Advanced Massage Modalities: Polarity therapy

By Erika Marcoux, MA, RPP, RYT

Polarity Therapy has many principles and four of them are energy, chakras, elements, and touch. Polarity Therapy is a profound healthcare system that uses gentle hands-on work for relaxation, emotional well-being, and relief from physical pain. The basis of Polarity Therapy, founded by Randolph Stone, is in Chinese medicine and India’s system of medicine called Ayurveda.  The word Ayurveda is Sanskrit that literally translates as the “science of life.”

The primary idea of Polarity Therapy is that the body has a life force that circulates within it to perform vital life functions called chi or prana. This energy within the human body is an electromagnetic force and when this energy is not moving properly, disease can be the result. Based on my studies and practice, I recognize our bodies as an energetic system in constant and dynamic balance.

The first Polarity Therapy principle is energy, and I believe that all our life processes depend on how we manage this energy. If stress, accident, or emotional upset block the energy in the body, then pain and disease can be the result. The concept of the body as energy and energetic blocks relates to the observations of several prominent psychotherapists. These include Wilhelm Reich, Sigmund Freud’s assistant; Alexander Lowen, a student of Reich’s; and David Boadella. Reich regarded prana as orgone energy, which is the creative force in nature, and Lowen and Boadella observed specific movements of energy in the body.

The second Polarity Therapy principle is the chakra system. As a polarity therapist, I balance the energy along the spinal cord, which contains seven energy centers. The word chakra is Sanskrit for wheel and refers to a spinning sphere of bioenergetic activity that radiates from the major nerve ganglia branching from the spinal column. One can visualize these centers as spinning wheels of energy that receive, assimilate, and express prana or life force energy. There are seven chakras stacked in a column of energy that spans from the base of the spine to the top of the head. I will discuss the first five, including the root, sacral, solar plexus, heart, and throat chakras. The Eastern understanding is that the function of the chakras influences health.

The third Polarity Therapy principle is the elemental system. In Ayurveda, the first five chakras, starting from the base, relate to five elements that include earth, water, fire, air, and ether (or space) respectively. Ayurveda was an advanced health care system during its inception and based on the model of nature reduced to the smallest parts, which modern science has confirmed. However, nature was limited to these five elements since they were ascertainable by the human senses. Since all of nature in which we live is made up of these five elements, they inevitably influence one another and therefore influence our present constitution. The five elements of Ayurveda exist in nature and make up the body tissues, organs, and psychological aspects.

The fourth Polarity Therapy principle is touch. Receiving Polarity Therapy helps a client’s overall health and well-being by increasing circulation of blood, body fluids, and prana. This method increases immune system function, organ system function, and reduces pain. Polarity Therapy increases a client’s awareness of their body, emotions, spirit, and mind. Often clients are able to reduce the frequency in which they become ill because they become more in touch with their body’s own warning system and are educated on what to do when their body is under stress. Polarity Therapy not only identifies the stress holding patterns, it will educate the body in returning to balance before it becomes a major physical problem. Touch is vital to every human being and we need touch throughout our entire lives.