Deborah Herriage, LMT, RYT

by Deborah Herriage
(Austin, Texas)

Having given some thought to the basic hot stone process, I decided I wanted to experiment with the use of more stones, using many different sizes and weights. I also use placement patterns that mirror the size, shape, and individual characteristics of the client's body.

For instance, I still use the largest stones on the sacrum, but before placing graduating smaller sizes further up the spine, giving attention to the areas my client specified were in some pain, I palpate the back to see where there may be unhealthy tissue (indicated by redness after a bit of pressure). Then I have a better idea of how the placement of the stones should look. Being careful not to place hot stones on bony landmarks, I use a bit of beeswax on the stone to keep it in a more precarious position. These stones stay in place while I place other stones on the body. The beeswax is only for those stones that fall easily and the tiniest amount on the location of the contact is all that is needed.

Draping is done, but after the back stones are placed, I begin on the legs, folding the draping so that it becomes one drape over the hips and glutes. Two small stones can be placed near the ischial tuberosities to hold the drape in place before it is folded.

From there, I move around in a dance-like manner, placing and replacing the stones as they cool, so as to keep the body warm and the stones warming. I move from the most recent placement pattern to the earliest, removing the stones to do some massage, addressing the specific muscles and working a little more where necessary, but never for a long time at any one spot. Then I redrape the area and apply a few more stones to maintain the warmth.

This seems to be effective - a hot stone placement for warmth, nurturing, comfort, and sore muscle relief, but also it makes the massage more meaningful when I actually apply myself to the movement of the stones, and work the areas they requested to have worked on. The entire process is much more "spa-like" and I always get big raves from the client.

This type of hot stone massage is best practiced in 1.5 hours instead of 1, so I always recommend that amount of time to the client.

I always have more fun with this type of hot stone therapy. Its creative and effective!

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