About Canine Bowen Technique

What is Canine Bowen Technique (CBT)….
Canine Bowen Technique (CBT) is a soft-tissue remedial technique involving ‘light-touch’ moves of fingers or thumbs over muscle, ligament, tendon and/or fascia at specific points of the dog’s body. The work is very subtle and involves no hard or prolonged pressure. It offers dogs a gentle, non-invasive and effective hands-on technique that aims to promote healing, pain-relief and body/energy rebalancing.

Canine Bowen Technique is a holistic technique. By “holistic” we mean that it “treats the body as a whole, without referral to named disease”. So Canine Bowen Technique Association (CBTA) practitioners do not treat the veterinary-diagnosed disease or condition per se, but treat the dog, as they see it, on the day.

Canine Bowen Technique is not a substitute/replacement for normal veterinary care, but rather is complementary to it.

Why would I offer Canine Bowen Technique (CBT) Sessions to my dog?
Canine Bowen Technique aims to promote and support the body’s own powers of self-healing and has been offered for many years to support dogs with problems in the following areas:

  • Acute injury e.g. sprains and strains.
  • Chronic conditions and degenerative disease – helping to improve the dog’s quality of life.
  • Rescue/re-homed dogs – relaxation of tension caused by earlier stress and trauma.
  • Pre– and post-operative surgery – assisting recovery times.
  • Fear-based anxiety – such as fireworks and thunderstorms.

Our aim is to facilitate the channelling of the dog’s own resources so that it can determine how to heal itself. In this respect, therefore, Canine Bowen Technique can be almost all-embracing in its coverage. Although generally regarded as ‘remedial’, Canine Bowen Technique can also be used to good effect as a maintenance and a prevention technique, helping to keep the body in optimum balance. To this end, it may be very beneficial for active, hard-working dogs or dogs used for competitions in obedience, agility, or trialling.

Common conditions which are often presented at Canine Bowen Technique sessions

  • Allergies and Skin conditions
  • Arthritis and Muscular Sprains & Strains
  • Back problems
  • Lameness and other Gait problems
  • Hip & Elbow Dysplasia
  • Working or Competition dogs
  • Dogs that pull on the lead
  • Aggression and other Behavioural problems
  • Stress & Anxiety disorders
  • Cystitis & Urinary disorders
  • Recurrent Ear problems
  • Sciatica

Canine Bowen Technique does not ‘treat conditions’. Through holistically working with the body and helping the dog’s own healing resources it aims to support dogs with such conditions through the rebalancing/optimising effects both locally and elsewhere in its body, which may help to improve its quality of life.

Carole has a very specific belief and philosophy when working with dogs. Carole and all Canine Bowen Technique Association (CBTA) practitioners, philosophy is:

  • To listen and work in partnership with the dog.
  • Creating a relationship of trust to maximise the effect of the session.
  • Never forcing a Canine Bowen Technique session on a dog against his wishes.
  • Using a holistic approach to session.
  • Working collaboratively with the vets in the best interests of the dog.
  • Recognising that dogs are a separate species and have their own needs and requirements.
They DO NOT:
  • Do not diagnose
  • Do not treat conditions
  • Do not prescribe or alter medications
  • Do not force CBT on a dog
  • Work to a strict code of conduct and professional ethics
  • Fulfil standards of training and annual CPD requirements
  • Maintain their own liability Insurance
  • Only work in collaboration with vets*

*CBTA practitioners will only offer CBT in collaboration with the dog’s vet and only after receiving confirmation that the owner is working directly with their veterinary practice in matters concerning their dog’s current health.

Canine Bowen Technique is not a substitute/replacement for normal veterinary care, but rather is complementary to it.

Click here to find out more about Canine Bowen Technique Association

Where does it come from…?
Canine Bowen Technique (CBT) is based on the principles of the Bowen Technique, a successful human therapy named after its developer, Tom Bowen (1916-1982), which was developed in Australia during the 1950’s, and brought to the UK in the early 1990’s.

Its adaptation in the UK for use on dogs was started in 2001 by Bowen therapists and dog trainers/behaviourists Sally and Ron Askew, who started on their own dogs, and then, with the cooperation and support of their local vets, integrated their findings into their canine behavioural and rehabilitation work with great success.

What happens in a session with my dog…?
Using fingers and thumbs on precise points on the dog’s body, an CBT practitioner applies gentle rolling movements over soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, tendons, fascia, and skin). The move is not a flick but done slowly and with very gentle pressure so as to just disturb the underlying tissue and create a focus for the brain to work on.

There is no hard manipulation, no pulling or cracking of joints, no insertion of needles, no massaging with oils.

Although a typical consultation will last up to about an hour, while Carole gets to know more about you and your dog, and your dog can get accustomed to and relaxed with her, the actual hands-on part of the session will usually last no more than about 20 minutes. Over the following 3-4 days the dog may experience reactions as its body continues to assimilate the effects of the Canine Bowen Technique moves and realigns/rebalances itself. This healing process continues for about 7 days until the next CBT session is continued (ideally within 7 to 10 days). The average number of sessions required to obtain noticeable change is between one to three sessions.

During the CBT session, there are short intervals – determined either by the dog or by Carole – which allow the dog to absorb the information given by the gentle moves and allow fine adjustments to take place within its body. Dogs are much more in tune with their bodies than humans, and generally know for themselves when to “take a break”, and when to come back for more. Often, after just a few moves, they will wander off and just stare blankly into space or go somewhere for a short lie-down.

The technique is never forced on the dog – this will only serve to make the dog less receptive and will be counter-productive to the outcome. So, an important part of Canine Bowen Technique is recognising and respecting when the dog indicates it has received what it needs.

At the start of a Canine Bowen Technique session, there will need to be time to allow the dog to accept and trust Carole. For very nervous dogs, most of the time of a first Canine Bowen Technique session may well be spent solely on developing this relationship and very little Bowen work may be done. However, after getting accustomed to Canine Bowen Technique, most dogs will want it more and more, and many will come over and position themselves to indicate where they’d like the work doing.

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