Bowen Technique: Can It Provide Relief for PMR?

Polymyalgia rheumatica sufferers can find relief from Bowen technique. Musculoskeletal pains can be relieved by this massage therapy.

Bowen Method for PMRThe Bowen massage technique or method is a remedial technique applied at precise points of the body by a Bowen therapist. The holistic and distinct method involves the movement of soft tissues in a specific way. The tissues are usually the soft connective tissues or facia of the body. Facia envelops each organ and tissue in the body.

What Is the Bowen Method?

Bowen is an alternative physical manipulation used to relieve musculoskeletal disorder and related neurological problems. The therapy has been known to treat acute sports injuries as well as chronic conditions. It aims to treat the causes rather than the symptoms. Bowen technique is considered safe to use even for the elderlies and babies.


The Bowen Technique was named after its practitioner, Australian Thomas Ambrose Bowen who died in 1982. Tom Bowen was an unlicensed manual therapist who had no formal medical training. He considered his healing powers as a Gift of God. He was a self-proclaimed osteopath. He even tried to be a member of the Australian Register of Osteopaths but was not recognized. Bowen’s exploits were not documented but his disciples or observers continued and popularized his work after his death. Bowen treated an estimated 13,000 people each year. The success rate of his practice on a wide range of conditions was 80 percent.

Massage treatment performed by a Bowen therapist involves slight moves at different pressures applied to a specific part of the body. The light, cross fiber maneuvers or gentle rolling motion is exerted in a non-forceful manner on the muscles, ligaments or tendons.

Bowen method may last between 30 to 60 minutes. A light clothing is used during a physical manipulation. This is to ensure that thick garments or heavy clothing will not obstruct the gentle massage. There are sequences of moves which are not continuous. The therapist pauses for a moment between maneuvers to allow for the necessary results or changes in the body of the subject. A significant change in patient condition may happen after 3 sessions. However, relief may come even after a single session.

Using Bowen Technique for PMR Relief

Bowen technique has been applied to patients suffering from Polymyalgia Rheumatica.

PMR is an autoimmune disease and an inflammatory disorder which causes pain and stiffness in the muscles of the neck, shoulder, hips, buttocks, and thighs. The other common symptoms of polymyalgia are fatigue, malaise, depression, limited range of motion, low-grade fever, loss of appetite and anemia.

The most popular treatment for PMR is the use of corticosteroids such as Prednisone. However, steroid treatment has many serious side effects such as osteoporosis, cataracts, diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This is why PMR patients seek other ways to cure polymyalgia or relieve PMR aches.

Bowen massage therapy can eliminate severe lower back pain experienced by PMR patients. The gentle massage will not only serve as a pain relief but also results in a relaxing feeling not provided by steroid treatment.  People who had Bowen therapy said that this method gave back a better quality of life not entirely provided by medicines. In fact, Bowen technique has also restored energy in most patients. However, no proven medical study on the effectivity of this method on PMR has been established. But for people with polymyalgia, any level of relief — no matter how small — is still very much welcome!

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