Bowen Treatment: what’s it like?

Back Massage, how Bowen works
Image by Mariolh from Pixabay

Bowen treatment with Jonathan Clogstoun-Willmott usually lasts up to 45 minutes, including pauses for your body to adjust.

The Bowen move is a gentle rolling move over either the origin, insertion or belly of the muscle. It appears both to stimulate and stretch the muscle, energising the nerves in the area, and toning the lymphatic circulation.


Pauses in Bowen Treatment

After every few Bowen moves, there is a pause and you are left to rest. The importance of this short period of time – up to several minutes – is that it enables your body to adjust and re-align itself. You may think nothing is happening, but this is the time when change takes place. Without this rest between moves, the Bowen technique is less effective.

If you go to sleep during or between moves, this can be very beneficial!

Many people notice an improvement in pain immediately after the treatment, especially if the pain started recently. For chronic pain, the condition may seem just the same for a day or so after treatment, sometimes slightly worse, before then improving.

At the end of the treatment, don’t get up until the Bowen practitioner is with you. As you get to your feet, make sure that you put weight on both your feet equally. Then stand still a few moments to get your balance, before getting dressed.


pouring water on person's hands



After dressing, drink a glass of filtered water.

Water is really important in helping your body make good repairs.

Don’t gulp it down. Preferably, just sip it slowly, savouring it. That way, it arrives in your Stomach warmed and is more easily assimilated.


What next on the day of your Bowen treatment?

First, arrange at least two more treatments, at weekly (or thereabouts) intervals. Bowen works best if you have three or more sessions close together, each about one week or so apart.

  • After treatment, go for a walk, and don’t sit down for longer than 30 minutes at a time for the rest of the day. In between periods sitting, walk around for several minutes. This helps your body readjust and re-align itself.
  • Continue to drink water regularly, preferably at hourly intervals, for the rest of the day.
  • Avoid heavy exertion, too much brisk exercise or heavy lifting on the day of treatment. Don’t subject your body to saunas, hot baths or showers and, unless in great pain, don’t use heat or cold packs.
  • In the evening, eat an early meal – don’t eat too much! – and go to bed before 10pm and put the light out as soon as you feel sleepy. Bowen helps most people sleep better, and the first treatment often makes people quite tired.
  • Avoid caffeine, coffee, alcohol, a power shower, a too hot or too cold bath for a few days.
  • Do ensure you do regularly do any exercises you are given.


Treatment continues to work even after you leave

  • Remember, Bowen treatment goes on working for several weeks, and you may feel changes occurring throughout this time.
  • Try to prevent re-injury, so check your sitting position, or when
    carrying, lifting, gardening, golf etc.
  • Avoid crossing your legs when sitting.
  • If you feel sore or you ache for the next few days after your Bowen
    treatment, drink more water: it’s usually a good sign.
  • If you have had Bowen treatment done on your jaw, try not to yawn, or bite on hard foods, for about a week.
  • After your initial course of Bowen treatments, remember it is advisable to have a top-up session every 6-8 weeks.
  • Do contact Jonathan if you have any concerns or require advice. 07950 012501

Continuing on from your first Bowen treatment

Keep drinking lots of water – filtered if possible. Although the need for so much water tails off within a few days, for most people it’s good practice to drink water regularly. (Some people do drink too much, however, and in so doing may weaken their Kidney Yang energy. We would tell you if we thought this applied to you.)

Light exercise – eg walking – is very good – every day. Heavy exercise is usually less conducive to healing at this stage.

Eat fruit and vegetables – lots of them. Organic if you can get them, and not just one kind of fruit or vegetable, but many varieties, the fresher the better. However, if the weather is cold, or you are very chilly, or in winter, take warming vegetable soups before eating too many uncooked or raw fruit or vegetables.

(Why? you ask!… Because in Chinese medicine, cold or raw food places extra strain on you when you are already below par. They can also cause what are called damp and phlegm in susceptible people.)

Avoid other kinds of bodywork treatment between your Bowen treatments and for one week after the last one. There are several reasons for this. Some other treatments may conflict with it.

Just as important is so that you don’t confuse your Bowen or other practitioner!

Other pages on Bowen on this site

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