I came across this video recently. This is a very educational video demonstrating how you should -not- give a stone massage. This way the video becomes the perfect educational tool and I will certainly keep it in mind when I’m teaching my students.
Take a look at it and see if you can spot the mistakes and unpleasant techniques used. There is even an aspect to the massage that is directly dangerous for the client. I will elaborate below and explain where he does wrong for a good, therapeutic stone massage.
Keep in mind that geothermal therapy works with extreme temperatures. This means that the stones are hot and cold. Not just warm and cool. Paying attention the temperature is very important as you can severely burn your clients. But you also need a high temperature in order to achieve the good therapeutic effects.
My issues with this video include:
The spinal layout – my biggest concern
Where he places his client directly on hot and cold stones without any protective layers in between. Normally during a spinal layout, you’re working with stones that are hot enough to burn a client if placed directly against the skin. If the stones are of a temperature that wouldn’t cause the client to be burnt, the thermal therapeutic effect is minimal and there’s little benefit in placing the client on the stones.
This is one of the biggest issues within Stone Therapy. Clients getting burnt from lying on stones and having stones placed on them. Because of the relaxing situation, trust in the therapist, and the pressure against the stones, it can be hard to realize that you are getting burnt before it’s too late.
There has been numerous cases and lawsuits recently where clients have been burnt because their therapist isn’t skilled in the use of geothermal therapy.
Do be sure that you understand geothermal therapy and have the right education before you place a client on a spinal layout. It is not only your own client you risk harming, but the entire business as insurance companies will be less inclined to insure geothermal therapists based on previous bad cases.
The application of cold
Luckily you can’t in most situations cause any serious damage through cold. At least not as long as the stones have been cooled on ice (if they’ve been in the freezer, then it’s an entirely different matter and can cause damage). So this point is more to the client’s comfort, as well as achieving any therapeutic effect.
The speed with which he applies the cold will feel very uncomfortable. Keep in mind that cold stones are taken from an ice-chest. So the quick way he runs that cold stones over the muscle would be like running an ice-cube over the skin. Not pleasant at all and the client most likely wouldn’t want to come back for another cold stone massage.
The quick speed also means that he only affects the very superficial layer during the massage. By moving slowly, the cold penetrates deeply into the muscle, creating a strong therapeutic effect. Also, slow moving means that the client gets used to the cold and it, if done correctly, will feel amazing and really pleasant.
The use of tugged stones to massage with
In the beginning of the video he uses a basalt stone to massage the arm. The stone he took from under the armpit. He mentions himself that he tugs stones in when they’ve become “lukewarm”. Lukewarm stones just doesn’t have any thermal therapeutic effect. He could just as well have used his fingers or a wooden massage rod. The effect would have been the same.
In order to achieve geothermal effect, you need to work with hot stones so the heat can penetrate into the muscles. This makes the muscle relax, brings blood to the area and when you apply cold, you achieve a vascular gymnastics effect, which supports the natural healing process of the body.
Hot eye stones
Placing stones on the eyes is a delicate matter. It does look like the stones he is placing are large enough to rest on the bone-ridges going around the eyes, so that the stone doesn’t directly touch the eye-lid. It is important that stones placed over the eyes never touch the eyelid and thereby put pressure upon the eyeballs.
The temperature is an issue too. We can’t see if these stones are hot or just warm. If they’re warm no damage is likely to happen, but I can’t imagine it will feel very pleasant for the client. On the other hand, a cool stone, one not too cold, would be wonderful over the eyes, refreshing and reducing puffiness (like the cucumbers used with facial masks).
There are other things I could point out, but these I have mentioned are the major issues I have with this video.
Hands on education is essential
One reason I’m speaking up about this is that there will be people out there who will use this video as their teaching material on how to give a hot and cold stone massage. Seeing the spinal-layout without the protective layer makes them duplicate that and cause burns to their clients. Using cold without understanding how to apply it properly will chase their clients away. Placing hot eye-stones could cause burns and damage.
It is so important that when you want to learn how to do hot and cold stone massage that you receive a proper education by someone who knows and understands all the things to be aware of in geothermal therapy. Not to mention, someone who is educated to teach this knowledge to you.
These are things you can’t just learn from watching a video or reading a book. You need to feel on yourself what pressure is right, how extreme temperature feels, how a wrong or bad application makes you react and so on.
So please do yourself the favour of finding a qualified instructor to learn geothermal therapy from, and do not use videos on the internet as your teaching manual.