Feb 9, 2018

Posted by in School of Massage Therapy | 0 Comments

Modality: Polarity

As part of my education at CNWSMT, we were able to get little samples of different massage modalities that we might want to eventually go on to specialize in. There is so much you can do with massage, and so many different routes you can take, that having these snippets in the program has really been a benefit to figuring out where you want to go with your own practice. The modalities we were able to sample were:

  • Sports Massage
  • Chair Massage
  • Polarity
  • Myofascial Release (MFR)
  • Craniosacral Therapy (CST)
  • Neuromuscular Therapy (NMT)
  • Forearm Massage
  • Gentle Massage

Polarity was the first of the energetic modalities that we learned, and also the first that really slowed things down. I mean, really, really, really slowed things down. The basic Swedish massage that we had all learned in Foundations (and what you’re most likely to encounter at a spa) has a relatively quick pace, especially for students who are just getting used to things. Sure, we’re really focused and so we end up running over time at first (time management is hard), but it’s definitely not a slow process. Then you do sports and chair massage, which make you speed up even more, so as you come into Polarity it’s like slamming on the brakes. Suddenly you’re going to really take your time, be paused in one area for extended periods of time, and there’s almost no movement.

This modality works on the idea that there are flows and zones of energy to the body, and when the energy cannot move right you connect it like a magnet with different poles on your hands and fingers to the poles on their body to get the energy flowing again. Instead of the standard gliding motions, gentle vibrations in specific areas, or light pressure, are used to stimulate and move the clogged energy. The body may be gently rocked or rhythmically squeezed (like the feet) as well. Special techniques can be used at the joints and spine to help with pain and/or tension, and there is even a way to help balance someone’s chakras.

When someone is very sensitive to touch, or in too much pain in one area to have it worked specifically, Polarity is often a great answer because energy can affect that location even if you don’t touch it. I actually did have a client in the student clinic who had an area on their body that was hypersensitive due to an injury sustained years ago. No lie, they were open to the use of Polarity, and that area felt a lot better when we were done. They had mentioned that it was always tense, but they couldn’t really deal with it because of the hypersensitivity. Polarity seemed to be a good answer, and the relief they got was amazing.

Since Polarity also is not fluid-moving, it means it’s a great technique in many situations where massage is otherwise contraindicated. It’s a different, but welcome tool to have in your back-pocket for those rare cases where you really need something unusual to make things work as you want.

And, as a Reiki practitioner, it pairs nicely. They’re like cousins, related but not overly closely.

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