Hong Kong neck pain study yields positive results

Hong Kong neck pain study involving ISBT-Bowen Therapy yields positive results

We recently had some great news for research and the efficacy of Bowen when a long-awaited neck pain study, delayed due to COVID, was finally published.

The study examined the effect of Bowen Therapy in the treatment of myofascial neck pain in a randomised, single-blinded clinical trial. The authors are all International School of Bowen Therapy (ISBT) students working in public hospitals in Hong Kong. You can read the full study online here.

Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) is the most common diagnosis in patient presenting with chronic non-specific neck pain. It affects people’s work performance, productivity, and quality of life. To date, there is little research evaluating the effectiveness of non-invasive techniques, such as ISBT-Bowen Therapy in managing neck MPS.

To investigate the effectiveness of Bowen therapy in managing myofascial pain syndrome with symptoms lasting for more than six weeks. The study will also examine the long-term effect of ISBT-Bowen Therapy on functional enhancement, quality of life, and physical and mental wellbeing.

This is a prospective, single-blinded randomized controlled trial (RCT). A total of 90 myofascial neck pain patients were recruited and randomized to receive 8 sessions of ISBT-Bowen Therapy over a 12-week period (n = 45) or to continue their usual conventional treatment (n = 45). Pressure pain threshold (PPT), cervical range of motion (CROM), numerical rating pain scores, Neck Disability Index (NDI), SF-12 Health Survey (SF-12) Version 2, Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item (GAD7), and Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ9) were measured at baseline, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks after baseline.

When compared with the control group, PPT significantly increased after ISBT-Bowen Therapy at 12 and 24 weeks. CROM on flexion, lateral flexion, and rotation were greatly improved at 12 weeks after Bowen Therapy, and maintained at 24 weeks, except left lateral flexion. NDI, GAD7, and PHQ9 were all reduced after Bowen Therapy at both 12 and 24 weeks. Both Physical and Mental Component Summary scores of SF-12 were improved after Bowen therapy at 12 and 24 weeks.

This study confirmed the efficacy of ISBT-Bowen Therapy for patients with MPS. It alleviates pain, improves functional outcomes, enhances quality of life, and relieves mood symptoms.

Participants in the study
Chee L.A Ying, MBBS, FANZCA, Winnie Samy, MSc, and Pik Yu Chen, MN
Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care
Tsz M.A Lee, MSc, Lap Y.F Au (Frederick), MSc, and Chi H.D Siu, OTD, MPH
Department of Occupational Therapy, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong.


Thank you to Lisa Black and Col Murray of the International School of Bowen Therapy for providing the information on the Hong Kong study. ISBT website: https://www.bowen-therapy.com/


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