Developed in Australia in the 1960s by Thomas Bowen, Bowenwork is a type of gentle soft tissue manipulation that is aimed at helping the body reach a more “harmonious” state, not at fixing any specific health problem. Slowly growing in popularity in North America, the technique has been used in Australia and Great Britain for several decades. Bowenwork is often performed by the same practitioners who offer other holistic forms of complementary therapies including massage, energy field healing, and a variety of other homeopathic remedies.
How Does Bowenwork Work?
Those trained in the Bowen technique make rolling movements on the skin with their thumb and fingers. The touch is very gentle and aims to elicit a response from the body but not to physically alter the body. In many cases, the practitioner will leave the room every so often during the treatment in order to allow the patient’s body to absorb the messages that have been transmitted to their body via the Bowen technique. Most therapy sessions last a total of 30 to 60 minutes and several sessions will be most likely be recommended, usually spaced about 4 to 7 days apart.
Proponents of the technique believe that, after the therapy, the faulty vibrational frequencies in the body will be corrected and that connections between the nervous system and the brain will be improved, prompting a feeling of relaxation. However, there is limited scientific evidence that supports these statements.
Bowen for Cancer Patients
Bowenwork does not propose to offer a cure for cancer or even to help slow the progression of the disease or change its molecular structure. Instead, it is offered most often as a complementary therapy for use by those who are undergoing traditional cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy and wish to find a natural way to counteract some of the symptoms of the disease or side effects of these treatments. Bowenwork is most successful at treating the following side effects and physical issues suffered by many cancer patients: joint pain, migraines, respiratory problems, indigestion, constipation, chronic diarrhea, hemorrhoids, chronic fatigue, sleeplessness, balance problems, and mood changes. Bowenwork can be very effective for older patients, who may be more frail and have additional physical limitations, such as osteoporosis.
Indeed, scientists have studied Bowenwork as a treatment for pain caused by cancer and cancer treatments. It has also been tested as a potential treatment for the relief of stress and anxiety, often an ongoing problem for cancer patients as well. Though there is a lack of steadfast scientific evidence supporting the claims that Bowenwork helps ease both pain and anxiety, patients who have tried Bowen note an immediate sense of relaxation after a session and an overall feeling of well-being in the long run.
Is it Safe?
Bowenwork involves a very gentle manipulation of the skin and is totally non-invasive. Therefore, it is often safer for cancer patients than other treatments that are more vigorous, including massage. Nevertheless, cancer patients should always take the time to talk to the practitioner about their condition and any areas of concern on the body where injury might occur. If the therapy causes pain, it should be stopped immediately.