The Healing Principles of Polarity Therapy
“Health is not merely of the body. It is a natural expression of the body, mind, and soul when they are in rhythm with the OneLife. True health is the harmony of life within us, consisting of peace of mind, happiness and well-being.”
Polarity Therapy founder Dr. Randolph Stone
Polarity Therapy is a holistic healing system that has the capacity to restore health and prevent disease. Its roots are grounded in the ancient healing arts of Ayurveda (“Science of Life”) from India and Oriental medicine from China. Both systems have been tested, refined and practiced for thousands of years and are the oldest continuous healing systems on the planet.
Polarity Therapy’s dual aspect of stimulating the body’s natural innate healing ability and prevention of disease, are based on correcting physical, mental and emotional imbalances that result in the distortion of our unique “blueprint of health” that we were all born with.
The philosophy behind the art is that everyone has a Spirit that carries with it a “purpose” for our life. Along with this is a blueprint for body, mind and emotions that gives us a physical vehicle to manifest our “purpose”. The process of living, along with its accumulation of false beliefs, unhealthy behaviors and traumas, distorts our understanding of our “purpose” and interferes with our ability to live life in harmony with Spirit’s original plan. Through a 4-fold system of bodywork, nutrition and diet, Polarity Energetics exercises (Polarity Yoga) and communication/ facilitation processes, the blockages to Spirit are removed and the blueprint for health is restored. This enables the client to have a greater empowerment to take positive actions and make healthy mental and emotional choices. Movement toward health is the result.
Life is a spiritual journey and healing is the total alignment of our body, emotions and mind with that journey. When our thoughts, emotions and physical body are out of alignment with the energy necessary to meet life’s challenges, an energy imbalance results. These energy imbalances may appear as physical, mental and emotional discomfort or pain. Polarity teaches us that this pain and discomfort is a signal for us to learn changes and realign our lives with the Source. Polarity Therapy emphasizes love as the essence of the healing process.
Somatic process (Polarity bodywork)
The bodywork area of Polarity Therapy is the most known aspect of this healing system. The founder of Polarity Therapy, Dr. Randolph Stone (1895-1985) knew that the hands are conductors of energy. He identified various energy patterns in and around the body whose flow can be enhanced by placing the hands on specific areas of the body. During a Polarity bodywork session, various forms of conscious touch are used to facilitate energy movement. These include rocking motions, stretching, and pressure sensitive touch based on the energy flows. These energy flows in the body can be felt by both the client and practitioner. This experience has been described as relaxation, tingling, wavelike movements, stillness, softening, pulsations, warming and other similar phenomenon. My daughter used to describe the feeling as “polka dots” in her body.
Nutrition and diet
In order to have the fuel needed to stay healthy and accomplish our purpose in life, dietary and nutrition guidelines are frequently utilized. These include Health Building diets, Purifying (detoxification) diets and individualized diets based on the client’s Constitution, and current health concerns. The individualized diets use foods that support the clients’ unique strengths and weaknesses. Dr. Stone recommended a vegetarian diet for these purposes.
Polarity Energetics exercises
Polarity Energetics uses specific exercises to remove blocks to the energy flow, stimulate energy to move in specific ways in the body and balances the energy pulsations of the chakra system. These exercises help cultivate an awareness of the energy flowing in our body/mind and provide tools to both the practitioner and client for keeping these flows open and energized.
Counseling and facilitation
Facilitation refers to helping the client with personal growth processes. When we have trauma in our lives, (mental, emotional or physical), we frequently internalize the experience in such a way that we develop blockages to the free flow of our energy. During a Polarity session, these blocks may be released, and the feelings, beliefs and life decisions associated with the trauma may arise. By helping the client process and release these memories and feelings in a positive reframe, we can assist in their personal growth. Polarity Therapy does not use a specific style of counseling, but different practitioners have used methods from Gestalt therapy, NLP, Mindful Awareness, Active Listening and other techniques to provide a framework for developing this important skill set.
Facilitation also refers to bringing awareness of the energy movement process to the client during the sessions. The body/mind has an innate wisdom for health. By bringing awareness to the patterns of energy flowing through the body (as the client feels them), the client becomes engaged as an active participant in their own healing journey. This enhanced awareness allows for greater expression of our deep natural healing capacity.
Another term for counseling and facilitation is “verbal guidance”. A simple explanation of this assumes that “right-thinking” is a cornerstone of good health. Verbal guidance enhances understanding and feeling of our emotions, taking responsibility for our lives, and creating life enhancing thoughts and changes.
