|The Original Hot Stone Massage|
The Original Hot Stone Massage
by Mara E. Brenner
Have you heard about a type of massage where hot stones are put on your body?
LaStone Therapy is the clinical application of thermotherapy -- the use of heated stones alternating with cold stones. It's also one of the fastest growing massage techniques in spas throughout this country and across international waters. This form of bodywork involves the use of heated and cooled stones applied to the body in various ways to bring about relief to stiff and sore muscles, resulting in alleviation of many chronic and acute problems.
The use of different temperatures on the body to bring about certain reactions has been done for eons, and many different types of practitioners know that adjusting temperatures in bodywork can aid clients in healing. LaStone Therapy capitalizes on these traditional practices with a current approach. Basalt and marble stones are the medium, and the hot and cold temperatures are the message. This vascular gymnastics of the circulatory system assists the body in self-healing. LaStone Therapy administers this principle with unerring elegance.
LaStone Therapy goes beyond the physical experience of typical massage by entering deeper dimensions of relaxation, health and well being, creating a positive approach to the "body-mind-spirit" philosophy. LaStone Therapy produces alternately sedative and re-energizing responses to the body. The physiological benefits of alternating hot and cold to the body have long been medically proven, and clients love the potent recharge they receive in treatment.
There are two types of rock used in LaStone Therapy: basalt and marble. Basalt is a modified igneous rock that is formed by volcanic and sedimentary action. Basalt is the most abundant of the volcanic rocks. Basalt rocks have been broken and eroded by stream or water activity and then washed along a river bottom, where they receive their smooth, potato-like shape and size.
Marble is a metamorphic rock that at one time was nothing more than the muck at the bottom of the ocean. Marble was formed on earth via the entire geologic process -- a process that continues to create marble even as you read this. Marble, holding immense periods of time and records of the evolution of life, bears intrinsic beauty in its crystals.
Since the dawn of time, people have been drawn to the energies of stones. You need only look around to see the traces we have left from centuries of walking on Mother Earth. Monstrous stones have been carried unspeakable distances to honor kings and gods. We have created monuments of stones, where we have carved our faces and those of our gods. There are worry stones people carry in their pockets, and stone fetishes are created for many forms of healing, rebirth, wealth and relationships. The American Indians call the stones the "Stone Clan People." They have used heated stones in sweat lodges and on the belly of a woman to relieve the pain of menses. Shamans, medicine people and spiritual leaders from all over the world use stones and crystals in their healing ceremonies. Each color and type of stone reflects energy, purpose, clearing and releasing effect on the client as it is being used.
In Hawaii, the Kahunas use lava in their healing treatments. The lava stone represents healing and protection. In the Philippines, it is a common practice to use a rough basalt stone to slough off old, dry skin. In Russia, there is a tradition of using heated black stones in the bath. Even in the days when cowboys were roaming this country, it was a common practice to heat stones in the fire and place them on the ground under one's bedding.
I came upon the LaStone Therapy after injuring my thumb doing massage. Not wanting to give up my practice, and knowing there is not much call for a one-handed massage therapist, I took a class in this remarkable work. The stress to my body and hands while doing massage is greatly minimized, and I also get the benefit of the warmth and energies of the stones every time I use them. I have found that these stones will warm your soul as well as your body.
When I tell people about LaStone Therapy, they are usually skeptical. I pooh-poohed it after first reading about it, but I am now a believer. Having been both the giver and receiver of deep tissue massage, I can honestly say this is so much easier to both give and receive. There is no breaking down of the tissue. The heat and cold go directly to where they are needed. When I put a hot stone on a congested area and feel it cool rapidly in my hand, I know I have found the right spot.
There are numerous testimonials from many therapists and clients on the LaStone Therapy Webpage (www.lastonetherapy.com). Interestingly, if you look at the name spelled out as in the webpage, you will notice it can also be read Last One Therapy.
The originator of LaStone Therapy is Mary Nelson-Hannigan, a native of Tucson, Arizona. Mary is a 1991 graduate of the Desert Institute of Healing Arts, a licensed massage therapist, a wife and mother of two children. She has her own practice in addition to teaching LaStone Therapy.
Mara E. Brenner, L.M.T., practices at 310 K Street, Suite 200, in Anchorage. Validated parking available at the Captain Cook garage. Military discount. Call 264-6707 for more information.