I am a huge fan of massages, especially hot stone massages, so I decided to try the Sacred Stone Massage treatment at Luxuriate Massage and Skincare in East Setauket.
“The Sacred Stone massage treatment is based on the ancient science of Ayurveda,” explained owner Alyssa, a licensed massage therapist and cosmetologist. “According to the Ayurvedic teachings, there are five elements that exist in the universe and within ourselves. The wind element, or vata, is the element that seems to be most out of balance due to stress in most people. The goal of the Sacred Stone treatment is to calm the wind within us. To bring the body, mind and soul back into balance.”
Alyssa uses unprocessed Rhode Island sea stones that she harvested herself while attending training at the Sacred Stone Institute where the treatment was conceived. “Each stone has its own energy and vibration, just as each individual body does.
Because the stones I use are directly from the sea, natural, unpolished and unprocessed, they are believed to have strong healing energy. As an added bonus of using natural sea stones, the warm oil and stones have an exfoliating effect on the skin.”
Alyssa radiated a warm and healing energy too, and I was immediately put at ease. As I was lying face up on the warm treatment table, Alyssa placed the hot stones beneath me along my spine and shoulders. A set of stones were also placed “Grandpa,” under my sacrum, (the large triangular bone at the base of the spine), and “Grandma,” on my belly. Large “anchoring” stones were placed in my hands with my palms resting on top.
Alyssa cleansed my feet with sea salt and warmed lemons, massaged them with warmed oil (all oil she uses is warmed), and placed toe stones between my toes and wrapped them with towels to hold the warmth. Next, she massaged my face with warm oil and placed cool stones over my eyes. Crystals were positioned at my heart point, throat and third eye (between the eyebrows).
Once the stones were in place, Alyssa massaged my shoulders, arms, legs and belly with her wonderful, healing touch. I think I actually fell asleep at one point (which I hate to do—I want to feel every second). Then she removed all the stones and I flipped over. She began massaging with oil and stones at my feet, leaving a warm stone on the sole of each foot wrapped in a towel. She then worked her way up my body with her hands and stones, focusing her massage on my back, as we discussed before the session. One interesting and, as she put it, “delicious,” move was spinning. She used a flat round stone and began spinning at the cervical spine, twirling down along my spine to the sacrum. This is supposed to release negative energy—it felt so good!
Once she completed the massage, she placed the stones along my spine, covered me with a blanket and rang Tibetan bells over each stone. “The bells vibrate the stones and are said to clear negative energy. They also signal the end of the treatment.”
This was truly a special experience for me. I felt a wonderful lightness of heart afterwards.
Rick Joseph, owner of The Village Spa in Roslyn Village, also cites the benefits of their hot stone massage, not only for relaxation, but also for opening energy pathways. But, he says, they have a slightly different approach to this popular massage treatment.
“We’re really about promoting relaxation and making a person feel good, so we do not place the stones along the vertebrae,” he said. “We have instructed the therapists to try to cup the stones in their hands so the person feels their hands as much as possible and the effect is shooting heat through the body. The use of hot stones allows for deeper manipulation of the muscles, which both feels good and is, of course, beneficial.”
Other benefits of a hot stone massage, Rick says, are relaxation, stress and pain relief, the release of toxins, improved circulation and calming the psyche.
“There are quite a few health conditions, aside from the usual muscle aches and pains, that can be treated with hot stone massage,” he noted. “People who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis, arthritis, fibromyalgia, circulatory issues, insomnia and depression can find relief.”
Therapists are very careful not to overheat the stones, but since we all have different tolerances to heat, always let the therapist know if you find anything uncomfortable. Communication between client and therapist is key.
Rick believes that, since it feels so good, anyone who comes for a massage and would like to try something different should try the Hot Stone Massage. “Very often, clients who never had hot stones before comment about how amazing it felt. These comments are always unsolicited, so I tend to think it’s pretty much a universal response.”