Concussion recovery Bowen

Can Bowen therapy help with concussion recovery?

Just been told you have a concussion?


In a consensus statement on concussion in sport, from the 6th International Conference on Concussion in Sport– Amsterdam, October 2022, it was agreed that Sport-related concussion is a traumatic brain injury caused by a direct blow to the head, neck or body resulting in an impulsive force being transmitted to the brain that occurs in sports and exercise-related activities. [1]

It is an injury to the brain, resulting in a disturbance of brain function. It causes short-lived neurological impairment and the symptoms may evolve over the hours or days following the injury. [2]

In my research and experience working with footballers and clients this year, concussion recovery varies greatly from person to person.

People’s ability to bounce back like they normally would is altered after a concussion. Meeting recovery expectations when there are return-to-play guidelines in sports is a challenge, and when a player with a concussion doesn’t progress to that timeline they can find that difficult to process and challenging.
In the Australian Sports Commission ‘Concussion and Brain Health Position Statement 2023’, it states that children and adolescents, take longer to recover from concussion than adults.  A more conservative approach should be taken with those aged 18 years or younger.

The Graded Return to Sport Framework (GRTSF) requires those aged 18 or under to be symptom-free for 14 days prior to medical clearance to return to contact or high-risk activity. [3]

Recovery varies for multiple reasons, these concussion modifiers influence the symptoms and severity of a concussion and the subsequent recovery time.
As you can see in the table below there are a number of factors that can play a part in how your body reacts to an impact resulting in a concussion.
A concussion often includes random groupings of symptoms including confusion, disorientation, loss of equilibrium, noticeably poor coordination, impaired vision, slurred speech, vomiting, attention deficit, concentration difficulties, forgetfulness, jaw irregularities, cervical tension, nausea, sleep disorders, light and sound intolerance, irritability, lethargy and more.
Concussion Modifiers
Factor Modifier
Symptoms Number,
Duration(>10 days),
Signs Prolonged loss of consciousness (>1 min),
Sequelae Concussive convulsions
Temporal Frequency—repeated concussions over time
Timing—injuries close together in time
Recency’—recent concussion or traumatic brain injury
Age Child and adolescent (<18 years old)
Comorbidities and premorbidities Migraine, depression or other mental health disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, sleep disorders
Medication Psychoactive drugs, anticaogulants
Behaviour Dangerous style of play
Sport High risk activity, contact and collision sport, high sporting level

Makdissi M, Davis G, Jordan B, et al
Revisiting the modifiers: how should the evaluation and management of acute concussions differ in specific groups?
British Journal of Sports Medicine 2013;47:314-320. [4]

Bowen Concussion Recovery Protocol

Bowen concussion recovery has been used for 17 years to get athletes back to feeling normal, back to school, work and sport. It was developed by Bowen Practitioner Craig Mattimoe in the USA and used regularly to treat sports concussions in the US and British Columbia Canada. It is currently considered the only therapeutic treatment for concussion.

The protocol addresses various areas affected by head trauma including but not limited to; the visual system, neuromuscular dysfunction, blood flow and circulation, lymphatics, and structural imbalances. [5]

When treating players this year they have described their concussion symptoms in the following ways

  • Feel strange
  • Don’t feel myself
  • Foggy
  • Slow
  • Lacking concentration
  • Brain sloshing about
  • I can’t explain it, I just know I’m not quite right. 
  • I am not up to driving
  • Can’t focus
  • I was feeling good, then I went for a run then I started to get headachey
  • Sad for no reason
  • Crying easily

There is Hope

The Bowen treatments address the systems above and help speed up the resolution of the poor brain function caused by the injury.

The gentle nature of the Bowen movements, their specific locations and time between movements all play a positive roles in providing stimulus to your body that promotes healing that fits within the rest type of recovery that concussions generally require.

This is how players and clients have described themselves after receiving the Bowen Recovery Protocol treatment.

  • Clearer

  • Head more solid

  • Sinus pressure cleared

  • Feel better

  • More like myself

  • Balanced

Treatments can commence after waiting 72 hrs post-injury, which generally allows time for medical diagnosis when warranted and a full expression of symptoms.
For some people 1-2 treatments may be all that are required, however, this can depend on the time since injury and the number of symptoms that are experienced. More chronic or long-term cases may take a number of treatments for full resolution. 
Considerations for time to recovery can be pre-existing conditions, stress, gender-female and if dizzyness was an initial or primary symptom. [6]
Upon full resolution of symptoms, I strongly recommend following your relevant return-to-play guidelines which usually include a medical clearance from your GP. 
Check out other ways Bowen can help you and your body here.

Bowen Concussion Protocol Practitioner

Find out more about Bowen and Concussion HERE at the Bowen Association of Australia

The current advice from the Australian Sports Commission HERE

The AFL Return to play guidelines for Community Sport HERE

[1] Patricios, J. S., Schneider, K. J., Dvorak, J., Ahmed, O. H., Blauwet, C., Cantu, R. C., Davis, G. A., Echemendia, R. J., Makdissi, M., McNamee, M., Broglio, S., Emery, C. A., Feddermann-Demont, N., Fuller, G. W., Giza, C. C., Guskiewicz, K. M., Hainline, B., Iverson, G. L., Kutcher, J. S., … Meeuwisse, W. (2023). Consensus statement on concussion in sport: the 6th International Conference on Concussion in Sport-Amsterdam, October 2022. British Journal of Sports Medicine, 57(11), 695–711. 

[2] Aspetar – Sports concussion. (n.d.). Retrieved September 4, 2023, from sports-concussion

[3] Concussion and Brain Health Position Statement 2023. (2023). Australian Sports Commission

[4] Makdissi, M., Davis, G., Jordan, B., Patricios, J., Purcell, L., & Putukian, M. (n.d.). Revisiting the modifiers: how should the evaluation and management of acute concussions differ in specific groups?

[5] Mattimoe, C. (2005). Bowen as Sports Medicine-Safely Resolving Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS).

[6] Post Concussion Treatment – Victoria BC – Concussion Resolution – Concussion Resolution. (n.d.). Retrieved September 8, 2023, from

Other Interesting Articles/Research

Queensland, T. (n.d.). THE BRAIN SERIES IS BROUGHT TO YOU The BRAIN Issue One.

Kara, S., Crosswell, H., Forch, K., Cavadino, A., McGeown, J., & Fulcher, M. (2020). Less Than Half of Patients Recover Within 2 Weeks of Injury after a Sports-Related Mild Traumatic Brain Injury: A 2-Year Prospective Study. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, 30(2), 96–101.

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