The Man with a Unique Gift
Thomas Ambrose Bowen was born on 18 April, 1916. He left school at an early age and became a carpenter. In 1941, Tom married Jessie McLean. They had 3 children and lived in Geelong, Australia.
Jessie suffered from very bad asthma, often being hospitalised. Tom started to learn how to help her shift her congestion and along with some medication and a change of diet, Jessie benefited considerably. After some years she no longer required the medication and thanks to Tom's method and diet, she never had to go to hospital again.
It was during the 1950's that Tom began an association with Ernie Saunders, a physical manipulator. Tom visited him and they would share many hours together. It was through talking with Ernie that he began to discovering what was later to become Tom's (the Bowen) technique.
By the late 1950's Tom was showing a clear interest in healing. But what he did and how this all came about remains a mystery. At this time he became friends with a man, Stan Horwood, who believed Tom had a unique gift. Tom started helping people with bad backs and other ailments. This was how his life of helping others began. Stan Horwood invited Tom to set up a practice at his home. Every evening after completing a days work at the Cement Works, Tom would tend to patients at Stan's home.
Through word of mouth, his practice grew and grew. There was no advertising, but people would wait outside the Horwood residence for hours to see Tom. Cars would line the pavement and it became obvious that the practice could not continue this way. He therefore opened his own full-time practice, that also allowed him to be able to move between two rooms to leave patients on their own, an important part of his technique.
Tom's clinic became a collection box for all kinds of charities. He did anything to help those less fortunate than others.
Tom had a Saturday morning clinic for disabled children, at which they were treated free. Parents would bring their children to him from many miles away. While the improvements were not immediate with these children, over a number of years the results were amazing.
He held a clinic every Saturday evening for those who had injured themselves playing sport during the day. This was also a free clinic and once again, people came from near and far.
At this stage of his career he could have made a great deal of money, but this was definitely not his priority. He was most generous to people in desperate circumstances or with disabled children needing extra care. His greatest reward came from what he could do for people. This continued to be his cause throughout his life.
Tom trained several men during his lifetime. Each of these them had a set day at the clinic. There were also others who would attend his clinic to learn his technique. However, he chose those who he would teach with care, and if Tom felt that they didn't have the touch, he would ask them to leave.
It was in 1979 that he had to face a serious personal dilemma. Probably because of diabetes, he had to have one leg amputated. This was a devastating time for Tom as he was a very active man. After some months he was fitted with a prosthesis, allowing him to have an easier life. During this time, the clinic was run on a part-time basis. Eventually Tom returned to work, and not long after this, the clinic and Tom were back in full-time operation again. The practice continued to grow as it had done before, simply by word of mouth.
Then in the 1982, Tom had to have his second leg removed. Owing to a serious infection he was moved to the infectious disease area of the hospital but he never recovered.
Today Tom's work is being taught world-wide and even at university level in Australia. Each person who has been taught Tom's technique has his or her own unique way of interpreting it. This is just as the original Bowen therapist, Tom Bowen himself, worked. He continually developed and adapted his technique to whatever situation presented itself to him - perhaps sticking to the same basics but always applying a suitable and often different interpretation.
Updated 27 August 2019 14:44
Copyright - Marion Coetzee and Hare-Yama Ryu