To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Energy Work for Today’s Massage Therapist: Polarity Therapy,” by Laura Allen, in the September 2011 issue. Article summary: Polarity therapy is based on the teachings of Randolph Stone, D.O., D.C. Stone meditated daily and sought spiritual enlightenment, which he found in 1945 when he read Mysticism the Spiritual Path, Volume 11, by Lekh Raj Puri. Stone felt it was just the philosophy he had been looking for, and it was all about energy—how everything is based on energy and how it can be used for spiritual growth.
by Laura Allen
The American Polarity Therapy Association (APTA) was founded in 1984, and this organization sets the standards for training in polarity therapy. Led by a volunteer board of directors, APTA has more than 800 members, according to Tamara-Vaughn-Morse, the current president.
According to Vaughn-Morse, APTA is part of a new umbrella organization, the International Federation of Polarity Therapy Organizations (IFPTO), which held its inaugural meeting last year in Germany and is working to promote polarity therapy worldwide. In addition to APTA, there are polarity therapy associations in Japan, Canada, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France and the U.K. that belong to the federation.
There are also many practitioners who practice without belonging to an association, so it’s impossible to know how many actual practitioners there are worldwide.
One feature of polarity therapy is the amount of education required of practitioners. While one can become a reiki practitioner in as little as eight hours, the first level of polarity practice is the associate polarity practitioner, requiring 175 hours of training. The registered polarity practitioner (RPP) must attend 675 hours of training, more than what many states require of massage therapists. A registered polarity educator must practice as an RPP for at least two years before applying to teach, and have her curriculum approved by APTA. Practitioners may not use any of these designations unless their membership in APTA is current.
A look on the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork website shows almost 200 continuing education classes in polarity therapy. Among the continuing education classes listed are Structural Craniosacral Polarity, Polarity Reflexology, Ayurvedic Polarity, Reiki the Polarity Way—a smorgasbord of choices.
In some states, the practice of energy modalities, including polarity therapy, has been tacked onto massage and regulated as well.
Laura Allen is a massage therapist, author, educator and MASSAGE Magazine blogger. She is the owner of THERA-SSAGE, a multidisciplinary holistic health and continuing education center in Rutherfordton, North Carolina. Visit her website at www.LauraAllenMT.com.