Massage & Bodywork

Learning Hot Stones Massage

Last month I went to two continuing ed classes in one week. I attended a hot stones class taught by Darinda Davis at the Privai Academy in Asheville, and then I was a teaching assistant at the Craniosacral Therapy I class in Raleigh taught by Tad Wanveer of the Upledger Institute. Both were amazing.

I wanted to go to the hot stones class because I wanted to learn the safety protocol. I’ve had hot stones massage and watched videos. I felt reasonably confident that I could give the massage (although my gracefulness in applying the stones needs more practice), but I wanted to be sure that I understood about temperatures and cleaning so that I would not only give a good hot stones massage, but a safe one.

Darinda Davis was a wonderful teacher. She covered all the things I wanted to learn and more. I learned to heat the stones with both wet heat in a roaster and dry heat with a griddle. I learned to season my stones with oil, much like one might season an iron frying pan, and to place them in the roaster according to their intended use. I learned how to set and gauge the temperature of the roaster and stones for safe application and how to clean the stones during and after the massage.

Most importantly, I learned to apply the hot stones to my client in a manner that minimizes discomfort and injury and maximizes pleasure and health benefits.

Since the class, I’ve given five hot stones massages to my most regular clients who graciously consented to be my practice guinea pigs.  All of  them enjoyed the way the heat of the stones penetrated to the bone. One said that the massage made her feel more energized than my normal Swedish massage. Another left the office, talked about the massage at her next stop, and made a referral for me. 

I’m still working on a graceful application, but I am confident of understanding the safety issues. I’ve really enjoyed doing these massages– even in the hot weeks of August. In fact, I plan to take Darinda’s Advanced Hot Stones Massage class in the fall and Janet Blevins’ Advanced Native American Hot Stones Massage and her Facial Massage with Gemstones in November at the Southern Spa and Salon Conference.

I love learning new things. Learning the safe way to do a hot stones massage has been great fun, and giving the massages expands my expertise and lets me offer my clients more relaxation and a greater health benefit through a different modality


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