Pranotherapy - The origins of Polarity Therapy and European Neuromuscular Technique
By Phil Young
Review by Dr. John Beaulieu, N.D., Ph.D.
Pranotherapy is Volume I in Pioneers of Manual Therapy. This volume, assembled by Phil Young, includes the full text of Dewanchand Varma’s book on Pranotherapy and Dr. Randolph Stones notebooks . The volume begins with an excellent forward by Leon Chaitow, N.D., D.O., where he discusses the development of European Neuromuscular Technique and the influence of Dewanchand Varma on its origins.
This is followed by Phil Young’s in-depth introductory chapters where he discusses Polarity Therapy and how Dewanchand Varma’s work influenced Dr. Randolph Stone, the founder of Polarity Therapy. He also gives a well thought out overview of manual therapy, the times of Stone and Varma, and the role of Polarity Therapy today. I believe just the forward by Chaitow and the introductory chapters by Young make the book worth reading.
However, before I discuss this further, the core of the book is a reproduction of Dewanchand Varma’s The Human Machine And Its Forces followed by Dr. Randolph Stone’s Personal Notebooks from 1970-1973. I am a great fan of history and being humble enough to understand how “those that came before us” thought and the challenges they faced in expressing their views. After reading Chaitow’s forward and Young’s introductory writing, I have the sense that I have actually met Dewanchand Varma and Dr. Randolph Stone. I think Phil Young understood this when he quotes Carl Jung, “books are not ‘just books’, they have a consciousness, and they come to you at the right time”.
This is very true because Pranotherapy certainly came to me at the right time. I was at the Sivananda Ashram on Paradise Island Bahamas when Andreas Lederman, a leading Polarity Therapy instructor from Switzerland, placed the volume in my hands as I was looking out over the Caribbean and listening to kirtan chants coming from the temple. I looked at cover pictures of Dewanchand Varma and Dr. Randolph Stone and “I knew.” To put it in more modern terms, the consciousness of the book was “downloaded” to my consciousness on the spot. I read the book that night with ocean waves in the background and a real sense of having a discussion with Varma and Stone.
Pranotherapy is Volume I in Pioneers of Manual Therapy is for Polarity Therapists who want to understand their history. It is clear that Dewanchand Varma was a major influence on the development of Dr. Randolph Stone’s Polarity Therapy. Reading The Human Machine and Its Forces will help anyone who has studied Polarity Therapy come to a deeper understanding of their art. However it is much more. Polarity Therapy is the integration of many therapies. Therefore the understanding of the work of Dewanchand Varma is an important piece in the puzzle of understanding the development of manual therapies from Neuromuscular Techniques to Rolfing.
Dr. Randolph Stone’s notebooks are very special. I would have to say they are for the Polarity Therapist who wants to get a sense of how Dr. Stone thought. It is like a ride inside his mind. He is always thinking, experimenting, and looking for the relationship of diverse ideas and practices. Reading his notebooks is much like reading his books. And one can not help but be touched by his thoughts and how his integrity and quest for knowledge in the name of healing never stops.
If you want to know more about the origins of Polarity Therapy and other manual therapies then you should read Pranotherapy Volume I in Pioneers of Manual Therapy. It is not a book one sits down and reads in a sitting. I have now carried it with me for two weeks, and this is something in the day of Kindles and e-books. I read it the way I have read Dr. Randolph Stone’s books: I sometimes just open the book and read and at other times I read in linear order. There is always something to absorb and new connections to make.
For me, Pranotherapy is Volume I in Pioneers of Manual Therapy is a rare find. Phil Young’s contribution to the Polarity Therapy community and broader healing arts community is significant.
Dr. John Beaulieu, N.D., Ph.D. is director of BioSonic Enterprises, Ltd., Professor Of Integrative Health at CIIS University in San Francisco and a research advisor for Cell Dynamic Labs, Inc.. He is the author of the Polarity Therapy Workbook, Music and Sound In The Healing Arts, and Human Tuning. He is a past president of the American Polarity Therapy Association, a principle author of Polarity Therapy Practice Standards, and a Board Certified Polarity Practitioner.