“So, what IS Polarity Therapy?”
By Betsy Powell-Pelrine, LPN, LMT, RPP, RPT03, RYT-200
Polarity Therapist and Educator
“So, what is polarity therapy?” you ask. Well let me tell you this question certainly comes up a LOT! And the answer to this question gets explored often in the course of training for polarity therapists. There are plenty of polarity therapists out there and the work can be profound. But exactly what is it and how does it work?
Polarity therapy is an approach to wellness that includes diet considerations, movement in the form of polarity yoga, and polarity therapy bodywork. Dr. Randolph Stone, an osteopath and naturopath developed polarity therapy and his completed works were published in the mid 1980’s. The American Polarity Therapy Association or APTA is the professional organization that certifies professionals and upholds the standards of practice and code of ethics.
Polarity therapy is extremely effective in getting more of the life we want and works directly with the all the anatomical systems of the body as well as the subtle energy fields. The theory behind polarity therapy as recognized by Dr. Stone is that energy has a positive (+) and negative (-) pole and when these poles are connected there is a neutral flow. Energy “steps down” into form as elements becoming denser: ether, air, fire, water, and earth. These elements make up the entire physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual being. Dr Stone identified that energy in motion is health, and stagnated energy is dis-ease. This movement or lack of movement affects “subtle energy patterns” throughout the being as well as their relationships and reflexes to one another.
Sessions can be received with clothing on and typically last about 90 minutes or so including the intake and exit interviews. Clients come for sessions for relief of various symptoms such as stress and tension, lack of motivation, trouble finding a good job or relationship, etc. For example; a client comes with complaints of headache, slow digestion, and is consistently angry with her boss and frustrated that life is not more fulfilling but can’t seem to make any positive changes. The polarity therapist will recognize what elements are contracted or not moving, in this case fire, and use a variety of bodywork techniques during the session to create expansion, movement, and balance in the being and then recommend foods and yoga postures that will enhance the continued neutral flow.
For myself, polarity therapy has supported me throughout the last 13 years of my life of being a single mom, attracting the right mate, staying positive and focused in good and bad times, integrating the story of my childhood into positive and meaningful experiences, and attracting my right livelihood. I go for sessions when I feel stuck or am starting something new. Because of my sessions I better know myself and in what direction I’m going and I can remain more balanced in the face of life’s changes.
Sessions focus quite a bit on the nervous system so let’s explore that a little. The central nervous system (CNS) includes the brain and spinal cord and lives in the skull and spine, completely protected by bone and bathed in cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). The CNS is responsible for receiving and integrating internal and external sensations and responding to that stimulus. The peripheral nervous system (PNS) is all the nerves and nervous tissue outside of the CNS. The PNS includes the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest). Information gets to the brain by way of electrical-chemical messages from nerves and the spinal cord, then the brain processes the information and sends out an electrical-chemical responding message to organs, glands, and muscles. Such as; I feel hungry and I eat my lunch. The trouble comes when we ignore our own signals and “push through” which creates “stuckness” in our experience. If we continue to ignore our body’s signals for long periods of time we eventually experience pain and dis-ease.
Polarity sessions activate the parasympathetic nervous system to relax the client and include work on the head and spine, and skeletal alignment. This allows the entire nervous system to better do its job of sensing and integrating information and sending out proper response signals. When the nervous system is freed up all the tissues of the body have the opportunity to rest and repair. We can begin to really hear and respond to our inner signals.
The brain is also where our perceptions, attitudes, and beliefs come from which are completely effected by our “story’ or the thoughts and memories we have and what we feel is absolutely true. It’s like a filter that might be clear and clean and it might be clogged and dirty. Think about it: every stimulus creates a unique electrical-chemical response that alters cells, tissues, organs, organ systems and yes, the entire being that are all filtered through beliefs and attitudes. Your reaction to my statement is creating an electro-chemical response in your body right now that is affected by your perceptions. Receiving sessions can help clear up or “repair” our thinking as clients often have “ah-ha” moments during and after sessions. Imagine life with fewer negative thoughts and emotions running the show and how that might affect overall health.
Polarity is wonderful as a stand-alone therapy and works very well when integrated with other modalities such as massage, energy work, talk therapy, and psychiatry. I have seen the lasting benefits with my clients and with myself over the years. One of the best compliments I have received was by a client who was amazed what one polarity session was able to clear up that decades of talk therapy never quite took care of. How cool is that?
Try it for yourself. Find a good polarity therapist and see what adding this modality to your wellness routine does for you and your healthy life!
Betsy has a private practice in Marshfield, Massachusetts. Contact Betsy at email@example.com Cell phone is 774 487 1401 or find her on FaceBook.