Bowen technique

Hi all,
So far have had 3 Bowen technique appointments and haven’t noticed any difference except increased pain the first few days after. I’m still hoping things will improve, so am going a few more times to see it it all helps. My right side pain seems worse even though the ex-ray and scans were ‘normal’. Some days it feels like a knife is sticking in me and won’t go away. I don’t think I know what to do any more, medical health here is virtually on its knees and getting an appointment takes weeks, and you get nowhere. Anyway, I’m hoping things improve-especially my right side pain, which sometimes seems to go up into my shoulders as well.
Thanks for reading this. SueT.


Thanks very much for checking in on that!
Good on you for following through, whether it helps or not.
What does the therapist say when you tell them it’s making it worse - do they adapt their treatment in any way?
How many sessions do they recommend before stopping?
Do they give you the impression they’re listening to your body closely or just doing the technique like taught?
Have they got any other techniques in their toolbox they think might be more suitable?
Do they understand fibro, and that they have to start very gently?
Does it do anything relaxing for you?
Is the pain different from your normal pain? (I got that from osteopathy and acupuncture. Changing osteopaths made a difference, changing acupuncturists only when I changed the type of acupuncture from Western to Chinese. From my 7 months Chinese acupuncture and 18 months acupressure I sometimes got pain types that felt OK and helpful, and they did help.)

Still hoping & keeping fingers crossed there might be a turn-around…!

Hi JayCS,
Thanks for the response. The therapist says that it is normal to feel a bit worse for a few days after treatment, means it may be working.
No recommendation on how many to have before stopping-it’s more a case of ‘this is going very slowly’.
I think she is just doing the technique like she has been taught-it’s hard to tell.
When I asked if there was anything I could be doing to help between treatments, she said it was best not to exercise as it may stop her from seeing if it is working.
She did say that she has other fibro patients.
Relaxing? No, I don’t think so, feel a bit ‘wobbly’ straight after, and then the rest of the day is the ‘normal’ for me and then pain increases, for a couple of days. She said that my hips are now straight, that’s why I feel ‘wobby’ straight after.
I honestly am not too sure what to do-whether to continue a bit longer or give up. I really wanted this to work as I am so fed up of all this pain all the time, all over the place. Seems to be getting worse all the time, and in different places.
Fingers and toes crossed ‘something’ good will come out of it, as can’t keep spending money and nothing getting better etc.
Take care. SueT.

Hi Sue,
I’d be similarly unsure.
That she doesn’t seem to be adapting her therapy to me is a con.
Her having other fibro patients doesn’t necessarily mean that she can and does adapt to the individual, that’s a neutral for me.
The wobbliness for a time from hip balancing seems understandable and tolerable.
That it doesn’t relax you would seem slightly more a con than neutral to me, cos that’s something I’d expect.
Not to do exercises also for a time also. However after ending my expert acupressure I started looking up my own self-applied acupressure and other exercises and was very successful with it. Maybe the expert start was necessary tho. With my acupuncture it was/is very necessary to find something to counterbalance the treatment. This was sleep. And to manage this I had to increase my cold showers. Which I thought would be a problem, like it also is for Bowen Technique, where you even shouldn’t cold shower for 48h after. Acupressure 24h, acupuncture she never actually told me if & how long. Just I’d manage to neutralize the pain from Western acupuncture once, so thought it might not be good. Turns out it doesn’t neutralize Chinese acupuncture at all.
What I’m now thinking is if there is anything you can find yourself to improve the after-pain. Looking for that I can’t find anything on youtube, but this page has a whole lot of things to watch out for:

All that said, I’d suggest if after the 4th and 5th treatment you implement all of “Christine’s” recommendations, your pain is going up from let’s say 3 to 5 for 2 or more days and then just going back down to the 3, I’d stop after the 5th treatment. However if you ever have the inkling that the pain is going down less after it than before, then I’d continue.

While continuing I’d try to learn as much from her as you can: ideas what may be causing pains or other symptoms, names of dysbalances etc., to get more of a feeling for your own body as well by checking if you feel what she is saying actually applies to you. That way you could get a feeling for what might be better treatments for you.

