During my curiosity driven research about Mr Bowen’s life, I came across many facts and stories and it seems difficult to tell apart the myths from reality. However it is undeniable that Tom Bowen was an extraordinary man, with a true healing gift!
Thomas Ambrose Bowen, was born on April 16, 1916, and was the third child and only son of William and Norah Bowen, who had emigrated to Brunswick, Victoria, Australia from Wolverhampton, England.
According to his younger and only remaining sister, Agnes, Tom wanted to become a doctor. Bowen's teen years were set in the midst of the great depression of the 1930's and his father, William Bowen, chose to pay off business debts rather than fund Tom's medical education. Tom left school after the eighth grade (probably at age 14) and entered the labour force, first as a milk carter, then as a general hand at the woollen mills. For a while he worked as a carpenter, his father's trade.
Bowen was very athletic; according to his long-time secretary and business manager Rene Horwood, the only sport he didn't engage in was wrestling. He loved swimming, umpiring cricket on Saturday afternoons, and playing lawn bowls. Tom also ran a boys' club with the Salvation Army, which involved a lot of athletics.
Tom was married at the age of 25 to Jessie McLean at the Salvation Army, Ringwood in 12 September 1941. They first lived with Tom's parents who had moved to Geelong, Victoria (large provincial town). Tom and Jessie had three children, Pam, Barry and Heather. In Geelong, Tom worked on the wharves and then at the Geelong Cement Works as a general hand. There is some strong likelihood that Tom's interest in sports, coaching young players and helping with their injuries, was pivotal in his development of manual techniques.
He was very interested in the nervous system, claiming to be able to feel nerve vibrations. At one point early in his career, Tom had volunteered for a year or so at a hospital clinic, massaging polio patients. Perhaps this was part of the proving ground to developing his techniques. By observing and working with people whose nervous systems were systematically failing, he could get a better sense of how they were meant to function in the first place. Once Mr. Bowen went into serious practice, his reputation grew quickly.
Since he never wrote anything about his work, we are left with what Oswald Rentsch observed during his apprenticeship at Bowen's clinic and several theories, based largely on observation, physiological reactions and mechanisms and systems affected. A tremendous amount of work has gone into this process, a tireless quest for understanding and perfecting this wonderful technique!
His life story is truly gripping! Charity and kindness was at the core of his existence and he was constantly driven to learn and perfect new ways to help those in need, from the drunken and poor to the very rich and famous; from the little pain to the desperate cases.
Please learn about how he treated his wife’s asthma, about the heartache about him being rejected by the Australian Academy of Osteopaths and how in spite this, he thrived and had an 88% success rate with over 280 patients a week!!!
Find out about how when his health deteriorated and how even when hospitalized and in a wheelchair, he remained committed to help all those around him!
Read about Tom Bowen’s incredible life story HERE. It is a fascinating read and the author, Bruce Thomson, did a lot of diligent research to put it all together!
Bowtech moves are as close as they get to the original moves as they were taught first hand by Tom Bowen to six chosen apprentices.
Out of these 6 boys, Oswald (Ossie) Rentsch together with his wife, Elaine, began utilizing Mr. Bowen's methods in their clinic in Hamilton, Victoria in 1976.
Honoring Mr. Bowen's request to teach the work after his death, Ossie and Elaine named it The Bowen Technique and held their first seminar In Perth, Australia in 1986. By1990, Ossie and Elaine were teaching full time throughout Australia. Dedicated to preserving the technique and ensuring it was taught in its original form, they founded the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia in 1987, eventually naming the technique Bowtech-The Bowen Technique. Since then, Ossie and Elaine have introduced Bowtech to many countries, honoring the promise Ossie made to Mr. Bowen on his deathbed, to spread his work throughout the world.
In the world today there are variations of the original technique, yet the principals remain the same. Bowen goes by the popular names of Bowen Technology, Bowtech, The Bowen Technique, Bowenwork®, Fascial Therapy, Smart Bowen, Fascial Bowen and Fascial Kinetics.
Reminiscent of the technique itself are the newer modalities like Neurostructural Integration Technique (NHT) and Vibromuscular Harmonization Technique™ (VHT).
Read more about Tom Bowen and his legacy.