What is it?

Canine Bowen Technique is a hands-on remedial therapy. It is different to many other complementary therapies as it involves a series of gentle rolling type moves made on different parts of the body. There are rest periods in between moves to allow the body to process the effects of each series of moves. The Bowen moves can promote healing, help to re-balance and re-align the body. It can offer pain relief for a variety of conditions, increase joint mobility, provide opportunity for relaxation and may help with energy levels. The Bowen Technique is a very effective therapy for people and horses as well but it’s important that you choose a therapist who is specifically qualified for what they practice to ensure the best and safest treatment for your dog.


What types of condition can it help?

Firstly, Canine Bowen Technique treats the whole body not just named conditions or symptoms. It can help to alleviate a wide range of problems including; joint pain and stiffness, breathing difficulties, tension and stress. In addition it can enhance sports performance, aid recovery from surgery and illness, muscular strains & sprains, auto-immune disorders and can contribute to overall good health which may help to reduce the likelihood of injury or illness in all dogs and particularly working or competition dogs.


How many sessions will the dog need?

This will vary very much on the dog and the overall condition but generally after one or two sessions some change should be observed, it’s often a good idea to have maintenance sessions to aid prevention of injury or illness and promote good general health. Most commonly the sessions take place in the dog’s own home.


Is it safe?

Canine Bowen Technique is very safe as it’s so gentle and it’s never forced on a dog. Canine Bowen Technique is only ever practised on a dog following veterinary referral and it’s important to ensure that your Canine Bowen Technique Therapist is qualified, insured and attends annual CPD (continued professional development) courses to remain up-to-date and effective. 


What will happen during the session?

Firstly, the Canine Bowen Technique Therapist will take a full history of the dog and observe the dog moving, sitting, standing and lying (where appropriate) and also note any medication that the dog is on and what veterinary advice you have been given. The therapist may want to know about the dog’s life, daily routine, diet and exercise to help them to see the whole picture. Once a visual and physical observation has been done the therapist will proceed with the treatment taking care to ensure the dog’s comfort at all times. The therapist will assess the dog between the moves and at the end of the session.


How do I find a Canine Bowen Technique Therapist?

Either through the European Guild of Canine Bowen Therapists (www.caninebowentechnique.com) or the Bowen Therapist’ European Register (www.bter.org) .


There is no doubt that the Canine Bowen Technique is a fabulous and effective therapy for dogs and my respect for dogs deepens every time one allows me to do Bowen on them. Instinctively many dogs know when they’ve had enough Bowen for one session, they know when they need a break and where they want the moves to be done – very often they control the session in an instinctive and wise way. With dogs there is no mind over matter or placebo effect either it works or it doesn’t - mostly it brings about positive change.


Some examples of types of problems that have been helped by Canine Bowen Technique are;


4 yr old cocker spaniel who had very low energy, intermittent lameness in all legs, difficulty walking, climbing stairs and getting up from a sit/down position. Veterinary tests had been inconclusive in diagnosing what was wrong. After one session the dog was able to get up from sit/down position unaided, had more energy and became a young dog again. After a second session the dog appeared to be normal and has continued to lead an active and happy life.


12 month old lurcher was nervous and exhibited destructive chewing behaviour after being spayed. After one session she was more relaxed and didn’t chew anything that wasn’t hers. She had a second session and became her normal confident and well adjusted self. She also healed very quickly.


8 yr old Labrador bruised his back going under a gate on a day out shooting, his back was painful to touch and he appeared stiff and sore when he walked. He had one session and then slept, the next day he walked easily, was sound and didn’t mind his back being touched.


©Winkie Spiers - March 2008 www.winkiespiers.com


About the author of this article -

After many years in the corporate world I was lucky enough to be able to change my life and follow a path that I feel passionately about – dogs! Having owned many problem free dogs in the past I changed the way that I think about dogs after getting my first ever rescue, Dennis, a large Parsons Jack Russell. I struggled to find a successful approach that seemed appropriate for both him and me. Gradually through much research and increasing involvement in the dog world I discovered more up-to-date and forward thinking methodologies. Dennis improved immensely as a direct result of my studies. I learned about how dogs communicate, what their instinctive normal behaviours are, how different the drives and instincts are of different breeds, how to look at the whole picture and not just symptoms and how with a calm, holistic, informed, kind and relaxed approach life can improve immensely for all concerned.


I now work professionally as a dog trainer and behaviourist and Bowen Technique therapist for both people and dogs. In addition I speak at seminars and conduct workshops in the UK and abroad on a variety of canine subjects for both professionals and members of the public. I am a full member and current Chairwoman of Pet Dog Trainers of Europe (PDTE.org), full member of Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT.co.uk) and member of the Association of INTOdogs. My first book ‘How To Handle Living With Your Dog’ was published in 2008 by ShortStack Publishing.


Dennis is one of my greatest teachers and he shares this responsibility with my two lurchers, Maisie and Pete. My approach is always holistic and dog centred and my aim is to improve the lives of dogs and their owners by education and treating all dogs and owners as individuals.


Winkie Spiers Cert E.C.B.S. Member Of PDTE(F036), APDT(804), BTER, EGCBT, Association of INTOdogs



Tel: 020 7924 3744 / 0771 833 2914


This web site has been written by Sally Hopkins (unless the author of the web page is stated otherwise).


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