How Important are Cool/Cold Stones?

Cooler temperatures are finally starting to appear in more stone services throughout the country but we are finding that our ability to explain the application is affecting our ability to provide the service. There are several factors involved in bringing cool stones into your service.

Clients’ mind set; How do they feel about cooler temperatures?

I have found that most people’s fear of cool stones is based on their feeling of being cold, which no one likes. Working with cooler temperatures is about receiving cool not about being cold. If the room is warm, your client should not get cold from this treatment. Therefore we have to educate the spa going population on the benefits of cooler temperatures and its power to assist the body in its healing process.

I believe that cool temperatures are the most important temperatures we work with. The body starts its healing process by influencing changes. We do massage to bring heat to contracted muscles which initiate a change. We workout to improve the shape of our body and improve our quality of life; we break down some muscle tissue which recovers and therefore becomes stronger. But like anything else, this can be overdone and can damage the muscle. Hydrotherapy is usually done in short duration and repeated which allows the body to accept the contrasts in a gentle way. Using cool temperatures in short durations will take the body out of its norm and it will recover from the experience which will assist in helping the systems in our body become stronger. In order to move forward, our body needs change on all levels; emotional, physical and spiritual.

It is our responsibility to reach our clients on the emotional and    physical level and using temperature is a significant tool.

The types of stone massages; Deep Tissue, Swedish, Aroma Therapy….

The application of working with stones will vary depending upon the modality you are practicing. With Deep tissue; you will be able to work with a greater range of temperature due to the firmer pressure and pace of the application. With Swedish;  it is generally applied with lighter pressure which means you will be applying stones that are not carrying as much heat as Deep Tissue applications.  In either application, cool stones will be applied with firm pressure and slow pace allowing the nerves to adjust to the change of temperature.   The warm and cool application will be decreased, dictated by tolerance, pressure and pace. In most instances, when working with cool stones, the pace will be firm and slow and when working with hot, it will be firm and fast and as the temperature decreases the pace will slow down. The stones must be dried off before application and only a small amount of oil should be used. When the stones are first applied, press them firmly into the body and do not move them until the client gets accustomed to the change in temperature. You also need to be aware that some places on the body are more sensitive to cooler temperatures then others such as the back. For those clients that have an apprehension of cool make sure the stones are not to cold. Remember it is about changing their impression of cool stones not about shocking them.

Your ability to manipulate the stones and understanding of transfer of temperature to the body

Like in most modalities, education, practice and passion produce the best results. Stones are no exception except without education and practice this could be a formula for disaster, for you and/or your client. We all need to work within our own abilities. Those who are stronger and have greater dexterity with the stones will be able to work with greater temperature ranges. But strength and dexterity in itself are not the most important factors. The most important aspects of this work are the hydro principles and how they affect the body. The body will exurb as much heat that we will give it and then produce a great deal of circulation. In some instances, your client over a longer session could get off the table and feel nauseous. The cool stones will bring the body back into balance. The body does not take in cold it pushes out heat. I believe the cooler temperatures are the most important ones I work with because the body heals by change and I can generate heat with my hands.

We can change the perception of cool stones in our treatments for the massage and spa going population with our commitment to continuing education. This will enhance our ability to communicate with our clients and allow us to reach higher levels of expertise.

January 06, 2011 by Bruce Baltz
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