The Bowen Technique® and chronic, non-specific low back pain: a feasibility study

Michael F Morris MSc., Dr David R Ellard PhD., Dr Shilpa Patel C.Psychol.

Abstract

Background

The aim was to evaluate the feasibility of conducting a randomised control trial (RCT) into the effectiveness of The Bowen Technique as a treatment option for the management of chronic, non-specific low back pain.

Method

A single blind RCT conducted in one private Bowen treatment centre. Participants were randomised to either a Bowen group or a control ‘Sham Bowen’ group. Participants received three weekly treatments in both arms of the trial and completed six different measures of function, psychological and general health nature at baseline, a week and a month after treatment.

Results

We recruited 37 participants, 21 female, with a mean age of 44.5 years. 19 were randomly allocated to the Bowen group and 18 to the control. The study highlights the challenges of recruitment and incorporating a true sham. The measures were found to be acceptable to participants and easy to administer. The data show some positive changes in these outcome measures but these must be interpreted with caution.

Conclusion

This study shows that with some modification, replication on a larger scale would be feasible. A larger appropriately powered RCT would allow the clinical and cost effectiveness to be formally evaluated.

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