History of Bowen

Tom Bowen originated Bowen Therapy in the 1950’s in Australia

tom_bowenThomas Ambrose Bowen (1916–1982) was dedicated to helping others with little thought to himself or his legacy. He developed what is primarily known as Bowen Therapy in the 1950’s in Geelong, Australia. Contradictory stories are told about how his work came to be.

According to one story, three lineages of bodywork existed in Australia at the time: there were “crackers” (chiropractic), “rubbers”  (massage), and “flickers” (practitioners who strummed across the muscle belly). This lineage of “flickers” began several generations before Tom, and is said to be the original root of the form we know today.

While working at a cement factory in Geelong, another story goes, a fellow laborer suffered an injury. Tom felt inspired to reach over and “do a few little moves” on the man. Tom’s reputation grew rapidly till he was treating people after hours in his home. Before long, he had a full practice in what he called “soft tissue manipulation.” He thought of  himself as walking in the footsteps of osteopathy.

Tom Bowen’s unusually sensitive hands allowed him to trace nerve pathways and blockages. Over time, he developed a powerful system that activated the nervous system to restore deep innate patterns in the body. In 1973, he told the Victoria government that he treated 280 people a week – 13,000 clients a year – with the help of one receptionist and a few assistants. In his clinic, he worked three tables at a time. A true innovator, he never stopped experimenting to further improve his outcomes.

Although Tom did not formally teach his technique, several men (at least two osteopaths, two chiropractors, and a massage therapist) spent many hours observing as he silently worked — each man interpreted Tom’s work through the lens of his original training, and each developed his own  style of “Bowen” based on what Tom was experimenting with at the time.

One of these men, Ossie Rentsch, along with his wife Elaine, taught his first seminar in Perth, Australia, in 1986. They expanded their reach, soon offering seminars in Europe and the United States. Although Bowen Therapy has evolved into several styles worldwide, most trace their roots back to Ossie Rentsch’s interpretations. Today, his Bowenwork instructors have trained over 26,000 people in 30 countries.

A commitment to serve with compassion lies at the heart of Bowen work, a commitment I wholeheartedly adhere to.

“The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards.” ~ Arthur Koestler

Contact Me

About me

(928) 443-0043
My Office is located at
The Oaks in downtown Prescott
143 N McCormick St, #101
Prescott, AZ 86301

Google Map

Click to open a larger map

What clients say…

"I didn’t expect it to be so profound. 80% of that spot on my back feels released. It really is like a computer that’s been defragged.” ~J.L.

Click here for more testimonials


My continuing education is ongoing with an emphasis on Bowen, Anatomy, and Movement coursework.

• Bowenwork Practitioner (2003) and Associate Instructor (2014).
Click here for my Bowenwork education/training.

• Graduate of a Guild Certified Feldenkrais Method Training Program in Bronxville, NY (1998)

• Graduate of NAMTI Massage School in Prescott, AZ(2005)
Copyright 2012-2021, Colette Claude | Listening Touch. All Rights Reserved.