- Polarity therapy
Polarity therapy is a "holistic" health system developed by
Randolph Stone. Proponents believe that healing can be achieved through manipulation of what they describe as complementary (or "polarized") forces, and the term Stone borrowed from Chinese philosophyto describe those forces is yin and yang. Polarity therapy claims to work with putative (unmeasurable) energy, therefore it is pseudoscientific.Fact|date=June 2008
Polarity therapy is a synthesis of ancient Eastern and
alternative medicinehealth care ideas centered on the concept of a Human Energy Field.Oschman, J.: Energy Medicine, The Scientific Basis, page 10. (Churchill Livingstone, 2000).] Using touch, verbal interaction, exercise, nutrition and other methods, [American Polarity Therapy Association: Standards for Practice (Fourth Edition), page 2. APTA, 2003.] practitioners of Polarity Therapy seek to balance and restore the natural flow of energy which, it is claimed, flows from the universe and into the body through the chakras. The aim is to re-establish "balance". In addition to polarity bodywork, specific polarity yoga exercises, counseling/positive thinking, and nutritional recommendations are used to enhance vitality.
1947and 1954, Stone published seven books describing Polarity Therapy principles and applications. These were subsequently consolidated into three volumes: Polarity Therapy Vol. I and Vol. II (CRCS, 1986), and Health-Building (The Book Publishing Co., 1999).Principles of Polarity Therapy: [Stone, R.: "Polarity Therapy, Vol. II", page 227 ff. CRCS, 1986.]
Advocates and practitioners of PT believe in a subtle, invisible and intangible energetic system that is the substrate for all phenomena. According to proponents, if the energetic flow is corrected and restored to its original design, the form will follow. Blockages in the flow of energy are claimed to lead to pain and disease, or be experienced as stuck emotions and lack of vitality. They believe that this is similar to the (measurable and quantifiable) electromagnetic bond between electron and proton that forms atoms. There is no scientific basis for this belief nor any reproducible measurements of this system. While an electromagnetic metaphor is often used, Stone emphasized that the energy concept had a larger context; he referred to it as the "Breath of Life" [Stone, R.: "Polarity Therapy Vol. I", page 2. CRCS, 1986.] and used esoteric language (such as "ki", "ch'i", "prana" and "life force") from spiritual traditions (especially mystic
Christianity[Stone, R.: "The Mystic Bible." RSSB, 1956. Initially trained to be a Lutheran priest, Stone has dozens of Biblical references scattered throughout all his books.] , Ayurveda, [Morningstar, A,: The Ayurvedic Guide to Polarity Therapy. Lotus Press, 2002. This presents Polarity concepts from the perspective of the Ayurvedic health care system] Taoism, Hinduism[Burger, B.: Esoteric Anatomy. North Atlantic Books, 1998. This presents Polarity concepts including interpretations from a Hindu mythology perspective.] , Buddhism, [Sills, F.: The Polarity Process. North Atlantic, 2002. This gives presents Polarity concepts including interpretations from a Buddhist perspective.] Sufismand Yoga[Wehrli, K.: The Why in the Road. Earthlit Press, 2005.] ) to describe it.
Polarity Therapists claim to work with the reciprocal, complementary or "polarized" forces they describe with the traditional Chinese words yin and yang. Although the concept of polarity implies two forces in opposition, these dualities are said by some to be mediated by a subtle third neutral factor, leading to the idea that phenomena are essentially triune in nature. In Ayurveda, the three factors are known as "Rajas", "Tamas", and "Satva".
Polarity therapists claim expertise in "energetic anatomy" and claim to work with these energetic patterns (similar to acupuncture meridians, and marma points). The
Caduseuswhich is representative of the ida and pingala is another aspect of the nadis/chakra system that is thought to be manipulated during certain types of polarity treatments. Various esoteric energetic patterns inherent in the body, referred to in Kabbalah, and other traditions, such as the 5-pointed star and 6-pointed star, are traced on the body, allegedly to integrate consciousness and fully connect various part of the being. According to Stone, the purpose of life is "the fulfillment of consciousness;" [Chitty, J. and Muller, M.L.: Energy Exercises, page 123-124. Polarity Press, 1990.]
Polarity therapy is often connected with other forms of
alternative medicinesuch as Oriental medicine, Ayurveda, Craniosacral therapyand Osteopathy, which all claim to explore the subtle energetic factors in health conditions from their particular cultural viewpoints. Many chiropractic, osteopathic, and cranial manipulations and naturopathic perspectives and techniques are explored in Stone's writings and diagrams.
Polarity Therapy has four distinct areas of technique by which proponents believe life force energy can be influenced: touch (massage, acupuncture), stretching and exercise, diet, and mental-emotional process. Polarity practitioners registered with the [http://www.polaritytherapy.org/ American Polarity Therapy Association] should be knowledgeable in all four areas. However, most current APTA trainings although most cover the standard curriculum, tends to have different interpretations of Stone's work, and therefore different emphasis and styles of practice.
Polarity Therapy has many branches from its early beginnings, which produce dramatically different practitioners. Many hybrids and other systems of polarity therapy have evolved out of the initial work of Stone, and as such consistency among different schools and consistency in treatments is lacking in the field.
Most research on Polarity Therapy has been carried out by advocates or practitioners and such "research" is therefore not objective. The scientific research community has paid very little attention to Polarity Therapy, seeing it merely as a rebranding of other pseudoscientific ideas about spiritual energy. As such, many of the criticisms leveled at the concept of spiritual energy also apply to polarity therapy.
Research supporting the validity of Polarity Therapy practice is not extensive or well-developed, though anecdotal reports attract followers. [For example, see [http://www.stronghealth.com/news/article.cfm?art_ID=358&serviceline=11] ] Proponents such as
Gary Schwartzbelieve their ideas about a human energy field to be validated by other believers in the paranormal. [Schwartz, G. & Russek, L.: "The Living Energy Universe," pages 274, 104. Hampton Roads, 1999.] However Schwartz's research is not widely accepted by other scientists.
Channel (Chinese medicine)
* [http://www.polaritytherapy.org/ American Polarity Therapy Association]
* [http://www.ukpta.org.uk/ UK Polarity Therapy Association]
* [http://polaritytherapyonline.com/ Articles, Views & Reviews on Polarity Therapy]
* [http://www.energyschool.com/writings/ Energy School bibliography] - Documents on Stone and articles on PT.
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