A Bowen perspective worth considering










One way to Develop a Successful Practitioner-Oriented Bowen Therapy Clinic

Originally published in the September 2015 edition of Bowen Hands, The Journal of the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia.

— Written by BTA Instructor, Michael Quinlivan

“Have you ever wondered how some Bowen practitioners have built a successful Bowen therapy business? Or wondered how they charge higher fees than you, whilst being fully booked every day? What is it that they are doing that is seemingly different? Do you find yourself thinking, ‘They have learnt the same skills I have, we have our clinics in the same neighbourhood, surely their clientele is similar to mine, and I work just as hard as they do? Yet there is definite difference in the numbers attending our clinics?’

The truth could be that your observations of all of these factors are absolutely correct. And there may be other factors that you haven’t considered. Consider what they may have done… they specialise.

Something you may not have considered is that we tend to attract a certain type of clientele to our clinics. This often happens when a Bowen practitioner has treated someone successfully and the client is happy with the outcome… they will then refer a friend or acquaintance who is likely to be of a similar nature or personality as the referrer.

Secondly, consider the kinds of presenting conditions that are of interest to you. For example, many Bowen practitioners (including students I have taught) express interest in working in specific health areas, such as pregnancy, working in aged care, or any number of other scenarios. Before you become too invested in specialising in any area of Bowen therapy, it’s important to consider the demographics of the area in which you live. For example, if you reside in a small town of 500 residences with an ageing population, you might want to reconsider specialising in pregnancy!

However, to consider this from another perspective, what about a town where there are a large number of sporting teams? Imagine one of the team members has rolled an ankle. This person may have experienced this injury on numerous occasions in the past, seeking treatment using other modalities with only limited success. A fellow team member might suggest they see you, after they had experienced such positive results with their own ankle injury. This person might also comment how quickly they were able to return to competition and that you work with a lot of sports people, specialising in sporting injuries.

So, this Bowen therapist is a specialist! Wow! The referral comes via a trusted friend so there is less perceived risk in seeing you, even they they don’t know anything about you or what you do. More importantly it is perceived that you are the person the injured athlete needs to resolve their issue: if you work with other athletes, you must know what you are doing. It’s likely you have treated these conditions many times. I personally treat many sporting injuries, and word-of-mouth recommendations have built my reputation as a Bowen therapist.

Perhaps you’re now asking how you too can gain such a reputation? You might be thinking that your training and post-graduate learning can give you a wealth of information to get you started, but you may feel you lack the confidence to build this specialist reputation.

Let’s take a look at an example of a Bowen therapy graduate wanting to specialise in working with the elderly. One suggestion is to gain experience by offering your services at an aged care facility where you’ll be well exposed to the kinds of conditions that elderly people face. You will become comfortable with their conversations and discover topics that older people feel comfortable with. One recommendation from my experience: don’t express your opinion or disagree with theirs. A friendly chat will always be welcome, even if they become cranky at times. They may enjoy being that way, so try to enjoy them as they are. You might like to consider becoming familiar with the history of the local area, or ask them about their own history, without getting too personal. I recall, a few years ago, talking to an elderly lady in an aged care facility when visiting my mother. She was very happy to tell me of her life in the local area, particularly when she was a young person. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing about things from the past that don’t happen today, like the butcher who delivered meat by horse and cart to her suburb.

As a Bowen practitioner wanting to specialise in sporting injuries, I recommend you gain as much knowledge as you can in the areas you will work with most. There is an enormous amount of knowledge available from a wide variety of sources where you can learn about how injuries are caused, how other practitioners treat such injuries, the biomechanics of the sport involved, how to manage injuries and how to aid recovery. From a Bowen therapy perspective, talk with anyone who can offer advice, such as your instructor(s), peers, attending workshops on your speciality, and even asking your clients how another Bowen practitioner may have treated them in the past.

Remember, there is no substitute for experience. Like the therapist offering their services in an aged care facility, consider offering your services to sporting clubs and organisations. In my case, I worked with a sporting organisation for one and a half hours, two nights per week, over six months of the year. I had three tables, moving from one to the next in each session. Keeping track of where I was in each procedure was essential. I learned to work quickly, creating treatment plans for each athlete, ensuring I noted treatments in a book against each person’s name.

To acquire further knowledge, do your own research. Find the latest research on anything associated with your specialist field. Source the latest books and journal articles. Attend workshops. In the last year I have attended two workshops on different aspects related to fascia. These workshops were delivered by world renowned researchers in this field. The information is easily transferred to the use of Bowen procedures as to which one to use and why. Knowledge gained allows you to be specific in formulating your treatment plans. The enemy of the specialist practitioner is the ‘generalist’ who treats in a scatter-gun approach. The real value of specialising is that the knowledge gained is readily transferable to other general treatment plans.

Finally, never undervalue the benefit of your specialist treatment to the recipient. What you have to offer is an amazing technique that any Bowen practitioner is capable of utilising to benefit their client. A practitioner who has taken the time to learn their procedures, acquired an ever increasing amount of underpinning knowledge, gained more experience, and knows how to apply all of the factors results in a more specific treatment by the practitioner. With all these things in place, word will spread that you are the one who specialises in your chosen area. You become the ‘go-to’ practitioner.”

Please share!

Categories Practitioners | Tags: , , , , , | Posted on September 16, 2015


  1. by Miriam

    On September 17, 2015

    Truly a wonderful article Michael, thank you for sharing 🙂

  2. by Administrator

    On September 21, 2015

    So glad you enjoyed it Miriam. Thanks for sharing your feedback.

  3. by Kerry Eather

    On May 20, 2016

    Thank you for this article. Many good pointers in it to assist me in my quest to build my business

  4. by Shariece

    On August 15, 2016

    As a new student to Bowen I found this article very informative. Looking forward to building my business next year when I have qualified. Thanks

  5. by Administrator

    On August 17, 2016

    Wonderful feedback, thank you Shariece! Best of luck with your study.

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