The Bowen technique is an alternative type of bodywork named after Australian Thomas Ambrose Bowen (Tom Bowen) (1916–1982).
Bowen had no formal medical training, and described his approach as a "gift from God". He referred to himself as an osteopath and tried to join the Australian register of osteopaths in 1981, but did not qualify for the title. According to Katrina Pennington, writing in the Journal of the Australian Traditional-Medicine Society, he died an unrecognized practitioner of manual therapy; it was not until some years later that the term "Bowen Technique" was invented. According to a 2011 systematic review in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine and the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients, a 1975 committee of inquiry (government of Victoria, Australia) reported that Bowen treated an estimated 13,000 patients per year, with an 80 percent success rate in symptoms that were associated with a wide range of conditions. The technique has been popularized by some of the six men who observed him at work including Oswald Rentsch, an osteopath whose interpretation has become the dominant, but not unchallenged, form. The technique has been reported as requiring 120 hours of instruction, or as being easily learned in a "weekend workshop".
In 2009 there were 26,000 practitioners worldwide, and that the technique goes by a wide variety of names including: Fascial Therapy, Smart Bowen, Fascial Kinetics, Neuro-structural Integration (NST), Fascial Bowen and Bowenwork.
Each session typically involves gentle rolling motions along the muscles and tendons. The therapy's distinctive features are the minimal nature of the physical intervention and pauses incorporated in the treatment. Proponents claim these pauses allows the body to "reset" itself.
Bowen did not document his technique, and as a result its practice after his death has followed one or other differing interpretation of his work. In 1973 Bowen himself had referred to his ability to "average 65 patients per day", yet the technique as it is commonly practiced today cannot achieve that kind of throughput.
The 2011 systematic review mentioned earlier said that existing literature indicated that the Bowen technique was a "a useful CAM practice", but commented negatively on the quality of the available research material, and said, "it is evident that further research is needed to systematically test this modality, before widespread recommendations can be given".Quackwatch includes "NST (Bowen Therapy)" in its list of "questionable treatments".
^ abHansen, Christine; Taylor-Piliae, Ruth E. (2011). "What is Bowenwork®? A Systematic Review". The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine17 (11): 1002. doi:10.1089/acm.2010.0023. PMID22087611. "According to the Report of the Committee of Inquiry into Chiropractic, Osteopathy, Homeopathy, and Naturopathy by the Victorian government of Australia, Mr. Bowen treated an estimated 13,000 patients per year. The report revealed greater than an 80% success rate in symptoms that were associated with a wide range of conditions, from chronic ailments to acute injuries including pain reduction."
^Klotter, Julie (2005-01). "Bowen Technique". Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients (via HighBeam (subscription required)). Retrieved 2013-012-17. "The Australian government released a report on Tom Bowen and his work in 1975. The report found that Bowen, who saw about 13,000 patients each year, had an 80 to 90% success rate, usually in one or two sessions."Check date values in: |date=, |accessdate= (help)