Stone Therapy Massage (also known as Geothermotherapy) is really an extension of manual massage. It combines the use of hot and cold stones with traditional massage techniques to bring about deep relaxation and homeostasis on a physical, psychological and spiritual level. This modern day treatment draws upon ancient healing arts and traditions to deliver a deeper massage with less exertion required from the therapist.
Hot and cold stones are used to massage the client, but they also may be placed in strategic positions on top or beneath the body, to create a therapeutic and holistic effect.
The most popular stones are Basalts, which are of volcanic origin found in the sea or ocean, due to their good conductivity of heat and smoothness. They tend be round in shape with no sharp edges.
The stones are usually placed into a purpose-built Stone Heater, which is filled with water. The water is typically heated to 50-53 degrees Celsius (122-127 degrees Fahrenheit).
Once the stones have heated sufficiently, some are placed onto specific points on the body (such as the back, hands, etc.) and others are held by the massage therapist and used to work the muscles. This direct heat relaxes the muscles, which means that the massage itself is more effective and intense than it would be otherwise. The size of the stones varies, according to which part of the body they're being used on. The stones can be coated in fragrant oil to increase the client’s sense of relaxation and calm.
Certain styles of Stone Massage also incorporate chilled stones into the routine. These stones are usually a marble and are placed into a bowl of iced water before use. The combination of relaxing warmth and refreshing coolness is thought to encourage the body to detox and heal, increasing lymph flow and helping to flush out waste and inflammation. The body becomes relaxed in a much shorter space of time, and the therapist can focus on a deep working of the tissues using both stone and hand strokes.
I personally do not leave the stones lying on client's body, but hold them in my hands the whole time I work with them, which ensures safe temperature of the stones. I also do not hold the stones in one place, but keep moving them over the body part I am working on. If the stones feel too hot to the client, I can cool them down to a more desirable temperature using a bowl of cold water that I have always at hand. I always alternate between the stones and hands as this technique I find most effective in combating stubborn tensions.
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