Bowen Therapy - The Origin


"I expect to pass through this world but once, any good thing therefore that I do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow-creature,

let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall never pass this way again.” 

Tom Bowen



Tom Bowen (1916-1982) lived his life in Geelong, Victoria.   His  healing, soft tissue techniques  are now  taught throughout the world as   Bowen Therapy Technique.  Much has been written about Tom,  but he wasnt one for advertising himself, he was modest to a fault, a god fearing,   humble man who wasn't given to much explanation about himself or his method.  He did have a natural  gift for healing , it was his  "gift from god".     



In the 1950's Tom developed an association and  friendship with a well known and highly respected  masseuse by the name of  Ernie Saunders.  Ernie worked alongside some of the greats in the sporting field including  the likes of Tom Bradman on the cricket field. Tom and Ernie would spend many hours together where Tom learnt many of Ernie's techniques.   Ernie had travelled the world training himself and in the 1930's he had learnt  a technique called Japanese Finger Acupressure ( modern day shiatsu)  this would form the basis of Tom's technique.  It is the precursor to modern day Bowen Therapy.



Tom worked in the Geelong Cement works and as he practiced his newly learnt techniques on his fellow workers and friends, his healing skills grew as did his reputation and the amount of people wanting to see him.  He would work at night out of a friends front room, where he would help people with physical ailments and eventually  just by word of  mouth with  no advertising,  it became necessary for him to have his own premises.


Toms ability to heal was based on many things,  attitude, skill, experience and  his ability to detect dysfunctions in the body. When Tom passed away he would have treated many 1000's of people, at one stage its reported that he saw in excess of 1000 per month.  But Tom's driving force was never about the money,  it was always about the treatment, he was a kind and generous soul who would treat many for nothing, and would give to charities. 


As his reputation grew he would train  several men in his method,  some of whom , after his demise, would go on to take Bowen Therapy to the wider world.      There are many forms of Bowen Therapy as each of those men interpreted Tom's technique differently, they taught the method as to what worked for them.  The basis is essentially the same, however the pressure, and the protocol is different.

The nature of  any healing method is that it is open to interpretation by the practitioner as each  brings his or her  own skillset and attitude to the mix.  Tom himself would adapt the technique dependant on the need 's of the patient.   The ever evolving nature of body work and the attitude of the practitioner is paramount to the evolution of healers and the well being of the patient.    That said there is only one true Bowen therapist  and that was Tom Bowen himself. 


Thank you Tom,   may you rest in peace, your gift to the world and your legacy lives on in the hearts and hands of Bowen Therapists and healers throughout the world. 

And may  I strive to deliver Bowen the way you did, without ego.  



  • The Tom Bowen Story - a short biography by Heather Edmonds and Pam Trigg (Daughters of Tom Bowen)

  • Japanese Finger Pressure Therapy - Shiatsu by Tokujiro Namikoshi      ISBN 0 87040 169 6