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Vibromuscular Harmonization Technique


Ian Robins, former Chairman of Bowen Therapists European Register on VHT.

I found the VHT Course was going in the direction I felt Bowen ought to go. This was not just another advanced course showing advanced moves but a course designed to advance and improve myself as a therapist. I would recommend it to all Bowen practitioners’

Shirley Phillips, founding director of BTA, UK and certificated BTAA, Bowtech Instructor. ‘VHT is far superior to the old Bowen Technique that I was taught and trained to teach’

Dr Kevin Ryan a colleague and friend of Tom Bowen's made this observation.

No matter what we set out to learn we bring with us our previous knowledge and skills. It is to be expected that six (six of Tom’s students) should come away with six interpretations of the master’s work... The difference would have been slight had each of us learned from Tom at the same time . . . Remember that he did not wake up one morning 50 years ago, suddenly inspired with ‘the Bowen Technique’ as you may know it. His road to Damascus extended over some 35 years and is littered with thrown away ideas, new pathways, additions and subtractions, always learning and improving how and what he did best. Indeed on the final morning I spent with him prior to his admission to hospital, he demonstrated a further change to his treatment of one particular lower back presentation. Considering the dynamic nature of his work and his delicate palpatory and manipulative skills. It is little wonder that the point of evolution at which each of us worked with Tom influenced our interpretation greatly...It is worth remembering that Tom’s work and technique was in a sense not complete at his death, just as every body therapy modality is not completed by the loss of the originator. Each of us who come in touch with his approach has the opportunity to continue its development as we consciously or unconsciously incorporate it into what we already do or vice versa.'

With these words in mind IASH students are encouraged to think for themselves, to come out of the little boxes, mentally and physically that others would keep them in. On an IASH clinic in Hawaii Dominique Shelton a respected body worker on Maui passed a remark to the effect that sometimes less is best does not work and the body needs to be confused and stimulated to find its way out of this disorder in order to reach homeostasis’. From that remark the Vibromuscular Harmonization TechniqueTM was born.

What definitive points makes The Vibromuscular Harmonization TechniqueTM stand alone with its own identity? 

The operating principles and defining guidlines of VHT are:

  • VHT is holistic in that it addresses the whole body supported by any additional work in an area of concern or as a response to what is presented.
  • VHT is a no- invasive, non-diagnostic, hands-on discipline. The practitioner observes the client and responds to what the client presents but there is no attempt at explaining or finding meaning in any particular set of conditions
  • VHT is a superficial focused cross fibre, soft tissue manipulation which makes use of skin and soft tissue tension followed closely by a muscular recoil.
  • VHT soft tissue manipulation involves two sequential aspects: a ‘challenge’ to stimulate the tissue and to promote client awareness followed by a move which allows the tissue to recoil and return to its natural position.
  • The VHT ‘challenge’ is unique in that it involves skin slack being drawn across the origin, insertion or belly of the muscle, tendon or ligament, to its edge, where a focused increase in tension distorts the soft tissue setting up an equal and opposite counter acting resistance in it..
  • The VHT move itself consists of a cross fibre return movement ‘through’ or across the challenged muscle so that it is stressed to a point where it recoils and returns to its correct place in a ‘convulsion’ or vibration at its own predetermined natural resonant frequency. The practitioner immediately removing any contact so that the muscle is completely free to vibrate at its natural resonant frequency, which will be governed by the condition of the client at that time and place.
  • The VHT practitioner will use no more pressure or stress in the mechanics of performing the move than that required to effect its perfect execution.
  • Both VHT challenge and move are performed using the tips of the fingers or thumbs on the skin surface with an inward focus. The motive power for the challenge comes from an Aikido breath flow utilizing the whole body mechanics in a ‘Tai Chi’ like fashion.
  • VHT is not classified as a therapy, it is a gift, an offer, a suggestion to re-educate the client’s body. The clients body is therefore free to accept or reject any or all of the address as the inner wisdom feels appropriate. The practitioner’s sole aim and outcome is to present the VHT move with ‘accuracy, integrity and focused intention. The practitioner will never force any experience upon the client.
  • VHT involves choreographed patterns of moves with the freedom of flexibility and variation with no set pressures, speeds moves or sequences. These are open to choice according to the condition as presented by the client and to the intuition of the experienced practitioner.
  • VHT practitioner’s aims are to harmonize with the client, without sacrificing their physical, emotional or mental integrity.
  • VHT practitioners unless they are qualified licensed medical practitioners do not make any form of diagnosis, and do not make any claims to diagnose. If a VHT practitioner observes any unusual condition or a client complains of any condition the practitioner will instruct the client to seek medical examination and diagnosis from qualified medical professionals.

SUMMARY DEFINITION 1 : VHT is the missing link between Energy and Bodywork.

SUMMARY DEFINITION 2: VHT is holistic non-diagnostic energy discipline consisting of a series of non-invasive procedures performed over connective soft tissue which assists and re-educates the body in finding balance and achieving the ideal state of homeostasis, wherein its innate wisdom is encouraged to work at its maximum in addressing positively any problem or disease that it may or may not have.


