Bowenwork for symptom management of women breast cancer survivors with lymphedema: A pilot study

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2016 Nov:25:142-149. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2016.09.004. Epub 2016 Sep 17.


Purpose: The objectives of this pilot study for women breast cancer survivors with lymphedema was 1) to evaluate recruitment rates, retention rates, adherence to Bowenwork (a noninvasive complementary therapy involving gentle muscle movements), home exercises, safety and comfort; 2) determine the effect of Bowenwork on quality of life (QOL), functional status, perceived pain, range of motion (ROM), arm/ankle circumference (to assess for localized and systemic changes).

Methods: Participants received 4 Bowenwork sessions with home exercises. Initial and post assessments included QOL, functional status, and pain. ROM, arm/ankle circumference and pain measures were recorded before each session.

Results: Twenty-one women enrolled in the study; 95% completion; adherence 100%; home exercises 95%; no adverse events. The intervention improved mental health (SF-36-MCS); breast cancer-related functional (FACT-B); increased ROM; reduced arm circumferences. P value set at <0.05.

Conclusions: The Bowenwork intervention was safe and acceptable for women breast cancer survivors with lymphedema.

Keywords: Breast neoplasms; Complementary; Lymphedema; Musculoskeletal manipulations.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lymphedema / complications*
  • Lymphedema / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Manipulations / methods*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Survivors