Tom Bowen of Geelong and the Bowen technique
A few weeks ago I sketched a sculpture in the Geelong West Park, not knowing anything about a man called Tom Bowen. Then Pandamonium posted a comment on a blog referring to the Bowen technique and this rang a bell, so I looked up stuff about him on the net.
In the late 1950’s Tom Bowen worked for the Geelong Cement Works and it was during this time that there were obvious signs of an interest in healing. His friend Stan Horwood believed Tom had a unique gift. Tom started helping people with ‘bad backs’ and other ailments and so his life of helping others began. Stan Horwood invited Tom to set up a practice at his home every evening after completing a day’s work at the Cement Works.
The business grew through word of mouth. People would wait outside the Horwood residence for hours to see Tom. Cars would line the pavement. It became obvious that the practice could not continue this way and so it moved to 99 LaTrobe Tce., Geelong, on a full time basis. He stayed at this address for a few years and then moved to 283 LaTrobe Tce.
At all of Tom’s clinics there were collection boxes for all kinds of charities. At times there were novelty items available for sale. Anything to help those less fortunate than others.
Tom did not have appointments as such. A patient would ring his clinic and told the opening hours of the clinic were between 9am – 11am and 1pm – 4pm. On arrival at the clinic patients were given a number from 1 to 33 in order of presentation.
Tom had a Saturday morning clinic for disabled children where they were treated free. Parents would bring their children to him from many miles away, sometimes traveling 3 – 4 hours. Results were not immediate with these children but over a number of years results were amazing.
He held a clinic every Saturday evening for those who had injured themselves playing sport during the day. This was also a free clinic. At this stage of his career he could have made a great deal of money, but this was definitely not his priority. Tom trained several men during his lifetime. These people were: Keith Davis, Nigel Love, Kevin Neave, Oswald Rentsch, Kevin Ryan and Romney Smeeton.
He moved to Villamanta Street, Geelong West. It was during the 1970’s that Tom applied for registration of his business. This was eventually refused. This had a devastating impact on Tom. He was interviewed by a government inquiry where it was stated that he saw 13,000 patients per year. Whether he was registered or not people still came from far and wide to see him.
Today Tom’s work has been taught world-wide and is taught at university level in Australia.
He had a favourite saying by which he lived his life:
“I expect to pass through this world but once,
any good thing therefore that I do,
or any kindness that I can show to any fellow-creature,
let me do it now.
Let me not defer or neglect it,
for I shall never pass this way again.”
Notes above adapted from information from Heather Edmonds and Pam Trigg
It constantly amazes me when I hear stories of apparently ordinary people who do extraordinary things when they develop a passion in life.