My first appointment today was a Hot Stone massage. After asking the client a few questions about what she wanted and describing the process of the massage, I quickly realized that this wasn't what she was looking for. It would help if a thorough overview of our massage services were included in the training of the front desk girls. It seems that the only prerequisite for their employment is being cute and having big boobs. I guess I really can't be too mad.
The client concluded that since she had never received a Hot Stone massage before, she thought it would be nice to go ahead and proceed. Yipee. During the massage, I figured it might be helpful to give you guys a little rundown about zee Hot Stonez.
A Hot Stone massage is a deeply soothing and relaxing massage that increases circulation and releases tight muscles. (They are extremely helpful for people with arthritis or joint pain.) The stones are usually Basalt, black volcanic rocks that retain heat very well. Basically the massage strokes are Swedish in nature (superficial, slow, and long gliding strokes) with the stones either being held in the therapists hands, or placed along certain areas of the body. A skilled therapist will incorporate both techniques.
Although most schools teach the use of hot stones, unless their students received actual Massage Degrees, I can guarantee that not enough time was spent learning the intricacies of this modality. I highly recommend that you find someone who either has a degree, (a degree program usually dedicates at least a week to stone work) or has been certified through a nationally recognized workshop. I had a decent dose of training in school, but sought certification afterwards. So many more variables in this method of work, make it difficult to master and easy to do poorly. Since this type of massage requires retrieving stones, placing them on the body, and incorporating them with the use of your hands, timing and flow is essential. An inexperienced practitioner will either use stones that are too hot, leave them out to cool for too long, or not place them along the right paths on the body.
Also, I would not recommend that you get one of these unless the massage is 70 to 80 minutes long. Anything shorter, doesn't allow for thorough stone work because some time is wasted moving to/from the warmer, fishing out stones, and placing/removing them from the body. Also you want enough time for the body to absorb the rock's heat. Most Spas start all their massage services at the top of the hour, which means that instead of a full hour, you receive 50 minutes of actual hands on time. The other ten minutes are intended for asking you questions about your health and what areas you'd like extra focus on, and for changing sheets, washing hands, etc. For some retarded reason, my spa also offers a 50 minute Hot Stone Massage. This is a disgrace, because I'm pressed to give you in 50 minutes what it normally takes, at the very least, 70 minutes to do. I mean, I know I'm good, but being rushed sucks ass.
Whatever you do, don't ever get a 50 minute Hot Stone Massage if you want to not only experience the true essence of the massage, but also reap all of it's wonderful benefits.