Know your Stones.
Stones come in a wide variety of colours, shapes and mineral compositions. Basalt, sometimes referred to as Lava stone, has often been a popular choice for therapists as it comes in a variety of shapes and sizes and is often found in rivers, on beaches and, unfortunately, at the local hardware store. With a mineral composition of iron magnesium and feldspar, this stone is porous in texture, smooth to touch and holds the heat comfortably for the therapist and client.
Hand crafted Granite Massage Stones are designed and crafted into ergonomic shapes and sizes specifically tailored for a warm stone massage treatment. Generally comprising a mineral content of quartz, feldspar and mica, granite is non-porous making it highly hygienic and very easy to clean. It holds the heat very well and contains grounding and healing properties.
Hand crafted Marble Stones are also ergonomically designed and crafted for their specific purpose in a stone treatment. True marble is metamorphosed limestone, thus the stone is primarily made up of calcite minerals. Having a natural temperature generally four degrees below room temperate, marble is often used as the cryotherapy, or cooling, component of a stone treatment. In some cases marble can also be used as the heating component, however, if continually heated over a period of time it may become brittle.
There are many other types of stones that can be used in a warm stone massage. Jade for longevity, Jasper for grounding, Onyx for protection, and my personal favourite, Lapis Lazuli, for communication, truth and creativity.
We can’t always share such a vast quantity of information with our client, however I find if we as a therapist have a better understanding of the healing components of the stones we are using, it gives us greater ability to apply these principles to the treatment.
Affect the best results for your clients.
There are many benefits of using warm, or heated, stones. Heat when applied to the body brings about a complete feeling of relaxation. When used in massage it will relax the superficial muscles and allow the therapist to do deeper work if necessary without resistance from the client. This is also gentler on the therapist’s thumbs and wrists. The heated stones become an extension of the therapist’s hands, sharing the work with the therapist.
Warm stones activate the parasympathetic system. This is what we use when we go to sleep at night. Warmth from stones brings nutrients to the cells by speeding up the metabolism and enhancing blood circulation. With the warm stone moulding to the body, it gives an intense feeling of well-being and is known to block pain receptors.
A client with sore, tight muscles should benefit greatly from this treatment. As the warm stone is applied to the body with massage techniques, the muscles will melt and allow the stones to create a more powerful treatment.
Cold stones are an added dimension of stone massage.
Some therapists will use this form of cryotherapy, others will not. Incorporating cold stones into a stone treatment can be a powerful tool in speeding up the blood lymph exchange and decongesting the body. Short time applications of the cold stones will remove toxins and allow the body to recover more quickly from injury or strains, as well as reducing oedema. The sides of the neck where the carotid artery is, and the kidney area, are places on the body that may spasm if cold stones are applied to these areas. Again properly structured training will cover the aspects of where to apply cold stones to the body and where not to.
I hope this gives a clearer understanding of why we use warm stones and how we can maximise the effect on our clients by using these stones. Happy massaging!
With quality training and the right equipment you will be giving yourself an edge by offering a unique experience for your clients.
You may often see photos or pictures where stones are placed on the client’s body. This is not a true representation of what happens in a stone massage but rather an aesthetically pleasing result for marketing stone massage. Stones must never be placed directly on the skin when they are hot. This will most certainly cause burns and blisters. A heavy towel should always be used in-between a client’s skin and the placement stone.
The correct training is imperative for the best results for your client. It gives the therapist a higher degree of confidence in what they are doing, and ensures that they are competent in the health and safety issues for the client. There should be great emphasis placed on the importance of quality, hands-on training from a certified instructor. To be shown how to work with heated stones in a four hour course is not enough. A little knowledge can prove dangerous to the client as well as the therapist. A student will only retain approximately 30 percent of what they learn. If a student were then to attempt to teach fellow therapists how to do stone training, the knowledge would be filtered down even more. A therapist can find themselves in hot water if they are not properly equipped with the information and skills to perform a professional stone massage.
A well structured training workshop will cover the aspects of precautions and contraindications to the treatment, as well as instructing the students on body mechanics and correct technique. A therapist learns best by performing and receiving the treatment.
The correct equipment is also important. Rice cookers, frying pans and crock pots should never be used because of the lack of temperature control and uneven heat dispersion. I recommend a practical stone heater, such as a SpaPro, which is a heater specially designed for the purpose of heating stones.
Sandra Jones-Rider is an accredited trainer and founder of ScenStone Therapy. With 16 years of experience in the Spa and Beauty Industry, and having trained all over the world, Sandra has condensed a combination of her skills in Lomi Lomi, Therapeutic Massage, Aromatherapy, and the use of Stone Eagle Handcrafted Stones, to create a unique and comprehensive treatment that will provide your clients with a lasting and healing result.
Sandra can be contacted at our Contact Us page or by calling (ph 0409 644 829)