To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Body & Spa: Myofascial Treatment for Natural Foot Health,” by Aaron Gustafson, L.M.T., C.A.M.T. II, in the June 2013 issue. Article summary: Destination spas have become holistic lifestyle-and-education resources, and your spa clientele will look to you as a valuable member of their health care team. As sporting activities grow in popularity at spas, active clients will benefit from a massage therapist who understands their primary means of locomotion: Their feet.
It’s wonderful to have the ability to offer clients hand relaxation with hot-and-cold-stone massage—especially as so many people abuse their hands with texting and computer use.
Hot stones provide deep muscle relaxation with little work for the therapist. Cold stones help reduce inflammation from strain and injury while relaxing muscles.
Here is a treatment outline for massaging hands with hot stones.
1. Use stones heated in water at a temperature of 127 to 130 degrees.
2. Select a small pair of hot working stones and introduce the stones to the forearm to absorb some of the heat from the stones.
3. Shake hands with the client by holding a stone between your hand and the client’s hand; hold the stone on its edge, gliding on the back of the wrist while flexing it. Next, hold the stone on its edge and glide with a rolling wrist motion on the dorsal side, between the fingers moving toward the wrist.
4. Turn the client’s hand over with the stone on the dorsal side while gliding the edge of another stone on the palmar surface between the metacarpals and over each finger.
5. Abduct the client’s thumb and glide the edge of the stone on the thenar eminence.
6. Place the stone flat over the wrist area to warm the flexor retinaculum, and at the same time dorsiflex the wrist back and forth to achieve maximum benefit.
7. Conclude by placing a stone on the palmar side of the fingers and pulling each finger.
If you choose to massage with cold marble stones, the stones can be used right out of the refrigerator, packed in ice, or at room temperature. Room temperature works because marble always feels 11 degrees colder than its environment.
You can follow the aforementioned routine with cold stones. Also, cold stones used as placement stones under the hands can be beneficial to help neutralize heat from the hot stones.
All types of massage are enhanced with the addition of hot or cold stones, and all areas of the body can benefit from massage with stones. Just adding stones to the hands alone can create a deeper relaxation.
Patricia Mayrhofer is president and founder of Nature’s Stones Inc. (www.naturestonesinc.com), an international massage-stone and supply company, which also offers educational massage seminars. She is a massage therapist with more than 18 years of experience, having taught for 16 of those years in Europe, the Caribbean, Canada and across the U.S.