A Bowen treatment is very relaxing.
It is mostly performed with the person lying on a treatment couch, although Tom Bowen (the originator of the work) provided beds in his clinic, order to encourage a sense of deeper relaxation.
The Bowen Technique embodies a truly holistic approach to healthcare. It is concerned not just with treating specific conditions and symptoms, but also with encouraging a natural potential for health to express itself in every aspect of the patient's life.

A unique feature of the Bowen Technique is the frequent pauses between each series od moves. These are given to allow the body to respond and integrate what is being done. During these pauses, the therapist will usually leave the room.
This lets the person relax without feeling that they have to keep up a conversation ot that they are being watched.
Bowen therapists sometimes talk about the different effects on posture, particularly 'ascending' and 'descending' influences. The key to effective treatment is to find where the original organising factor in someone's condition is located. For example, a knee injury might be due to a weak toe joint or a pelvic imbalance that is putting undue strain on a knee as that person walks. Similarly, headaches may be the result of an old fall on the tailbone.

The trapezius muscle is divided into 3 areas:

  • upper fibers
  • middle fibers
  • lower fibers.
The significance of this division lies in the variety of functions performed by this muscle.

Functions of the Trapezius Muscle:

The trapezius muscle has several functions:
  • to move the shoulder blade in toward the spine
  • to rotate the shoulder blade so that the topmost part of the upper arm faces up
  • to move the shoulder blade up and down
  • to bring the head and neck in a backward direction
  • to rotate and side bend the neck
  • to assist in breathing

The Effects of the Trapezius Muscle on the Neck:

Because the trapezius muscle works to move the neck in several directions, its degree of tightness or looseness affects neck flexibility. For people whowork at desks and computers, or who spend many hours driving, the upper trapezius is the muscle on top of your shoulder that becomes very sore and painful.

The Trapezius Muscle as a Breathing Muscle:

The trapezius is an accessory breathing muscle. This means that it helps open up the small amount of breathing room in the upper chest area. For back and neck pain management, it is best not to rely on the trapezius alone, as this will produce shallow breathing. The most primary and powerful breathing muscle, the diaphram, also a muscle of posture, affects a large volume of breathing space all the way up and down the torso.

Bowen Therapy For Tight Traps:

Although the trap muscles tend to get very tight for most people, they respond well to Bowen. Tight traps are often the cause of back pain and headaches. 


Kendall, Florence, McCreary, Elizabeth Kendall, Provance, Patricia Geise. Muscles Testing and Function 4th ed. Williams and Wilkins. Baltimore, Maryland, 1993.