In the lecture given by Rudolf Steiner to medical doctors (Introducing Anthroposophical Medicine, GA 312) he said: “To be able to do massage in a successful way you must be familiar with the human organism”. A combination of these words and the descriptions in Volkier Bentinck’s book on polarity in the human being is the starting point and the area of work of Medical Massage Therapy.
Two polar processes are at work:
• In the upper pole: consciousness, light and structure.
• In the lower pole: darkness, warmth and chaos.
These processes are active respectively in the neural- sensory system and the metabolic- limbs system, with heart and lungs moving in between in the rhythmic system. A harmonious balance between these processes signifies ‘health’.
If the lower pole works too strongly upwards one can, for instance, observe that chaotic thoughts and problems with concentration occur. This will cause a person to lose perspective and have ever more difficulties with action. Other symptoms may be tiredness, headaches, waking up too early or an inability to sleep through the night.
Too strong an influence by the forces of the lower pole over the light-bringing upper pole can be a cause of depression.
An overpowering upper pole can manifest in difficulties in falling asleep, irritability and stomach problems. There is a lack of building-up forces and therefore insufficient vitality.
The massage therapy ‘prunes’ the excess forces of the upper pole or the lower pole, thus enabling the weakened pole to bloom again.
The aim of the Volkier Bentinck therapy is to create a balance between the upper pole (the head) and the lower pole (abdomen/legs). The lungs and the heart which are situated in between these poles are given space again so that the person feels liberated after the massage.
This type of massage is often used for psychological complaints, such as stress, problematic relationships, exhaustion, grieving, a chaotic life, as well as for physical complaints such as pain or sleep disorders.
During a period of massage of 7 to 14 weeks (once a week) the surplus forces of the upper and lower poles are, as it were, being pruned and thus strengthened. This is often experienced as tidying away superfluous ballast and can go together with embarking on new paths of development. The outcome of such a period of treatment is reinforced by repeating it (annually, for example).