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Monica Williams - Naturopath, Bowen Therapy

Bowen Therapy

Monica Williams - Naturopath, Bowen

Bowen helps with a wide variety of health issues associated with tight or imbalanced muscle groups, from asthma to musculoskeletal problems. A relaxing,  effective body maintenance session to receive regularly as part of a self-care plan. Releasing muscle tension is a vital key to healing. Muscles are the primary physical storage areas for tensions stemming from emotions, attitudes, and beliefs. Each strongly held emotion creates a specific pattern of muscle tensions unique to itself. Shock, fright, terror, trauma, and stress can cause chronic effects through the system, affecting muscles, fascia, bones, joints, blood flow, posture and movement.  We may combine the use of energy medicines with this manual work, to balance the emotional system as we release the muscles.​

​This whole-body therapy helps release and rebalance the body's fascia and muscles, helping to rebalance muscle tension, stiffness, aches, knots, and soreness. Joint pain, tennis elbow, knee trouble, foot pain. Stress, tension, asthma, gut tension, neck pain, headaches, swelling, oedema, and more.

How does Bowen work?

Bowen Therapy is a dynamic technique involving a system of muscle and connective tissue moves that trigger within the body a ‘reset’ process. Sometimes called the homeopathy of bodywork, it utilizes subtle inputs to the body which stimulate the body to heal itself, often remarkably. 

It  is a way of working with the connective tissue, tendons, fascia and circulation to release tension, stress, and tightness, rebalancing the musculoskeletal system. A 'whole-body' tune-up, it engages the nervous system, circulation and energy flow, calming the stress response and relaxing the body as a whole. It is wonderful for stress and tension relief, as well as injuries, strains, sprains, pain and functional disturbances of the body.

The autonomic nervous system (ANS) controls over 80% of bodily functions and is highly sensitive to stress. Most people today live with a level of chronic stress and nervous over-stimulation which over time can upset the balance and self-healing processes of the whole system. The ‘healing process’ is only activated and works optimally when the body is not stressed and competing for resources. When we move out of stress-mode, back into a relaxed state, rest, digest, restore, and repair mechanisms are strengthened. Not only do we feel better, but the body can catch up on its maintenance needs.  Bowen greatly supports this process.

Developed by Tom Bowen in Geelong, Australia in the 1970s, the effectiveness of the technique has seen its popularity spread worldwide. It has even been adapted to treat animals, and is gentle and safe for anyone to receive, including babies, children, pregnant women, adults and the elderly.


How does Bowen work?

Through a range of systematic ‘moves’ at specific locations on the body, the Bowen Technique activates the body’s homeostatic system to reset and rebalance the muscles, tissues and fluids, supporting the body’s healing through many different health issues, both acute and chronic. Working holistically, the specific points and trigger zones activate and stimulate the central nervous system, the body's central healing system. The moves activate the neural connections to muscles, organs, tissues, fluids, vessels, channels and systems, having a corrective and energising effect on the whole body. As the fascial sheath around muscles and organs are released, the web of connective tissue that covers the body’s interior, is awakened and integrated in a more useful way. In doing so it can release emotional holding patterns, stimulate circulation, improve blood and lymphatic flow, stimulate lactic acid release from within muscles, and support a general relaxing, rebalancing and clearing of the system as a whole.


The specific series of moves deliver signals to the nervous system at specific locations (on muscles, tendons, ligaments, or nerves), which is then followed by ‘rest’ period which gives the body time to respond before moving to the next series of moves. This allows the specific vital capacity of the individual at the time to respond, so in cases of great debility, the wait period will be extended to allow for the slower response of a depleted or overloaded system.


Bowen is a ‘whole body’ treatment, which supports the body’s own ability to bring about optimal alignment, healing and recovery. Rather than focusing on a single complaint, practitioners address the body as a whole. The moves work by balancing the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which controls over 80% of bodily function and is extremely sensitive to stress. Most people today live in a constant state of chronic and unerring stress, causing the sympathetic nervous system to remain too long in a state of over-stimulation (ie: fight, flight or freeze), which becomes debilitating over time as the body can’t heal or restore itself in this state of high alert. Healing can only occur in the body after the ANS shifts from sympathetic dominance – the stress state - to parasympathetic dominance – the state of rest, digest, repair and recovery. The Bowen Technique supports this shift, and in doing so, allows the body the space to repair, recover and restore itself, naturally.


