We all know and have probably experienced both the comfort and therapeutic value of heat, especially at this time of year. Integrating heat into treatments is not only very appealing but it can add a tremendous benefit to our health.
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.
Let’s have a look at some of the treatments that you should be offering on your spa menu as the months get colder.
Hot Stone Massage
One of the best ways to integrate heat into treatment is with a 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 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.
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.
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.
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 tranquility 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.
I experienced my first hot stone massage at the Japanese Mountain Retreat in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria recently and it was incredible to say the least. The therapist used the Aromatherapy Associates oil and when the hot stones were placed in-between each of my toes I felt the most invigorating charge. It was like my whole foot area came to life with a tingling sensation that I had never experienced before. So I can personally recommend the healing and therapeutic effects of a hot stone massage and especially in the colder months.
Time to Cosy Up
If you’re not quite ready to introduce Hot Stones there are simpler ways to bring warmth and comfort to your clients. Start with an electric table warmer (it’s like an electric blanket for your massage table). It constantly warms the table and linen so clients are able to relax immediately with gentle warmth radiating from one side whilst you work your magic on the other!
Add a touch of luxury for the next layer by bringing in the cosy factor with a plush soft fleece overlay. They increase the softness and padding on your table so your clients will feel truly pampered. New faux versions offer the same comfort as real lamb’s wool but with the added hygienic benefit of being machine washable.
Don’t forget to warm your oils before you apply to the skin and of course create your ambience with well selected candles with aromas of cinnamon, cardamom and clove for the winter months.
Make sure your treatment room temperature is at a comfortable level and don’t forget to ask your client if they are warm enough. There is nothing worse than being cold throughout a treatment.
Special Offer Firm.n.Fold is offering 20% off their entire range of massage stones and stone heaters for the month of June.
Contact +61 7 5508 2111