References – IHM (Indian Head Massage), BM (Body Massage), AM (Pre Blended Aromatherapy Oil Massage, HSM (Hot Stone Massage) Knowledge – B24 – Outcome 10 – HSM
UNDERSTAND HOW TO USE STONE THERAPY EQUIPMENT
a. Explain the types of safe, purpose-built stone heating equipment and how to use and position them safely. Hot stone heaters do vary with each manufacturer and all heaters operate in different ways. Some may take longer to heat up in relation to the water capacity (the larger the heater capacity in litres, the longer it take to heat) depending upon the size bought, that varies depending upon the number of stones to be heated.
It is important to use stone heating equipment that has been manufactured for the purpose of heating hot stones. These heaters are usually made from stainless steel and should have a removable lid and an illuminated digital temperature display. It needs to be thermostatically controlled to prevent the stones from overheating.
When setting up ready for the client, get the heater ready for the client it can take about 10 minutes to get the heater up to temperature. Make sure the heater before use is filled with water and that all the stones are adequately covered with water.
It is important to make sure that the heater is secure, safe and stable on a trolley. Don’t move the heater when it is switched on.
To ensure the safety of the client and the therapist, ensure that the heater is placed a safe distance from the client, by ensuring there is also space for the therapist to move safely around the massage couch. Avoid the risk of tripping by making sure there are no wires trailing on the floor.
As the water will be very hot, when using the heater and removing stones it is important to use either insulated gloves or a slotted spoon and place in a towel or a bowl covered with a towel ready for use.
The stones will need to cool to an appropriate temperature for use, so make sure they are ready for use on the client by checking the temperature in your hand and then checking the temperature with the client. When the stones have been used, they need to be washed in warm soapy water and dried.
b. Explain the insurance implications of using non-professional stone heating equipment.
As there is risk of injury to client using hot stones such as burning, it is important to ensure that insurance will cover any risk of injury. Part of the requirements for insurance is that a therapist uses a professional stone heater. If a non professional heater is used and there is injury to a client, it is unlikely that the insurance will cover any potential claim by a client. This would leave the therapist and salon open to a personal injury claim being made by a client and the financial consequences of such a claim should the client be successful.
c. EXAM QUESTION
d. EXAM QUESTION
e. Explain how to select the correct size and shape of stone for the client’s physical characteristics and the area being treated.
Refer to Body Massage Outcome 11 at (g) for further information on massage and client’s physical characteristics. In addition for hot stone massage, it is not only important to take account of the size and shape of stone for the client’s physical characteristics but also to ensure that the stones used easily fit into the therapists hands. A therapist may find that they are too clumsy with a bigger stone than their hands can comfortably hold and use, the awkwardness will transfer to the massage movements, which will not ﬂow nor be enjoyable for the client. A male masseur with larger hands will use a bigger stone and be able to handle it with ease. A petite therapist may only use several of the smaller stones. This doesn’t matter to the client.
Whilst taking account of the therapist’s size of hands, if a therapist has a generous sized hand it would be easier to adapt the treatment by way of size of stone to suit the physical characteristics of the client in terms of height/weight ratio and muscle/fat ratio For example if a client is quite thin and feels the cold, does not have good circulation or suﬀers muscular tension, then they are an ideal candidate for a hot stone treatment. They need warming and soothing heat massage to raise body temperature and create relaxation in muscles that may be tense due to the cold. However, if a client has a hot body, muscular and sporty with a tendency to sprains – then cold marble massage is going to suit them far better. You may want to start with hot stones to open up the muscles, but the majority could be using cold stones.
With a very small framed and thin client, it is important to use smaller stones, less pressure and to avoid any bony areas. With a very small framed client, consider using smaller stones for placement and often using less stones would be more comfortable for the client.
It is also important to keep checking with the client comfort and whether the pressure is comfortable for them.
The trigger stones are ideal for use on areas with tense nodules such as the trapieus area and around the scapular.
f. Explain how to dry and store different types of stone in a way that will effectively energise them.
The stones are cleaned after every treatment in warm soapy water and then dried with a towel and placed back in the water heater which has been emptied and dried with a clean towel placed in the bottom of the heater.
It is recommended that the stones are recharged monthly to restore their energy levels and to discharge all the negative energy they have absorbed throughout the treatments and to reconnect to their roots in nature. When the stones need recharging as they do not hold the heat for very long and are not hot to the touch, even if the water is at the correct temperature.
The stones can be charged by being:
Immersed in sea water – if you live near the coast then washing the stones in natural salt water is ideal and they should then be left out in the sun and wind to dry cleansed and left in the sunlight for a day to absorb the rays.
Left out overnight in the moonlight – it is suggested that cold stones and crystals are better cleansed in moonlight Leave the stone out for 24 hours in both sunshine and moonlight to rebalance, so allowing the perfect balance of yin and yang to be restored
Left out in a thunderstorm, or in the rain, held under natural running spring water or soaked overnight in bottled natural spring water
Cleansed with crystals – labradorite or moonstone for cold stones
Cleansed with Reiki therapy
Placed on a bed of natural salt or you could sprinkle salt onto heated stones for a quick recharge.
g. Explain the types of suitable material used to protect the client’s skin against extremes of temperature during stone therapy treatment.
Protection of the client’s skin is important when using hot stones. A towel or a sheet is usually used between the skin and the placement stones, which cushions the skin and avoids burning the skin.
Some manufacturers suggest and provide bags, socks or small pillow cases to put small stones in for placement around the joints – even a facial cloth would be suitable as a barrier.
It has to be a balance between protecting the client as the thicker the
insulation the less heat will be transferred to the client.
h. Explain the recommended operating temperatures of hot and cold stones.
The manufacturer’s instructions should be followed for the operating temperature of the water heater for hot stones. The heater needs to be thermostatically controlled with a water temperature usually between 50 to 60 degrees centigrade and should never exceed 65.
The stones should be of such temperature that the therapist can withstand the heat of the stones in her hand and the temperature needs to be checked with the client before applying a full movement with the stone.
For cold stones these can be placed in a cool bag or in cold water and should always be at a temperature that is comfortable to handle for the therapist and the client. Stones placed in a freezer run the risk of burning the client.
i. Explain the types of oil suitable for stone therapy treatment and their purpose.
Oil is applied to the body to allow the stones to glide smoothly over the skin, moisturise and nourish the skin and to help to transfer the heat from the stones to the tissues.
There are many oils available for use including essential oil blends (see AM).
Oil recommended for use with hot stones is Jojoba oil because it closely resembles the chemical composition of sebum, the skin’s own natural lubricant. It is a stable oil with a long shelf life. It has a mild odour and is a deep golden brown colour.
Other oils available and often used with hot stones are either grapeseed oil or sweet almond oil. (For further information on these oils refer to Body