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Stone Fusion

Hot Stone Massage

You may not have been aware of it but stones have been used in the Healing Arts for thousands of years.  Stone Massage dates back over 3000 years.  Stones warmed by the fire were used by Native Americans to treat aching muscles; Ancient Chinese healers used hot stones and bricks wrapped in cloth to relieve muscle pain, to detoxify, to find harmony and to balance the body. Certain indigenous peoples of North America have used stones for ritual healing and protection. They also used hot stones to ease the discomforts of menstruation, or applied cold stones to impede blood flow after giving birth.

Hot Stone Massage is rapidly becoming one of the most popular treatments in spas and massage clinics globally.  Penetrating heat from smooth oiled, warmed stones is used to relieve tense muscles and sore joints.  The heat of the stones warms the skin, which allows for the absorption of moisturising and therapeutic oils, while simultaneously allowing the therapist to work deep into the deepest layers of muscle. 

The best stones to use in hot stone massage are basalt stones.  These beautiful stones are formed by sedimentary and volcanic action.  They are high in iron, magnesium and other trace elements, allowing them to retain heat for extended periods of time, which is important to reduce pain and stiffness in the body.  They are unique because the thermal conduction effects produced by the heated stones bring about local and systemic changes in the body.  They should be symmetrically paired and weighted to give maximum effect.

We know that massage increases the circulation and stimulates the immune system by transferring more oxygen and nutrients to the organs and tissues.  Warm stones cause vaso-dilation which means that even more oxygen and nutrients are being circulated than through traditional massage.  This increases all the associated benefits of flooding the body with oxygenated blood including increasing energy levels, relieving stress and reducing pain.

Dr Brian King, in presenting his findings to the Physiological Society’s recent annual conference, said that his researchers used genetic engineering to make heat and pain receptor proteins in the same cell and examined the interaction.  They found that if warmth over 40° Celsius is applied to the skin near to where internal pain is felt, it switches on heat receptors at the site of injury.  These heat receptors block the effect of chemical messengers that cause pain to be detected by the body.   This would apply to hot stone massage applied to specific tight muscles. And if a vigorous massage has been performed, a few hot stones will also ensure the area will be lest sore post massage.

Not only do people enjoy the spa-style relaxation treatment but mixing remedial techniques with remedial stone techniques creates an effective treatment for muscular pain and the most mind-melting massage available.  I call this Remedial Stone Fusion, the perfect choice for clients with muscular pain but who have a low pain tolerance.

From the therapist points of view, using different specially shaped stones such as Trigger Point Stones, allows deep work without using your thumbs or putting pressure on your joints and wrists.  This may aid in extending the longevity of your career of a Remedial Therapist.

Cold Stones, or Cyrotherapy, dispels heat, which also reduces pain and inflammation..  Using lightly chilled cold stones around the forehead and temples is good for headaches.  Applying cold stones to the zygomatic arch (under cheekbone) and alongside the nose is very good for reducing sinus congestions.  A cool “neck pillow” can also often relieve headache.  Using chilled marble or gemstones in sports massage is also much more convenient than using messy, melting ice.  Using cool stones is also refreshing, soothing and invigorating and creates the perfect therapeutic balance.

But if all the science behind why Hot Stone Massage really works is not enough to tempt you to learn this amazing modality, feedback indicates that most people simply enjoy the comforting nurturing experience of a luxurious pampering hot stone massage and the deep penetrating heat of the stones being applied to their body.

The application of alternating hot and cold stones creates the deepest thermo-therapeutic healing by relaxing muscles, decongesting the tissues and easing sore joints.  By learning the art of Thermotherapy (warm stones) and Cryotherapy (cold stones) you can offer your clients a treatment that is not only thoroughly enjoyable, but highly effective for reducing stress, anxiety, pain and poor circulation.

Using the stones with aromatherapy, energy work, reflexology, and other modalities will take your massage to a different level by inducing a meditative state of tranquillity and calmness. Hot stone massage is not only therapeutic, but combined with Swedish or Remedial techniques; this treatment goes beyond the physical, creating an unforgettable experience.  Cocooned in warmth, watch your clients float into a deep state of relaxation and meditation – a simply blissful treatment that really works.

Sarah Li-Chiang

Inner Alchemy Massage Therapy

Tel: 02 88145201   Mob: 0412391018

Email:  [email protected]

Sarah is a remedial massage therapist.  She teaches Hot Stone Massage, Remedial Stone Fusion, Warm and Cool Stone Facials and massage at both her clinic Inner Alchemy and at two Sydney Natural Therapies colleges.  She is passionate about stone therapy and says it has changed her life.  It has not only added to the success of her business, but she believes it has made her a better therapist by allowing her to treat a wider variety of clients more easily and with more success.

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