THE crux of bowen therapy lies with the fascia, which is described as a "cobweb" that sits under skin.
There are 12 to 14 basic techniques, which provide a starting point, and then various moves that relate to specific pain conditions, or body needs.
North-West bowen therapist Barbara Gilbery, of Spreyton, discovered the technique for her own pain relief.
"I was doing sport aerobics and had a really bad back at one stage and someone suggested Bowen," Mrs Gilbery said.
"So I went along and it worked. After years of deep tissue massage I didn't expect that this gentle therapy would produce results, but they were quite phenomenal," she said.
"I was really skeptical, but went home and about 6o'clock I felt exhausted.
"People are often surprised at how sore or achey they might feel after their first treatment."
After her own pain relief success Mrs Gilbery decided to study the practice, and has since applied the therapy to many people, from babies to the elderly, from tradesmen to sports players.
"When you work on the fascia it encourages your whole body to relax," Mrs Gilbery said.
"That is why you might feel exhausted afterwards, and some people even feel an emotional relaxing ... if you can imagine being in pain and discomfort for some time, and then that goes, you can see why all of a sudden you might get a bit teary."
But what is this fascia?
"It is like this endless cobweb under your skin, which encompasses your organs and muscles," Mrs Gilbery said.
"It is a soft tissue, and can go quite deep, but most of it is just under the surface. When you are in the womb the fascia begins to develop right through the gluteus and at the back, and subsequently encompasses the rest of the body.
"If you can imagine, right down in the cells in the collagen bundle of cells, it might get glued up ... pulling, stretching and moving across [an area] again, triggers that area to separate and hydrate again, at a cellular level."
Mrs Gilbery said the therapy was invented by Tom Bowen, of Geelong, who was using his techniques on sport injuries.
"In his early years Tom worked with osteopaths ... he then developed his own form of therapy, working out of a tiny little room in the back of his house," she said.
"He had six main students who learnt directly off him, one of them was Ossie Rentsch, who decided to develop it and take it out to the world."
Mrs Gilbery said she had experienced success with clients who had back issues, structural problems with their knees and hips, sports injuries, babies with cholic, adults with indigestion and sufferers of asthma.
"It is non-invasive, and we do these gentle little moves, through clothing," she said.
"I think most people who come in are doubtful because it is classified as an alternative therapy. I think they come in thinking it is going to be a bit weird, but when they give it a go, they realise its benefits."
For more information visit www.bbowen.com.au.