Polarity therapy is a type of body work which is focused on the energy fields of the body, rather than the physical body itself. This type of body work is also called energy work, because the practitioner attempts to adjust the skewed energy fields of the body and bring them into balance. During a polarity therapy session, the therapist and client usually work together in a very calm, relaxed environment, as the session can release intense emotions.
Three techniques are used to assess the condition of the client during a polarity therapy session. The first is interview: the therapist talks with the client about his or her life, issues that the client might be facing, and areas where the client feels that work is needed. Therapists also gentle touch to identify areas of held tension and blocked energy on the body, and they also use their powers of observation to look at the client's energy flows. During the 60-90 minute session, the client lies on a massage table, although he or she remains fully clothed.
People who have not tried polarity therapy tend to be dismissive of the technique, along with many other types of energy work. However, there is a long tradition of energy work in numerous cultures which stretches back for thousands of years. Practitioners of polarity therapy say that after polarity therapy, the body does tend to be more balanced, and not just in the metaphysical sense. Polarity therapy has been shown to improve posture, release areas of muscle pain and tension, and relieve depression and stress.
Polarity therapy is a participatory type of energy work. A fully trained therapist also teaches clients stretches and yoga positions which are designed to improve physical health, and often incorporates dietary suggestions as well. In addition, clients are encouraged to be more self aware and more familiar with their own bodies. Many polarity therapy sessions incorporate guided meditation to ground and center both client and healer before work begins.
While energy work has been around for centuries, polarity therapy was developed by a naturopathic doctor, Randolph Stone. Over his sixty year career, Stone decided that many ongoing health and behavioral problems were related to the electromagnetic field of the body, which he believed could be adjusted through focused energy work. The principle is similar to that of Yin and Yang in traditional Chinese medicine, or the five chakras of Ayurvedic tradition.
The American Polarity Therapy Association has developed a set of guidelines for training which are followed worldwide. The Association has a list of approved instructors and trainings available on their website, along with a directory of certified therapists for clients interested in experiencing polarity therapy.