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Does Polarity Therapy Really Work?

Parul Solanki
Polarity therapy is an alternative healing treatment which works with the human energy flow to calm the mind, body and spirit. While the advocates of this therapy claim it can cure a lot of health problems, this story checks whether that is true or not.
"True health is the harmony of life within us, consisting of peace of mind, happiness and well-being. It is not merely a question of physical fitness, but is rather a result of the soul finding free expression through the mind and body of the individual."
~ Dr. Randolph Stone
Founder of Polarity Therapy
The general population views healing as something that is "done to us", either by medical intervention or with the aid of drugs. Unlike standard concepts of medical treatment, alternative healing procedures, like the polarity therapy, are ingrained with the idea that healing comes from within. 
Developed by Dr, Randolph Stone, an osteopath/naturopath/chiropractor, the polarity therapy aims to balance the mind, body and spirit by ensuring that there is free and uninterrupted energy flow within the body. The ancient Chinese referred to this energy flow as 'chi ' while in the ancient Indian Ayurveda it is known as 'prana '. 
According to this therapy, the energy flow is existent everywhere in nature, including the human body. When the energy flow functions in its natural state, and circulates without any intervention, it ensures good health of a person.
In contrast to this, when there are blockages in the energy flow due to some health problems, poor nutrition or emotional reasons, it results in diseases and pain. What polarity therapy does is to find these blockages that contribute to the problem, and remove it through holistic healing system. This involves therapeutic bodywork, good nutrition, exercise, and self-awareness, which is achieved through counseling.

Does it Work?

The skepticism with which alternative medical treatment is viewed is somewhat justified because there is hardly any scientific or other evidence that can reassert the benefits of this method. 
This is because, unlike normal medical research which tests a specific disease or condition, polarity therapy treats whole body and mind to restore energy flow and balance. Moreover, there is no standardized way of studying the therapy, as it might differ from one person to another. This makes it very difficult for a researcher to conduct a scientific study.
So, does this mean that it does not work? Although there is no scientific study to back the fact, patients report feeling relaxed and less tense after a session. The hands-on techniques like polarity therapy and massage is said to relax the muscles. 
It is thus, helpful for minor problems like stress, allergies, PMS, post-menopausal problems, back pain and fatigue. Although there are many proponents of this healing system who say that the therapy is effective in treating cancer or any other disease, no scientific evidence is found to attest the fact.

How it Works?

Although some of the techniques of polarity therapy are related to osteopathy and chiropractic practices, major emphasis is on the functional energy centers along the spine which are known as 'chakras ' in Ayurveda. It also draws from the 'yin and yang ' concept from China which emphasize the contraction and expansion of the body's natural cycles.

Polarity Bodywork

To understand the energy flow in the body, Dr. Stone used the symbol of Caduceus. Although the symbol is popular in many cultures, in Indian philosophy it is associated with the 'chakras '. While the wings of the Caduceus represent the two cerebral hemispheres of the brain, the serpents coiling on the sides represent the energy current flowing. 
They are termed as 'Ida, Pingala and Sushumna '. The main staff in the center is the Ultrasonic Core  that represent the five elements, namely earth, water, air, fire and ether. Those points where the serpents interact with each other are the 'chakras '. 
In the human body the 'chakras ' are the head (Fire), the throat (Ether), the thorax (Air), the abdomen (Earth) and the pelvis (Water). These 'chakras ' generate five energy currents that flow longitudinally, along the body, imitating the Caduceus flow in a double helix pattern. 
The positive and negative currents are known as 'Pingala ' and 'Ida ' respectively, while the neutral channel is known as 'Sushumna '.
To check the energy flow in the body, the hands are placed in two distinct positions. This helps in creating the two poles that balance the energy in the body. If the therapist finds a tight, sore, spot then this becomes the contact point for one hand. The therapy has many guidelines of how the hands should be placed. 
To balance the elements, the contact points are as follows:

Fire: Eyes, thighs, Solar Plexus
Earth: Neck, knees and colon
Water: Ankles, pelvis, shoulders and chest
Air: Calves, kidneys and shoulders
Ether: Joints
To balance these points the relationships are used. So, to release the stiffness in the neck, the sore points under the knee can be examined. Along with this, points located on either side of the body are also examined by the therapist.

Polarity Yoga and Nutrition

Along with the bodywork technique, polarity therapy also explores a number of stretching exercises. Also known as polarity yoga, these exercises clear blockages from head to toe. They help release stagnant energy, and aid in healing the body.
According to Dr. Stone, "Diet also is based upon this fundamental law of polarity." Therefore, to balance the elements in the body, it craves certain foods. 
Having certain type of foods more than others can throw the energy system off-balance. It is therefore important to acquire balanced nutrition. Guidance in dietary changes also forms an integral part of this therapy.

What are Polarity Sessions?

For a typical polarity session, the therapist assesses the patient by interviewing and observing him or her. The therapist studies the patient's case history and may also take a structural assessment to find out the real cause of the problem.
Palpitations are used to measure the energetic attributes. This is done using energetic touch where the therapist places light, medium or firm bi-polar contacts. The bodywork itself involves mild techniques like cranial holds, rocking movements and reflexology. 
The experience, as reported by a number of patients, is immensely relaxing. Advice for dietary changes and bodywork exercises may follow.
The lack of evidence makes it difficult to asses whether or not polarity therapy works to treat medical conditions but, when done by a trained professional, it is good for relaxation purposes. People with chronic heart condition or arthritis need to talk to the doctor before allowing the therapist to exert pressure on joints and muscle.