How Bowen Works

The Bowen Technique affects the body primarily through the nervous and the bioenergetic systems, to bring it into a state of balance.

Autonomic Nervous System Rebalancing

The autonomic nervous system controls over 80% of bodily functions (cardiac, respiratory, peripheral circulation, reproductive, endocrine, gastrointestinal) and is very susceptible to stress and emotional tensions. For healing to happen, the body needs to shift from sympathetic (fight/flight mode) to parasympathetic (vegetative mode) dominance. For this to happen, it needs time and space to literally unwind and "digest" physical and emotional stress. The Bowen Technique facilitates these positive shifts.

Stretch Reflex

Most Bowen moves are done either at the origin, insertion or belly of muscles, where the Golgi and Spindle nerve receptors are located. These receptors inform the nervous system of the state of tension, length or stretch in the muscles and tendons and are stimulated during the rolling part of the Bowen therapy movement.

Joint Proprioreceptors

All Bowen moves done around a joint directly affect the joint and ligaments, which are richly innervated with proprioreceptors, those nerves that sense the position of your body.

Spinal Reflexes

Many of the Bowen moves are performed along the spine over the erector muscles (two thick columns of heavy muscles on either side of the spinal column which run from the base of the pelvis to almost the full length of the spine). These moves appear to produce referred reactions to other areas of the body. Often people will mention that conditions other than the ones for which they originally sought consultation were addressed, even though the practitioner did not know about them (e.g., improved digestion, elimination, circulation, or sleep).


The fascia, sheets of connective tissue, connect everything in the body—muscles, bones, internal organs and central nervous system. They play a major role in muscle coordination, flexibility, postural alignment and overall structural and functional integrity. Bowen frees the relationship between the fascia and the nerve, muscle or tendon being addressed.

Acupuncture Points and Meridians

The Bowen Technique stimulates circulation of energy and clears energetic blocks. Coincidentally, several of the moves are located along acupuncture meridians or on specific acupuncture points which are known to stimulate and balance the body’s energy.