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Natural Awakenings South Central Pennsylvania

Carlisle Bowenwork Center for Holistic Health and Wellness

May 26, 2017 09:58PM ● By Kate Morgan

Nancy Bittinger

Nancy Bittinger is accustomed to people thinking what she does is a little crazy at first. Once they’ve had a Bowenwork treatment, however, they don’t think she’s crazy anymore. Bowenwork is a form of bodywork that originated in Australia. The practitioner uses light, minimal moves on the body, coupled with long pauses and periods of stillness, to coax the body’s own healing mechanisms into action. Bowenwork has a wide variety of applications, ranging from physical injuries and postural imbalances to illness, fatigue or stress-related conditions. Most importantly, Bittinger says, it works.

"I started as a massage therapist almost 25 years ago, and I first read about Bowenwork about six years ago,” she says. “It didn’t make any sense to me and I didn’t understand it, but it piqued my interest enough that I wanted to go get a treatment. I haven’t stopped learning since.” Bittinger notes, “The quick explanation is if you think of a triangle of ways to get rid of pain, massage and chiropractic are the first two points. This is the third point of the triangle. I believe it’s way more effective than massage therapy.”

Bittinger opened her own practice, Carlisle Bowenwork, and clients immediately began to realize the benefits of the gentle practice. “One of my very first clients was a professor,” she says. “He came in because I had a Groupon online. He said he had knee pain. I give him his treatment, he leaves, and he comes back a week later and says, ‘I need to talk to you.’ He says, ‘I was on that table and I thought you were crazy, but three hours after I left here I realized I had none of the knee pain I’ve had for 10 years.’”

Bittinger says her work is so effective because of the assessment she performs to locate patterns of tension in her clients’ bodies. By identifying and relieving the root causes of pain, she can use Bowenwork to cure—not just treat—ongoing issues all over the body. “It gets to the core of the problem,” she says. “With massage therapy, I was chasing the pain. If it hurts, I rub it. I was only working on symptoms. But now, because I’m using the assessment to figure out where a problem is beginning, I’m fixing the problem.”

At Carlisle Bowenwork, Bittinger now employs an entire staff that has realized the benefits of  and been trained in the practice of Bowenwork. She’s even begun teaching the method herself. The community, she says, has embraced her practice, and she encourages anyone experiencing discomfort to give Bowenwork a shot.

“People are hesitant to try new things, especially when it’s something ‘alternative,’” she says. “I’m trying to bridge that gap. Once people have tried this and it’s worked for them, they start telling everyone they can about it. I have people come to me constantly and say, ‘I’ve tried everything.’ Well you haven’t tried this; and this will work.”

Carlisle Bowenwork is located at 200 S. Spring Garden St., in Carlisle. For more information, call 717-386-8279, or visit

October 2019