Myth #5 - Will the real Bowen technique please stand up?
In honour of Tom Bowen’s 100th birthday on 18 April, today’s blog takes a look at Tom Bowen’s legacy.
Bowen therapy is named after Tom Bowen, the man who ‘created’ the technique. While Mr Bowen never taught anyone what he did, he did allow a handful of men to watch him in his clinic for a number of years as he treated hundreds of clients. Mr Bowen seems to have taken aspects from a number of different modalities but overall he was self taught in his healing technique now known worldwide as Bowen.
All of the men who shadowed Mr Bowen in his clinic took away their own interpretation of his work. They translated what they saw into their own language. That’s what we do, as humans. Ask six people to describe the same scene and you’ll get six different answers. Is one description more right than another? One perspective more valid? My answer would be no. We all interpret our own reality.
It’s not surprising that it’s no different with Bowen. Each of those men have their own interpretation of Tom Bowen’s technique. We need to start working with that and seeing it as a positive for this amazing healing modality.
The Bowen world is divided. There are strong factions within the community. This school believes that; and that one believes this. One school believes they are the real Bowen technique while another school believes they are more in tune with how Bowen worked. And here’s another man claiming his technique is more true to Bowen and on it goes. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? For me, it’s more: Who cares? Certainly our clients don’t care. They just want to feel better. And that’s what we should be focusing on. How to support and grow this technique for the health and benefit of our clients.
Politics are generally divisive and that’s no good for anyone. Especially the client. If a practitioner is worried that they are doing Bowen wrong or aren’t being true to their original teacher or teachings then ultimately it’s the client who suffers. Let’s agree to disagree on who thinks they are the only ones teaching the real Bowen therapy and get on with helping humanity, shall we?
I am Bowtech trained which is, admittedly, quite prescriptive in its teachings. The beauty of this is that anyone can be taught the basics of this amazing technique. The simplest of moves can result in the most profound results and this can be achieved by a body worker as easily as a car mechanic, accountant or astronaut. Bowtech teaching brought Bowen to the world in an easily teachable and repeatable form. Bowen therapy would unlikely be a known technique throughout the world today if not for Bowtech teachers teaching Ossie Rentsch’s interpretation of Tom Bowen’s work.
Those who teach Bowen therapy offer their own interpretations of how Tom worked. They argue that Bowtech is far from how the man worked. And I believe that is most likely true. But how do you teach a technique that was created by a man who didn’t know how to explain what he did? Tom Bowen wasn’t a teacher. He was a healer. The world is just lucky that Mr Bowen allowed those few men to watch him so they could further his technique and results. It has been said that Tom was very gifted at reading bodies. He worked intuitively to shift unhelpful patterns in clients. He worked quickly and efficiently. It would also appear he worked without ego. Just saying.
The thing is, though, who cares whose interpretation of Bowen therapy is the ‘right’ one? All the infighting takes away from the focus of sharing Bowen with the world.
I don’t think we are honouring the man by denigrating those teachers of Bowtech. While I am proud to be Bowtech trained, I am also grateful to other names in the field who bring their own interpretation to the game. I love the different perspectives they bring to the Bowen table. They encourage thinking outside the prescriptive teachings of Bowtech. They share their interpretations and like anything - it’s up to us, as practitioners, to take on what resonates, question what confronts us and look to provide each and every client with the best Bowen therapy for their condition and situation.
I don’t think Tom Bowen had prescriptive sets of moves he used. I think he assessed the body and applied the least amount of moves needed to get the best job done. One of the things everyone in the Bowen community agrees on is the ability of Bowen to heal profoundly and wholistically. This is what we need to keep as our focus - making a consolidated effort to work together to continue sharing Tom Bowen’s legacy with the world. We believe in what we do because we see results time after time. We see the quality of life in those we treat increase as their pain and dysfunction decrease. What a gift! Thank you, Tom Bowen. And Happy Birthday.
More about me and what I offer at www.balancingacttherapies.com Appointments available on the Coffs Coast. Give me a ring on 0426 241 435. Thanks for listening. I’m off now to bake Mr Bowen a cake…
Myth #4 - Rule of three (sessions)
Recently I saw a post on Facebook from a woman asking for recommendations for doctors in her area. She said she was looking for a doctor who would listen to her. The woman had multiple issues, both chronic and acute. She had limited mobility and what sounded like autoimmune issues, as well. When I read the post, there were already about 40 comments. When I see posts like this, or from people looking for relief from symptoms conventional medicine hasn’t, or isn’t, helping, I want to chime in about Bowen therapy. But I never do. What I do though sometimes is read down through the comments because I am interested in hearing about what people are recommending.
Almost all the comments in this post feed were helpful. The woman who posted the question was active in participation, wanting to find out more about why someone liked a particular doctor, or where they were located etc. Then came a comment recommending a particular doctor because they listened to what you presented with and they were a conventional doctor but also a naturopath and homeopath. The response? “I don’t believe in naturopathy or homeopathy.”
I was dumbfounded. This woman is suffering from multi-system issues, wants a GP who will listen to her, is being let down by conventional medicine and she doesn’t believe in complementary therapies? She doesn’t believe in an alternative which will assess her wholistically?
She wants to be fixed. And she wants someone else to fix her.
So, what does this have to do with the Rule of Three (sessions)? Well, often people are after a quick fix. If you’ve read my blog on Myth #2 - Bowen will fix anything! - you will know that often there is no quick fix. And you will also know that Bowen doesn’t ‘fix’ anything. Bowen helps the body to ‘fix’ itself.
Bowen can take a longer time [then, for example, other healing modalities] to integrate in your body because it is working with the body at a pace it can handle. It helps unblock systems gently and effectively. If a symptom has taken years to present itself into the issue you take to a Bowen session, is it a bit unfair to expect the body to completely rid itself of the issue after one treatment? I’m not saying it can’t be done. It’s just putting a lot of pressure on your body and on a technique which is designed to unravel patterns down to the issue. And get rid of them permanently. Isn’t that worth taking the time to do?
Bowen helps the body help itself. We are whole beings. This is the beauty of Bowen. It’s going to help you on all levels - physical, mental and emotional - because the moves go where they need to go. Bowen can be targeted to an area or issue, but it doesn’t mean that’s the only place you will feel a benefit.
Think of aspirin. You’ve got pain in your body and you take over the counter pain relief for it. You don’t have to tell the aspirin where to go. Its job is to find the pain receptor and dull it. It breaks the pain connection for you so you feel better. Your body allows the aspirin, and its effects, to go to the area it is most needed. It’s the same with the Bowen move.
Many clients ask how many sessions they will need to come for. We are taught that a good answer is three. I understand this answer but I don’t like the answer. What I don’t like is putting a limit on it. What I really want to tell people is - it will take as long as it takes. Have patience. Have trust. Take part in your own healing journey and I am here to help.
I find it frustrating, the clients who come only once. Mostly because I never get to find out how they went but also because I feel like they haven’t given Bowen a chance. This is where the three session recommendation comes in. To me, if by three sessions you are not seeing a benefit, then maybe you need to look at another option. Three sessions will give you an idea of what the technique can offer. It’s not for everyone. No modality is. Three sessions isn’t asking a lot, though. You have been living with your symptoms and issues. Ultimately, how you go about healing is up to you. We all need help at times with the healing journey. I believe Bowen therapy is some of the best help you can ask for.
Trust the technique. Trust your body. Both are infinitely wise in their ability to heal.
Help me help you. Book your appointment today on 0426241435. More about who I am and what I offer at www.balancingacttherapies.com