With the help of his secretary, Rene Horwood, Tom continued to develop his technique, and for many years, after they had finished their 'day jobs', they ran a clinic from Rene and her husband Stan’s house in Geelong. Eventually they started accepting donations and were then able to move their work into a retired doctor’s clinic where they could work with Tom's technique full-time.
Tom was a very special person, holding free clinics for children, people with disabilities and community service workers. Children were always treated for free, and twice a month, special clinics were held on Saturday mornings for children with disabilities. Saturday afternoons were set aside for injured footballers – often treated pitch side, or if further treatment was necessary, back at the clinic on Saturday evenings.
Tom and Rene worked together tirelessly to help people from all walks of life, with amazing results. As an acknowledgement for treating the Victoria police at all hours of the day and night, Tom was made an honorary member of the Geelong Crime Car Squad. He also attended Geelong jail to work with injured inmates.
Many physical therapists came to observe this gentle, ‘different’ therapy at Tom and Rene’s busy and effective clinic, trying to interpret what they saw with a structured, patterned approach. Among them, and affectionately called ‘Tom’s boys’, Keith Davis, Kevin Neave, Nigel Love, Oswald Rentsch, Romney Smeeton and Kevin Ryan were the only people acknowledged by Tom to have a good understanding of his work. After two and a half years of studying his work, Tom allowed Ossie Rentsch document his moves and, with Rene’s help, produced a true representation of the original technique, which until then had been known only to Tom and Rene.
Dedicated to preserving Tom's technique, Ossie and his wife Elaine started using his method in their clinic in Hamilton. To ensure Tom's technique was taught in it's original form Ossie and Elaine went on to found the Bowen Therapy Academy of Australia in 1987, eventually naming the technique Bowtech – The Bowen Technique.
Since then, Ossie and Elaine have introduced Bowtech to many people in many countries and are now supported in this teaching by dedicated instructors who are accredited by, and registered with, the Academy.
Romney Smeeton and Kevin Ryan continued Tom’s free childrens' clinic for 12 years after his death.
Thomas Ambrose Bowen
1916 – 1982
Tom’s parents, originally from Wolverhampton, emigrated to Australia in the early 1900’s. Tom left school at the age of 14 and, after various labouring jobs he followed his father into the carpentry trade. After serving in World War ll, Tom became interested in finding new ways to alleviate human suffering and began studying books and watching how people moved to gain a deep understanding of the muscular structure.
Although Tom had no formal training or qualifications in any of the known therapeutic disciplines, he intuitively knew where there were imbalances in the body and where problems originated. Using his ability to ‘see’ what was wrong he developed a gentle technique to address the issues.