How does Bowen activate the Healing Response?

During a session, the client often drops into deep relaxation or falls asleep, and gut sounds (peristalsis) may be heard as the digestive system moves into digest and cleanse mode (supported by the release of the SNS into PSNS mode). Both of these changes are indications of a shift from a stressed state (fright (worry)-flight-flee-fight-freeze) into a relaxed state (rest-digest-restore). This shift from sympathetic nervous system dominance (stress, strain, worry, anxiety) to parasympathetic nervous system dominance (calm, relax, release, let go) explains, in part, how a Bowen session improves many body conditions, not just the muscles. PSNS dominance is a state that stimulates the recovery and completion phases of healing. Stress, strain, trauma and injury stalled it, a reason that the pervasive and chronic nature of modern day stress leads to chronic debilitating health conditions. A good example of this is a client who came for treatment of a painful arm injury, and discovered by the third session her reflux was gone, she was sleeping better, and was less activated and annoyed by the things going on in her life.


What happens in a Session?

A typical Bowen Technique Session generally lasts from 30 to 50 minutes. After an initial assessment, clients lie on a bodywork table or or may be seated in a chair if preferred, for comfort. Each 'session' involves one or more 'procedures', each consisting of several sets of 'moves'. The moves are gentle, but purposeful, and can be done through light clothing. Between each set of moves, the practitioner pauses for as many minutes as are needed for the client's body to begin responding. As the nervous system begins to adjust the tension level in the muscles, the practitioner senses when the client is ready for the next set of moves. A common approach in a session is to balance the entire body by addressing the lower back, then the upper back, and then the neck. To minimize the need for disturbing the client's rest, all procedures that address the back of the client are completed before turning over for procedures that are done with the client lying on his/her back.


What happens after the session?

The body responses to the session occur over the 7-10 days following the session. In contrast to other hands-on modalities, where the practitioner imposes correction on the client through manipulation during the session, the Bowen Technique sets up a process which enhances and supports the body’s self-healing mechanisms.


Monitor your symptoms - As the Bowen sets up a 'whole-body' effect, some people may experience a stir-up or ‘detox’ after their session. It is important to trust your body to do what needs to be done. A flare is not a failed session, it is a successful session, and the body will do what needs to be done to move you forward.


If a person is chronically unwell, has been under high stress for a long time, has been using food, alcohol, cigarettes, medications or drugs, or is dealing with a chronic illness, trauma or injury, this process may bring about symptoms as the body upregulates the healing response and moves wastes and toxins out. The symptoms you experience signals that change is occurring.

Stiffness, discomfort, headache, aching, feeling ‘fluey’, and fatigue are the usual signs that the body is actively engaged in the healing process. How you feel after session can be a good reflection of how blocked or in need of a detox you are. Be gentle with yourself and rest as much as possible. Following the guidelines below is important.


Why should I have no other ‘physical therapies’ during Bowen treatment?

Because body responds to the session over the following 7-10, other forms of manipulative therapy (massage, chiropractic, osteopathy, physio) are best postponed for at least five days after a session, as they can disrupt the signals set up in the session.

How many Sessions will I need?

Everyone is different, but generally speaking, the healthier you are, the fewer sessions you need, and the more unwell or depleted you are, the more sessions your body will need. Four sessions are a minimum. Ten sessions in people with chronic issues. Once you have achieved your goal/s, then a maintenance session every one to three months is beneficial. 


Supporting the healing process also means ensuring that you are eating the right diet for your body, and all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids and co-enzymes that your body needs to function are in optimal supply. If you haven’t had a nutrient or food screening at the clinic yet, it is a good idea to book in for one, as the information you will come away with will enhance your healing resources and process.  Book a Naturopathic Initial for this assessment.

Session Information

Session Preparation

  • Please wear loose cotton or natural fibre clothes to your sessions

  • Drink plenty of water in the morning of your treatment – come to the session hydrated.

