From the MASSAGE Magazine article, “There’s A New Stone in Town: Carved, Quarried Basalt Massage Stones,” by Pat Mayrhofer, in the March 2010 issue. Article summary: Finding that perfectly shaped stone has always been a challenge when harvesting oceanic and river basalt, the type of stone from which most massage stones have—until now—been created. But carving from quarried land basalt results in massage stones of precise shapes that can reach all the nooks and crannies of the human body.

by Bruce Baltz

Stone therapy has been around in the spa-and-massage fields for more than 15 years, and has gone through many changes during this span of time. In the beginning, this technique was thought of by therapists and clients alike of merely laying on stones, stone placement and stones between the toes.

We have an opportunity to combine soft-tissue manipulation with hydrotherapy principles when working with stones. The power of bringing two healing modalities together in one session with the use of warm/hot and cool/cold stones will take your clients’ healing to a new level. I believe the cooler temperatures are the most important temperatures with which to work. This is where your marble and jade stones come into play. I would not recommend using only hot stones in a treatment; I always incorporate cool stones unless medically contraindicated.

The majority of the stones being sold are basalt, marble and jade. These types of stones can be used in many different massage disciplines, including Swedish, deep tissue, aromatherapy and clinical. The choice of the varied shapes and sizes of stones is an essential key to this healing method.

One can be confused by the numerous set choices and configurations available by stone suppliers. To help assist you in this process, I would suggest looking at some of the educational DVDs you can find in the marketplace today; you will have a much better chance of finding the set that will meet your needs through your own research.

I cannot stress enough the importance of hands-on workshops when learning stone massage, as well as finding an instructor who teaches in a format that best suits your vision. If you think of this technique as an extension of what you are already doing, your search will be much easier. Find your interpretation and make it your own.

Bruce Baltz is a licensed massage therapist in New York and Florida, and is experienced in the fitness and bodywork industries. He owns SpiriPhysical, Inc. (www.spiriphysical.com).

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