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The History of The Bowen Technique

Tom Bowen 1916 – 1982

Tom BowenToms parents where originally from Wolverhampton and emigrated to Australia in the early 1900's settling Brunswick, Victoria. This was a working class family and Tom left school at the age of fourteen, taking various labouring jobs including milk carter and general hand at a woollen mill.
He then went into the building trade where he took up his fathers trade of carpenter, working as a general hand at Geelong cement works.
Tom was married to Jessie at the beginning of world war two and they lived with Toms parents in Geelong, Victoria. They were keen Salvationists and Tom ran a salvation army boys club where he would coach youngsters in various sports especially swimming.
It was while he was working at the cement works that he started to treat people after work, his clinic would often go on well into the night. With encouragement for friends René and Stan Horwood, he eventually started to work fulltime out of a rented house in Geelong. Tom was selfless man, he ran a fortnightly clinic for years treating disabled people free of charge and he would regularly pay house calls to people who unable to attend his clinic, even if it where in the middle of the night.
On Sundays he would visit Geelong prison to treat prisoners and was called upon by the Geelong police many time to assist them, even being awarded a medal from the Victorian police board.

There are romantic stories and articles about Toms work including that he treated Greyhounds and Racehorses, learning the technique in a Japanese prisoner of war camp or spending time with aboriginal elders, these notions are all untrue. Its very sad that Tom was not a well man, he was very deaf and had lost a leg due to diabetes, he lost his other leg just prior to his death. Tom wasn't hindered or deterred by these obvious handicaps

Tom Bowen had no formal training or qualifications in any therapeutic backgrounds. He surrounded himself with practitioners of all kinds of therapies and absorbed there knowledge and ethos to develop his own unique work. He learnt to "read" people with his "seeing" abilities, developed through treating and helping an enormous number of people per week.
Tom minimalised his work to the use of fingers or thumbs across body tissue, muscles, ligaments and tendons. These moves are placed to include meridian and acupressure points. Tom himself was able to deliver a unique treatment to each individual in possibly only one or two treatments. It was common for patients to walk out in the same pain they walked in. Toms therapy would "get the ball rolling" and over the following few days the body would take over and do the rest. This was a very unique approach to healing.

All the men who clamed that Tom had shown them some of his work had a background of osteopathy or chiropracty or a physical therapy in some way. Maybe they were influenced by their formal training when interpreting Toms work, which resulted in each individual structuring toms work, and therefore differed in there application.
Tom Bowen found a starting point from which he could encourage the body's own power of healing to take hold. His discovery that this is possible has enormous implications for not only for complementary therapy but significantly in modern medicine.

It is a privilege to have been shown an interpretation of the technique and it is a responsibility to use the work wisely and humbly.

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