NeuroStructural Integration Therapy History

NeuroStructural Therapy (NST), also called Bowen Technique is a type of bodywork named after Australian Thomas Bowen (1916–1982). The actual origins of his concepts are unknown or at least unclear though there do appear to be links with traditional Chinese medicine. He developed it in the 1950s but it was first offered in the late 1980s in Australia before coming to the UK in 1993. It was not until some years after his death that the term “Bowen Technique” was invented. The technique goes by a wide variety of names including: Neuro-structural Integration (NST), Fascial Therapy, Smart Bowen, Fascial Kinetics, Fascial Bowen and Bowenwork.

What is clear is that while working in junior (soccer) clubs in Geelong, Australia, as a massage therapist, he recognized an apparent common causal relationship in many seemingly unrelated painful conditions. This included particularly musculoskeletal but also neurological, and other health problems. He identified this causal link or relationship as being the soft tissue or fascia that envelops the whole body from head to toe.

After years of clinical work and much reading and study of other modalities he developed a unique set of specific moves associated with different sequences and timing intervals. The moves provided fascial release, stimulating a variety of anatomical or physiological responses. This frequently resulted in long term and often immediate resolution of the majority of presenting problems and pain conditions.

Bowen had no formal medical training, and described his approach as a “gift from God”. The technique has been popularized by six men who observed him at work including Oswald Rentsch, an osteopath to whom Bowen entrusted the documentation of his work. The original Bowen Technique that is used today is based on Oswald Rentsch’s interpretations and notes taken while working for many years with Bowen. In 1986, four years after Bowen’s death, the Rentschs began teaching the technique and in 1987 they founded the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia where over 20,000 therapists worldwide have taken Bowen training.