ?s side of the family. Aged eleven he was given a Bowen treatment by practitioner Tim Willcocks on the spur of the moment in a school break, and two days later all the symptoms disappeared, not reappearing during that summer or the next, though many friends suffered for another month or two.

It's not just pollen allergies that Bowen helps. Rachael, who works as a restorer of antique rugs and carpets, received Bowen treatment. She was using Â?puffersÂ? sometimes every hour and looked terrible - black rings round her eyes, no energy and a grey complexion. It was discovered during treatment that she was highly allergic to wool and course dust. She had to seriously consider whether she could continue with her chosen career after years of study and apprenticeship. This was 5 years ago. Rachael started having weekly Bowen treatments and was often sick after the Bowen asthma moves but felt better for it. She now has maintenance Bowen treatments every four to six weeks. Although she still has asthma it no longer plagues her life and her use of Â?puffersÂ? is minimal unless she is treating a really dirty rug. The only treatment that Rachael has is Bowen.

Bowen therapist, teacher and coach, Paula Esson, has found the Bowen Technique to be an invaluable tool with athletes. She tells the story of a young woman's response to Bowen. Katharine is a member of the England Junior Basketball Team Member and was involved with the multi-stage fitness test used to analyse an athleteÂ?s aerobic performance. A standard is expected at this level and the peer pressure to achieve the necessary grade is immense. Katharine was struggling for breath soon into the test causing some concern early on. Determination kept her going until she had to stop because she could not gain a breath at all and had commenced a panic attack, which complicated the situation. Katharine was removed from the concerned crowd and Paula carried out the Bowen emergency asthma move. Immediately, a normal breathing pattern resumed and after 30 minutes Katharine carried on training with no further symptoms.

Six year old OliverÂ?s asthma was worsening and his mother did not tell him that his visit to Bowen therapist Carole Railton was connected to his breathing problems. As he is normally quite a stubborn little boy and wary of anything new, his mother was surprised when he accepted the treatment and did as he was told. The next evening, when she reminded him to take his usual dose from his inhaler, he announced: Â?I donÂ?t need my puffer any moreÂ?. He then enjoyed a summer free of asthma, including hour-long football practices with his brother, and a mountain-biking holiday in Scotland.

Bowen treatment seemed to sort out a number of things for Keith, a teenager. He had had asthma, a constant backache and severe Â?morning motivationalÂ? problems for years. He often had problems getting to sleep, but after a 6.30 p.m. Bowen treatment he fell sound asleep till next morning. After two Bowen treatments he complained of little result, but carried on. The third treatment made him want to drink a lot of water (a common reaction to Bowen) and he has not looked back since. His backache and asthma are gone and, amazingly, for the first time in his life he is experiencing a sustained motivation to get up and going in the mornings.

The Bowen Technique also seems to resolve problems even when the therapist can't conduct a full, normal treatment because the patient is a squirming two-year-old sitting on her mother's lap. In February 2000, Bowen therapist Alastair Rattray had this experience with Tania who is aged 2 years and suffers with asthma. At her first treatment she was very wheezy and had been prescribed steroids, which her mother was reluctant to use. Both her parents smoke. The wheezing reduced after the first treatment and then disappeared, though there was a period of mucus being produced. Her breathing improved after 4 treatments, so much so that her pre-school commented on it. The steroids were discontinued before the first treatment. Alastair commented: "It is very difficult to treat a two-year-old child who is sitting and squirming on her motherÂ?s knees. However, it seemed to do its work well despite those difficulties. Normally, the child has had asthma attacks every two weeks or so during the winter. She has had none for months now.

"Tania's mother, who was successfully treated with Bowen for a degenerative disc disorder) writes: Â?My 2 ½ year old daughter has suffered from asthma and also an over-production of mucus from birth. She had Ventolin and also Becotide on occasions. In November 1999, her asthma worsened and the GP advised restarting steroids at a higher dose. My daughter took a severe reaction to steroids so we stopped them immediately. That week she received her first Bowen and has had treatment once or twice a month since. She has not needed any medication since. She has a very slight period of wheezing occasionally which is managed with essential oils. It has been a remarkable improvement, particularly as she is a lively two year old who doesnÂ?t always stay still for the treatments. Bowen has changed my life - I no longer live with back pain and do not have to worry about asthma attacks with my daughter or watch her fight to get her breath.

"District Nurse Ann Offord, from Essex, says: Â?What nurses are crying out for is a treatment they can use in the context of their typical hectic workloads which is portable, safe, and effective. There is no other therapy I know which fits these needs like Bowen does.Â? Anne is trained in several other complementary therapies, but chooses Bowen every time. It does not require equipment, it is time-effective and there are no side effects. Bowen is so adaptable that, even with just a few moments of time available, Anne can offer patients something that really helps.

For further information, a full course prospectus or a list of accredited practitioners contact:
European College of Bowen Studies, 38 Portway, FROME, Somerset BA11 1QU
Tel/Fax: 01373 461 873
email: info@thebowentechnique Web:

About the author:

Article written by Janie Godfrey


Author: Janie Godfrey
Copyright © 2023 Janie Godfrey. All rights reserved

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