healing, massage, wellness, Minneapolis, MN Simply Bowen with Maria Lofquist
Simply Bowen
Tom Bowen was born in Australia on April 18, 1916. After serving in WWII, he worked at the Geelong Cement Works as a general hand. He was quite athletic and played numerous sports. It was through his love of sports, and regular attendance at sporting events, that he became interested in massage and other soft-tissue manipulation.
Bowenwork® and Bowtech® are the registered names for the original Bowen Therapy developed by the late Tom Bowen of Australia. Although it was a lifetime of development and work, it was in the 1950’s that Bowenwork® began to take shape.
Bowen spent countless hours watching the masseurs at local football games in Geelong, Victoria. He began massaging footballers’ injuries, and then studied informally with Ernie Saunders, a legendary “manipulator” in a suburb of nearby Melbourne. Bowen studied anatomy texts and developed his distinctive technique through continual experimentations, mainly by treating the bad backs of his colleagues at the factory where he worked.

By the early 1950’s, his wife, Jessie, had been hospitalized several times with severe asthma. Bowen developed a soft-tissue manipulation procedure for it. The combination of this procedure and the restricted diet he developed kept her asthma under control thereafter. In 1957 he began treating people in the evening at the home of friends Stan and Rene Horwood. Bowen soon gave up his day job, rented office space, with Rene as his office manager. He called himself and osteopath, a title that was not regulated in Australia at that time.
Tom Bowen had the ability to perceive even slight deviations in anatomical structure. This enabled him to develop an entire system of movements and procedures to address a wide spectrum of internal conditions, as well as musculoskeletal complaints. Addressing the root cause of clients’ problems with very few moves, he often said his technique was a gift from God.
With an assistant in each treatment room to get clients ready, he worked at a prodigious rate. By 1973 he had a very large practice. In 1975 the Australian Government commissioned Webb report sited that Tom Bowen had attended to some 13,000 clients annually, with a success rate of 80 to 90 percent, often being achieved in only one or two sessions.

As his reputation spread, many health professionals wanted to learn his technique. Only six did so to his satisfaction - four chiropractors, one osteopath and one soft-tissue therapist. For several weeks or months, each apprentice followed him from room to room, watching him work, eventually being allowed to work on clients under Bowen’s close supervision. Each completed two to three years of weekly individual study with Bowen and incorporated his technique into their own practices. Even after Bowen considered them ready, they continued to visit him on a regular basis to learn his latest refinements.

After Bowen’s death in 1982, Kevin Ryan (the osteopath) kept the clinic running for two months. He and chiropractors Romney Smeeton and Keith Davis still practice Bowen’s Technique in their busy clinics.

Of the other chiropractors, Kevin Neave retired in 1989, and Nigel Love died in 1999.

Oswald Rentsch (the soft-tissue therapist) opened a Bowen Technique clinic with his wife Elaine, in 1976; they have taught seminars of the technique since 1986. Ryan teaches occasional workshops to Bowen practitioners and since 1998 has taught a 26 contact hour Bowen course to osteopathy students at a university in Melbourne. Rene Horwood, who, in addition to running Bowen’s business, helped him develop some of his procedures, passed away at 93 in September of 2001.
Bowen Today
Oswald “Ossie” Rentsch undertook the study of massage in 1959 with the goal of easing his wife Elaine’s unremitting pain. A childhood neck injury had damaged her spine severely, and she fully expected to become an invalid.

Fifteen years later, in 1974, still searching for relief for Elaine’s suffering, Rentsch attended a conference for naturopaths and natural therapists in Adelaide, Australia. It was there that he met Tom Bowen who invited Rentsch to learn from him. Rentsch traveled with his wife Elaine to Bowen’s clinic in Geelong for a short visit. That short visit began a weekly commute – two hours each way – which developed into a two and a half year apprenticeship under Tom Bowen.
Elaine soon became Bowen’s client. She recalls her first visit: “When he touched my neck, he said, ‘It will take six months to get this right.’ But even after the one treatment, I could feel energy moving in my neck.” Elaine’s health gradually returned. She continued accompanying Ossie to the clinic, where she sometimes assisted Bowen’s clients and observed his treatments.

In 1976, with Bowen’s advice and blessings, Ossie and Elaine opened a clinic in Hamilton that was modeled after his. “At Tom’s suggestion, we didn’t advertise,” recalls Ossie. “By the end of six months we were booked solid.”

Ossie and Elaine diligently took notes and drew diagrams of Bowen’s work – a painstakingly slow and laborious process. Eventually, all of the “moves” and procedures were approved by Bowen and compiled into a manual. It was Bowen’s request that after his death, the Rentschs’ should teach his technique to others. Tom Bowen passed away in 1982 leaving a legacy in the hands of a small group of people.
Today, through the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia, now known as Bowtech®, the Rentschs’ have taught Bowenwork® to more than 15,000 practitioners throughout the world. They began training instructors in 1994. Over 70 people now teach Bowtech® in over 25 countries and six languages.
Elaine and Ossie Rentsch
Of the remaining original apprentices Tom Bowen trained, all support Ossie and Elaine’s efforts to bring Bowen’s work to the world, having no interest themselves to teach on this scale.
©2007 Simply Bowen/Maria Lofquist
Thomas Ambrose Bowen
Simply Bowen
Bowen Therapy in Minnesota
               With Maria Lofquist