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. He died as an unlicensed practitioner of manual therapy. At the same time, in 1975, several years before his death, a public 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. 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 volume.
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. It was not until some years after his death that the term "Bowen Technique" was invented. The technique goes by a wide variety of other names including: Smart Bowen, Fascial Kinetics, Neurostructural Integration Technique (NST), Fascial Bowen and Bowenwork. 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. Learning the technique has been reported as requiring 120 hours of instruction, or as little as a weekend workshop.
Recipients are generally fully clothed. Each session typically involves gentle rolling motions along the muscles, tendons, and fascia. The therapy's distinctive features are the minimal nature of the physical intervention and pauses incorporated in the treatment. Proponents claim these pauses allow the body to "reset" itself.
^ 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.
^Klotter, Julie (January 2005). "Bowen Technique". Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients (via HighBeam (subscription required)). Retrieved 2013-01-17.