Why I Love Giving Hot Stone Massage

I am a massage therapist who specializes in Geo Thermal Therapy.  Geo means Earth/Stone (think ‘geology’) and thermal means temperature (think ‘thermometer’).  Geo Thermal therapy is essentially treatment of the body with stones and temperatures.  I love offering this type of therapy to my clients, and I really feel that working with stones offers many profound benefits to the therapist, as well.

I went through massageABMP CD project school in 2003.  After graduation, I started doing massage on a part time basis.  Despite my best efforts and attention to the things that I was taught in school about proper body mechanics, stretching and maintenance of my body, my forearms and wrists hurt on an increasingly regular basis.  This became especially true as my practice transitioned into an emphasis on doing more deep tissue work in my practice.

A few years after beginning on my massage path, I was intrigued by stone massage (which at the time was the hot new craze in the industry) and I attended an Original Body workshop offered by LaStone Therapy.  In Original Body, we learned about how temperatures affected the body and how we could use those temperatures in a treatment to bring greater healing and wellness.

Original Body had taught me the basics of working with stones in my sessions.  I started using with them, but still felt somewhat unsure and hesitant.  Working with stones does take practice, and I was just in the beginning stages of my stone walk.

It was at this time that I got an e-mail from LaStone Therapy about a Stone Medicine workshop happening near me.  This was the call that I had been waiting for.  I didn’t understand why, but my intuition told me that I had to be there.Stone Medicine Altar

Stone Medicine deepened my understanding of the spiritual nature of the stones and of the sacred ceremony that offering healing to another body is.  It expanded my understanding of the effects of heat and cold on the body.

I started consistently using my stones with my clients, and I never went back.  I use stones in every session now, and I can’t imagine doing massage any other way.

One of the reasons that I love using the stones so much in my work is because of the way that the client’s body reacts to them.  The warm stones begin to soften the muscles and help to open the body up for healing.  The cold stones make areas of the client’s body that are tight release like ice melting.  Loosening the muscles makes my job as a massage therapist easier.  Deep tissue work and digging is greatly decreased and the time which it takes to release stubborn knots is also decreased, allowing more time to get to other stubborn knots and make greater progress during sessions.

The loosening of the body is am outward symptom of the physiological changes that take place in the body and tissues during geothermal therapy sessions.  The warm stones relax the body and increase circulation and the cold stones go to battle to fight inflammation and pain.  The great thing about this is that it is a two way street.  Because you are holding the stones in your hands as you work on the client, you overworked hands are receiving the physiological benefits of the contrasting temperatures as well as your client.

Because of the softening effect that the hot and cold stones have on my client’s muscles and the anti-inflammatory effect that they have on my own hands and wrists, I rarely have hand and wrist pain anymore (and if I do, I just take a few minutes to stretch and apply some cold stones and it generally goes away.)  This helps to ensure that I will be able to do massage for as long as I enjoy doing it because it keeps me far away from the repetitive stress injuries that prematurely end the careers of many passage therapists.

I weave the stones intoPrenatal Stones 1 the session in a dance that feels so natural that many times, my clients cannot even tell that I have warm stones in my hands.  A client asked me the other day how I made my hands so warm!

The stones provide so much more than just physical comfort for your client.  Placing warm belly stones  and hand stones and tucking stones around your client helps them to feel safe and anchored.

When someone comes in for a massage, they are in a vulnerable position.  The stones help them to feel more secure and protected (and help to make the draping feel more secure, as well.)  Warm stones placed on and around the body help your client to feel secure so that they can stay relaxed during the session, even when you are working a little deeper trying to relieve their tight spots.

Offering stones in all of my massage sessions also gives me an advantage in that I have created my own little niche in the over saturated market of massage therapists in my area.  Clients come to me to get something that they can’t get anywhere else.  There are a lot of therapist that offer stones, but they generally don’t come as a standard part of the session.  Because of my training with Stone Medicine there are very few therapists in my are that offer the comprehensive style of stone massage that I do.

Many massage therapists offer hot stones, but the level of  stone work that is taught by Stone Bury the SoulMedicine  is above and beyond what is taught in most basic hot stone massage courses.  Many clients have told me that they have never received stone work like I do; that in the past, the therapist has maybe laid some stones on the body and maybe they used them a little bit on the clients body, but that the rest of the massage was done primarily with the therapists hands without stones.

Stone Medicine teaches the therapeutic use of heated and chilled stones for loosening muscles and healing the body, not just laying stones on the body while you work on the clients hypertonic muscles with your overstressed hands.

