Sep 102009

Polarity Therapy Tapping
Your Inner
Healing Potential

Questions & Answers about Carolyn’s Work

Carolyn Dewey, MS, RPP, RCSTÓ
P. O. Box 4044 Whitefish, MT 59937
web site:
406) 260-7098

This booklet is one in a series that I have created in response to specific concerns that people share with me and the questions I am asked about what I do. These articles are from previous self-published newsletters. This reprinting is offered to you, my clients, my referral sources, my friends, my peers in complementary healthcare, and to those who by chance, find it in their hands.

This booklet is a celebration my becoming a health building professional. My intent is to provide you with useful information about the field of Energy Medicine; what Polarity Therapy is; what training is involved; what conditions benefit from Polarity work and to address questions that I am frequently asked. Your feedback will guide me in planning future topics to address for those looking to benefit from with this integrated and powerful health building resource.

Donations to support this effort are welcome.

I welcome your questions, and your referral to those who are looking for greater health and well-being.


August 20, 1999

Now Available for Appointments in local hospitals, your home, or in Carolyn’s office at Imagine Health in Columbia Falls, MT, (406) 260-7098


  • Polarity Therapy – An Energetic Model of Health
  • History of Polarity Therapy & Scope of Practice
  • Polarity Theory into Practice
  • Training of Polarity Practitioners
  • How You Benefit From Polarity
  • Athletic Performance – A Personal Perspective
  • Your Questions, My Responses

Polarity Theory is An Energetic Model of Health

The following quotes reflect the nature of Dr Stone’s thinking regarding the relationship between energy and the manifestation of our life force radiating vibrant health in all arenas of human experience:

“Energy is the real substance behind the appearance of matter and forms.”

“Health is not merely of the body. It is the natural expression of the body, mind, and soul when they are in rhythm with the One Life.”

“It is not merely a question of physical fitness, but rather is a result of the soul finding free expression through the mind and body of the individual.”

The basis of Polarity’s energy model is that energy precedes form and matter and that in order for change to occur, there must be movement. For movement, there must be a field in which this movement can occur, a place for movement to come from and a place for it to go toward. Here we have the characteristics of an electromagnetic field with a positive, generating pole, a negative, attracting pole, and a neutral pole for the energy to move through. This concept is applied to the human energy field by Polarity therapists and guides them to create movement and balance.

When considering life force energy, it has been noted that there is a natural phenomenon of self-organisation, called negative entropy, that is inherent in living systems. Bioelectromagnetic concepts imply that there is an underlying intelligence in all living systems that will create greater order, or health, given the optimal environment and conditions for this to occur. The Polarity therapist seeks to offer this environment and conditions for their clients.

History of Polarity Therapy & Scope of Practice

Polarity Therapy was developed by Dr . Randolph Stone, a traditional osteopath, a naturopath, and a chiropractor who was highly attuned to subtle movements of cerebrospinal fluid and the ways in which our physical bodies hold tension and stress in fascial tissue. He was widely recognised for his extensive knowledge of anatomy and physiology and acknowledged for his continuous search for the mysterious elusive component that seemed to hold the key to health. His research took him around the world twelve times, studying the health care practices of various cultures.

In brief, Polarity is a marriage of Eastern concepts of Life and how it manifests; principles of energy theory from Atomic and Quantum Physics; a deep understanding of metabolic anatomy and physiology; and an diverse selection of techniques from the fields of osteopathy, naturopathy, chiropractic, massage, reflexology, acupressure, yoga, meditative practices, psychology, and more. For integrating these methods of health care into an Energy Model, Dr. Stone has been called the ‘Father of Energetic Medicine”.

The Polarity Model is a concept of health that allows a practitioner to utilise a wide spectrum of techniques to create resonance and harmonics that release tensions and strain patterns held by the body/mind, and thereby bring greater balance and ease to one’s life experience.

The method that Polarity practitioners use allows for different approaches to apply the energy model to build health. Thus, some practitioners may have more of a psychology counselling approach, some do purely bodywork (either with very energetic light touch craniosacral techniques or with deeper tissue release myofascial or acupressure techniques), some offer a nutrition counselling emphasis, some provide exercise and movement education. Though Polarity training encompasses all of these aspects, each practitioner will have a focus for how they choose to primarily work with their clients. In selecting a practitioner, one can ask questions to determine what kind of work a particular person does.

