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Rolfing, Dorn method, polarity therapy: Are you familiar with these complementary medicine techniques?

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Around half the Swiss population have already tried or regularly use alternative treatment methods. As such, complementary medicine – as alternative treatment methods are collectively known – covers a wide range of therapies. We are presenting five relatively unknown methods for you.

Dorn therapy – brings vertebrae in the spinal column back into their correct position

Dorn therapy aims to bring back misaligned vertebrae into their normal position without a great deal of physical force. Thumb pressure is often enough. This therapy is named after the Bavarian farmer Dieter Dorn who in 1975, having suffered from lumbago, visited another farmer in the neighboring village who used simple hand manipulation to relieve his pain. Dorn learned this technique and then successfully used it on his circle of friends. An orthopedic surgeon became aware of it and encouraged Dorn to pass on his method in seminars.

Therapy from head to toe

The specific sequence is a characteristic feature of Dorn therapy. Complete treatment begins with the feet, followed by the legs, pelvis, spine up to the head. Patients are not inactive in the process: they help themselves to become pain-free again by practicing specific exercises. Bruno Laetsch has been working as a Dorn therapist for 16 years and sees the effect of the therapy on a daily basis: “Patients come into my practice doubled up with pain and leave it walking upright.”  

Foot reflexology

Complete treatment with Dorn therapy begins with the feet, followed by the legs, pelvis, spine up to the head.

Polarity therapy – for better body balance

The polarity method centers on energy flows in the body, specifically the harmonization of these energy flows. This happens through the interaction of mindfulness, body work, conversations, selected yoga practices and nutrition. Treatment is not only beneficial for various physical ailments but also for psychological problems. “Polarity therapy can reveal conditions where there is a lack of equilibrium in the body and can consciously re-balance them”, explains Dr. Jim Feil, Chief Practitioner of the Polarity Training Center in Zurich.

Polarity was developed by Dr. Randolph Stone who combined his knowledge of chiropractic medicine, osteopathy, naturopathy and neuropathology with  Ayurvedic methods and ancient Egyptian medicine to create a new treatment method.

Exercise for a stiff neck

You can easily try out the physical action of polarity for yourself. If you have a stiff neck, rub the palms of your hands together for about a minute until you can feel the heat energy. Then place your left hand on your neck and your right hand below your throat, making sure to breath deeply in and out. Can you feel the effect?  

Correcting body posture

Rolfing therapy/Structural Integration aims to realign the body and correct abnormal postures.

Rolfing therapy/Structural Integration  – corrects abnormal body postures

In ten sessions, this form of body therapy unlocks sclerosis and brings the body back to its natural position as determined by gravity.

The method was originally known as Structural Integration, but the founder, Ida Rolf, subsequently adopted the term Rolfing. Ida Rolf was an American biochemist. In the 1920s, she was researching treatment options for chronic illnesses of the musculoskeletal system at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York and subsequently developed the method.   

“Rolfing/Structural Integration uniquely combines awareness and exercise training as well as very specific work on fasciae, i.e. on the body and connective tissues”, explains Karen Ariane Salwa, President of the Rolfing Association. 

Polarity therapy can reveal conditions where there is a lack of equilibrium in the body and can consciously re-balance them

Dr. Jim Feil, Chief Practitioner of the Polarity Training Center in Zurich

Spiral Dynamics – for healthy body movement

Backache, slipped disc, arthrosis? Spiral Dynamics can help chronic conditions of the musculoskeletal system. This complementary medicine method is based on learnable “intelligent movement”, the body’s healthy movement.

The name of the method comes from the observation that the human body’s anatomical shapes often reflect spiral-like structures. Prominent examples are the spine or ankle joint. Pain arises when the rotary axes of these parts of the body shift.  

Result of many years of experience

In Spiral Dynamic therapy, a shift in a rotary axis can be corrected by learning healthy movement. One of the co-founders of this method is Dr. Christian Larsen. He explains what makes this form of therapy unique: “Spiral Dynamics is not a concept developed from experience with patients. It’s the result of research aimed at understanding how the musculoskeletal system works.”

Moxibustion – the gentle version of acupuncture

Similar to acupuncture, moxibustion is based on the idea that the life force known as qi flows through the body. Qi flows on very specifically defined pathways known as meridians that create a circuit. Acupuncture points through which qi flows lie on the meridians.

From a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) perspective, illnesses occur if qi can no longer flow evenly through the body. Moxibustion helps redress qi. Unlike acupuncture, the therapeutic effect is not achieved with needle pricks but with heat. Specifically, moxa leaves are burned over acupuncture points. The essential oils they release are supposed to unlock blockages, thereby allowing the body’s own energies to flow in harmony once more.

One of the oldest TCM therapies 

The history of this complementary medicine method goes far back in time: It was recorded in 260 that a doctor, Huang Fu Mi, first wrote about moxibustion. Moxibustion, also known as moxa therapy, is therefore one of TCM’s oldest methods. 

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