Restoring the Body’s Deep Energy Flow to Curtail Back Pain

Restoring the Body’s Deep Energy Flow to Curtail Back Pain

In Dr. Tierra’s two cases, you can see how disturbances in the flow of qi, or basic life force energy, can contribute to physiological and functional problems.

But another system, called polarity therapy, credits the involvement of energy disturbances in the creation of ill health even deeper in the essence of the body. Polarity therapy combines the Western structural approaches of chiropractic and osteopathy with the energy modalities of acupuncture and Ayurveda.

That essence is energy, says registered polarity practitioner Gary Siegel, R.P.P., based in Poughkeepsie, New York. “Generally, healing and health are attributes of energy flowing in its natural and unobstructed state, while disease is the reflection of energy in an obstructed condition,” Siegel states, relating one of the modality’s prime views. “Polarity means the energy is in balance, flowing both ways, in and out of its source, but when you lose this polarity, you start getting health problems, as you will see in the case of Celia.”

Celia, 47, had intermittent lower back pain since childhood, but ever since she delivered her first baby at age 23, her back pain had intensified and visited her more frequently. It got to the point where, as she told Siegel in her first visit, “it never really went away.”

One of the strategies of polarity therapy is to examine the physical structure of the patient and to see if the energy flow through and around the body is abnormal, says Siegel. “Then a direct energy assessment follows to confirm or deny this, and to work out the specifics of these inferences.” This assessment, of course, requires considerable sensitivity on the practitioner’s part because unless you’re psychic, you have to rely on your hands to relay differences in energy flow as they rest on and just above different portions of the patient’s body, Siegel explains.

You may feel the energy flowing smoothly from the stomach to the pubic bone as your palms register subtle sensations, and then suddenly it feels blocked, disrupted, or perhaps stagnant. This was the case with Celia. Siegel’s initial exam of Celia indicated that her discomfort seemed to originate in the sacrum, both the physical bones of the hip and the energy fields associated with that region of the body.

As Siegel began to gently palpate the area and “move energy,” Celia experienced some unexpected sensations. She said she felt cold and started to shiver; as she discussed her sensations with Siegel, Celia experienced a release of emotions that she had evidently stored there, Siegel explains.

“Emotional release would play a large part in her healing process,” Siegel comments. He explains that the polarity therapist follows the changes in energy flow and expression in the patient and provides stimulating or sedating contacts as appropriate. “Sedating means applying a very gentle contact, while stimulating means pushing with pressure.”

Sometimes the patient needs to slow down the process of energy rebalancing in order to process emotions or to allow the body to take stock of the subtle adjustments, Siegel says. “The body leads, I follow.” Re-establishing polarity is the key focus. “If the energy can’t get into an area, you have to help it in, but if the energy is too built up, you have to help drain it.”

Celia came to Siegel for about a year, first weekly, then monthly, then every six weeks. For a fair part of the early sessions, the issues most strongly contributing to her back pain were centered around a sense of “woundedness” she was carrying in her sacral area, says Siegel.

This emotional wounding seemed to have begun in childhood and was expressing itself through abdominal muscle tension between the sacrum and belly button. “It is common that when a person gets injured or develops a disability, it is often located in an area of the body where the energy is restricted, where the vitality is low, and sometimes where emotions are being held,” Siegel observes. To his sensitive hands, Celia’s lower abdominal energy seemed to be “frozen, in shock,” and this quality was physically expressed in the form of contracted muscles and a tilted (misaligned) sacrum.

A clearer picture of how emotional wounding and physical discomfort interrelate emerges in this capsulized case history of another patient, says Siegel. Percival, 52, had endured middle-back pain for many years. During a polarity therapy session, Percival remembered an incident from childhood. He had fallen on a fence and painfully hit his back.

But his family was of the stiff-upper-lip variety and discouraged him from expressing his pain, Siegel notes. Percival was expected to remain strong and not cry. “So the pain, instead of coming out in tears, lodged inside Percival’s body and got expressed as tightness, a constriction which led to chronic back pain. When he became aware of where this unexpressed hurt had been stored in his body, Percival was well on his way to healing, says Siegel.

It was similar with Celia, but the healing (and the emotional processing) came in stages over the course of a year’s immersion in polarity therapy. However, her presenting symptoms were all eliminated after six months of treatment, says Siegel. She had no more back pain. Polarity therapy, he says, had “opened up that well of energy that naturally belongs to the body and allowed Celia’s energetic system to become full again.”

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