Other Key Elements of Polarity Therapy
There are several key elements to understanding and practicing Polarity Therapy. This system uses the model of the chakra system from Ayurvedic medicine and the concepts of Yin and Yang from Oriental medicine. The yin and yang theory say that Yin is the energy of contraction, negative, cooling, dark, and moist. Yang is expansive, positive, warming, light, and dry. These opposing forces are the dynamic energies that set up the polarities of life. The third principle in the yin/ yang model is the quality of neutrality. For expansion and contraction (as well as all the other qualities of yin and yang) to occur, there must be a space or field that holds the opportunity for this to happen. This is the neutral field. An example of this can be found in the game of football. The field where the game occurs is basically neutral. The actions of the game, pushing, pulling, movement, stillness, etc. all take place on this neutral field.
Dr. Stone recognized different interrelated energy fields that support the human existence. These fields include the 3 principles, the 5 elements and Chakra system, and structural support fields. When these fields are functioning as an integrated whole, health is the result. Polarity Therapy seeks to restore the harmony to the disrupted fields and restore cohesive integration.
The 3 Principles
The 3 principles include Yin, Yang, and neutral. These principles are the forces responsible for the creation of all matter. The neutral principle is the Source, Tao, or God. All potential is un-manifested within the Source. For creation to occur, “something” had to be created from this “nothingness” of Source. The principles of Yin and Yang referred to the polar opposites that are necessary for creation to occur. In order to have night, we must have day. In order to have heat, we must have cold. Up must have a down, front has a back, etc. Yin, Yang and all of their qualities exist within the field of infinite possibility (Source).
Ayurveda calls these3 principles Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas and can be translated as “truth, action, and inertia.” The 3 Principles can also be described as space (air), potency (fire), and structure and function (water).
The 3 Principles also define the poles of the energetic field. The body has an electromagnetic field (like a magnet) surrounding it. For energy to flow, there must be a neutral field and movement from the positive pole to the negative pole and then back to positive. Polarity Therapy teaches the positive (North) pole is at the head and the negative (South) pole is at the feet. The neutral field is along the midline of the body. Energy moves as a fluctuation between the charged poles of the field.
The 5 elements and the chakra system
Polarity Therapy is based on the premise that we are fields of pulsating light energy made up of specific vibrational frequencies known as the 5 elements: ether, air, fire, water, and earth. As energy moves farther from the source into the dense physical plane of matter, it takes on different characteristics and qualities. These 5 elements define the features and qualities of states of consciousness, energy and life processes. Each element governs a specific area and function within the body/mind.
As the life force energy moves away from source, the physical body is formed, and the Spirit becomes enmeshed in mind, emotions and body. The chakras emerge from the neutral midline of the body and are the bridge between the mind and emotions and physical body and world.
The chakras are the energy centers from which the vibrational frequencies of the elements radiate into the physical field of matter. Chakra is the Sanskrit origin of the English word, “circle.” The chakras are classically visualized as whirling vortices of energy emanating from the midline of the body. There are 7 major chakras and Polarity Therapy deals with the lower 5. The upper 2 chakras are of higher spiritual frequencies and are the seat of Spirit and expanded consciousness. The lower 5 chakras represent the different frequencies of emotions, and processes that allow us to manifest our Heavenly destiny on this physical plane. These lower 5 chakras are named after the elements that they represent (ether, air, fire, water, and earth). This concept has been around for thousands of years and is even seen in the modern medical symbol of the caduceus (although modern doctors have no idea what this symbol means!). The caduceus shows the midline energy field, positive and negative energies that crosses at each of the chakras, and 2 wings, with the ball at the top of the staff, which represents the 3rd eye, Spirit and wisdom. This symbol was called the Staff of Hermes in ancient times and is pictured below.
Energy fields form around each chakra to support specific functions in the cavities of the body (head, throat, chest, abdomen and pelvis). The chakras have corresponding nerves plexuses in the physical body and are also associated with different endocrine glands. The energy pulsating from the chakras push energy out into the world and pull the energy back to source. They are a tool that helps Spirit experience the outside world (outward pulsation) and convey feedback and information back to Spirit (inward pulsation). The energy fields of the chakras form currents and patterns as they interweave and help create and hold the physical body as a harmonious whole.
Each element influences, mental, emotional and physical processes. When an element is out of balance (suppressed or over emphasized) imbalance occurs and certain tendencies will become evident. Some of the behavior (function) of the elements is as follows:
The Ether Element expresses through the throat chakra. This chakra provides a neutral field and calm balance for the 4 chakras below to function within. It allows the quality of centering and space in our life. A balanced Ether Element allows clear minded self-esteem. Also, associated with this element, is a quality of longing to be reunited with Spirit. When the Ether Element is out of balance, tendencies of chronic grief, arrogance, or worthlessness arise.
The Air Element expresses through the heart chakra. A balanced Air Element gives rise to honesty, moderation, integrity and contentment. Other qualities associated with Air are thinking, communication, rationality, detachment and sociability. If the Air Element goes out of balance, strong desires, impatience and greed can result. An imbalance in the Air Element can also lead to depression, hopelessness and jealousy. Conscious growth at the level of the Air Element often involves learning to love self and appropriate ways to love others.
