Polarity therapy is a holistic method of healing which focuses on the balancing of energy within the body. Polarity therapy is based on the belief that energy flows through the body along five pathways to five energy centers along the spine. These five pathways correspond to the five elements of Ayurdevic tradition (space, fire, water, air, and earth). Polarity therapists believe that these flows must be free and balanced to maintain optimal physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Energy flows may become blocked due to unhealthy lifestyles, trauma, and a lack of self-confidence, and blocked energy flows may lead to further issues.
The History of Polarity Therapy
Polarity therapy has its origins in the Ayurdevic tradition of India. Seeking to incorporate the traditional healing methods of India and China with the modern science of electromagnetic fields, polarity therapy was invented by American chiropractor and osteopath Randolph Stone. Stone came across the idea of polarity therapy in the 1920s while struggling with the fact that Western medicine was unable to explain why applying direct manual pressure (massage treatment) was helpful in chiropractic treatment. Stone studied Indian Ayurdevic medicine, which eventually provided the foundation for polarity therapy. Along the way, Stone also examined Chinese and Indian methods of acupuncture, acupressure, and herbal medicine. At the end of his research, Stone decided that medicine’s central universal principle, no matter where the medicinal method originated, was that of bipolar life force.
Stone returned to private practice in 1948, and started to write about his findings. Stone finished writing around 1970, and his work was continued by his students through the 1970s. The American Polarity Therapy Association (APTA) was founded in 1984 by a group of practitioners from Colorado. The APTA requires over 615 hours of study in bodywork, exercise, nutrition, anatomy, communication skills, professional ethics, and energy evaluation in order to become a registered polarity practitioner.
How Polarity Therapy is Practiced
The theory of polarity therapy begins with the principle that positive energy flows outward and negative energy flows inward. While Stone did not believe there was any sort of good or bad to each type of energy, he did believe that the particular energy makeup of an individual played a part in determining the physical and mental characteristics of that person.
The five elements of Ayurdevic tradition (earth, air, wind, water, and fire) are thought to each correspond with a bodily organ, a bodily function, and a quality of energy. The balance of each element (also known as a “chakra” in the Eastern tradition) determines an individual’s personality and health, and is responsible for the unique nature of every individual. For example, if an individual’s air chakra is dominant, that person will have strong intellectual powers as long as they are able to stay balanced and keep a healthy flow of energy. If the chakra is cut off from energy, it would, in theory, result in an illness in the respiratory system.
Polarity therapists believe that they can detect in their patients how their chakras are constituted and balanced. Then, through hand movements and touch, they will correct any imbalances or disruptive flows. After the therapy, the polarity therapist often prescribes a detailed diet and list of exercises that the patient should practice in order to keep a balanced set of chakras.
How Polarity Therapy Works
A session with a polarity therapist begins as patients are asked about their medical and psychiatric history, and what they hope to get out of the therapy sessions. During the interview, the polarity therapist takes verbal cues from the patient to help identify the nature of their chakra balance. Then, the patient is asked to remove any objects such as keys or a cell phone that might interrupt the energy flow within the body (they would disrupt the flow of magnetic energy). Next, the patient usually lies down as the polarity therapist passes their hands (used as magnetic transmitters of energy) over the patient’s body.
First, the polarity therapist cradles the patient’s head, moving down the body to detect areas of polarization. Then the therapist uses their hands to touch the body and change balances. A session may involve the touching and massage of the head, neck and spine, ears, hands, feet, and other parts of the body. Different touches indicate the different types of balance that the therapist is attempting to achieve.
The goal of the polarity therapist is to remove any energy blockages or imbalances by either placing the hands above the body or using light massaging touches. During this therapy, the therapist is attempting to use positive and negative polarities within the body to balance the body’s flow. Even for the same patient, no two therapy sessions are exactly alike, as the balances will always be different at different times. Most polarity therapy sessions last between sixty and ninety minutes.
Patients report feeling deeply relaxed, even entering a dreamlike state, during polarity therapy sessions. They also often feel more free to share emotions, past experiences, and current problems than they would normally.
Some polarity therapists also teach polarity yoga, which uses stretching to balance the body’s energy flows. Polarity therapists often recommend a cleansing diet full of fruits and vegetables, and the diet is often vegetarian.
Polarity therapy may be dangerous for persons with the following conditions: deep vein thrombosis, epilepsy, serious psychiatric illness, shingles, or varicose veins.
Conditions Benefited by Polarity Therapy
Polarity therapy may be used to achieve deep relaxation and emotional release. Currently, the National Institutes of Health in the United States in conducting a trial to determine if polarity therapy may be more effective at reducing stress, anxiety, and depression than taking breaks. The study is of Native American dementia patients.
Patients report decreased pain and increased flexibility due to polarity therapy.
Other conditions that polarity therapists often treat: arthritis, backache, carpal tunnel syndrome, cystitis, digestive problems, eating disorders, excessive sweating, gout, hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), kidney stones, menopause, migraine, neuralgia, obesity, painful periods, peptic ulcers, pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS), psoriasis, recover from surgery, repetitive strain injuries (RSI), sinusitis, sports injuries, stress, toothache, and water retention.
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