I love doing healing work, and cannot imagine doing it now without stones in my hands.  The stones have given me the gift of being able to offer a deeper level of healing and wellness to my clients.  They have taught me through learning Stone Medicine how to live my life as a walking ceremony, and that everything in life is sacred and connected.  They have connected me with other geothermal therapists all over the world.  Stone Massage has deeply changed my life and influenced the way that I think and the type of healing that I offer to my clients.

The stones have real healing power when used in Geothermal therapy applications.  Because of the temperatures that geothermal therapists work at to bring true therapeutic benefits to their clients (more thanStone Medicine Stones just placing a few warm stones around the body) they also have the potential to hurt your client when they are used improperly.  When stones are used improperly, at best, they will feel uncomfortable for your client and they will be unlikely to come back.  At worst, they can cause serious burns and professional training is necessary before using stones on your clients.

Offering therapeutic temperatures to your clients with stones is a delicate dance between oil, temperature, pressure and speed. Each client and each part of the body is different in what temperatures are comfortable.  Because of the therapeutic temperatures being applied in the session, there are contraindication that are unique to geothermal therapy and different from offering standard massage without stones.  It is important to have a thorough understanding of all of this before offering this modality to your clients.

If you are interested in learning to incorporate stones into your massage and healing sessions in a way that goes deeper than just watching a video or taking a one day workshop, Stone Medicine courses are being taught world wide.

I am available to teach Stone Medicine geothermal therapy courses in any location.  Please visit www.SacredStoneMedicine.com for upcoming courses or e-mail me at Shanna@creaturecomfortsbodywork.com for more information.

My Journey on the Path of Stone Medicine – Native American Healing in Modern Times

How An Ancient Native American Healing Practice is Being Carried Forward in Modern Times

When I graduated from massage school, I could have never imagined where my journey would take me.  Here I was, standing outside of a traditional Native American Sweat Lodge with a group of other women who were also massage therapists, ready to enter and purify our minds and bodies as a part of our training in Stone Medicine.  I was slightly nervous standing there, unsure of what to expect but feeling incredibly grateful to be a part of the experience.

Stone Medicine TipiStone Medicine is a traditional Native American healing modality passed down through the Santee Dakota Sioux tribe and taught by Chas Thompson to his daughter, Jenny Ray.  Jenny, a 2009 inductee into the World Massage Hall of Fame, is passing this ancient, sacred knowledge to massage therapists, who will be like modern day medicine people to carry this knowledge forward.

Stone Medicine combines traditional Native American healing practices with massage using heated and chilled stones (also called Geothermal Therapy).  The combination is profoundly healing and relaxing.  It has been described to me by my clients as giving them a deeper level of relaxation and healing than they typically get in a standard massage session.

Today, after taking many more classes in Stone Medicine and being certified to teach these methods to others, gratitude still fills my heart that I am able to share these teachings with my clients and carry them on to students who are ready to carry them.

These methods, though ancient in nature, are very applicable to the challenges that we are facing today and thus very much needed in our modern time.  Stress is an unfortunate part of daily life, and any modality that can help to relieve stress for clients is always needed.

I also feel that Stone Medicine can help the client connect to the experience of the massage inStone Medicine Stones a different way, through the Stone Tribe and Rooted Ones that come to help in the session, giving the client a new perspective in the ways that they interact with this planet that we live on on a daily basis.

I feel very blessed to be a part of a worldwide community that is rediscovering these ancient traditions and passing these teachings onto others.  Stone Medicine classes are currently being taught in the United States, Japan, Australia, Germany, Ireland and England.

Like many ancient ways, science is catching up with what healers have known to be true for a long time, and it is validating the work that modern day healers do in a way that has never been possible before.  The science of Geothermal Therapy is now understood more fully than it was for our ancestors, but the benefits are still the same.  Reduction of inflammation, increased range of motion, decreased muscle soreness and a general feeling of well being are all commonly felt by clients after a  Stone Medicine treatment.

Keep your eyes open.  Many years back, hot stone massage was the “next big thing” in the spa and massage industry.  Unlike many fads in spas that some and just as soon go, hot stone massage seems like it is here to stay.  Stone Medicine  is going to be the next “next big thing.”  Look for it soon in a spa or massage therapy office near you!


I teach Stone Medicine Workshops worldwide!  If you are interested in learning more about taking a Stone Medicine workshop, please e-mail me at Shanna@creaturecomfortsbodywork.com or check out the Stone Medicine website.

