Polarity Therapy: Principles, Sessions and Effectiveness

If you are looking for an intervention that combines counseling, bodywork and lifestyle changes, you may want to learn more about polarity therapy.

Polarity therapy is based on four foundations: counselling, body work, nutrition and exercise. The goal is to harmonize the energy flow of your physical body to prevent or solve health problems.

Polarity therapy is not evidence-based although the technique is a popular body relaxation method. Additionally, even though polarity therapy was developed in 1947, research on its effectiveness and safety is limited.

The term “polarity” is a broad reference to the concept of positive and negative energy in the body. The term was coined by the founder of polarity therapy, Randolph Stone, an osteopathic physician. This concept guides a polarity therapist’s understanding of illness and their approach to healing.

Polarity Therapy or Polarity Balancing is an alternative medical approach inspired by Ayurvedic medicinean ancient Indian medical system.

Polarity therapy also incorporates the basic principles of traditional chinese medicine (TCM).

“The main goal of polarity therapy is to help you find the source of your illness. This is accomplished by balancing your body’s energy,” says Colleen Petruzzi, a practitioner in Huntington, New York.

The therapy assumes that energy imbalances manifest as diseases in the body. Mental and emotional challenges contribute to imbalance, explains Petruzzi.

The term “body energy” may be a way of referring to the measurable electromagnetic field.

To become a Board Certified Polarity Practitioner (BCPP), candidates must pass an exam. This credential is issued by the American Polarity Therapy Association. The certification requires 800 hours of training and indicates standardized knowledge of the subject.

Licensing is handled by different professional divisions, depending on the state. You need at least a massage therapy license to practice polarity therapy in most states.

Polarity therapy is different from both massage therapy and Reiki.

Massage therapy generally involves directly manipulating your muscles to release tension and pain.

Reiki is a Japanese therapy that uses universal energy to promote healing using the therapist as a channel. Reiki practitioners aim to direct the flow of energy to problem areas of your body by holding their hands on or slightly outside of said areas.

Tips

Polarity therapy’s approach to counseling is rooted in “active, reflective listening,” says Petruzzi.

Therapists will want to explore how you view yourself in relation to others, how that influences your mental health, and how your mental health affects your body.

Each session with a polarity therapist will include some form of counseling. The goal is to help you become more aware of your thought patterns and emotions and how they affect your health.

Counseling in polarity therapy is not equivalent to psychological counseling or psychotherapy. Polarity therapists are not required to undergo mental health counseling training or hold mental health licenses and certifications.

There is also limited research on the safety and effectiveness of polarity therapy counseling.

Body

Bodywork is at the heart of polarity therapy. It refers to techniques that involve touching or stretching the body, guided breathing, or manipulation of body energy.

The main purpose of bodywork is to bring fluidity to the stiffness and stagnation of your body. Free flowing energy is believed to be the basis of health in polarity therapy.

During a polarity balancing session, the therapist’s hands are first used as tools to detect areas of energetic imbalance.

Your therapists may apply direct touch to your body based on your symptoms. A light touch can evolve into a light sway as a means of relaxation and balancing your energy.

Nutrition

A polarity therapist can recommend changes in your eating habits to reduce toxins in your body.

Toxins, such as pesticides or dyes, are considered agents that inhibit the free flow of energy.

Nutrition counseling in Polarity Therapy is not about weight management. Instead, the focus is on eating whole foods like fruits and vegetables and using anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric.

Polarity therapists may have formal nutritional training or licensing, but it is not required.

Exercise

Polarity therapy can also involve gentle, instinctive, yoga-inspired poses and stretches, often tailored to your individual needs.

A practitioner may recommend practicing these exercises for a few minutes each day while repeating vocal expressions such as “ha” or “hum.”

Research on the benefits of polarity therapy for mental health is limited.

A little study 2019 with middle-aged women examined the effect of four sessions of polarity therapy on symptoms of anxiety and insomnia. The results indicated that the women who received the treatment saw a clear improvement compared to the women in the control group.

More research is needed to determine the overall effectiveness of polarity therapy for managing mental health or general health issues.

Sessions vary from therapist to therapist, but the structure is generally the same.

You can expect to speak with a polarity therapist for the first 30-60 minutes before moving on to bodywork.

Petruzzi says it’s important for a therapist to create a “safe, welcoming, and nurturing environment during each session in order to build trust.”

The layout of the space, as she called it, helps ensure that “clients feel complete – heard, seen, and validated – in every session.”

Body work is done on a massage table while you remain fully clothed. Once this part of the session is complete, nutritional recommendations can be discussed.

Each session lasts approximately 90 minutes but can be shorter. Your therapist will discuss with you the need for follow-up sessions, although there is not a set number of visits needed to see results.

Polarity Therapy is an alternative medicine intervention that aims to balance your body’s energy to prevent and cure disease.

Sessions typically involve counseling, body exercises, and nutritional counseling.

Polarity therapy is generally regulated by a state massage therapy board and requires certification based on 800 hours of training.

Although it was developed in 1947, research on the effectiveness of this therapy is still limited. Some studies suggest that it may provide some benefits for relaxation, pain relief, and anxiety management. However, the results are inconclusive.

Sara H. Byrd