My Faves

Click the bookmark icon to save all the stuff you love.

Be The First To Know

Your inside line on the new, unique and unmissable across Bucks & Oxon

Sign up to our newsletter

Reader Treats Just For You!

The Bowen Technique


Until I had those pesky children, my back was a thing of wonderment. No problems with it at all. Bendy, stretchy, able to withstand a sprint triathlon of two (well I’m not doing a full one, are you mad?). Then the midgets came along, but only after two caesareans, three epidurals and a pair of surgical salad dressers thrown, Jamie Oliver style, into the mix. Ever since, my back has been a recipe for disaster – see what I did there?! – and it ‘goes’ on me every few months.

Which is a very long winded way of explaining why I’m always trying out back-related treatments. Here’s another. The Bowen Technique. Heard of it? I hadn’t either but it was popularised by an Australian Tom Bowen in the 50s, medically untrained but somehow able to help cure all kinds of complaints, from frozen shoulders to migraines and beyond.

I went to see Peter Crabb who runs Bowen in Motion clinics in Bicester, Aylebury and Arncott. A very genial bloke, he worked in payroll for the NHS for years before sticking on his Freddie moustache, grabbing a pair of fake breasts and a hoover and belting out I Want To Break Free. in the ward corridors (or, um, possibly something similar). Here he is, possibly the most enthusiastic exponent of The Bowen Technique you’re ever likely to meet, if you don’t include his wife who is now a convert too and training for the canine version of the technique. Yes, there is one apparently.


 peter crabb

The idea behind Bowen therapy is that it involves moving the soft tissue under the skin, the fascias, in a particular way, stimulating nerve pathways and tissue as it does so. The movement uses the slack of the skin (sorry, a terrible phrase, but you know what I mean!) to move the tissue underneath, transmitting info and lubricating the muscle fibres. It’s done with clothes on, and feels so light and gentle that you kind of wonder if anything’s actually happening. Having worked out that my problem was my lower, middle and upper back, with a neck bonus, Peter performed what felt like little flicky light moves on my back, and then would leave the room. Apparently he wasn’t having a fag and reading the latest issue of Chat,  this is part of the technique as the touch has alerted the brain and by stopping, the brain has to work out what’s going on, thus stimulateing the nerves and fixing the issue.

I did feel a deep relaxation, and certainly my back hasn’t gone into its usual summer spasm which has been a welcome surprise. It’s hard to grasp just how much the treatment did or didn’t do for me as my back wasn’t chronic when I went. I’m usually happy with osteopathy as my go-to therapy, so I’d say it’s probably one I’d say to keep an open mind about, and if you’re open to complementary therapies put it on your list to try.

Clearly it’s a technique that has had some successes – GB triathlete Victoria Gill is a fan, telling The Huffington Post in 2014 that it improved her range of movement, breathing and tri performance. The Bowen Technique claims success frozen shoulders, back and joint problems, allergies, migraines, stress and RSI so if you give it a go, as ever,  let me know how you get on – spread the knowledge, spread the power!

Each session costs £30 and lasts between 45-60 minutes.

Find more ideas here

Health & Fitness

9 comments on “The Bowen Technique”

  • Annette Stevenson September 4, 2016

    Bowen is just the best ! I have been having this treatment for many years , as do my dogs ..its gentle , non invasive , powerful too . I have the best deepest sleep ever the next day .. It’s a journey , not usually a quick fix , but for my 13 year old Labrador who collapsed like bambi , the vets said he should be put to sleep , Bowen gave him two more active , pain free years . I absolutely love it , alongside homeopathy . Both keep me well and on track .

  • David Fowler September 7, 2016

    I had been suffering with sciatica and left leg pain constantly since Oct 15, after several months of pain relief and anti inflammatory pills, II decided to try the Bowen Technique. The treatment was non invasive, Peter performed a couple of twists or brushing movements on certain areas of my leg, one included what felt like a tickle on my foot… then a door knock on the sole of my foot. I had 3 treatments each a week apart and the improvement on my leg and buttock pain was noticeable. Peter also discovered that I had a twisted pelvis after he had noticed something in my walk that wasn’t right. He corrected that and also worked predominantly in getting me walking straight again, which in itself helped reduce my pain and discomfort. Where I was experiencing a 10/10 pain, it has reduced to a much more manageable 3-4/10 now.

  • Amanda Brooks September 7, 2016

    I visited Peter for a neck pain that I had had for five months, which was preventing me sleep through the night. After two sessions of Bowen my neck has been pain free and I can sleep through the night without discomfort. Can’t recommend him enough!

