Asthma and Bowen

Asthma is a common lung condition that affects around 5.4 million people in the UK – 1 in 11 children and 1 in 12 adults. There is, as yet, no cure, but a treatment pattern of inhalers has been developed which allow many people to manage their symptoms successfully, yet, unbelievably, an average of 3 people a day die every day from asthma [1].

Causes of asthma vary, as do the triggers which bring on a worsening of symptoms, and cold air and infections like colds or flu were the triggers for my son’s asthma. This time of year, with colder days setting in, would normally mean he would get every cough and cold going, and invariably this would lead to a chest infection and increased use of his inhaler. But this has all changed since we have been using Bowen, a holistic technique that works on the connective tissue (fascia) of the body. Through a sequence of light and gentle moves on specific areas of the body Bowen treats the person, not the condition, and effectively kick starts the body’s own innate ability to heal itself through making the small adjustments necessary, where they are necessary. Working holistically, looking at the client as a whole as opposed to his or her particular ailment, condition or situation, is particular important given that the asthma triggers for each individual are going to be different and could be myriad – including allergies, exercise, smoke, pollution and cold weather, infections like coughs and cold, stress and anxiety, emotional trauma, etc.

As a result of Bowen treatments both before ‘hayfever season’ and just as the cold weather sets in, my son has only had to use his inhaler on two occasions in the last two years (and he’s also seen a reduction in the use of hay-fever tablets). What’s even more impressive about Bowen for asthma is that I have taught my son, and other clients, a very specific move that they can use on themselves, and others, when they begin to feel their chest tightening. In fact my son used this move only recently when feeling tight chested as a result of a cold he had caught, alleviating his breathlessness almost immediately. I also know of other Bowen therapist who have used this move in emergencies and have saved lives as a result.

My own personal experience has been born out by anecdotal evidence from other suffer’s, and by the Bowen Technique National Asthma Study conducted from 2002-2004. In the study 24 adults diagnosed with asthma received Bowen treatments and were monitored over the course of 12 months, keeping regular diaries about the amount of attacks, the severity and use of medication etc. The results were pretty amazing with all participants experiencing a positive change in their symptoms, 7 “dramatically”, 14 “substantially” and 3 “slightly.”

In summary:

  • In the first 6 months 84 attacks were recorded, with only 26 in the second 6 months, with 75% experiencing a reduction in severity of attacks.
  • 75% reported a reduction in the need to use their medication*
  • 15 out of the 24 participants used peak flow meters and all reported an improvement in readings
  • 22 of the participants also recorded a reduction in secondary health concerns, which included back, neck and shoulder problems, and anxiety, stress and depression.

Dr Claire Pickin, a Warwickshire GP, said about the results of the study [2]:

“I am pleased though not surprised to see the patients in this trial benefiting from the Bowen Technique…The fact that such a simple, gentle, non-invasive technique can reduce the distressing symptoms of asthma deserves attention. The results of the trial are impressive.”

So, my advice to you is if cold weather and infections like coughs and colds are one of your asthma triggers, seek some support for your asthma now so that your body has time to respond to the treatment. Most of my clients often find they experience a positive change in their condition or situation in as little as three treatments, and where there are issues with the respiratory tract I will always teach a specific move that they can use safely at home.

You can find more about Bowen on my website:, and from the College of Bowen Studies , where you can also find a registered CBS practitioner in your area.

*It is extremely important to note that a Bowen therapist will never advise any changes to medications, and will always advise that clients should consult their own doctor to discuss any changes that they might wish to make.

References and further reading




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