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Bowen Therapy Research Studies

Asthma Research Study
Nikke Ariff is a Bowen therapist who, between 2002 and 2004 carried out a research program to test the efficacy of the Bowen Technique with Asthma sufferers. The research was carried out over a twelve month period. The majority of participants had been suffering from Asthma over 5 years, most for over 15 years.   The results were very positive.  Eighty-three percent of the participants reported a reduction in the frequency of their asthma attacks and 75% of the participants reported using less medication than before the Bowen Research project. Of the 24 Volunteers who completed the program, 22 reported that secondary health concerns had also improved, including back, neck and shoulder problems; knee and joint problems; headaches and migraines; hay fever; irritable bowel syndrome and digestion; circulation; insomnia; anxiety, stress, depression and energy level improvement.  

Joanne Figov, RN and Bowen Therapist, conducted a pilot study on a small section of patients diagnosed with a form of Dystonia called Blepharospasm, a neurological condition characterized by involuntary muscular eyelid spasms causing forceful contraction of the eyes.  The results thus far have been very encouraging
.  Out of eight patients, one recovered completely after four treatments and all the rest experienced relief for a couple of days following each treatment.

Blood Chemistry                                                                                                                                    
Jo Anne Whitaker, M.D
, using darkfield, phase and fluorescent microscopic live cell analysis, has shown blood chemistry changes following treatment. These changes corroborate the reports by certain patients, of experiencing transient flu-like symptoms, due to detox reactions lasting up to 5 days following a session.

An Examination of the Bowen Bunion Treatment (1999)
By Lambeth, B
4 clients with bilateral bunions were treated with Epsom Salts/Iodex. No Bowen moves made. Bunions measured at 1,2 and 3 month intervals. Bunion size reduced for all clients from 5mm to 15mm.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome  by Sheedy, G., (2000)
6 clients with carpal tunnel syndrome (3 had had surgery but still had symptoms) were given 3-4 treatments. 1 client withdrew 5 remaining clients improved or resolved.

Cerebral Palsy                                                                                                                        
Ongoing research by Howard Plummer in Wales has produced encouraging results.  Initial outcomes include increased vocalization, calmer behavior, improved concentration and comprehension and improved head control and improved balance.

Effects of the Bowen Technique on the Autonomous Nervous System and Heart Rate Variability                                  
By measuring changes in the value and pattern in heart rate variability before and after a Bowen treatment, this study by Jo Anne Whitaker, M.D., demonstrated that the Bowen Technique affects theautonomic nervous system (ANS). By using Heart Rate Variability to study the autonomic nervous system, early findings demonstrated that Bowen treatments balanced the ANS.  The control group consisted of subjects with all types of rheumatological conditions.  

Exercise and Sports Science                                                                                                            
A study at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill compared practitioner and patient responses on the efficacy of the Bowen Technique in treating pain. 

Practitioners rated its effectiveness as
85% for back pain
for neck pain
for stress and tension
80% for fibromyalgia

Patients rated the Bowen Technique:
85% for back pain
for stress and tension
for TMJ
for hip pain
75% for other conditions                                                                                                                                       
A pilot study on the effect of Bowen treatments on fibromyalgia sufferers was carried out by Tim Willcocks (Bowen Practitioner and Trainer).  Four participants (aged 39-52) who were diagnosed with fibromyalgia from 3 to 5 years, were given four Bowen treatments over a five week period. All four participants experienced improvement,  including better sleep, ease in walking, cessation of vertigo, eased neck pain, improved balance and less exhaustion.

In a study of twenty patients diagnosed with fibromyalgia conducted by Jo Anne Whitaker, M.D., at the American College of Rheumatology, almost all participants experienced various degrees of relief which lasted from a few days to several weeks. Most reported immediate relief following a Bowen treatment.  For some, repeated Bowen therapy maintained complete clinical remission. The results were statistically significant and correlated with improvement of clinical well-being.  

