- If you're suffering from arthritis and want to try Bowen Therapy, you should know that this therapy does not attempt to fix specific health problems, and is not meant to replace any existing treatments such as drugs or surgery, but to complement them. If you're drawn to naturopathic and preventive therapies, and believe they've helped you in the past, then Bowen might be for you. It attempts to promote healing and reduce inflammation in joints, a goal that seems custom-made for people who suffer from arthritis and symptoms of pain, swelling and stiffness. Other claims made about Bowen are that it stimulates energy in the body, improves posture and brings organs back into a more natural position. Bowen is performed with a series of gentle, precise touches, administered in a rolling motion at acupressure points and meridians. This is done with the patient fully clothed and lying down, although it can be adapted for a sitting patient. Bowen therapists don't rub in the vigorous way that massage therapists do and don't focus on the spine or joints; rather, they work on the muscles and the muscle covering, or fascia. According to Dr. Michael Austin, a Bowen practitioner in Tucson, Arizona, the treatment is based on energy fields; a therapist can affect an inflamed joint by touching near it, and touching along the spine will result in referred reactions that can heal other areas. In addition, said Austin, Bowen can be used to bring the brain to an alpha state, in which increased healing takes place.
If you decide to try Bowen, expect your session to last 30 to 45 minutes, with the therapist leaving the room at intervals for at least two minutes; this is done to allow the body to rest and adjust.
- According to altMD, pregnant women should avoid the coccyx procedure, a Bowen method for releasing lower back pain; there is a possibility it could induce premature labor. Because of Bowen's non-invasive nature, there are not many other precautions you need to take. Therapists recommend that you drink plenty of water to release toxins that may have been released during your session, as well as avoiding any other bodywork, including Bowen, for a few days.
- There are many online testimonials to Bowen Therapy's power to reduce inflammation and pain, and developer Tom Bowen claims a success rate of 88 percent. However, there have been no clinical studies on the technique's effectiveness, and Quackwatch.com lists it as a "questionable" treatment--along with homeopathic medicine, herbal medicine, and vitamin therapy.
At the very least, the therapy offers a soothing, harmless tactile experience that can increase well-being. If you try it for relieving your arthritis symptoms, you might find it helpful.