A Brief History of Bowen


The Bowen technique was developed in the 1950s in Australia by the late Thomas A. Bowen (1903-1982).  He was fascinated by the different postures people had, and how these postures related to their symptoms of pain.

Mr. Bowen’s approach was to reset the tension in specific muscles and muscle groups by using unique stretch-and-roll-through moves.  After each move, he allowed the body to rest and integrate the changes.  He claimed that he could sense minute vibrations in the soft tissues and that this tension in the muscles helped him find the exact locations to perform his moves.

He achieved amazing results.  According to a 1974 survey by Australia’s Victorian Government, Tom was completing over 13,000 sessions per year.  In over 85% of his cases, the problems for which his clients sought treatment were completely resolved.

His fascination with bodywork came from a desire to help people who were suffering.  He was dedicated to helping the poor and disenfranchised in the local community.  He set up a free clinic for disabled children; he worked with prisoners in the local penitentiary and he helped with injuries at the local football club.

Tom Bowen only allowed a few therapists to come learn from him.  One was Oswald Rentsch, a natural therapist practicing massage and osteopathy.  After Tom’s death, Mr. Rentsch began teaching his interpretation of Tom’s work.  By the 1990s he was teaching full time and introduced the Bowen technique throughout Australia and New Zealand, then the United Kingdom and North America.  Here it is better known under the internationally registered trademark, Bowenwork. 

The American Bowen Academy is the premier provider of professional Bowenwork training in the United States.  Certified practitioners and more information can be found on their website AmericanBowenAcademy.com