Pamper yourself

By Glauce Fleury

April is the month of my birthday, so I’ve been pampering myself. Some people mistake self-love or self-care for selfishness. But I’ve been raised to love myself. If I didn’t, I’d never be capable of loving somebody else. It’s that simple.

I’m a writer, and have always been. At work or at home, I’m sitting in front of a computer: writing, reading and researching. How I love all this! But there’s a price. My back and shoulders at some point scream, “massage time!”

Some days ago I tried a hot stone massage. It was one of the best massages I’ve ever had. This specialty involves the use of smooth, heated stones that are placed on our bodies or used as an extension of the therapists’ hands.

Typically, they use river rocks made of basalt. Rich in iron, basalt helps retain heat. These stones also become smooth over time from the river’s current. If not, they can be polished before being used.

Some of the benefits include the relief of muscle tension and pain, which is my main goal due to my type of work. Heat also helps increase blood flow, reduce spasms and improve flexibility.

During my session, I started face down so my therapist could work on my back. She started with her hands and, then, added the stones. At the first minute, she made sure I was comfortable with the temperature, as it may vary from person to person.

The therapist also placed some heated stones on specific points (along my spine, in the palms of my hands, on my legs and feet). This step can improve the flow of energy in the body.

As the stones were getting cold, she replaced them with new, heated ones. After a few seconds, I thought two of the stones would be too hot for me.  I told the therapist, who immediately replaced them with others.

“Why do I feel these ones are too hot for me while I’m comfortable with all the others?” I asked. The therapist said that different sizes of stones hold more or less heat. That’s why it’s important to talk to the professional whenever you feel any discomfort.

I’ve read many articles about hot stone massage. Most cover situations when this specialty is not recommended. I had no reasons to worry because:

  • I have no health conditions that could be negatively affected by it.
  • I generally visit the same studio, so I know I can trust their sanitation (remember to check this, as the stones are reused).-
  • The therapist could hold the stones in her hands comfortably, so my body would likely be comfortable too.

Always check with your doctor if hot stone massage is a good option for you. If it is, go ahead. Pamper yourself.

Photo credit: © Hotel Costa Calero under Creative Commons via Flickr.

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