Polarity Theory into Practice

The characteristics of the various types of movement of energy – outward, inward, and stillness, are reflected in the qualities of touch used by Polarity therapists . Stimulating rocks, deep penetrating releases, and gentle holds are used to facilitate movement in the body’s cerebrospinal fluid, fascia, muscle tissues, joints, and organs. The characteristics of the type of communication expressed may vary along this spectrum, as well as recommendations for exercise and nutrition. Each therapist develops a form of working that resonates with how they can best facilitate health. Some practitioners may primarily use deep penetrating touch, others very gentle and light; many use a combination.

There is much more that could be said here about theory into practice, the many energy patterns, harmonic resonance in the body, and how a Polarity therapist works with this information. This will be addressed in more depth is future articles.

Training of Polarity Practitioners

The American Polarity Therapy Association, APTA, has established clear Standards of Practice and a Code of Ethics for Polarity Practitioners. APTA has also reviewed and accredited the Polarity curriculum of many schools around the country.

There are two levels of training for Polarity Therapists. An Associate level Polarity Practitioner, APP, has completed 160 hours of training in an APTA approved curriculum program and received APTA certification at this level. A Registered Polarity Practitioner, RPP, has completed a 650 hour APTA approved training program and been certified by ATPA. A CPT, Certified Polarity Therapist, may have completed either level of training and been certified by the school attended, but is not certified by APTA. The school may be accredited; the practitioner has just elected to not be accredited by APTA.

It is my understanding that several massage schools offer an afternoon class or a one-day or two-day workshop in Polarity. As a result, many massage therapists will say that they do Polarity. In clarification, there is a distinction between a massage therapist who may have a couple of Polarity protocols in their repertoire and one who has completed an accredited program. If in doubt, ask the practitioner what training they have received.

Polarity Training has several components:

  • Theory and Basic Principles of Polarity Therapy
  • Anatomy and Physiology (Both Orthodox metabolic model and Energy models are studied)
  • Energetic Evaluation and Integration
  • Polarity Body Work (spatially oriented bodywork and process oriented bodywork)
  • Communication and Facilitation
  • Energetic Nutrition
  • Stretching Postures
  • Personal Polarity Experience
  • Clinical Supervision
  • Professional Ethics & Law, Business Management and Promotion
  • Electives (e.g. advanced classes in craniosacral work, subtle energy work, myofascial integration, energetic evaluation, Reflexology, Ayurvedic Aromatherapy)

Future articles may go into one or more of these areas in further depth. Please let me know if there is a particular area that you feel would be of interest to expound upon.

How You Benefit from Polarity

The bottom line in applying concepts of energy to our health is – Can all this energy stuff do anything for me? How can my life, my creativity, my relationships, my challenges be improved with these concepts and techniques?

Most of us are challenged by work, family, and physical tensions beyond what seems reasonable in order to maintain good health. We live in a culture with no siesta. Nap time expires upon graduation from kindergarten. Accomplishing the work needing to be done in a day requires long hours and often little time to rest. What rest time we have, may be not be peaceful and refreshing. Our meals are hurried and often many of us cannot find the time to give our bodies a refreshing walk or to participate in a regular exercise program.

The first thing that Polarity addresses is the effect of our lifestyle on our physiology. We may be in a constant state of “fight or flight”, a tense, aware, alarm state, prepared to respond to the next urgent demand. The physiological equivalent of this is described as activation of the Sympathetic Nervous System, SNS. Our SNS regulates our ability to respond to external demands. For many of us, our SNS is overloaded with stimuli. The Parasympathetic Nervous System, PNS, is the aspect of our physiology that rebuilds and repairs our body and mind when we are resting. Consequently, our lifestyle maybe imbalanced because the PNS does not have sufficient time and space to do its job.

The initial body contacts in any Polarity session seek to restore this balance by inviting the body/mind to enter a deep state of relaxation, allowing the PNS to survey the condition of the body/mind and to do the repair and nourishing that is required to optimise integrated performance. For this reason, people not only find a physical release of tension from Polarity work, but often have clear insights into how to better solve daily challenges or to make better choices regarding creating a harmonious and satisfying lifestyle.