Generally you may know I separate overall Ache from overdoing it from local pains. (My acupressure focused mainly on the local pains, but also managed some “miracle healing” for shortage of breath, temperature control and leg strength. My acupuncture focuses mainly on overall symptoms, esp. energy. (Also GI and sleep, but it makes sleep worse, so I have to up my other sleep strategies.)
Now Bowen technique seems to focus on local pains, but in your case may be increasing your overall Ache - is that the case? The practitioners however believe it can alter the nervous system and change your pain response, says healthline. I’d say that may only help if for us the CSS hypothesis is right that it is an overreaction of pain response (then you’d have things like hyperalgesia and/or allodynia, which I for instance don’t have much). quotes a study on 7 fibromyalgia patients from 1997 of which 5 reacted positively immediately, the other 2 apparently not at all.

Click for my details dissecting this study

The website lists what it helped for (supposedly but wrongly) in a fibromyalgia study from 1997, and all of these are examples of only local pain:
“Examples of presenting symptoms that have responded to Bowen work are: acute and chronic lower back pain, frozen shoulder, TMJ discomfort and dysfunction, and Tic Douloureux. Sports- and work-related symptoms, which have improved following Bowen work, include: runner’s knee, tennis elbow, hamstring and rotator cuff injuries.”
Or other local symptoms:
"Other incidental symptoms that have shown improvement with Bowen work include gastrointestinal reflux, sinus congestion and associated headache pain and bronchoconstriction secondary to allergic response or reactive asthma.”
Generally it (correctly) says the study notes:
“Amongst the fibromyalgia subjects in Whitaker’s study, two things were clearly evident. First, all experienced some immediate relief post-Bowen treatment. Second, this decrease in symptomology persisted over widely varying time periods ranging from a few days to several weeks. One subject reported that her fibromyalgia symptoms continued to be relieved over a six-week period.”
Obviously this is absolutely not the case for you.
Reading up the details of the study here, it is a misunderstanding that the local pains had to do with fibromyalgia.
Secondly the study only had 7 subjects, which for such an individual treatment and a large variety of Bowen technique types/schools doesn’t say much. Thirdly these 7 were diagnosed with the 1990 criteria, i.e. tender points, I don’t know if you belong to that set of people who were. Fourthly it was neither double blind nor did it have a placebo control or was it peer-reviewed, so extremely bad quality and had a lot of bias. (They argue that much of this isn’t appropriate, but their arguments are bad and just disqualify this study as medical proof, it’s just anecdotal evidence.)
Added to the above quotations it said “From a clinical assessment point of view the responses of the individuals in the normal group were widely varied after the Bowen Technique. Some were relaxed while others were energised. Some were mellow while others felt enlightened. Some expressed a little shakiness while others felt a deep emotional block had been released. Many commented that some little annoying pains were suddenly gone. Only two people reported essentially no change in awareness and were probably the only true normal subjects in our study. All the fibromyalgia subjects reported at least some relief of their symptoms, and many felt substantial relief.” and there follows the above quotation starting “Two things were clearly evident”.

This study is too old, small and biased to be helpful, and since your reactions are more negative than all these it argues against it being the right method for you.

I think it’d help me & praps you if you can give me more hints what exactly she seems to be working on and which parts of your body are hurting more afterwards, as well as if any are hurting less
It may be the case that this might help you some other time, but maybe not now. What would be right now? That depends upon the pains you want to reduce…

Coming back to the symptom description in your OP rings a bell with Eric Berg’s hypothesis that right side fibro pain is caused by the gallbladder and gives an easy test to see if it is that, can’t remember if we’ve talked about that before:

Watching this might give you ideas what is different, e.g. where you feel your pains are originating from…

Hi JayCS,
I had another ‘treatment’ this week and asked her if she thought that things were working for me, and she said she wasn’t sure. I think I can understand that, but a more positive response would have been good.
I find it hard to relax anyway, so maybe not feeling relaxed is more my fault. I always seem to be ‘on egde’ I guess, the pain doesn’t help.
I have a book on accupressure, so will have a look for it and give that a go and see if it helps along the way-can’t hurt anyway.
I did look at the link that you sent about what to look out for after after.
I have told her about the pain in my right side, but not too sure, she asked about the scan and ex-ray and I said they came back ‘normal’. I’m beginning to think I am one of those people where it doesn’t seem to help at all, although my back pain seems slightly better, but the right side pain was worse yesterday, a day after treatment. I said to my doctor when I last saw her, months ago now, that it felt like my liver was exploding-but she said it hadn’t Lol.
My first apt with her she worked mostly on my back, and then the second and third apts she worked on my back a short while and then was on my legs and neck as well. Said my neck had been very stiff but now felt easier. The last apt this week she was more on my legs than anywher else. My legs have been ‘tender’ for many years and from a few months ago they started more aching, especially at night.
She said she was concerned that I didn’t seem to be getting any benefit from the treatment and maybe reflexology might help-she does that as well. I have one more apt booked with her for Bowen treatment and then will be having a break for a couple of weeks to ‘think about it’ a bit.
I didn’t look at the hypothesis about the right side pain being gall bladder as I don’t have a gall bladder any more. It was taken out some years ago after a lot of pain, and they said it was infected.
Thanks for all your help/ideas-any more would be helpful :slight_smile:

