I started this post about ten days ago, after a nifty sequence of topics in our Massage Modalities class. I've been fussing with it ever since. Suddenly, I feel like I can neither do good research, nor good reportiing, nor good blog writing, but I'm going to give it a go anyway.
First, we learned a little bit about Polarity Therapy.
Then, we had a bit of a introduction to Zero Balancing.
And most recently, we learned about Hot Stone Massage Therapy.
And because my brain works that way, I found something that seems to tie them together.
Polarity Therapy is primarily an energy technique. Zero Balancing is a wonderous blend of energy work, and deep tissue work that focuses on effecting what I think of as involuntary joints (not so much the elbow, where pretty much every move it makes is involuntary, but the sacral joints, and the intervertebral joints, and the joints between you ribs and your spine). And while you may not think of it this way, even Hot Stone Massage uses energy -- the energy held in the bones of the earth.
According to the folks who do Polarity Therapy, "energy fields and currents exist everywhere in nature. Polarity Therapy asserts that the flow and balance of energy in the human body is the foundation of good health. In the Polarity model, health is experienced when: energy systems function in their natural state, and energy flows smoothly without significant blockage or fixation. When energy is unbalanced, blocked or fixed due to stress or other factors, pain and disease arise.... Polarity Therapy seeks to find the blockages and release energy to normal flow patterns, and to maintain the Energy Field in an open, flexible condition."**
I know that I don't yet know enough about any of these things to write reliably on them my self, so I'm sharing some quotes from others' work:
"Zero Balancing focuses primarily on key joints of our skeleton that conduct and balance forces of gravity, posture and movement. By addressing the deepest and densest tissues of the body along with soft tissue and energy fields, Zero Balancing helps to clear blocks in the body’s energy flow, amplify vitality and contribute to better postural alignment. A Zero Balancing session leaves you with a wonderful feeling of inner harmony and organization."* (And yes, I've had the chance to experience a zero balancing treatment. It does leave you feeling more connected with yourself. Even two weeks later, I can feel the difference in the way I hold myself -- my body is more aligned than it used to be.)
Hot Stone Massage connects "the flow or paths of energy together in order to rebalance the physical body, emotional mind and spirit as one."*** In addition to warming muscles to allow for easier release of tension, the heat works to "open energy pathways" and to energize chakras.^ Additionally, the stones themselves hold their own energy - and over time they seem to hold more and more. I'd have been skeptical about this, had I not felt a real difference today in class when we were learning and practicing how to use the stones.
Among the things one experiences during a hot stone massage, is having small warm stones placed bewteen your toes (thin little things). Since we didn't have enough stones for everyone in the class to have a whole set to work with, only one of my feet got to experience the toe warming stones. The warmth felt nice of course, but I found that I could feel a difference that I can only describe as an energetic one between the leg and foot with the stones and the one without.
I've been very interested in energetic work all along - heck I came into the massage program having already become a Level I Reiki "Master." (I really don't think one masters the Reiki energy -- one merely invites it, like a guide, and facilitates its flow, but the Reiki world refers to it as Mastery). I had expected that there would always be a bit of "energy work" in my massage -- in any massage really. But I had not expected to find so much energy work that really works with the bones of the body or the earth.
An awesome blogger would have some pithy conclusion here. This blogger does not. This blogger's brain is full of studying for the Pathology Final, and is being distracted by wishing she could just put a hold on all that long enough to spend the weekend on a suddenly available seminar on hot stone massage, having received an unexpected gift of the full hot stone "kit" from a secret benefactor. This blogger is hoping that by sharing this, she'll be able to let it go long enough to go re-learn all that stuff from the first half of the semester (like the differences between Myesthenia Gravis, and Multiple Sclerosis, and Muscular Dystrophy, and ALS -- all of which are real and important and jumbled in my brain).
* from http://www.zerobalancing.com/
** from http://www.polaritytherapy.org/index.php
*** from http://winchester-holistics.co.uk/treatments-available/about-hot-stones-massage/
^ from http://ezinearticles.com/?Hot-Stone-Massages-and-Chakra-Energy&id=4352923