Bowen Therapy Course

Bowen Therapy Course

Bowen Therapy Course

Bowen  Therapy

ISBT Directors Lisa Black and Col Murray developed ISBT-Bowen Therapy based on the principles and practices of their understanding of the work of Australian bodywork genius Tom Bowen (1916-82).

Tom Bowen

Tom Bowen was a self trained osteopath with the unique ability to develop a form of bodywork that stood him apart from his contemporaries. His special talents, based on palpation and observation skills, and his exposure to other unique healers of the time (1950s - ’60s), allowed him to develop a technique that is outstandingly simple in form, yet incredibly effective.

His fame as a healer drew people from around Australia to his clinic in Geelong, Victoria. An official Australian Government inquiry into natural therapies in 1973 identified Tom Bowen as treating up to 100 people per day!

Many practitioners sought to train with him but most were turned away. The majority of those he allowed to observe him work were asked to leave after a brief time but there was a small group who observed him work for lengthy periods.

As Tom Bowen did not teach in the formal sense, these people had to gain their own understanding of what he was doing. In this way they developed their own interpretations of his work based on their experience and background.


 It is a dynamic fascial and muscle release modality, with single, gentle cross-fibre moves being applied to specific muscles, tendons and ligaments to improve flow of blood, lymph and energy. These moves are usually applied in precise Sequences. When required, these Sequences often create self-correcting structural changes to promote overall body balance.

It is a minimalist approach to bodywork, doing away with the need for repetitive and often invasive action. It is especially useful with its ability to be effectively applied when many other therapies cannot, such as with extreme trauma, frail, elderly people and very young babies.

The philosophy behind ISBT’s modality is based on the osteopathic principle that the structure of the body governs its function. Correcting the structure to improve overall well-being is often the aim.

The visceral impact of correcting basic structural imbalance can, in itself, often be profound. Add to this, specific ISBT Sequences aimed at visceral dysfunction and a truly holistic approach to many health problems results.


An ISBT-Bowen Therapy Treatment

During a treatment the practitioner applies gentle ‘rolling’ moves on very specific points on the muscles, tendons and ligaments. These moves are often applied in special Sequences. These initiate relaxation of the muscles, flexibility of the fascia and increased circulation of essential fluids and serve to bring about the often profound results positively affecting many conditions in the whole body.

At specific times during the treatment, the practitioner may allow the body to rest; they may even leave the room. This can be an important part of the treatment, when the body is given time to react. It also is a time to relax – the recipient may wish to ‘tune-in’ to how the body may be responding to the work.

What ISBT-Bowen Therapy Treats

ISBT-Bowen Therapy is applied to treat a broad range of physical ailments including muscular, structural and visceral (internal) complaints. It is especially useful because it can be effectively applied when many other therapies cannot, such as in cases of extreme trauma.

A wide variety of complaints usually respond extremely well to ISBT-Bowen Therapy, including:

  •     Low, middle or upper back pain or stiffness
  •     Neck pain or stiffness, including wry neck and whiplash problems
  •     Shoulder or arm problems, including Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (pain, numbness or tingling in hands or fingers)
  •     Headaches, migraines, dizziness
  •     Sinusitis, eye, ear or nose and throat problems
  •     Sciatica, pain in the groin, hip or buttock
  •     Thigh, hamstring or knee problems
  •     Lower leg, ankle, foot and toe complaints
  •     Lymph and circulatory problems


ISBT-Bowen Therapy often alleviates asthma and other respiratory problems, plus colic in babies. Also its impact on other visceral (organ) problems can be profound e.g. kidney, bladder, stomach and lung problems.

There are many other benefits of ISBT-Bowen Therapy, particularly for pregnant women and people with degenerative complaints such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Fibromyalgia


Training in ISBT-Bowen Therapy

An opportunity to:

• develop a new career

• change the direction of your existing career, or

• greatly enhance your bodywork skills.

ISBT-Bowen Therapy is a stand alone treatment system or it can be very successfully incorporated with many other modalities.

• The design of ISBT’s Foundation Course makes it entirely suitable for both experienced practitioners and people without prior knowledge of bodywork.


About ISBT

The International School of Bowen Therapy (ISBT) conducts internationally acclaimed courses in ISBT-Bowen Therapy as approved by the independent, therapist-led, Bowen Therapists Federation of Australia (BTFA).

ISBT was founded in 1998 with the intention of presenting no-nonsense quality courses that were geared towards providing students with the best possible avenue of learning and developing effective skills.

Foundation and Advanced Courses are presented by ISBT.

The basic principles on which ISBT was formed include:

• High integrity intention to honour Tom Bowen’s work - this has been achieved by researching the history of Tom Bowen’s work by having extensive contact with those on whom he had the greatest impact

• A major emphasis on personal tuition by providing a high teacher to student ratio - strict low limits on numbers of students per tutor

• High comfort factor learning conditions - by providing precise anatomically described and illustrated workbooks, limiting module length to a maximum of two days and including on-going revision components before new work is undertaken.

Recognising from the outset that students’ ability to absorb the work deteriorates over lengthy periods, ISBT, set the international standard of teaching in modules of no more than two days. Dedication to preparing courses for ease of learning, while providing high skill levels, has resulted in better quality training. Many unique advanced features have been built-in to the Foundation Course which places students a step ahead.


The ISBT Foundation Course

The Foundation Course consists of five modules of two days each. This system does away with the information and physical work overload of longer modules.

Most of the work is taught in Sequence Form, with each move a progression of the previous move and each Sequence a progression from the one before. This helps develop a clear understanding of treatment strategies. Full explanation of the work concepts adds to the students’ understanding of this remarkable therapy.

Each two day module includes extensive personalised revision components to enable students to have the best opportunity to grasp the work before further training.

All work is anatomically described in the extensive course manual and surface location points are also explained in layman’s terms.

Course Content

Module One

Sequences include:

• Lower Back

 • Middle Back

 • Upper Back

• Neck

• Sacrum

 • Hamstrings

• Shoulders

It also covers:

• After Treatment Care Strategy

• Patient History Card

• Pre-activity Warm-up Strategy

• Shoulder Rehabilitation Activities

Module Two

Sequences include:

• Arms

 • Carpal Tunnel

• Coccyx • Pelvis

• Knees

 • Thighs

• Ankles

 • Toes

• Feet

Also covered in Module 2 are:

• Treatment Aids for Bruising and Swelling

• Rehabilitation Strapping for Ankle and Foot Problems

• Patient Communication Strategies

Module Three

Sequences include:

• Headache

• Asthma/Abdominal

• Kidney/Spleen

 • Anterior Neck Release/Lymph

• Breast Lymph

 • TMJ/Jaw

• Plus - Additional work for Problematic Leg, Chest, Upper Back and Neck Complaints

• Full-body Lymph Drainage Strategy

• Sequence Combinations

• Patient Treatment Strategies

Module Four

Tom Bowen was renowned for his exceptional palpation and visual diagnostic skills. Module Four seeks to further develop these skills with students to enable them to gain greater understanding of patient conditions so they may increase their treatment effectiveness.

This module includes a written assessment and case study discussion.

Additional Sequences include:

• Forearm/Hand

 • Rhomboid/Shoulder

• Shin

• Bladder

 • Lower Leg/Ankle

• Dorsal Foot

Module Five

Module Five completes the Foundation Course training. This module has a strong tutorial aspect, including continued group ‘workshopping’ of case studies with fellow students in addition to a one-to-one case study session with instructors. Extensive full-course revision is also undertaken on the first day prior to the Competency Level Practical Assessment on day two.



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