Massage & Bodywork

May | June 2014

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� • Rajasic is a more active style of engagement, and involves energetic or physical stimulation that can range from subtly vibrating a point to a Trager-like rocking of a limb or section of the body. The function of a rajasic contact is to stimulate energy to move. • Tamasic engagement is focused on dispersing deeply held inertial energies, which can be identified as fixations in the client's body structure, emotional field, attitudes, or beliefs. Tamasic approaches are used to confront the fixation and challenge the system to mobilize its resources toward transformation. In terms of bodywork, tamasic contacts are deep and dispersing, and often slow. Some aspects of polarity therapy bodywork are very structurally oriented. Not surprisingly, given his background, Stone's books are filled with classical moves from chiropractic and osteopathy. Around this approach, Stone adds the energy movements that are the true foundation of change. In addition to bodywork, polarity therapy practitioners might suggest exercises that can help clients with their issues. For example, a beautiful fluid movement called "scissor kicks" can gently open the hip joints and sacroiliac joints, leading to relief of sciatic pain. A polarity therapist might also make dietary recommendations, helping the same client reduce intake of foods that cause inflammation. Working with self-awareness is another feature in the practice of polarity therapy. Perhaps in the therapeutic process, the client discovers a tendency to hold energy around the second chakra, for example, and thereby realizes the energetic underpinnings of the sacroiliac distress. All five arenas of polarity therapy are based on Stone's comprehensive, integrative model of the human energy system. This model differs from the meridian system used in acupuncture and other modalities, and describes a different level of energy. Polarity therapy focuses on the core of the human energy system: the midline and the chakras, the field dynamics (charges or polarities) and the currents generated by them, the energy harmonics created by the Five Elements and distributed through the three poles of the energy field, organ resonances with the Five Elements, structural reflexes called lines of force, and ways that energy affects the physiology of the body. Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy BCST is a different therapeutic practice with some philosophical similarities to polarity therapy. One thing that is absent from the BCST model is a pragmatic description of the human energy system, such as polarity therapy provides. In other words, BCST is oriented toward holding a therapeutic relationship to those mysteries: the ability to engage the essential energy field fluctuation is a specific level of the therapeutic process. William G. Sutherland, DO, spent a lifetime developing a specialty in osteopathic medicine called cranial osteopathy. 3 He worked out the details of several core physiological functions that would later become what John Upledger, DO, called the craniosacral system: the biomechanics of movement in the sutures of the skull; the distribution of forces through the dural membrane (which Sutherland called a reciprocal tension membrane); and the dynamics of cerebrospinal fluid fluctuations. But the emphasis for Sutherland was the energetic process driving all of these physiological expressions. Sutherland had such reverence for this process that he called it the "Breath of Life." He pointed to an energy movement that he called "primary respiration" as the dynamic that distributes energy through a living system, animating one's being and propelling the healing process. One of Sutherland's successors, Rollin Becker, DO, discussed an energetic exchange between the physical organism and the field around it, and modern research has shown that this idea is consistent with observations in biophysics. 4,5 I am convinced that if Sutherland had lived to see the revolution of quantum physics enter the realm of public awareness, he would have simply used the term "energy" to describe the movement of the Breath of Life. Therapists who practice BCST use subtle skills to assist this living system of essential energy movement to balance and/or therapeutically transform its processes. BCST uses a spectrum of dynamics: orientation of the dural membrane, cranial bones, and sutures; fluid dynamics and spinal structure; E XPLORING POL ARIT Y THERAPY AND BIODYNAMIC CRANIOSACRAL THERAPY 76 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k m a y / j u n e 2 0 1 4

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