Polarity therapy refers to the positive and negative charges created by the body’s own electromagnetic energy field, and is based on the notion that an individual’s health is determined by the natural flow of this energy throughout the body. In essence, polarity therapy maintains that a smooth flow of energy promotes and maintains health, whereas disrupted energy flow results in illness. Disruptions in energy flow are believed to result from factors such as stress, trauma, and inadequate nutrition, among others. The flow of energy is believed to follow one of three paths in the body: 1) long-line currents that run from head to toe; 2) transverse currents that stretch across the body; and 3) spiral currents that originate at the navel level and flow outward.
Polarity therapy practitioners claim to be able to identify sources of energy disruption by observing various bodily symptoms, such as headaches, tight muscles, and abdominal symptoms. Polarity therapy is also promoted as a method for inducing relaxation and improving range of motion, alleviating tension, increasing overall energy levels, and reducing pain and inflammation.
During polarity therapy, a patient usually lies on a massage table while they are examined by the practitioner for energy disruptions and flow. Numerous techniques can then be utilized to re-balance energy fields. These might include twisting the torso, spinal alignment, various rocking motions, and movement of the practitioner’s hands (or natural crystals) along the natural energy paths of the body. At times, polarity therapy may incorporate common chiropractic techniques, or utilize breathing exercises, hydrotherapy, and light physical movements such as stretching or yoga. Similar to other forms of complementary and alternative medicine, polarity therapy is highly individualized, therefore no two sessions are the same, and a variety of techniques may be used to treat the same symptoms in different individuals.
Polarity Therapy Research
Despite anecdotal claims of polarity therapy as a successful treatment for a number of serious illnesses, including cancer, no conclusive scientific evidence has been presented that proves polarity therapy is of any therapeutic value. Nevertheless, the hands-on techniques used in polarity therapy and its overall ability to promote relaxation may make it useful to some individuals who suffer from stress and illnesses that feature stress as a primary causal factor (such as Fibromyalgia).
There are very few published studies related to the use of polarity therapy for the treatment of any particular illness, condition, or symptom. Polarity therapy has been shown to be possibly useful at improving cancer-related fatigue in women with breast cancer, although the magnitude of the effect on fatigue was small and did not differ substantially from the effect of massage therapy on fatigue (Mustian et al., 2011). Another smaller pilot study found that breast cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy experienced improved quality life in the week following polarity therapy treatments; however, this study may have been influenced by the placebo effect, as the patients were aware of the nature of the study and the objectives under investigation (Roscoe et al., 2005). Finally, a small study also found that polarity therapy was useful at improving depression, stress, pain, and overall health status among American Indian and Alaskan Native caregivers of individuals with dementia (Korn et al., 2009).
No studies have been published regarding the specific use of polarity therapy to treat fibromyalgia-related symptoms.