Hi all,
Just wanted to let you know that I am stopping my Bowen treatment. I have had 5 so far and have had no benefits from them at all. I expected/hoped for some pain reduction but it seems to have increased instead with more pain everywhere. I am at the point where I don’t know what to do, I can’t stand the pain everywhere, and have tried a lot of different things but not helped. I really wanted this treatment to help, and it may help other people with fibro-but not me, and can’t really afford any more treatments anyway.
Take care. SueT.

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Hi Sue,
I’ve waited for your last appt. and am like you not surprised that it didn’t change anything. If her next suggestion is reflexology and your money’s getting tight, I’d recommend trying all kinds of self-applied treatments using youtube videos or your acupressure book.

I must say I never took acupressure or other self-applied treatments seriously, but now I didn’t have any choice trying it was a revelation. It’s so low barrier and cheap that it’s well worth considering. And getting to know our own bodies in this way is self-empowering and self-sufficient.

After learning and applying acupressure myself I hadn’t heard of self-applied reflexology yet. The ear acupressure my acupressurist was doing at the start of the manual session was reflexological, and as she helped me a lot I do think that must have been part of it, altho I’m not sure, praps just placebo, plus this coincidentally pointing her to ideas that she then treated further with body acupressure and other methods. I don’t care: it helped get my local pains down. She did show me a few reflexological and other acupressure tricks, but not much, so I was surprised how easy and effective acupressure is turning out for me.

So once again I consulted youtube for self reflexology, and sure enough here is an easy example massaging feet (with CBD oil) for foot and back pain (and that would mean it’s meant direct for the feet, but reflexological on the back too):

and this is the other end: I think pretty much the whole foot and up the leg two in 15 minutes, this is one I’m gonna start using some time:

Hand reflexology might be easier to try:

In contrast Bob & Brad’s self foot massage doesn’t try to be reflexological.

As regards Berg’s gall bladder hypothesis: I had another look for you and at the end Berg (a DC) does actually like I suspected mention that these ideas of his also apply to people without gall bladder. I think the reasoning is that a missing gall bladder is no different to a weak gall blddder and the liver needs all the more support: He there specifically for missing gall bladder recommends “purified bile salts” to replace the missing bile to break down the fats.
Aside from that he recommends acid cider vinegar for the malic acid in it, intermittent fasting instead of frequent meals, a keto diet to “adjust the fats to your tolerance”, plus cholin, esp. for a fatty liver. I think the only thing that wouldn’t apply to you would be avoiding low-fat diets.
If your time is short you can have a quick look in the video description for a list of what to avoid and what to do in his experience.
It seems to me to be very worth considering, precisely because it caused so much pain and removing it would be the traditional way of treatment, but of course causes new problems.

Hi JayCS,
Thank you for all the good ideas to try to help. I have made a list of things I want to try and hand massage will definitely be one of them. The other ones I may have to get my husband to try out on me. I have looked through my acupressure book so will be finding out if anything in there helps.
I did watch the vids on you tube, and took note of what was said in them, and will look into the ‘purified bile salts’ and the cholin, and see if possible to buy.
I think my diet is quite good, we eat a lot of vegetables and fruits (not too many though) and try to eat healthily, don’t drink except a glass of wine with Sunday lunch and don’t smoke.
I can’t take cider apple vinegar, I tried it some years ago, but I already have an acidy stomach and made it worse.
When I had to have my gall bladder removed I was told that was the only thing I could do, and after I could eat what I wanted-I think he told me wrong!
I don’t eat much in the way of fat as it is, and gave up things like yogurt and milk, and use soy and/or almond milk now. Nothing seems to help though. And felt really let down that the Bowen thing did not help at all. I will keep trying everything to see what helps. All I would like is some pain reduction.
Many thanks. Hope everyone has a reasonable weekend.

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