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Australian manual therapy school makes Algarve its base

Australian derived manual healing system, Bowen Therapy, is finding wide acceptance in Portugal following the establishment of the Algarve as a European base for the International School of Bowen Therapy (ISBT).

ISBT’s Australian founders and directors, Lisa Black and Col Murray, have been teaching ISBT-Bowen Therapy in Europe for 13 years, with classes starting in Portugal five years ago.

Courses thus far have been in Lisbon, Porto and near Aveiro. The first Algarve course starts in Salema on July 7 and 8 with Lisa and Col presenting the course in English. Portuguese translation will be supplied if needed and workbooks will also be available in English, Portuguese and German.

Col Murray said: “ISBT-Bowen Therapy is a unique, minimalist manual healing system. It usually consists of a series of gentle ‘moves’ over specific muscle, tendon or ligament points to initiate relaxation of soft tissue. It is remarkably easy to learn, students being able to often work with many physical problems after one weekend of training.”


Bonus training with ISBT is that it is the only Bowen school outside Australia that teaches students to assess a patient’s issues and understand the underlying cause of problems. This, according to Lisa Black, enables therapists to take the guesswork out of a treatment and target treatments to suit individual patients.

“Usually Bowen students are taught to be technicians and they can have reasonable results doing that. But at ISBT we want our students to get better than ‘reasonable’ results and to do this, you need to be able to understand the root cause of a problem. If you don’t do this, you can be chasing symptoms around without actually overcoming a problem.

“It soon becomes obvious to students that this is logically the best way to approach a patient’s complaints. And it is far more satisfying for the therapist to understand what they are doing, why they are doing it and what is achieved. Patients too have the confidence that their problem is being adequately addressed,” Lisa said.


The ISBT Foundation course is a step by step process, each module a logical extension of the previous one, application and assessment skills being developed throughout the course. The course is held over five modules of two days each.

Modules are spread out to enable students to work with what they have learned, develop ideas and ask questions of their trainers. A case study component is included in the course with students discussing case studies in both group and on a one-to-one basis with teachers.

Students may apply for Module One only as an introductory course.

ISBT also plans on introducing its horse and small animal courses into Portugal, with leading international presenter Suzanne Baker conducting the courses. Suzanne has been selected as manual therapist for many international events, including the Asian Games and Beijing Olympics equestrian events. Module One of the human course is a prerequisite for the animal courses.

Further details about ISBT’s courses can be obtained by contacting [email protected] or by calling 282 695 055 or 910 379 087. The international website is

www.bowen-therapy.com and the Portuguese site is www.terapiabowenportugal.com