There is a perception in health care, that we take our bodies to health professionals to fix us, much the way we take our automobiles to a mechanic for repair.

In energy medicine, the approach is different. The basic concept is that the body has the intelligence to create optimal health. This ability of the body/mind is only limited by the conditions of its internal and external environment and the nutrients or toxins that may be present. So a Polarity practitioner supports one to create optimal conditions for health, first by bringing one to a restful state in which this inner sight can survey the scene, then in helping one to bring to conscious awareness what the wisdom within knows. In this way, Polarity practitioners function as health educators rather than “healers”. By supporting clients to discover their own best choices and creating the opportunity to experience their own body restoring balance and a fuller expression of health, the client feels empowered and connected to core truths and the health building and healing potential within their being. Discovery and connection to this inner guidance system has a profound and integrated effect on all aspects of life force expression and may be reflected in physical vitality, emotional balance, mental clarity and creativity, spiritual connectedness and the peaceful ease of harmonious relationships with others. If this sounds like getting to fill up one’s cup from the deep clear well of life force energy on a sunny day with a gentle wind and clear brilliant skies overhead, it is because this may be so.

I have addressed the conceptual framework within which I, a Polarity practitioner, seek to support others to create health. In articles that follow, I target specific issues(physical, emotional, stress related, etc.), that may lead one to seek support with Polarity.

Athletic Performance: A Personal Perspective

By now most of you have a sense of the fun I have with this work and the dimensions I take it into, professionally and personally, with both focused attentiveness and a spirit of play. The following was written in May after a training on “The Art of Structural Balancing”:

For the past 9 months, I have enjoyed working with several athletes who seek to optimize their performance with Polarity and “whatever it is that I do”. This has actually prompted me to go to a health club and work out myself. (“Like attracts like” and I like working with athletes, so I thought I better become one myself.) My goal is to have the energy and health that I had at 30 as I celebrate 50, whenever that may be.

Since November I have regularly enveloped myself in the consciousness of a gerbil and worked out on a cross-trainer machine with great zest and vigor. And though my fitness has improved, I have maintained a pretty consistent cycles per minute. I marveled at those hard-bodies on machines next to me who seemed to move their legs with such fluidity and ease as I chugged along, r-o-u-n-d and r-o-u-n-d.

Last week, I studied “The Art of Structural Balancing” with Phil Young, an internationally recognized teacher of Polarity Therapy from Devon, England. The training included receiving lots of structural work in the learning process and a session from Phil the last evening of the course in which he “unwound my hips from my legs.” Interesting concept, I thought, as all my senses were put on notice to discover what the implications of this could be for my experience in this body and possibly for any clients with whom I found myself unwinding hips from legs.

So off to the gym this morning, into gerbil mode, and away I went… like the road runner in a cloud of dust! I am sure that my legs were just a circular blur. The machine told me I had gone from my usual 129 cycles per minute to 192 cycles per minute at the same resistance.

What an experience! I burned 25% more calories, went 30% further in the same time period and hopped off the machine feeling like a spring chicken, grinning right down to my toes. I am sure that if my Yankee blue blooded up-tight puritanical soul could follow my spirit into fluidity, that I would find myself dancing like a Jamaican Mama to reggae music in the main street of my home town.

This is my ode to the health building, revitalizing potential of Polarity!


Q: “…What to expect, type and length of treatment, and possible secondary benefits when addressing a particular problem from a Polarity perspective?”

Predicting the type and length of treatment on the basis of a particular problem or symptom is something I do not do. Building health has so many factors that are highly individual. Polarity assessment of specific symptoms and dis-ease processes take into account the constitutional status of each person. The actual process of using Polarity as a resource for building health is based upon learning to listen to one’s body and to honour the wisdom within. There are clear somatic (body) cues that can guide one to determine what is the best frequency and the optimal duration of treatment. Learning to notice and recognise shifts in one’s symptoms and experiences is at the heart of developing this awareness and is the keystone of Polarity work. These conscious shifts become the guide for pacing the type, frequency and duration of sessions.

There is another factor to consider also, and that is the balance with one’s ability to easily afford the cost of sessions. There is little point is straining one’s budget to create relief from some strain pattern in one’s body (mental, emotional or physical), if doing so is going to create an additional financial stress in one’s life that will exacerbate the very problem one is trying to solve or will create new ones.

