Tom Bowen was a humble man who, in his lifetime and beyond, made an incredible impact on humanity around the world after he developed this unique therapeutic system now practiced in more than 40 countries.
The results achieved seem to be miraculous – children learning to walk again after being crippled and in braces, lifelong health issues resolved, and many clients saved from the surgeon’s knife. After serving in World War II, Mr Bowen became interested in new ways of alleviating human suffering. He noticed that when he made certain moves on a body, it had particular effects.
Mr Bowen developed and refined the effectiveness of his observations without training in any particular healthcare field to guide him. He always stated that the therapy was simply a ‘Gift from God‘.
Tom and his long-time friend Rene Horwood started out working from her house at 100 Autumn Street, Geelong West, in 1957. Originally, this was in the evenings after they had both finished work. (Tom worked at the cement works and Rene had her own hairdressing salon). They would often work into the early hours of the morning, often treating clients for free. Sometimes they would work right through the night, traveling to make house calls to sick children, then go back to their respective homes and get ready for the next day’s work. They worked like there isn’t tomorrow for many years before they started to accept donations for their services.
Eventually they moved into a retired doctor’s clinic at 99 Latrobe Terrace and began to run their clinic full time. Typically, Tom would treat up to sixty-five people per day in the clinic and then they would go off to do home visits. On more than one occasion, Tom would ask Rene not to close their book so they could see how many they could treat. It was in excess of 100 per day; children were always treated for free.
In 1973, when Tom was interviewed for registration, which was later declined, he indicated that he was treating around 250 people per week. Tom’s own granddaughter suffered from disability and died at an early age. In her memory, Tom ran a free clinic for children with disabilities – twice a month on Saturday mornings. Under his and Rene’s care and guidance, many children had an improved quality of life.
From the asthmatics to the disabled, Tom devoted his life to these children who later on called him ‘Uncle Tom’. Tom also worked with many of the sports clubs in and around Geelong. Often driving all over the place on a Saturday afternoon attending to injured footballers. He would then treat them and others on Saturday evenings back at Autumn Street when further treatment was necessary.
These treatments were also given free of charge. He was also well known for attending the Geelong jail on Sunday mornings to treat injured inmates. He assisted the Victoria police, treating them at all hours of the day and night. He was acknowledged for his dedication. He was made an honorary member of the Geelong Crime Car squad. He was the second member of the public to be given such an award. The list goes on and on and on for all the achievements that Tom and Rene attained together. From TV personalities and opera singers down to Melbourne Cup racehorse jocks, he treated them all with amazing results.
Many people came to observe his clinic and the therapy he’d continue to develop. He acknowledged six men to have a good understanding of his work. The six he affectionately called his ‘boys’ were: Keith Davis, Kevin Neave, Nigel Love (deceased), Oswald Rentsch, Romney Smeeton and Kevin Ryan. Romney and Kevin Ryan carried on Tom’s work with the free children’s clinic for another 12 years after Tom’s death in 1982.
Because this therapy is so effective, it has been widely embraced by a broad spectrum of people. Healing professionals are impressed by the capability of Bowen Therapy and the diversity of problems addressed by it. In 2008 Jonathan Damonte formed the North American Bowen Teaching College Inc. in order to provide a higher standard of training for therapists in Canada.
The growth and demand for therapists is growing hugely as more and more people discover the clear and effective benefits of this pain relief system named Bowen Therapy.
Want to go deeper? Take a look at the Research on Bowen Therapy.