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The History of Bowenwork


Thomas Bowen (1916-1982) began developing his technique in the 1950’s in Geelong, Australia. Bowen’s lifelong interest in sports, coaching young athletes, and helping with their injuries, was pivotal in the development of his manual techniques. Bowen had a natural ability for distinguishing patterns of soft tissue dysfunction, which he correlated to specific complaints. This allowed him to develop procedures that stimulated the body’s own healing mechanisms. He continued to develop and refine his technique throughout his lifetime. During the late 1950’s he opened a clinic and began a full-time practice using his unique method of soft-tissue manipulation.  His reputation grew quickly and his dedication to understanding the human body and relieving suffering never ceased.

In 1975 an inquiry into alternative health care professionals by the Australian government determined that Bowen performed about 13,000 treatments a year with a documented success rate of over 85%. Treatments were scheduled seven days apart with most people needing only one to three treatments.

In 1974, while attending a national health conference, Bowen met Oswald Rentsch, a manual therapist practicing massage and osteopathy.   Ossie expressed an interest in Bowen’s work, and was then invited to study with him. Bowen ultimately authorized Ossie and his wife Elaine to document his work.

Honoring Mr. Bowen’s request to teach the work after his death, Ossie and Elaine began teaching seminars throughout Australia. Dedicated to preserving the technique and ensuring it was taught in its original form, they founded the Bowen Academy of Australia in 1987. Since then Bowen technique has grown at a phenomenal rate and is now practiced in 31 countries worldwide.