The Vibromuscular Harmonization TechniqueTM Training Syllabus and costs as at July 2002

Foundation Seminar   4 Days (32 hours)   Cost £325 US$510 Certificated

Advanced Seminar 4 Days (32 hours) Cost £300 US$485 Certificated

Tutorials (2 minimum at 4 hours each ) £25 UK only

Practitioners Seminar 4 Days (32 hours) Cost £325 US$485

On completion of the Practitioners Seminar the novice will be thoroughly assessed and be required to sit a written examination. On successful completion of the examination a diploma will be issued.

IA one day introduction seminar with a tutor is available in UK for novices who wish to familiarize themselves with the basics of the technique. Details can be obtained through the national coordinators.

Bowen practitioners who have completed at least a basic course in Bowen with any school will be accredited 32 hours towards achieving practitioner status .

VHT Participants in the Vibromuscular Harmonization Technique© course will receive a fully professional manual and course notes. Backup refresher workshops are held every three to six months and the course is affiliated with the Bowen Practitioner’s Association (Scotland).. Insurance is available. Upon completion of all courses a certificate is issued. On successful completion of the assessment and written examination a practitioners diploma will be issued.

VHT Comments by the experts:

Arthur Elliott, secretary Bowen Practitioners Association

I have seen the results of the Bowen Technique as well as the results of VHT. I can honestly say that while Bowen is fantastic VHT appears to work on and improve conditions which have been completely ignored by Bowen.

Madeline Stringer BTAA, Bowtech, chairperson of the Accredited Bowen Therapists of Ireland (ABTI)

I thought your course was given very professionally, that VHT seems to me (and the other ABTI members) to be a very useful version of Bowen. Many of my clients prefer it as it seems so much more dynamic. The only real test is whether the information is imparted well, is factual, and the end result useful, useable and effective. VHT is all three.

Mike, a wind surfer in Hawaii suffered from long term pain in his neck and shoulder:

‘I had tried Bowen on a number of occasions and it had lifted most of the pain. However I had one treatment only from Jock with this new stuff and two hours later the lot was gone. I’m sold on it.’

Mark Lester Bowtech and BTAA trained Bowen Practitioner since 1995:

‘Having been trained in the early days of Bowen in the UK and had good Results, I was slightly skeptical that someone who had been practicing the technique for less time than me had developed a new and better approach to the technique. My skepticism was misplaced however. By the end of my first day of training in VHT, I knew I had been guided to something that was in a different class. I use that statement without intending to disparage the undoubted effectiveness of the Bowen ‘gentle touch’ approach, but in my opinion VHT fills in the gaps left by the Bowen technique as taught by other instructors. This technique incorporates moves for every part of the body, the precision is higher, and the absurd dogmas overcome by the development of VHT.’

Felicity Biffen , Bowen Practitioner from London:

'I fell in love with the Bowen Technique but was amazed when I started using VHT. I know it is hard to say because Bowen is so good, but now I only use VHT. I like it and the clients really do appreciate it more.’

Dawn Marshall, VHT Practitioner Zimbabwe and Ireland:

‘My first introduction to Bowen was through an accident I had. After learning Bowen (The Gentle Touch) I practiced it for over a year before I learned VHT. Since then VHT is the one I use nearly all of the time. Bowen is fantastic but VHT is out of this world. In my opinion it is more intense, it seems to give the body a wake up call. In the past 10 months I have not had one client ho has not had some relief from VHT. All my clients think it is fantastic.’

Steve, a Bowtech trained Practitioner in Hawaii:

' It seems to have a positive effect on just about everything other than a prolapsed disc.'

Dr Ted Vander Noot, VHT Practitioner in London:

‘After having qualified in Bowen-The Gentle Touch, and studying two other modalities, it was a real joy to come to the Vibromuscular Harmonization Technique (VHT) workshop. This is definitely the next evolutionary stage in the development of Tom Bowen’s work. It’s not just a set of new moves, it’s a whole new approach to addressing the client holistically. And you get the whole system in one course – no “secrets” held back for later, more “advanced’ courses. Jock and Ivana are wonderful people to spend time with, they are considerate & effective instructors. Both have a real gift for innovative Body Work. What I have learned from them has been of significant benefit in the other modalities I also practice. I would recommend VHT to anyone without reservation.’

Hannah Shine, ECBS trained Practitioner London

‘VHT is a modality that Tom Bowen would have been proud of inspiring. The results achieved are most impressive and profound. It is a magical way of harmonizing the body and all Bowen practitioners already achieving wonderful results will be quite amazed at how much more is achievable!’

Linda Heinson a Bowen Practitioner and Licensed Body Worker in California:

' I very rarely use the old style Bowen now. This VHT has a far stronger effect and the clients really love it'

Carle Erik Farnes, Bowen Practitioner and Licensed Complementary Health Practitioner in Norway

‘I watched Jock perform VHT one of our country’s leading body workers. He was stunned. The next day he called me to tell me it was the best holistic treatment he had ever had.

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