WHAT IS POLARITY?
The human body is an energy system like a battery or magnet. It has positive, negative and neuter poles and currents of energy that flow through them. Polarity therapy concerns itself with the flow of a very subtle high-frequency energy which in the East is called prana or chi, but which is perhaps best referred to in this context as life-energy.
To maintain good health the life energy must flow freely and easily through the entire body. There should be no areas of excess or depletion. The complete energy system must be balanced however and the balance looked for is not a static one but rather a dynamic uninterrupted cyclic flow of energy.
A positive approach
Polarity therapy uses four different approaches to balancing the life energy: body work, nutrition, exercise and counselling. A typical polarity session will consist of a body work treatment and a combination of work in the other three areas.
The polarity approach to health and well-being is a positive one that seeks to give the client a number of tools to use in maintaining a balanced way of life. It encourages self responsibility and ultimately greater self-esteem.
Polarity therapy was developed by a Dr. Randolph Stone. He was a chiropractor, a naturopath and an osteopath. Polarity therapy evolved out of his desire to discover the fundamental laws of healing - a unifying principal which would explain how all forms of healing work.
After decades of practice and study of the great medical traditions of Ayurveda in India and Chinese traditional medicine, he came to the conclusion that there is only one true disease, which is the disturbance or blockage to the flow of life energy. He believed that all pain and illness is a manifestation of energy imbalance, whereas pleasurable good health is the result of having an uninterrupted and abundant flow of life energy.
The body work of Polarity therapy consists of specific manipulations aimed at releasing tension and holding in the physical body and then balancing the life energy. It should not be confused with massage as the clients body is not stroked or kneaded rather a Polarity therapist will use different kinds of touch to interface with the body in different ways. These range from working with the hands off the body, through a moulded contact with body which is sometimes combined with gentle rocking that helps to release physical tension patterns and encourages the energy to move, to a deeper, more penetrating touch which can break up chronic, deep congestion in the tissues and enliven the area. As well as discovering where the body needs releasing at a physical level, the Polarity therapist is always tuning into the underlying energy patterns and flows and encouraging their movement. The therapist will sense where and how the body needs to be touched by a developed sensitivity of his/her own senses so that by listening, observing and palpating, the most effective mode of interaction can be employed to best effect.
For the client, the experience of a body work session can be varied. As the therapist works the client can experience deep relaxation, release of pain, greater range of movement, changes in breathing, shifts in the nervous system, sensations of heat or cold, spontaneous movement and the surfacing of memories which can also lead to a powerful emotionally expressive release of energy blockages characterised by an outburst of tears or laughter. Just as each client is unique so too each polarity session is different as both client and therapist adjust to the needs of the energy at any one time. As the energy which may have been locked in the body for a long time due to physical damage, fear or emotional holding releases, that body part and its associated experiences are accepted and re-integrated and profound healing takes place.
Diet and nutrition
Polarity Therapists recognise that the life force can not flow freely through a congested, toxic body and so one of the first things a Polarity therapist may recommend is that the client should follow a simple purifying diet and cleansing regime for a few days. It is not a starvation diet, the client can eat as much as they like of certain permitted foods. These consist mainly of fruit and vegetables (steamed or boiled) salads, soups, herbal teas and a morning cleansing drink.
The purpose of this diet is twofold. Firstly, it eliminates any harmful products that have built up inside the body due to poor quality digestion and secondly, it provides the body with good quality nutrients for rebuilding damage tissue.
Working with an understanding of the energetic qualities of food, a practitioner will often suggest modifications to a client's diet to support the energy balancing done during the body work session. Over and above any chemical or energy balancing of the diet, a positive mental attitudes towards eating is essential if the body is to digest food properly.
Polarity Yoga exercise
Polarity Yoga consist of a group of simple exercises which were developed by studying the movements and positions that we instinctively adopt when we wish to relax, ease pain in our bodies or wake ourselves up.
The postures are not held statically, but use gentle rocking and stretching movements combined with vocal expression. Indeed it is these features that distinguish Polarity Yoga from classical Hatha Yoga and other forms of exercise. The body movement and use of the voice stimulate the flow of life energy. A Polarity therapist will teach a client the most beneficial exercises for them. These exercises need only be done for a few minutes each day to be fully effective.
Mind and body
A common thread running through all the different aspects of Polarity therapy is the belief that life energy is the link between the mind and body. The mind can have a direct and dynamic effect on the life energy in the body, and Dr. Stone took this to it's logical conclusions when he said " as we think, so we are". If we think negative thoughts about ourselves or react negatively to our environment then our physical bodies will suffer. A polarity session will lead the client towards greater self awareness, understanding and self acceptance. It will encourage a more positive attitude towards their own body and to life itself.
As the life energy is so intimately related to body, mind and emotions, Polarity therapists are prepared to treat a wide spectrum of problems ranging from problems of a structural nature, physical aches and pains to deep seated problems of a more psychological or emotional nature.