Sofia Bowen Center

- Some scientific explanations

This methodology influences the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). ANS controls more than 80% of the functions of our body and most of the health problems are due to imbalances in its functionality. ANS operates in two “modes” - sympathetic and parasympathetic, which must stay in balance. We operate in sympathetic state when we are excited, intense, alert, focused, stressed, under pressure, in a hurry, nervous, irritated or even just while performing our daily activities like driving, walking, shopping, cooking, reading etc... The modern lifestyle keeps us “locked” in constant sympathetic domination.
During parasympathetic mode the body is relaxing, calm and in total piece. In this time all the healing processes are active, the cells get fed, repaired, detoxified, energy is generated, stress is released, and muscles are calm. This is the time that body recovers.
When sympathetic and parasympathetic modes are not in balance the stress accumulates, the body is unable to cope with all the tasks and toxins from the day, certain work is not finished or completed and when this continues years the accumulated problems cause impaired functionality, which then influences all the systems of the body.
The Bowen Technique is able to activate the parasympathetic state and to put the body in a state of calmness, relaxation, piece and serenity. During the procedure many people enter in deep relaxing or even fall asleep.
Studies show that applying the Bowen Technique gives a positive impact on the heartbeat which is a significant indicator for the state of ANS. The phase of deep relaxation is attained and nutrients and fluids are absorbed in the cells, assimilated and delivered to the tissues easily, metabolic waste products are removed and the cells have the ability to recover and regenerate.


There are several mechanisms through which Bowen work is explained. The basic one is Proprioception.
The Bowen move stimulates the proprioceptors (sensory fibers at the end of the peripheral nervous system). Proprioceptors provide the perception of the position and movement of the body in space, they are located in the connective tissues, muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia.

When the body is injured some receptors transmit a signal at the speed of 70 to 120 m / sec. to the thalamus in the brain. This information is processed by the cerebral cortex and through other neuronal fibers is sent back to the injured place in order to start the healing process by contraction of the muscles and induction of inflammation in the area. If pain persists for a long period, the fascia remains bent to protect the painful part of the body, causing dysfunction or limitation of movement of the surrounding tissue. Even when the tissues are healed, we can continue feeling a certain dysfunction, often because the fascia limits of movement or elasticity of the tissues, remaining at the same tensioned state.

Many of Bowen moves are performed on the initial or final ends of the muscle (where it attaches to the bone) or on the muscle’s belly, where are the spindle cells and Golgi bodies situated. The release of the movement creates a vibration wave transmitting through nerve pathways to the spinal cord, thus stimulating the spinal reflexes and brain. As a result, the effect of Bowen move is spread not only in the area where it is performed, but also to the corresponding dermatome and reflex zone. This explains how just few soft movements may create multiple answers simultaneously in different parts of the body. Some Bowen moves are performed in combination with movement in the joints, which creates additional proprioceptive signals by compression of Rufino bodies (mechanoreceptors), they in return pass the changes in pressure and position of the joint to the brain.


Almost every Bowen move is made​on the level of the superficial fascia. Fascia plays an important role in maintaining the structural integrity and the shape of the body. This is a fibrous connective tissue that surrounds and supports muscles, blood vessels, nerves, tissues and the organs of the body. It separates the different muscle groups and fibers down to microscopic level, allowing optimal health and movement of fluid into the tissues. This is the most common structure in our body. Each structure in the body is surrounded by fascia - every muscle, every nerve, every vein, every internal organ ... Fascia is extremely rich of neuroreceptors: their number in the fascia is greater than the their number in the skin. The limitations in facial mobility reflects extremely negative on the body posture and on the general health.


When pressure is put on a certain tissue of the body, the electric charge and the fluid levels at that point change. This is why the gentle stretching and pressure of the Bowen moves create piezoelectric potential in the fascia and in its liquids, and this leads to improvement of its mobility and increases the microcirculation in the affected tissues. Most therapeutic techniques exert the pressure in dept towards the inside structures of the body, in this case the movement is restricted by the located under organs and structures, the collagen cannot stretch too much. The Bowen move creates stronger effect because the movement is performed across the collagen fibers and extention is bigger without causing any pain. The collagen has properties which closely resemble the piezoelectric flow. The Bowen move creates stronger stress on the collagen by moving the muscle (tendon or ligament) across stimulating to the maximum the piezoelectric flow. This way a direct and a reverse piezoelectric flow are obtained. The direct piezoelectric flow occurs at the area of application - it transfers to the collagen in the rest of the body in the form of a wave extending away from the place of the Bowen move – this is reverse piezoelectric flow. The compression wave separated the fascia layers one from another, allowing more space and easy movement in the area.

Piezoelectric flow is carried out by the extracellular matrix (a gel-like substance that holds the body fluids and operates as an intermediary, through which nutrients and other substances pass between the capillary network and cells). In cases of trauma, the ECM loses water. As a result the metabolic waste products and the toxins may remain longer in it, in addition the muscles located in this zone contract around the traumatized area. Muscular contractions squeeze the water out of the extracellular matrix and this leads to even higher dehydration. Matrix becomes denser and less flexible, limiting mobility in the area and creating additional tension in the body. It takes a stronger piezoelectric flow, as the one created by the Bowen move, to soften the hardened extracellular matrix.
Since Bowen Technique brings body relaxation, the muscles also relax. Muscle relaxation allows free water absorption of the extracellular matrix, so that it is rehydrated and returns to its original gel-like form. This allows faster evacuation of metabolic waste products and toxins from the affected area and this cures the body.

