Living driver photoTo complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Polarity Therapy: The Energetics of Self-Awareness,” by Roger Gilchrist, R.P.E.,  in the April 2014 issue. Article summary: While self-awareness naturally emerges on its own, it can be cultivated through certain practices and supported as a more consistent and enduring aspect of our lives. One integrative system for self-understanding—one that is transcultural, transpersonal, holistic and embracing—is polarity therapy. This system is a comprehensive, therapeutic practice that includes bodywork, nutrition, energy exercises, working with thought and attitude, and appreciating the spiritual essence of life.

The Five Elements described by Polarity Therapy give us particular windows to self-understanding.  We could say the Elements are states of matter, energy and consciousness.  Each of the Five Elements has specific relationships to the physical body, emotional dynamics, one’s state of mind and energetic orientation.  Polarity Therapy uses the Ayurvedic and Hermetic model for the Five Elements, calling them Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth.

This quick checklist can help you assess the balance of each element in your life.  If an element appears excessive or deficient, get a Polarity Therapy session to bring your energy back into balance!  Ask yourself about the following aspects of each Element, and you will start to get a picture of where your life could use more balance.

1. Earth:  

Body areas:  neck, colon, knees.  Emotions:  fear when out of balance; trust when balanced.  Qualities:  support, stability, safety in balance; rigidity or instability when out of balance.

2. Water: 

Body areas:  chest, pelvis, feet.  Emotions generally are governed by the Water element.  Qualities:  flow, relationship, sexuality, depth, sensitivity.  Balance lets us feel our experience; whereas imbalance appears dry, flat or overly labile.

3. Fire: 

Body areas:  head/eyes, digestive organs, thighs.  Emotion of anger predominates, and balances as forgiveness.  Qualities:  direct, focused, concentrated, motivated.  Excessive Fire becomes controlling; too little Fire is passive.

4. Air: 

Body areas:  shoulders/lungs, kidneys, ankles.  Emotions:  desire versus acceptance. Qualities:  clarity of mind, intellect, openness.  Excessive Air leads to scatteredness or dryness.  Too little Air can manifest as pressure, dampness or heaviness.

5. Ether: 

is considered a non-manifest element.  Ether represents the field—the space in which the other elements interact.  This space is represented in the body in the joints.  Emotions:  grief and pride.  Qualities:  space, emptiness, stillness, the unmanifest ground. 

Learning to sense our relationship to each Element can be done through observing the aspects of the Five Elements in ourselves.  As we begin to pay attention to the areas each Element governs—in the body, our emotional dynamics, and the qualities it expresses in our lives—we develop insights that can help us bring our life energy into better balance.


Roger Gilchrist, R.P.E., is a transpersonal psychotherapist and registered polarity educator. His new distance learning program in polarity therapy is available at His Wellness Institute has graduates practicing polarity therapy in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia and Europe.