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Geothermal Therapy, Massage types, Stone Massage

A world of different Stone Massages

What is a “Stone Massage”? Essentially it is a bodywork modality including the use of stones one way or another.

There are many different expressions of stone-work. I say stone-work, because there are expressions which do not include massage or physical manipulation of tissue.

The typical perception of a stone-treatment here in France includes passive use of the stones – stone placement on meridian and energy points and practically no tissue manipulation. For most seeking more deep tissue manipulation and physical approach to massage, this doesn’t appeal and they stay away from all “Stone Massage” they might encounter.

A lot of stone expressions in France are based on Chinese Medicine theories.

There is literally a whole world of Stone Expressions out there. Not only Chinese Medicine inspired, but also ayurvedic, ancient healing methods from Hawaii related to Lomi Lomi, Sami inspired healing from Northern Scandinavia, Native American shamanism, stone massage adapted to Western style massage therapy and many others.

Each part of the world has developed their own use of stones in healing at some point or another in time, using the resources they had available. Each expression has been influenced by the culture it emerged in, and in particular how healing has been viewed.

It is no wonder there is such a great confusion about what a “Stone Massage” is. And frankly, advertising hasn’t been helping at all either. We have all seen these pictures of a beautiful woman lying on a table with placed stones along the spine. Unfortunately, it is difficult to illustrate how a stone can be moving and massaging deep into the tissue and it probably doesn’t look half as good as what is typically used now.

My stone expression is based on Western style massage therapy and Native American Stone Medicine, using professional training from LaStone®. This means that I both do deep tissue work, focusing on muscular manipulation, as well as energetic and shamanic type of work. Sometimes only one, other times combining the two in various degrees. It all depends on what you want to achieve. The stones are an active extension of my hands, used as tools to promote your health and wellness.

So please, next time you feel inclined to dismiss the “Hot Stone Massage” you see advertised, do yourself the favour to look into what type of stone massage it is. There will always be an expression which suits you and your requirements, it is just a matter of finding the right one.

Ask about the massage. Query what is included and how the therapist works with the stones. Inquire about certifications and background both for the training as well as the modality. Describe what you are looking for and hear if that is what they provide. Share your intentions and purpose with the massage, so the therapist can create a session specifically tailored to your needs in that moment.

Just as Bodywork includes a wide range of different techniques and modalities, so does “Stone Massage”. It is my hope that this article has helped you gain a bit more insight into the topic and can help you ask the right questions next time you consider a treatment with stones.

Further reading:
A Brief History of stones from Geothermal Therapy Association
The History of Stone Massage from Massage Magazine

About Pia Poulsen

Pia Poulsen is educated as a wellness massage therapist at Institut FIGARI in Paris, from where she passed her certification exam in January 2008. Since then she has expanded her skills to become the first Advanced LaStone® practitioner in France as well as a certified LaStone® instructor.


2 Responses to “A world of different Stone Massages”

  1. This was a good incite in to the art form of hot stone massage. Many therapists feel that if they can do a massage then they can do a massage with hot stones. There is a technique that is involved that has to be learned and practiced. The most important thing is to ask your therapist what certifications and stone massage training she has, doing a little research will ensure that have a great massage.

    Posted by stonemassage | Sunday 31 July, 2011, 09:24
  2. Ensuring that your therapist has proper training in stone massage is essential. It’s also essential that the training is of a high quality and is approved by various organs and organisations.

    One good way to make sure that your therapist in stone massage lives up to requirements in skills and safety is to check if they’re a member of the Geothermal Therapy Association. They work to assure skill levels, training, safety research and so on. Much damage can be done if the therapist is poorly trained in stone massage.

    Posted by Pia | Tuesday 16 August, 2011, 12:02