The Fire Element is about power, assertiveness, motivation, and physical action. This element expresses through the solar plexus chakra. The Fire Element allows the qualities of warmth, intuition, creativity, respect, responsibility, spontaneity, enthusiasm, and forgiveness. Challenges with any of these things could reflect an imbalance in the Fire Element. Other reflections of an imbalance in the Fire Element are raging at others, blaming, explosive, controlling others, and judgment. Too little of this element can be seen as raging at self, blaming self, apathy and being easily controlled by others. Conscious growth at the level of the Fire Element often involves learning to forgive and finding balance with the right use of power.
The Water Element has its expression through the pelvis area. The function of the Water element is about relationship, sensation, fluidity, and feeling emotions. A balanced Water Element allows for the ability to nurture, to change (fluidity), and to have acceptance, receptivity, sympathy, empathy and compassion. When the Water Element is out of balance, difficulties present in relationships and the ability to feel experiences. This can result in feeling isolation, compulsions, dependencies, possessiveness and sex or love addiction. Conscious growth at the level of the Water Element often involves relationships, commitment and the ability to explore feelings.
The Earth Element expresses at the base chakra at the coccyx plexus. The Earth Element is about stability, foundation, ground, support, security, and trust. Other qualities associated with the Earth Element are practicality, good organizational skills, the ability to let go, and being grounded in the body. An out of balance Earth Element fosters instability, anxiety, rigidity, stubbornness, inflexibility, fixations, being ungrounded, insecurity, fear, self-doubt, lack of boundaries and having walls against vulnerability. The lesson available at this level of experience is learning to trust.
Geometric lines of force, Five-Pointed and Six-Pointed star
Other energy patterns are found in the body and these are referred to as geometric lines of force. Two significant geometric patterns discussed will be the Five-Pointed Star and the Six-Pointed Star. The Five-Pointed Star relates more to the physical body and helps create the anatomical structure and support the physical processes going on in the body. The human body has been seen as a Five-Pointed star (example, the Vitruvian man drawing by da Vinci). This energy pattern helps keep the head, shoulders, and pelvis in alignment. In the book, Anatomy Trains, the author Thomas Myers revealed how the major fascia planes of the body follow this pattern. This is an example of the physical body following the patterns of the energy fields. The Five-Pointed Star in the body is both structural and energetic. ** (See illustration below.)
The 2nd important geometric pattern is known as the Six-Pointed Star. This pattern shows two triangles interlaced with each other. One triangle has its base at the 3rd eye, pointing downward and ending at the top of the pubic bone. The 2nd triangle points upward with its base at the pubic bone and the tip of the triangle ending at the 3rd eye. This energy field conveys Spirit down into the body (through the downward pointing triangle) and then provides for the return flow of Spirit back to source (through the upward pointing triangle).Embedded in the Six-Pointed Star are the midline of the body and the chakra system. **
**The illustrations below are from Dr. Randolph Stone’s books, Polarity Therapy, volume 1 and 2. They respectively show the Five-Pointed Star and Six-Pointed Star superimposed on the body.
Polarity Therapy defines and helps us understand the energy anatomy that forms the human physical, mental and emotional structure. This subtle energy system is the underlying template for all the dynamic processes of life. The important points to note are:
- The Source manifests an open field of energy that has potency and is a field of infinite possibility.
- The energy field becomes charged (polarized) and potency fluctuates between the poles of the field (Positive and negative or Yin and Yang). Spirit emerges from the field and begins it’s decent into physical form.
- 3 Principles of energy movement (neutral, positive, and negative) govern the movement of energy through the field.
- As energy moves out from its source, progressively denser expressions of energy occur, which is seen as levels (mental, emotional and physical) in the movement of energy. These different aspects of the Source Energy are called the Five Elements. It can be understood as the One River of Life Energy dividing into five rivers, which take on distinct characteristics, but are still composed of the same essence.
- In the human energy system, the chakras along the midline express these elemental energies, as sequentially lower frequencies (in the descending direction) of the one movement of life energy.
- Specific lines of force create organizing geometries, to which the body always orients its functions and processes.
- These lines of force and geometric patterns (Five and Six-Pointed Star and others) are both energetic dynamics supporting the field and structural relationships supporting the body.
Awareness and understanding the nature of the 3 Principles (space, potency, and form; or, neutral, action, and inertia) and the nature of the Five Elements helps us appreciate the energetic “voice” of the living system and engage with it appropriately in healing and living.
Congratulations if you reached the end of this article! There is a lot of information condensed here. In my classes, we take this in small bites so we can understand and practically apply these principals to our own health as well as helping our clients achieve better levels of health for themselves. I hope to see you in one of my classes. The world needs Healing and Polarity Therapy is a very rich modality to help facilitate that process!