by: John Chitty
In March, an initial meeting was held in Arizona to explore the possibility of forming a new group of therapy groups. The meeting had two phases: the first was practitioner group representatives, including APTA, and the second meeting, a week later, was for scientists who are involved in “energy medicine” research. James Oschman, who presented at APTA conferences and included Polarity Therapy in his book Energy Medicine, The Scientific Basis, was a participant in the second meeting.
The purposes of the new association would relate to regulatory issues, research and public relations, all with the intention of expanding the availability and credibility of energy-based therapies. Representatives at the meeting, in addition to Polarity Therapy, included Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Reiki, Healing Touch, Eden, Brennan, Quantum Touch and others.
The new group would exist in a niche similar to the Federation of Therapeutic Massage, Bodywork and Somatic Practice Organizations. APTA has been a participant in this organization since its inception in the early 1990s. The Federation includes Polarity Therapy, massage, Rolf, Trager, Shiatsu and related modalities; it has been a key resource for APTA’s attempt to protect practitioners.
As part of its initial discussion, the new coalition developed a list of commonalities:
“What we have in common” (from informal notes)
1.Absolute conviction in the reality of the Human Energy Field, “energy anatomy”
2.Body-Mind-Spirit continuum, all interconnected and interdependent; “as above so below,” Spirit-Matter cosmology
3.Healing comes from the inside, “activating the healing power of the body,” patient is ultimately responsible, “nature alone heals”
4.”Soul quality,” self-inquiry and discovery; “science of man,” “illness is not knowing who you really are”
5.Origins in earlier sources including Vitalism, Oriental
6.Many different interfaces (hands-on or hands-off, close or distant) but all working primarily with energy factors more than tissue factors
7.Curiosity about the mechanism of action, why is it effective, in scientific terms
8.Commitment to safe and effective, “Do no harm”
9.Grass roots, less hierarchical, bottom-up
10.Inclusiveness and respect for each other’s practices
11.Recognition of common regulatory, political, economic concerns
12.Reiki tried “exclusion strategy” but it was not a real long-term solution, there needs to be “what it is” instead of just “what it is not.”
The meeting was generously funded by a major donor and the participants described interactions with high-level contacts at National Institutes of Health and related institutions.
The next steps for the group are developing Mission Statement and Goal/Strategies for its first waver of activities. Based on these documents, the APTA Board of Directors will be considering if and how to participate. The Goals are likely to include activities relating to creating infrastructure for the coalition, fundraising, research into regulatory needs, research into efficacy and public relations.
Watch future newsletters for updates about the project.