As appeared in Energy, newsletter for the American Polarity Therapy Assosciation, Spring 2013
with Megan Brians, APP and Nat Carlson LMT, APP
For two years now I’ve been volunteering at You Can Thrive!, a breast cancer survivor foundation based in NYC. YCT! has been operating for over five years and provides alternative/complementary care for breast cancer survivors free of charge. The modalities represented are: acupuncture, aromatherapy, nutritional counseling, advocacy, reflexology, reiki, massage and Polarity Therapy. When I started volunteering with YCT! my friend had been going there for acupuncture and support. She encouraged me to share Polarity Therapy and when my Sundays opened up I did my best to give whatever support I could.
I started out doing short 20 minute sessions in a large room with massage and/or reflexology practitioners. Sharing a space was different from how I trained or usually practiced however I found that having others present was not a distraction but a support of the energy. The short sessions also forced me to focus on what was essential and needed in the moment. Overtime, and as demand for Polarity and relaxation grew, the sessions became longer and more in depth.
Being present and holding women who were recovering from all stages and forms of breast cancer was at first daunting, but as each woman came to my table I realized that all I needed to do was to pay attention to what was healthy. I would tune into the Ultrasonic Core, or the Inverted Triangles to help the client relax and feel accepted in the moment. I would then work with whatever pain or tension they spoke of during the intake. I didn't have extensive training in cancer related therapy but I quickly realized that Polarity Therapy, in its gentle application, provided noticeable relief from multiple symptoms, especially anxiety, nausea, fear, disembodiment and trauma.
Recently, I had a client come to me who had never heard of Polarity and was not sure that it would work because "I need something deep, I’m feeling really messed up", she said. Her history included a double mastectomy a year ago, many symptoms of PTSD from the surgery, conflict with her partner and care givers, as well as uncertainty and confusion about managing her life right now. I assured her that we would be able to go as deep as she felt she needed. With that she took a deep breath and trusted me.
I started with her feet. Within five minutes she was feeling a charge moving up her left leg that was distinct and interesting. she asked me what I was doing. I explained the inside ankle point and how it helps to ground you. When the energy in the lower body opened and settled I moved up to balance with 5 Pt. star and upon holding her hip and shoulder, she jumped. She said felt a lot of resistance in the hip, so I backed off the pressure and said, "let’s just honor that resistance". Then as she felt into her hip the tears and anger came up. “ I thought I was done with the anger”, she said. The questions just kept coming: "Why me?” “Why cancer?” “What am I supposed to do with this?”. Then her whole system lit up and began to flow with a deeply vital charge as she continued to release her anger.
Soon I felt her system relax and deepen into itself and the space seemed to open for her to hear the answers to her questions. "I think I know what I have to do, I have to share my story as part of my graduate degree application". With a deep breath and acknowledgement of this being the next step her system became even more organized and relaxed. When the session was complete she shared how very different she felt about her life, more able to face the days to come. I felt honored that she allowed me, a complete stranger, to witness her vulnerability and process.
It is sessions like this one that make me feel so blessed to offer such a complete system of healing. To be able to help these women trust their ability to relax and to heal. I feel that Polarity gives them a chance to fully integrate the depth of their experiences. Above all else, I think this is a vitally important experience when you are living and thriving with cancer.
Over time a few of my colleagues have joined the work at YCT! Now there are three Polarity Therapists giving sessions consistently and more are interested in joining. I've invited two of them to share their experiences below.
"Whenever I lay hands on a client at YCT!, I feel honored to be able to do so. I am deeply touched by each woman entrusting herself to me as she looks for support and rest in a particularly vulnerable time–this is partly in thanks to the great care the YCT! staff takes in ushering these women into various–and often new to them–healing modalities. Not only are these women contending with discomfort and exhaustion from the treatments, fear of the cancer itself and possibly depression, they have lives full of other concerns both large and small: unemployment, motherhood, romantic relationships, and daily living. My contacts and our dialogues respond to this wide variety of life events. I feel deep gratitude on meeting each woman on multiple levels and I am rewarded with grateful hugs and shining eyes. Giving Polarity Therapy sessions at YCT! has been a joyful experience all around and has marked my heart with great sweetness and tenderness." Megan Brians, APP
"Among my greatest joys in serving at You Can Thrive! is to see the glow and brightness in a survivor's eyes as she rises from the table after a session. It gives me the sense that she has been met in a way and at a level that allows more light to shine on the very difficult process of recovery. One of the benefits of using Polarity Therapy in the YCT! environment is that this work is an antidote to the aggressive and invasive treatment clients have experienced. Simply opening a safe space for women to renew a connection to themselves that was wounded by their course of treatment has a noticeable result. For many of these courageous women, YCT! is a first step beyond conventional medicine and into the realm of life energy modalities. I am struck by the openness and receptivity of the survivors to what Polarity Therapy can offer; a gentle way of bringing support, harmony, and peace to a path of survivorship. The grace, power, and heart survivors maintain in their journey with breast cancer is truly inspiring and I am grateful to be a part of the YCT! and Polarity community." Nat Carlson, LMT, APP
As a result of Hurricane Sandy displacement YCT! is looking for a permanent home in NYC. Any help is greatly appreciated.
For more information about:
You Can Thrive! www.youcanthrive.org.