  • Avoid coffee on the day if you can, and alcohol the night before through the week after the treatment.

  • Switch your mobile off completely when you arrive.

  • Bring cash for your session, or prepay via Paypal (prices and links are on the website under the Appointments tab).

Post Session Guidelines

The Bowen Technique will continue to work through the body for up to ten days after the treatment.  To maximise your benefit from the session, please follow these simple guidelines:

  1. Don’t scramble the body-signals

    • Do not sit for longer than 30 mins at a time on the day of your treatment.

    • On the day of your treatment do not do vigorous sports and exercise.

    • Do not apply any heat or cold packs to your injury or body for ten days.

    • Do not have any other form of bodywork within ten days of your Bowen treatment.

    • Avoid hot showers and baths for 7-10 days.

  2. Drink at least 8 glasses of purified water a day (away from meals) to help flush waste from the body.

  3. Sit Properly - Keep your pelvis squared when you sit, and don’t cross your legs or sit in a twisted position. NEVER sit on your foot or your wallet, as it destabilises the pelvis and can cause reflex pain with time.

  4. Wear sensible footware – ensuring your feet are well supported has a knock-on effect up the body, from the ankles to the neck. Be sure to have arch support and don’t wear high heels. Looking at the bottom of your shoes will show you how your shoes are wearing based on the lay of your foot. If you are rolling inward, go to a shop where they do gait analysis, such as Athlete’s foot, and get the right shoes for your body’s needs.

  5. Eat lightly of foods made by nature – focus on lots of vegetables and salads with a lower intake of wheat and grains while your body is in healing mode. Avoid consuming inflammatory foods (alcohol, wheat, sugar, highly heated oils, charcoaled meats, and highly processed foods). If you suspect you have food intolerances, have a food test so you know what to avoid to support your body’s energy and health.

  6. Reduce EMR exposure - The electromagentic radiofrequency radiation emitted by mobile phones, WIFI, bluetooth, and phone towers are known carcinogens, they drive oxidative cellular damage, are highly inflammatory in the body, and have a bio-accumulative effect, causing insidious damage to systems of the body over time. When it comes health and healing, the less exposure you have, te better.

    • Keep your mobile phone at least half a meter from your body.

    • NEVER put phones or connected devices in a pocket, bra, or anywhere close to the body, including the ear and face (!). Use speaker or an ‘air tube’ headset, designed not to channel the emissions into the ear canal.

    • Also avoid using bluetooth ear plugs, as it intensifies the frequencies around the delicate structures head, ear, brain, eyes and sinuses.

    • Avoid holding and carrying the phone near the skin and delicate areas of the body (sexual organs, ovaries, heart, lungs, thyroid, brain, hearing apparatus, bone marrow, blood etc). Keep a minimum distance of half a meter, preferably more.

    • Put the phone down on a table or bench at least half a meter from your body when in use.

    • Carry the phone in aeroplane mode or off while in motion, particularly in the car.

    • Turn your mobile off at night, and keep it out of the bedroom. Never sleep with a phone in your room. Use an analog ‘silent sweep’ alarm clock if you need one, don’t use digital clocks in the bedroom. Also don’t sleep on the same wall as the smart meter is, or near a wall shared with a modem or other such device.

  7. Earthing– getting your bare feet, hands or body on the earth clears out positive ions (inflammatory) and increases the body’s negative ions (anti-inflammatory), which are conducive to health. Get outside with bare feet on the grass as much as you can. Shoes, unfortunately, insulate you from the benefits of doing this, so take your shoes off and avoid plastic picnic rugs – sit on a cotton towel rather.

  8. Message me your progress after 3-4 days – please leave a voice message/text/email to let me know how you are going after 3-4 days. (This is important.)


Supporting Detox and Healing

Most people feel immediate improvement after their treatment.  If the body is undergoing significantly change, flushing lactic acid or adapting after being out of alignment or balance for some time, you may feel sore, or achy for up to three days after th session. If this seems excessive or particularly painful then call us. Mostly people tend to feel as if they’ve been exercising, with that feeling of lactic acid moving (DOMS – delayed onset muscle soreness).  

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