Frozen Shoulder                                                                                                                              
Recently published study from England on Frozen shoulders by Dr. Bernie Carter and  Rick Minnery & Bran Clarke as the Bowen Therapists at the Metropolitan University of Manchester ( UK). This study involved 20 participants diagnosed with frozen shoulder and treated by the Bowen Technique. Participants claimed a high level of satisfaction with the therapy, a commitment to using Bowen in the future in case of relapse or for another condition and the intention to recommend the therapy to friends and family. 70% of participants regained full mobility (equal to the non affected side) by the end of the treatment .The other participants showed significant improvement in shoulder mobility and associated function. Some still reported some mild ache but none reported any invasive and intense pain they experienced before receiving Bowen. Even if the outcome of this small study doesn't show 100% success, it showed that Bowen was a very effective treatment even with people who had a long standing condition with only 3 to 6 visits. This is a good outcome as other studies done on long standing frozen shoulders showed poorer results. From these 20 participants, 6 received 5 treatments, 6 received 4 and 8 received 3 treatments before being discharged from the study.

Frozen Shoulder                                                                                                                            
Julian Baker and Helen Kinnear of the European College of Bowen Studies (UK) investigated the effect of the Bowen Technique on patients with long-term shoulder pain and stiffness.   Results indicated that Bowen significantly improved shoulder function through increasing range of motion and reducing pain.

Frozen Shoulder / Psychiatric Disorders / Job-related Stress                        
Early evidence suggests possible benefits in the treatment of frozen shoulder, psychiatric disorders and job-related stress.  

Lymphatic Drainage                                                                                                                      
Eilish Lund, is a lymphoedema nurse who practices in North Wales.  She decided to try Bowen out on as many patients as she could, starting with those with primary Lymphoedema and lymphovenous oedema.  She found that most patients felt better, moved more freely and after an initial feeling of great tiredness, began to feel better.   

Maternity Research                                                                                                                         
Midwife and Bowen Therapist Rick Minnery has begun a long-term study on the effectiveness of the Bowen Technique with maternity patients including using Bowen

  • The Bowen Technique as an aid to relaxation and reduction of the experience of pain in labor and the reduction of time of labor   
  • Pre-natal morning sickness, heartburn, breast discomfort, symphyseal pain, lower back pain during pregnancy    
  • Post-natal problems such as perineal trauma and particularly breast problems (engorgement, lactation, milk or venous engorgement, mastitis, poor or excessive milk production).                                                                  

Migraine Research Study                                                                                                 
London-based Bowen Technique practitioner Nikke Ariff completed the Bowen Technique Migraine Research Program which studied the efficacy of the Bowen Technique in treating migraine headaches.  The 39 migraine volunteers consisted of 37 women and 2 men.  Thirteen of them had been suffering from migraines for 1-15 years; seventeen of them had been having migraines for 16-30 years; and nine had had migraines for over 30 years. In all, 31 participants experienced a positive result, representing 79.5% of participants.  At the end of the program, 36 of the 39 said they would recommend Bowen as a treatment to a friend or colleague.  

Psychological effects                                                                                                                          
Ashley Pritchard, at the Swinburn University department of Psychophysiology, Melbourne, showed that the Bowen Technique consistently reduced subject’s level of anxiety, and enhanced individuals positive feelings by reducing tension, anger, depression, fatigue and confusion. Objective measures of decrease in Heart Rate Variability and muscle tension correlate with subjective feelings of relaxation.

Restless Leg Syndrome
5 subjects, 2 groups, 1 group received Bowen Therapy 1 control group. Subjects kept a daily diary relating to frequency, severity and duration of symptoms. The treatment group showed reduction in symptoms while there was no change in the control group.

A research project on TMJ abnormality was conducted by Dr. John Bauman, DDS
Assessment of masseter tension by Bio Feedback, measurement of bite and subjective symptoms were compared before and after treatment. Immediately after the first treatment one third of patients felt dramatic relief in some of their symptoms and 20 out of the 22 patients showed significant improvement on the post Bio Feedback assessment.

Ongoing Bowen Research

  •   effects on Chronic Pain

  • effects on Fibromyalgia  
  • effects on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome  
  • effects on Tic Douloureux and TMJ Disorder
  • effects on cardiac dysrythmias and brain wave activity
  • effects on various adrenocorticotropic hormones and neurotransmitters.





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