  • Chris Charman September 7, 2016

    Peter was recommended to me by one of my customers who uses him, and
    after seeing me struggle with my walking and back pain.

    I explained to her I was involved in a motorcycle accident and compensating for the fact my left leg was very painful to stand on for any length of time, and where I was weight bearing with my right leg was causing my lower back sciatica .

    I was also getting shooting pains up my neck to my head and shoulders and pins and needles down my right arm.

    I didn’t take any notice of my customer for few weeks as I had been putting up with this sort of pain for over 10 years, but my sleep and work were starting to be affected as I do decorating and plastering and various handyman jobs.

    I finally went and saw Peter who after asking me a few questions realised he could help me, I must say I was a little unsure what he could do for me, but after the first sestion i felt an instant relief in my pain and symptoms , I went for a further 2
    Sestions with Peter, and after being a silly man I rang Peter in an emergency to help relieve my back , which of course he did.

    This technique is not a cure but it really does alleviate the pain and tension associated with injures Stress and repetitive strains.

    I can honestly say since seeing Peter I have not felt so good , but with the work I do and my life style I will be seeing him again for a tune up in a month.

    Peter is a great guy and I would recommend him and the Bowen in motion facial release technique to friends and family.

  • Jenna Tomlins September 7, 2016

    I went to see Peter after suffering from a torn tendon in my shoulder and tennis elbow (same arm)! I had seen the Dr and they just kept giving my anti inflammatory and pain killer pills but nothing to actually solve it! My work (self employed) my sleep and my life was being massively effected by my shoulder and my other shoulder was getting sore from over compensating! I saw Peter every week to start off with and my sleeping massively improved especially as he also noticed my jaw wasn’t in line so he fixed that too ? I now see Peter about once every 6 weeks and my tennis elbow has completely disappeared and no more pain from my shoulder! When I ‘ve had a busy week of lifting or putting pressure on my shoulder I go and see him and lose no sleep! I would recommend Bowen for anyone and Peter as he takes his time no rushing and gets to the bottom of problems!

  • Lyndie September 7, 2016

    I had my T5&6 vertebra fused 16 years ago and recently a protrusion of the L4&5 disc which is pressing on surrounding nerves. A friend recommended I see Peter. I was delighted with the result. The technic he uses is incredibly gentle but amazingly effective. Whenever I see him I arrive in discomfort and leave pain free I would highly recommend Peter.

  • Paul Chapman September 8, 2016

    I had a frozen shoulder and had been having various treatments to no avail. I’d had Bowen technique before for a previous injury with amazing results so I jumped at the chance to go to see Peter and see if he could help. We had a great time chatting which made each visit very pleasant. He worked on my shoulder for a number of weeks and I am now pain free with full freedom of movement in my shoulder. I would definitely visit Peter again if the need arises and highly recommend Peter and especially the Bowen technique.

  • Helen Foley September 9, 2016

    Bowen motion is a very powerful and yet invasive therapy I’ve ever experienced.
    I’ve had many a treatment by various chiropractors and such but don’t always feel I’m completely better. However Bowen is very relaxing and I often news good sleep afterwards. It’s very light hands on treatment so for those who aren’t keen on bone crunches or invasive hands on treatment I can highly recommend this. What’s more Peter is such a genuinely interesting chap to talk to and always has time to make you feel valued and listened too.
    I can’t recommend him more highly enough.

  • Sylv September 11, 2016

    I went for Bowen treatment with Peter Crabb for the first time about 2 months ago for my Arthritic Knee as I was in a great deal of pain; I was on pain Killers for the pain.
    Over the course of 3 weeks I was also treated for my back problem which I have had for over 30 years.
    With each treatment session I felt better and better, After just 1 appointment per week for the past 3 weeks, I feel better than I have done for more than 20 years, I have No pain in either my knee or my back and I feel great.
    2 weeks ago I had an appointment as I was going on Holiday to Newquay, Cornwall and I wanted to be in top form.
    I haven’t had any pain walking up and down Cornwall’s hills
    Peter is very professional and Bowen Treatment is a gentle treatment and at no point was have I in any discomfort or pain.


Tell us what you think

Your email address will not be published.

* Required
* Required

Little Black Book

The Little Black Book

Our A-Z of the grooviest local businesses to help make your life easier

View the businesses
Home icon Back Home

The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Bucks & Oxon