I am honoured to feature an article written by Mary Nelson, the founder of LaStone® Therapy. It is always interesting to read the thoughts of someone who’ve worked in a field for so long.
The benefits of stone massage and how it differs from other massage therapies
By Mary Nelson, founder of LaStone® Therapy
Many people do not understand the benefits of stone massage and have never experienced the deep healing provided by a session. They have experienced Swedish massage or a similar therapy, but may not know how wonderful and therapeutic a stone massage actually is. The type of stone massage technique that I will be discussing is LaStone® which uses both hot and cold stones to bring relief and healing to the body.
Traditional Swedish massage and Shiatsu have a lot to offer. They will accelerate oxygen and nutrients, activate the circulatory system, improve the digestive system, relax the body, assist the mind to let go and the spirit can soar to new levels of meditation. So if all this is happening in a traditional massage why choose to experience a stone session, what makes a stone massage different than one of these that I have listed?
Hydrotherapy or Thermotherapeutics or thermotherapy as some refer to it has been floating around the world of healing for thousands of years. Basically it involves the use of water and various temperatures to relieve pain in the treating of illness. In the methodologies of LaStone® therapy we refer to it as Geo-thermal therapy which is the application of heated and chilled stones to the body for therapeutic purposes.
The main component of hydrotherapy is water in its numerous forms of temperature and it plays an important role in almost all fields of science, including physics, chemistry, and biology. The application of temperature to the body to aid it in the healing process has been recorded as early as ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations. Hydrotherapy was revived during the 19th century in Germany, Father Sebastian Kneipp http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sebastian_Kneipp.jpg taught the practical use of hydrotherapy in everyday life. His methods are still in use today throughout Germany and around the world.
In modern times hydrotherapy is a common practice in the physical therapy offices and many hospitals where they are treating arthritis, strains, sprains, burns, musculoskeletal disorders as well as for stroke patients with paralysis and the list goes on for it has a wide range of benefits to support the body in the healing process.
LaStone® is clinically the application of Geo-Thermal therapy, to the body using heated stones and alternating with chilled stones to bring about a chemical release within the body’s systems. Spiritually the use of heated and chilled stones to our body will aid in balancing our chakras and recharging our souls with Mother Earth energies as we perceive the wonder of the temperature and the stone’s individual vibrations entering our bodies.
Many hot stone massages do not alternate between the various degrees of temperature and only offer hot or warm stones to the body; resulting in a relaxing experience and one that is capable of moving some blood around in the local regions where the heated stone were applied. This type of stone massage is suitable for the client who has no health issues, no pain to relieve, and no inflammation to move out of the body and only wants to relax and feel comfortable.
For those who are looking for a deeper sense of themselves through ceremony, who seek ways to make a chemical change within their constitution and begin the healing process then LaStone® is the methodology that can administer such an experience, for the body will journey through multiple levels of healing as the blood, the lymphatic fluids and digestive juices all interact with the stones being applied to the body at various degrees in temperature throughout the session.
Adjusting temperatures in bodywork to aid clients in healing has always been beneficial. LaStone® Therapy is a contemporary approach to alternating temperatures in massage, it is a multifaceted technique designed to benefit client and therapist at once. The therapeutic potential of this treatment goes beyond measure. The physiological benefits of alternating hot and cold temperatures to the body have long been scientifically and medically proven. As mentioned early about the Egyptian, Greek and Roman civilizations and Father Sebastian Kneipp you can also find evidence of other ancient cultures using various forms of water, liquid, steam and ice to heal the body. These three forms of water are the mediums used in hydrotherapy http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrotherapy LaStone® Therapy capitalizes on these traditional practices with a current approach.
The many different types of stones used are the medium and the various temperatures are the message. This “vascular gymnastics” that is achieved by the use of alternating hot and cold stones in a massage aids the circulatory system, endocrine system and digestive systems in assisting the body in self-healing and goes beyond what bare hands can achieve in the traditional body therapies.
In a full session heated and chilled stones will line your back as you lie face up, both temperatures will rest on your front chakras and you will be massaged by the skilled hands of your LaStone® therapist with heated stones along your arms, legs, hands, feet, face and back. The placement of the heated and chilled stones will be determined by your therapist clinical understanding of what each temperature can be offered to your body at that particular moment, taking into consideration your health concerns and personal goals for the outcome of the stone session.
At times chilled stones will be applied to your body via the appropriate massage technique if inflammation is present, or arthritis, strains, sprains, and fibromyalgia are challenging your well-being. All along heated stones will rest in supportive areas of your body to help keep you warm and allow the body to relax into the therapeutic aspects that cold stones are able to achieve by way of Geo-thermal therapy supporting the body to begin the healing process.
A LaStone® session goes beyond the physical experience of typical massage, and enters deeper dimensions of relaxation, health and well-being, creating a positive approach to Body-Mind-Spirit philosophy. To remember what it was like as a child to lie upon the earth and feel as though nothing was wrong in life. People are searching far and wide for that sense of well-being, that connection with the power and peace of life. We have forgotten where to find it. In this fast paced society that we live in, we rarely take time to go outdoors and rest and feel the vibration of our mother, the Earth. It is too convenient to go to the gym; some of us even have workout equipment at home. Missing the true meaning as to why one goes outside, not realizing that we need the connection to Mother Earth. Receiving a session supports us in reconnecting to Mother Earth. Feeling cradled and protected by our Earth Mother as we experience her seasons through the various temperatures being offered to the body as the sessions unfolds.
Not only is LaStone® an absolute solution to aiding the client’s bodies to begin the healing process the therapists themselves are supporting their own hands in healing when holding the stones. By using alternating temperatures with the stones the strain and injuries to the wrists and thumbs that body therapists experience daily begin to heal and the therapist’s hands become stronger as the inflammation leaves their hands and wrists all the while they are treating their clients with heated and chilled stones. Thus LaStone® goes beyond any traditional therapies for both the therapist and the client benefit from the science and spirit of the stones.
I recommend that you find a certified LaStone® therapist or a stone therapist that understands the science behind how alternating temperatures to the body will aid in the healing process and incorporates some form of ceremony or energy work in the sessions they are licensed in doing. For this type of stone massage will offer you a safe environment to experience the vibrations of the stones from Mother Earth, her seasons through the temperature and be balanced as your energy centers accept the ceremony being offered to your body.