Thursday, March 02, 2006

Let Me Lay My Hands on Your Money

EoR is on the Smart Bowen Therapy mailing list (just to keep up to date with these things, you understand).

Bowen Therapy is popular in Australia for both humans and horses (it's one of our own special woos, having been invented by an Australian) though it is making inroads into the UK. The 'principle' behind Bowen Therapy is that a series of "gentle cross fibre manipulations" moves energy about in the muscles and can resolve a whole host of muscular and ligament issues. EoR has seen the therapy in practice and can't see any reason for it to work. The method appears to be a variation of chiropracty, and the most important element (at least in horses, where he's been able to observe it being applied) is that it involves a period of some days' rest afterwards. EoR suspects the rest is more potent for sore muscles than the gentle rubbing. Ah, easy money...

True Believers in it find it so effective that they call the Bowen Therapist back. Repeatedly. Again and again. EoR suspects that this is because conditions that normally flare up and resolve (ie muscle sorenesses, unexplained and undiagnosed unevennesses, 'irritability', etc) would be doing exactly the same without the bowenist's intervention.

Even though practitioners are supposed to be trained in an "approved Anatomy and Physiology course for people or horses" EoR has witnessed a practitioner having difficulty naming muscles correctly, and applying the classic alternatista scam of asking the observers what they thought was wrong with the horse and then, amazingly, confirming that they were correct. Ah, easy money...

The latest newsletter proudly announces their moves towards government accreditation of their training. As EoR repeatedly points out, this means nothing more than an administrative approval. It says nothing about the validity of their curriculum.

What this means, however, is that practitioners will be able to wave about a piece of paper proclaiming they have a Diploma. To obtain this Diploma much intensive training and suitably high skills are, it goes without saying, required. In fact, to become a Level Three practitioner, students have to undergo the rigourous and testing total of 12 days training over 12 months, doing "case studies" and a "workbook" in between, and completing the required anatomy course at another institution (Smart Bowen apparently chooses not to bother teaching this themselves). All for $A3,600. That's $A300 a day. Ah, easy money...


  1. Liz here from I Speak of Dreams

    Just to make things more confusing, there is a school of psychotherapy in the United States referred to as Bowen, named for Murray Bowen, M.D.

    Outline of Bowen Theory

    Murray Bowen's biography

    Murray Bowen thought of himself as a behavioral scientist. Here's the page on research and family systems.

  2. Ah, Bowen Theory, as opposed to Bowen Therapy. Probably no grounds for suing, then...


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