A Bowen move activates the following mechanisms to reset the body to heal itself
Stretch reflex-most moves are done either at the origin, insertion or belly of muscles where Golgi cells’ receptors are located. These cells inform the nervous system on the state of tension, length or stretch in the musculotendinous tissue. The receptors ar stimulated during the “challenge” and the “rolling” part of the Bowen move. In the case of a muscle pain spasm loop, we can break this vicious circle
Segmental Viscerosomatic Spinal Reflexes-these reflexes are engaged in most basic procedures to produce referred reactions to the internal organs to stimulation of skin and muscles, changing the stimulus received by the nervous system.
Joint Proprioreceptors-all moves down around a joint directly affect the joint capsule and ligaments that are richly innervated with proprioceptors. Here again, stimulus will be received by the nervous system, inviting normalization of the joint function without the need for forceful manipulation.
Fascia-each Bowen move is done at the level of the superficial fascia and affects the relation between the fascia and the nerve, muscle are tendon being mobilized. Fascia plays a major role in muscle coordination, postural alignment and overall structural and functional integrity. All these will be negatively affected because following injury the fascia will stiffen, contract, torque and dehydrate, as shown by the work of Ida Rolf and many Osteopaths including William Sutherland and John Upledger. Following a Bowen session it is not uncommon to see adhesions loosen up, scar tissue soften, posture and mobility improve without harsh mobilization or stretching.
Autonomic Nervous System(ANS) rebalancing-Bowen may have its most profound effect here where the bodies self healing mechanisms are governed. The ANS Controls over 80% of bodily functions and is very susceptible to external stressors. Most people today live in a constant state of high stress and sympathetic ANS over stimulation. Healing occurs after the ANS shifts from sympathetic to parasympathetic dominance. Bowen seems to catalyze that shift-during sessions, clients often quickly follow sleep or drop into deep relaxation and loud peristalsis can be heard. This indicates a shift towards parasympathetic dominance with release from stress and a deep level. This could explain why a few Bowen sessions frequently reactivate the recovery process, where healing from drama, sickness or surgery has stalled or reached a plateau.
Trigger point and meridians-several Bowen moves overlap with recognized trigger point locations. By clearing these trigger points, referred pain will be relieved and joint mobility and muscle coordination will be improved.
Acupuncture points and meridians-most moves overlap acupuncture points and some actually cross two or three acupuncture meridians at once. Acupuncturists have correlated the indications and effects of Bowen moves with the corresponding acupuncture points. They also commented on the immediate changes of the acupuncture pulses in response to moves or procedures. The overlap of these two systems could explain the very strong energetic component of the technique and its effect on the internal organs.
Neurolymphatic points and lymphatic circulation-Bowen move overlap the location of many neurolymphatic reflex points that regulate the lymphatic system.