Healing by Hand – Traditional Energy Work

The idea that something could be wrong with our “energy” that may lead to or be causing physical or emotional issues has recently worked its way from a crazy, new agey idea to a more common, mainstream belief.  This idea is not new at all.  In fact, indigenous cultures all over the world have practiced various forms of “energy” healing, probably since the beginning of man.

This healing power is not something exclusive, that only certain people have.  Think about what you do when you hurt yourself.  Say, for instance, you just hit your thumb with a hammer.  What is your first initial reaction?

Most likely, you would gasp (getting extra oxygen into your bloodstream for healing) and you would hold your injured thumb with your other hand.  This is a completely normal reaction, and shows that the ability to heal our energy bodies is hardwired into our brains.  By holding our injured thumb with our other hand, we are unconsciously focusing energy on the injured part which encourages the healing process to begin.  Everybody has an innate ability to heal themselves and others!

ScientiSham Stones 2sts have proven that our bodies are made up of energy.  The atoms that make up our bodies, when broken down into their base components, are pure energy.  Further, scientists are beginning to discover that energy is shaped and affected by our intention.  Quantum physics is starting to explore the reality that our thoughts and intentions have an effect on the reality of our lives.  You can Google “Quantum Physics,” “Intention” and “Manifestation” to read about this relatively new field of research.

So, how does energy healing work, then?  You have an energy field surrounding your body.  Some people call this the “Aura”.  Some people feel that it is the electromagnetic field that surrounds your body which is the sum of the electrical and energetic reactions taking place in your body between your atoms and cells.  Some cultures believe that this field helps you to interact with the fields of all other people and things that you come into contact with, including the earth.

When you have a disease, injury or illness, energy healers generally believe that it is reflected in your energy field.  It could start as an energy imbalance from emotional or spiritual disturbance and work its way into the physical realm, manifesting as symptoms in your body.  It could also come as a result of a physical injury that happens, which by its nature, interrupts the energy flow in your body.

Physical healing can be greatly improved by balancing this energy and helping the client regain a strong connection with the Earth.  Just like blood and oxygen encourage faster healing in the body, so can a proper flow of healthy, balanced energy.

Energy healing can also be related to resonance.  When you hit a tuning fork near another tuning fork, the tuning fork that is not hit will begin to vibrate in response to the vibration of the tuning fork that has struck.  This is called resonance   So, how does this influence energy healing techniques?

The healer, or the person facilitating the energy healing session acts as the tuning fork, so to speak, to bring in a stronger, healthier vibration.  The client is like the tuning fork that is not struck initially, but the clients resonant frequency will rise to meet the higher frequency that the healer is bringing in to the session.

There are many forms of energy healing throughout the world; both indigenous traditions and those that have come forth more recently in history.  Reiki healing is a well known form of energy healing from Japan that was discovered in about 1930.

Healing handsMy training in energy work is in an energy healing technique called Healing Hands.  This technique, though similar to Reiki healing, comes from Native American traditions from North America that was discovered about 10,000 years ago.

A Healing Hands treatment consists of the healer placing their hands over parts of the clients body.  It can be done while the client is in any position.  The intent of the therapist is to remain open so that they can be a “hollow bone” for the client to receive whatever energy they need for their healing and well being.  No clothing needs to be removed by the client and this ceremony can ever work over great distances; the healer and the client do not even need to be near each other!

While science is beginning to learn about why various energy healing techniques work, these explanations are new teachings to a treatment modality that has been practiced for thousands of years.  Because these traditions existed long before the science that explains them, they rely on faith that the client will get whatever energy they need from the treatment (the explanations that are coming forth now are just icing on the cake!)  This simplicity makes this an extremely elegant form of energy work and makes it very accessible and  easy to learn.

Learning this type of healing work is empowering, as every person can learn to offer healing to those around them and the world at large.  Because I believe that we are all connected in many ways, I believe that increasing the amount of healing energy in the world helps strengthen “Mitakwe Oyasin” or all my relations, a Native AmRedAltererican term referring to those connections that bind us all.  When you help to facilitate wellness for an individual, the whole Earth and all those on Her are strengthened as well.

Healing Hands can be easily learned by beginners or those already experienced in the healing arts.   Your initiation (receiving sacred symbols) is done in a ceremonial attitude with the entire group participating. Healing Hands can be offered on its own or incorporated into other types of healing work such as massage, nursing, crystal work, etc.  Healing Hands workshops are being taught all over the world as these ancient traditions come forth into the modern world.

I am available to teach Healing Hands workshops worldwide!  For more information about hosting a workshop, go to the Stone Medicine website or please feel free to contact me at Shanna@creaturecomfortsbodywork.com