Two years ago I started working with a therapist I call Eric the Closer because he fine-tunes me. When I asked him to label his brand of therapy, he paused. How do you encapsulate his techniques?
Not really massage – energy redistribution.
Not really strength-training – recoordination.
Not really reeducation – a new level of consciousness.
“I guess polarity therapy,” he says.
The dictionary definition sounds airy-fairy – “restoring the flow and balance of energy in the body.” I’d be a skeptic if I hadn’t experienced results: My foot has straightened out, my shoulders and hips sit even, my gait and balance have improved, and my fingers have relaxed.
Example of a typical session: Eric gives me a simple exercise. I do maybe three repetitions and my ankle seizes up and my toes curl. Eric takes hold of my foot and commences battle – untwisting the calf muscles, shifting the ankle, coaxing the toes to elongate.
“Feel that,” he exclaims. “Feel the cold coming out?!” Now I’m aware of it: my ankle is freezing from the inside. He holds my ankle and stamps his foot, dispelling the trapped energy. A flush of warmth. The skin on my foot and lower leg glows pink as blood pours into the nutrient-starved tissues. We are both sweating.
It’s painful, exhausting, exacting work. As Eric manipulates me into shape, my groans and exclamations sound like childbirth. I keep expecting the gym manager to tell us “Get a room.”
To benefit from the therapy, I’ve had to let go of self-consciousness in a way that harkens back to the rehab hospital – nothing is private or sacred. I cry out, push back, tell Eric where I need his healing hands; in them, I have the strong sense that I will go as far as I can in my rehabilitation.