I have been a stone massage therapist for over 10 years and teaching it since 1998. The technique of stone massage has changed a great deal for the massage and spa environment since its conception in 1993.
Over the past several years, we have seen many traditional massage techniques incorporate stones; from deep tissue to Rieki and anything in between. So is stone massage a modality?
I have seen many interpretations of stone massage over the years, some great and some not so great. With a well trained therapist, the difference between great and not so great is very often tied to the description of the service your client thinks they will be receiving. The general population and some times even massage therapists only think of stone massage being stone placements and gentle massage strokes. The problem with this is that there are many body-workers, to their credit, that have brought their own twist into the stone massage world. When you work in a spa and have a client that has experienced stone massage before and your menu has a similar description they think it will be somewhat the same and when that does not happen we have an unhappy patron. Therefore, I believe the description of the treatment has to be more specific.
In my opinion, stone massage is not a modality but rather an add-on to whatever you offer whether it be Deep Tissue, Swedish, Rieki or Thai. If we were to present it that way, I believe our clients would be more apt to receive what they were expecting.
As we keep on reaching for the next level as stone therapists, our first concern is safety. The application with hot and cold stones and how the body will receive the heat or cold will change with each modality. There are many therapists and clients that have been injured by stone massage which is not acceptable. One should seek out proper training because there are no short cuts when it comes down to safety.
As our craft of stone massage goes through its changes, we need to make things more concise and easier to understand and this must start at the front desk. Although most employees that work at the front desk have a basic knowledge of the treatments and massage in general, we can better serve their efforts by giving them simplified and pinpointed treatment descriptions.
This hard working and often least appreciated team helps keep our rooms full so let’s try to support them which will in turn help all involved.