Soliton waves

The release state of the Bowen move is just as important as the movement itself. The release is a rapid displacement of the tissues, which creates a kind of wave, called Soliton. Soliton wave is different from other types of waves, as they lose energy: if you throw a stone into the lake, you will see concentric circles that spread from the area it hit the water surface. The more waves go away, the smaller they become and then disappear. The water creates waves using the power of the stone. When this energy is depleted waves disappear.
Soliton waves, however, manage to keep the energy without loosing it and to pass long distances in the same power. The most famous example of a Soliton wave in nature is the tsunami wave, which occurs as a result of earthquakes, volcanoes or slip of earth layers.
When the Bowen practitioner performs a move, his/hers fingers transfer on the muscle, and then allow it to return to its original location. At this point the Soliton wave creates. The intracellular liquid, gathered in the area, does not have time to deplete out of the way of the tissue and as a result the energy of the move is transferred to the water. It works as a mediator between the parts of the body and the energy is transferred from without any loss! This is how tsunami waves travel very long distances without losing much of the energy potential. (PMEL Tsunami Research).

Soliton waves move easily in the human body because it consist mostly by water. Even the bones contain water.
Soliton waves have some interesting features: they are magnetic, they "can travel huge distances without losing energy" , "two Soliton waves can collide, but they will come from the collision unchanged in shape and speed" (Oschman, J., 2003).

This is one of the explanations why the pauses in Bowen therapy are so essential and important: the break gives time for the waves to spread before new moves are added.

It is known that every cell in our body vibrates at a certain frequency. When cell pathology occurs, its frequency is changed. It is discovered that Soliton waves released in the body create vibrations (resonance) that clear the bad resonance accumulated over time by toxins, diseases, injuries and emotions. This how the body restore on its own the normal frequency resonance of the cells.

Acupuncture points and meridians

Some of the Bowen moves are performed in one or more acupuncture points and can affect one, two or even three acupuncture meridians. This certainly contributes to the positive results. The effectiveness of the Bowen methodology can not be referred to the acupunctural concept - a huge part of the Bowen moves have nothing in common with the acupuncture points.
Bowen Technique uses gentle movements on muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones. Movements are performed across the collagen fibers of the treated structures by changing the shape of the connective tissue. Putting pressure affects neuroreceptors in the tissue, which then send afferent signals to the spinal cord and brain. The cortex then, recognizing these signals, initiates the healing process. By the efferent nerve fibers a message to stop inflammation in the area and to relax the muscle fibers and connective tissue is transmitted.

Bowen Technique affects well:
- Musculoskeletal and joint problems, frozen shoulder injuries Surge problems with hips and knees, ankle sprain, back pain, sciatica, spinal deformities, sports injuries;
- Problems with internal organs (lungs, kidneys, liver, gall bladder, stomach, intestines), gastrointestinal disorders;
- Emotional and hormonal imbalance, autonomic disorders, depression, syndrome of acute or chronic fatigue;
- Bronchial and asthmatic symptoms;
- Autoimmune diseases and allergies;
- Migraines and other headaches;
- Bedwetting; menstrual problems;
- Neurological problems;
- Pregnancy - helps overcome ailments such as sweating palms, shortness of breath, hot flushes.

This gentle and holistic health care is good not only on the physical level. Weekly treatments help to improve the psycho-emotional state of a person and to deal with stress.

* Translation based on a material of G. Iltchev

* Litterature:

1. Amato, D. (2001). Accelerated healing response. ADVANCE Magazine for Physical Therapists, 12 (21), 35-37. Oct. 22, 2001
2. Becker, Robert O; Marino, Andrew A (1982). "Chapter 4: Electrical Properties of Biological Tissue (Piezoelectricity)". Electromagnetism & Life. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press
3. E.R. Kendel, JHSchwartz and TMJessell, Principles of Neural Science, 4th ed. (New York: McGraw - Hill, 2000), 385
4. E.R. Kendel, JHSchwartz and TMJessell, Principles of Neural Science, 4th ed. (New York: McGraw - Hill, 2000), 473
5. Jones L., Kusunose R., "Strain and Counterstrain" 1993, 323-325
6. Myers Thomas, Anatomy Trains (PA; Churchill-Livingstone / Elsevier Limited, 2004), 33
7. Oschman, J. L. and N. H. Oschman (2008). "Readings on the Scientific Basis of Bodywork, Energetic, and Movement Therapies." Nature's Own Research and Somatics
8. Oschman, J. L. and W. L. Rand (2003). "Science and The Human Energy Field." Reiki NewsMagazine and Vision Publications Vol. One (Issue Three, Winter)
9. Shamos MH, C. Ellenby and L. Smith, Observations on the piezoelectric properties of nematode cuticle, Department of Zoology, The University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK 1967.
10. Whitaker, JA: The Bowen Technique: a gentle hands-on healing method that affects the autonomic nervous system as measured by heart rate variability and clinical assessment. Paper presented at the American Academy of Environmental Medicine at La Jolla, CA, December 1997
11. Wilks John, The Bowen Technique - The Inside Story, 2007