Thomas Ambrose Bowen was born on 18 April 1916 in Brunswick,
Victoria, Australia, a suburb of Melbourne. From the 1950s until his death on 27 October 1982 he developed his unique soft-tissue therapeutic technique that is now known as The Bowen Technique.
Tom Bowen was not formally trained in any medical or alternative therapy discipline. He stated simply that his work was 'a gift from God'.
It was through his general love of sports that Tom Bowen became interested in soft tissue manipulation.
One person who benefited from Tom Bowen's hands-on therapy was the wife of Stan Horwood, a friend of Bowen's from the Geelong Cement Works. The Horwoods credited Rene's recovery from a stroke to Bowen's hands-on therapy. In 1957, they invited him to use their home for seeing patients in the evenings after work. The front room of their home at 100 Autumn Street, Geelong, became Tom Bowen's first clinic.
Rene Horwood was receptionist and business manager in Bowen's practice. Rene together with Ossie Rentsch helped Tom Bowen develp some of his techniques. Rene died in September 2001 at the age of 93.
Ossie Rentsch was a massage therapist when he first met Tom Bowen at a December 1974 conference of naturopaths and natural therapists. As they shook hands, Ossie told Bowen, 'I would like to learn from you.' Ossie was surprised at his own words, since he didn't know anything about Bowen at the time. He was even more surprised when Bowen organized straight away with Rene for Ossie to observe at the clinic.
The trip between Ossie's home in Byaduk and the clinic in Geelong took over two hours in each direction, and Ossie's wife Elaine, who had suffered a severe neck injury as a young child, became Bowen's client. Events spiralled from there. In 1976 Elaine and Ossie opened a clinic of their own in Hamilton, Victoria.