NEW YORK, NY (July 2003)— This fall, Aveda™ The Art and Science of Pure Flower and Plant Essences draws further inspiration from the wisdom and traditions of Native North Americans with the launch of the Indigenous™ Purifying Stone Massage. Built around Aveda’s Indigenous™ hair, body and lifestyle product collection, the 60-minute sensory experience blends massage techniques with the use of warm and cold stones. Customized for each guest through touch and temperature, this new massage treatment creates a sense of purity, relaxation and positive energy that helps balance every Elemental Nature according to Aveda’s new spa/skincare philosophy.


While the warmth from heated stones can provide relaxation and relief from minor body discomforts, stone massages can seem disjointed as the therapist moves between client and roaster, creating noise and other distractions. Instead, the Indigenous™ Purifying Stone Massage is designed to be seamless. “The smooth, flowing transitions between the use of hands and stones in this massage is key,” says Suzanne Dawson, Aveda’s executive director of marketing for skincare and spa development. “For example, a therapist might warm their hands for a few moments by holding a hot stone before massaging the guest—an effect that minimizes the guest’s ability to discern the difference between the two—leading to a more tranquil, beneficial experience,” she adds.


The massage begins with an opening ritual that incorporates a breathing exercise—inspired by the ideology of a Native American “Medicine Wheel”. The “Medicine Wheel” represents the Native American sacred circle of life, whereby each direction—north, south, east, and west—represents a different cycle of life, while the circle is the link that connects each cycle. The Aveda Elemental Nature Philosophy coincides with this symbolism as each of the elements—air, fire, water and earth—corresponds to one of the four directions while Infinity corresponds to the circle.


A large warm stone is then placed on the sacrum (or tailbone) to increase heat and to help ground the guest. Various massage techniques identify trouble spots and warm the tissues. Warm stones combined with light-to-medium pressure are then introduced to increase relaxation, and as the stones cool down, deep tissue techniques and trigger point stimulation help achieve change in the muscles. Cold stones may be added to particularly tense areas to help effect further muscular change.

Rather than a rigid, prescribed procedure, the Indigenous™ Purifying Stone Massage adjusts according to the needs of each individual, and their specific Elemental Nature. “This treatment is special because it can be customized for each guest. The stones don’t replace the hands-on skills of the massage therapist, but complement them—and by varying touch and temperature, the therapist can assist every Elemental Nature to achieve balance and well being,” adds Dawson.


During the treatment, Indigenous™ Purifying Pure-fume Composition with certified organic jojoba oil, creates aroma and slip, while a burning Indigenous™ Purifying Aroma Candle intensifies the atmosphere of purification and relaxation. Both products are built around a heart of sustainably harvested ingredients including cedar to condition skin and hair; sage for its antimicrobial (purifying) properties; and sweet grass which is believed to dispel negativity and arouse emotional strength. The three plants are complemented with other pure and purifying flower and plant essences such as orange and pine, resulting in a one-of-a-kind aroma blend. Because great care is taken to collect the plants respectfully, the land on which they grow and the people who eventually use them, all remain undiminished by the harvest.


Although not used during the massage treatment, Indigenous™ Purifying Hair and Body Cleanser, blended with certified organic babassu, sourced from an indigenous co-op in Brazil, cleanses gently without synthetic surfactants, and may be used with the other Indigenous™ products to help recreate the spa experience at home.


Aveda’s Indigenous™ Purifying Stone Massage is available in Aveda Concept Spas this fall. Please visit or call 1.800.328.0849 for locations.