In response to possible secondary benefits, many find that once the primary symptoms have been resolved, that they want to continue with Polarity because of the secondary benefits they have experienced. These benefits may include an increased sense of well-being and calmness, clarity of thinking, better sleep, more energy and vitality, enhanced creativity, increased sense of humour, and a changed perspective on what is important in life and in relationships

It feels important to note, that sometimes progress with the primary symptom that brings people to explore Polarity may be very slow or in some cases imperceptible. However these secondary benefits are so significant that people may choose to continue to come for sessions for these secondary benefits alone.

Q: What are the mental, emotional, and physical benefits of Polarity work with Alcoholics and persons with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?

I am going to respond to these separately.

In the case of Alcoholism and co-dependency, I have worked with many addicts and alcoholics in recovery who, though clean and sober, are stuck mentally and emotionally and continue with unhealthy habits for their physiology, relationships with others, and sense of emotional well-being. Some of the first things reported by clients include a renewed interest in caring for their bodies, better sleep, and an increased enthusiasm for life. Ongoing work blossoms this zest for living through increased involvement in meaningful pursuits, and a healthier lifestyle. It seems that those emerging from the terrors of being on the edge of the dark abyss of addiction, develop a passion for life that is full of vitality and creativity. Healthy habits may become obsessive and awareness of this, brings additional balance to choice making in this aspect of life. Increased awareness also expands into all other arenas of life, affecting perception of the dynamics of interpersonal experiences, the value of healthy boundaries, and strategies to maintain them.

For those in the throws of active addiction, an experience of themselves that is boundaried, pleasurable, and sourced to their soul, may elicit a shift toward choosing to use Polarity until integrity is restored to the core level of their being. As this core strength builds, the positive experiences are sufficient reinforcement to support additional choices that are life supporting. Once this happens, often the addiction just fades away in favour of choosing these new health building habits.

Such is also the case, with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) where loss of self-awareness and collapse of boundaries can occur. Of interest, research has shown that there is a link between PTSD and alcoholism, both from the perspective of alcoholism being a contributing factor in PTSD and a coping strategy for its manifestation. (Cermak, 1988; Schnurr, 1996). Polarity may lead to a shift in perception that allows folks with PTSD to develop an understanding of the assorted physiological symptoms of hyperarousal, constriction, dissociation, and freezing (helplessness). Awareness and understanding occurs over time, at a pace that can be comfortably managed, thereby facilitating a restoration of boundaries and the development of learning tools to deal with the symptoms. This process permits development of mastery of these symptoms through the recognition of their physiological cues, accurate knowledge of the known environment, and an appropriate assessment of danger.

Q: Please address specific applications of Polarity Protocols and Myofascial Integration for migraines, low back pain, and fibromyalgia.

Other stress related conditions such as migraines, fibromyalgia, post-traumatic fibromyalgia, and low back pain, can have their origins in experiences where stress overloads the ability of the individual to handle it. Both migraines and low back pain, seem to have identifiable strain patterns in the fascia network and/or the craniosacral system. When listening to the body on either of these levels, some inner mechanism seems to come into play, releasing or shifting the held stress pattern. I cannot say with any certainty what the actual mechanism of this release may be as research in this area is relatively new. There are many hypotheses, but the significant point is that the results are rather consistent and positive. The key here for me, seems to stem from conscious listening to inner levels of activity, acknowledging the inner healer, and allowing sufficient time for the self-correcting mechanisms of the body to engage and release the stress.

Given that research indicates that both migraines, fibromyalgia and post-traumatic fibromyalgia, are stress related, the mechanism described above clearly offers a potential resolution of these held stresses.

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“Everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Viktor Frankl

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Thank you

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

I appreciate the encouragement and support I have received from so many, especially the courageous health seeking souls who have come to me to experience and to explore what Polarity is and its value for building health. You are courageous, because you have done so with a minimal knowledge of what Polarity is, who I am, and what training I have had to prepare myself to be of value to you as a health professional and educator.

My hope is that by helping you to learn more about Polarity, that others will seek out the services of a Polarity practitioner. Any questions or inquiries are most welcome.

Thank you for your interest in what I offer.

May you enjoy vibrant and joyful health!

Carolyn Dewey