Tom Bowen
Thomas Bowen (1916-1982), an Australian and founder of the Bowen Technique, became interested in ways to alleviate pain. He saw a relationship between certain health complaints and patterns of muscular dysfunction. He began developing the Bowen technique in the 1950's and became famous for helping those in whom all other therapies had failed.
Tom Bowen with young client
Tom began as a volunteer manual therapist for football clubs. Self-taught, he studied anatomy and picked up information from many body-work therapists. After meeting Ernie Suanders, a renowned manual therapist, Tom began to develop his own technique. At this time he also began working out a method to help his wife who's asthma attacks often required hospitalised. Over time he developed a diet and soft tissue manipulation that eased her suffering to the point she no longer needed drugs or emergency care in the hospital. Tom continued experimenting and developing his therapy right up to his death.

Tom thought of himself as an osteopath. His philosophy and underlying principles mirrored those of Dr. Andrew Taylor Still, the father of osteopathy. The body's structures and functions are interrelated and cannot be separated - "structure governs function" and disruption of any tissue disrupts the function in the whole person. Tom, also, understood the body was designed to self-regulate and repair. His therapeutic technique is aimed at restoring structural integrity and stimulating the body to repair itself with as little gentle manipulation as possible.

In 1975 an inquiry into alternative health practices by the Australian government, documented Tom as treating 13,000 clients a year with a very high success rate after only one to three treatments. This is unheard of by anyone's standards and helped spread Tom's reputation.

Tom attracted many health-care professionals interested in his technique. He allowed six men to observe him. A massage therapist, Oswald Rentsch (founded The Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia in 1986), four chiropractors, Keith Davis, Nigel Love, Kevin Neave, and Romney Smeeton, and an osteopath, Kevin Ryan. These men all brought their own knowledge and understanding of the body to help them interpret what Tom was doing. All have contributed to the knowledge of the Bowen Technique we know today.

Tom Bowen's work did not stop there. He also had wonderful success with animals. He was well known in Melbourne for his work with racehorses. This technique has been adapted to working with horses and small animals. Equine Muscle Release Therapy and Cat & Canine Release Therapy.