Bowen Therapy helps roll away chronic pain

Source: Extracted from Vitality magazine Aug-Sep 2011

The Bowen Technique is a natural, drug-free, non-invasive complementary therapy, invented in Australia and introduced to the UK in the 1990s. Bowen Therapy has a particularly strong record of success in the treatment of back pain.

The Bowen Technique prides itself on being able to trigger the body’s own healing systems. Rather than 'making' the body change, Bowen 'asks' the body to recognise and make the changes it requires. With primarily fingers and thumbs, the Bowen practitioner makes small, rolling movements over muscles, tendons, ligaments and soft tissue at precise points on the body, using only the amount of pressure appropriate for that individual. No hard-tissue manipulation or force is needed or used. Between each set of moves, the body is allowed to rest for a few minutes, to allow it to absorb the information it has received and initiate the healing process.

Bowen is generally pleasant to receive, each session lasting 30 to 60 minutes, depending on the age of the client and the nature of their condition. Many clients become so relaxed they fall asleep during the treatment.

Short-term (acute) injury may be resolved in one to three Bowen treatments, while long-standing (chronic) conditions may require longer. A gap of five to ten days is recommended between Bowen sessions; so that the body can process the subtle information it has been given. As well as back pain, Bowen Therapy also may help with a host of other health issues such as frozen shoulders, sports injuries, whiplash, migraine, hay fever, asthma, IBS or fertility matters.

Brighton Bowen therapist, Sarah Yearsley, has treated Channel 4’s Born Survivor Bear Grylls for many years now. Grylls says of his Bowen treatments with Sarah, “It (Bowen) has helped keep my body together despite the continual bashing it takes. It’s a vital support in putting right a whole range of new aches and pains, making sure that old injuries don’t cause me problems, and helping me fight stress and fatigue.”

As with many other alternative therapies, the success of a treatment mainly depends on visiting a legitimate, well trained practitioner, who is a member of an organisation like BTPA (The Bowen Therapy Professional Association).

Members of this association are qualified in Anatomy & Physiology and First Aid. They are also fully insured, abide by a strict code of conduct and ethics and are committed to a programme of continuing professional development.


Janey Lee Grace, Radio 2 Presenter and writer of books including 'Look Great Naturally - without ditching the lipstick' shares her Bowen experience.


It was 1999 and I was one of those women due to have a millennium baby. I was seven months gone, and on my way to co-host BBC’s ‘Steve Wright in the Afternoon’. Up until this point I’d been ‘blooming marvelous,’ but for the first time in my life I was racked by excruciating back pain. I was introduced to a Bowen practitioner by my wonderful natural birth ‘guru’ Gowri Motha, who had seen good results with pregnant women.

Laying down fully clothed, my practitioner gently stimulated and ‘rolled’ my muscles which in turn (I’m told) stimulated a nervous response in my brain saying ‘listen brain, there’s a problem here, please sort it.’ It’s painless and I could hardly feel it. After a few little ‘moves’ though, she quietly left the room to allow the body’s energies space in which to heal.

Some of you may know that my fellow broadcasters, Steve Wright and Tim Smith have me down as 'new age' anyway, so after much hilarity, Tim bet me that the treatment wouldn’t work on his tennis elbow. He had tried everything and was now taking drugs for it, even considering an operation. After one session…cured. He was totally converted. I’ve since had great reports from a friend who has been ‘cured’ of early onset arthritis, a neighbour who was told he’d never walk again but is now driving, walking, and back on the golf course.

Vitality magazine would like to thank Janey Lee Grace, for this contribution.