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Bowen Therapy course assessment

Core Bowen Training

If you wish your 'Core Bowen' training course to be listed on the BTPA website and benefit from use of the 'BTPA accepted' quality mark on your course promotional material, then you can apply for course assessment. The cost is £500 per assessment. Your course must lead to a qualification that is (at least) equivalent to a VTCT Level 3 Diploma which would be recognised by the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC). The qualification must entitle the successful candidate to practice Bowen therapy with insurance. Core Bowen Therapy qualification courses must meet the requirements of the National Occupational Standards and be consistent with the requirements of the Bowen Therapy Core Curriculum.

The College/Training Provider will be required to have the following:

  • each trainer must have a relevant qualification in Bowen Therapy and sufficient experience (qualified for at least 3 years, treating clients with Bowen Therapy on a regular basis)
  • each trainer must have a teaching qualification, e.g. City & Guilds Level 3 Award in Education & Training
  • public liability insurance and professional indemnity insurance (which also covers the students)
  • suitable venue(s) with appropriate course joining instructions
  • safe and hygienic equipment, ensuring enough equipment is provided for all students
  • a course prospectus (pre-course information) and syllabus
  • course and revision material (manuals, handouts, visual aids e.g. PowerPoint presentations)
  • detailed learning objectives and suitable methods of assessing that these have been met
  • certificate of proficiency for students completing the course
  • complaints procedures in place
  • cancellation policy in place
  • ability to adapt course for learners with any special needs
  • health and safety policy
  • first aid policy
  • course evaluation form
  • lesson plans

Each course would need to cover:

  • the anatomy and physiology of all relevant body systems
  • verbal communication skills (e.g. use of appropriate language, clear speech)
  • written communication skills (when keeping client records and communicating with other health professionals
  • confidentiality and data protection (GDPR) rules
  • informed consent (with explanation of regulations specific to children and vulnerable adults)
  • health and safety – body posture, equipment safety, first aid, infection control, safe working practises, reporting of accidents
  • legislation, including:
    • Equal Pay Act 1970
    • Sex Discrimination Act 1975
    • Race Relations Act 1976
    • The Disability Discrimination Act 1995
    • The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003
    • Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003
    • European Convention of Human Rights
    • UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
    • Data Protection Act 1998, GDPR 2018
    • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974
  • professional standards (cleanliness, avoidance of cross infection, comfort during treatment, and understanding of health and safety requirements when dealing with members of the public, professional boundaries)
  • record keeping (clear and concise, contemporaneous treatment notes which contain all relevant information about the treatment performed, after care advice given, referrals made, presenting symptoms, reactions during treatment)
  • face to face (classroom) teaching of students
  • support for students (e.g. tutorials, supported study, support via email or telephone)
  • practical (hands-on) teaching sessions for students
  • a minimum of 64 hours teaching ('hands-on' Bowen) for students already qualified in another soft-tissue or manual therapy discipline which taught Anatomy & Physiology OR a minimum of 112 hours teaching ('hands-on' Bowen) for students without previous training
  • a minimum of 10 reviewed case studies (covering 3 treatments each)
  • examination of students to demonstrate their proficiency
  • advice about treating clients in different positions (treatment couch, bed, chair, etc.)
  • teaching how to treat babies and children
  • teaching how to treat specific conditions (e.g. bedwetting, bursitis, fertility issues)

Aspects of Bowen Therapy that should be included in a Core Bowen course include:

  • the 'Bowen Move' – skin slack, appropriate pressure, rolling move
  • the gentle nature of the technique – no forceful manipulation, mostly light pressure, avoidance of discomfort
  • explanation of reactions to treatment and how to advise client
  • stoppers and holding points
  • the Breaks – 2 minutes minimum, when to leave the room
  • clothing – administered through light clothing, working on the skin, consent to move or remove items of clothing
  • avoidance of other therapies – advice for clients
  • advice on avoiding 'over-treatment'
  • common symptoms (chronic/acute) addressed by procedures
  • basic remedial moves (Pages 1, 2, 3)
  • Bowen procedures addressing all relevant body regions / organs

The following criteria should be addressed with students:

  • explaining the nature of the service provided and fee structures
  • providing an appropriate and safe environment for the service
  • explaining how psychological and emotional balance, as well as diet and lifestyle of the individual, can affect their health and well-being
  • how to recognise conditions for which Bowen Therapy is unsuitable and for which the client should seek advice from other sources
  • discussing the client's needs and expectations, encouraging the client to ask questions and express any concerns
  • gaining informed consent before proceeding with any treatment and again when working around intimate areas
  • how to support and advise the client to make informed choices
  • the role which the client may need to take for successful treatment
  • dealing effectively with the client's response to Bowen Therapy
  • positioning of the client for effective Bowen Therapy and to give as much comfort as possible
  • checking the client's well-being throughout the session
  • evaluation of the outcomes and effectiveness of the Bowen Therapy to support future plans and actions
  • the history, principles and development of Bowen Therapy and its relationship to other healthcare
  • the basic principle of minimum intervention
  • the energy flows, pathways and trains within the inter-connectedness of the body and patterns of compensation
  • the importance of viewing the client holistically
  • the physiological effects of stress on the body
  • the circumstances in which the client may be refused treatment
  • the importance of explaining treatment options to the client
  • assessing the client's body and responses to determine the speed and length of treatment
  • how to select specific points on the body required for each move
  • performing and combining sequences of moves to achieve a therapeutic response
  • how to support a client experiencing a 'healing response'
  • advice, exercise and self-care procedures for the client, related to specific conditions
  • the reasons for not making any claims that Bowen Therapy will cure specific conditions
  • the reasons for not claiming to practise 'advanced' Bowen therapy
  • working with other medical practitioners, not offering a diagnosis unless qualified to do so, accepting that the client's doctor remains in clinical charge of the client
  • the need for a thorough understanding of the anatomy and physiology of the human body

Bowen Therapy CPD workshops

If you wish your 'hands on' Bowen CPD course to be listed on the BTPA website and benefit from use of the 'BTPA accepted' quality mark on your course promotional material, then you can apply for CPD course assessment. The cost is £90 per assessment (per tutor) with discounts available for assessment of multiple courses or tutors.

Although there is no need to follow the Bowen Core Curriculum for CPD courses, BTPA expects that each tutor has an awareness of the National Occupational Standards for Bowen and adopts these wherever appropriate.

The same Bowen and Teaching qualifications (or equivalent experience) are expected (as above) as well as insurance (which also covers the students).

You would need to provide a course syllabus/prospectus and a breakdown of the workshop to show how much Bowen 'hands on' practical teaching is involved. Other documents will be required (e.g. sample copy of the Certificate of Attendance).

Assessment process

BTPA may request to assess your Core Bowen or CPD workshop in person. This would usually be performed for new teachers/schools. An application form would be completed and course documents submitted to BTPA for checking. The Core Bowen course assessment is thorough and requires us to read all your course materials and ensure the requirements above have been met. Bowen Therapy CPD workshop assessment requires much less information, but we would still need to understand how the course is including practical Bowen Therapy techniques, the structure of the course and how many teaching hours are involved.

When assessing whether tutors are suitable insured, we would expect to see a specific Teaching clause in the policy or an endorsement to show that cover is sufficient for any claim made against a tutor.

In some instances, experience of teaching or competence in Bowen Therapy will be accepted instead of specific qualifications (this is sometimes referred to as the 'grandfather clause'). For teachers not known to the BTPA Committee, a Curriculum Vitae plus references to back up the claim of experience would be sought from someone with the appropriate qualifications.


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