The Breath Within the Stone
"Stones are alive, but they are in a sweet coma."
- Dr. Vasant Lad
Some of the most progressive healers in the world have begun using stones in their massage work- not to replace the healing hand, but as an adjunct to traditional massage, facials and healing treatments of all kinds.
Stone massage is an ancient, enduring form of therapeutic bodywork using heated and cooled stones as extensions of the hand. It is a harmonious collaboration of healing energies between the client, the therapist, the divine and the stones. Be mindful that the beauty of this therapy, and all therapies, is manifested by the transference of deep compassion and trust between the therapist and the client. This compassion becomes imprinted within the matrix of each stone.
Pointed, textured stones are used as tools for deep sports related massage. Round, flat, warm stones are laid as balancing agents upon specific energetic centers along the body known as chakras. Smooth, velvety stones are heated in water, then glided with firm pressure along oiled, sore muscles. Cooled white quartzite stones refresh the face (especially after waxing), refine the pores and soothe inflamed skin.
For some people, stone therapy can bring about deep tissue release and alignment of the body, mind, and spirit. For others, it means gently allowing the heat of the stones to soften tension and melt worries away. The experience of an eloquent, deep, structurally restorative and spiritually uplifting stone massage is unsurpassed in its' transformative potential. The key is finding a skilled stone therapist who incorporates highly textured and charged stones at a comfortable room temperature with traditional hand and elbow massage. Add in just enough patience and healing intention and the stage is set for bodywork bliss.
Most people who have experienced good stone massage work will typically use the adjective "grounded" somewhere in the description of how they felt as the stones where glided and laid upon their body. Skilled stone therapists are taught to work with the earth energy, which follows the downward flow in the body called apana vayu. a Sanskrit term. The purpose of stone massage is to anchor the root chakra (muladhara) and the second chakra (svadhisthana) of the body. These chakras help our bodies stay connected to the earth.
Many people, in our technological society, feel disconnected, rushed, are high on coffee, over stimulated and stressed out. The quietude we are in search of comes from within. The warmth, energy and texture of the stones help distract us from our busy, scattered minds, imparting a quiet focus. This is especially true if you use sea stones. Sea stones soothe the body on all levels, with an effect similar to the waves of the ocean. When a stone therapist works with the downward flow in the body and anchors the lower chakras, the client experiences an oasis which restores wholeness and balance in a world where people eat their lunch while they are driving and read their email while listening to their voice mail.
According to ayurveda, we are the subatomic structure of God; we are microcosms of the macrocosmic universe. Within the universe exist five basic elements: ether, air, fire, earth and water. Ayurveda classifies these elements into three aspects. These aspects are referred to as doshas.
In order to function, all three doshas must exist harmoniously within the body. What makes us unique is the preponderance of the doshas within the body when we are conceived and then, born into the world. Keeping the doshas in balance is the key to staying healthy. Stress, negative thoughts, feeling disconnected from the Divine, wrong food choices, and lack of exercise are just some of the things that throw us out of balance.
What are the three doshas?
Vata is a Sanskrit word which means "what blows". It represents the ether and air elements (wind) within the body. These elements are high on cold, windy days during the fall and winter. When vata is out of balance, people tend to experience anxiety, panic attacks, insomnia, paranoia and loneliness.
Pitta is a Sanskrit word which means "what cooks". It represents the fire and water elements within the body. These elements are high on hot, summer days. When pitta is out of balance, people tend to experience self-condemnation, jealousy, anger, competitive thoughts, and aggression.
Kapha is a Sanskrit word which means "what sticks". It represents the earth and water (mud) elements within the body. These elements are high in the spring and the cold, snowy days of winter. When kapha is out of balance, people experience greed, lethargy, apathy and heaviness.
After careful observation of my clients and friends, I have concluded that the most common complaints are stress and anxiety, which consequently derange vata dosha within the body. When vata dosha is out of balance, it can blow the other doshas, pitta and kapha, around causing a further imbalance within the body. Keeping vata in check is crucial.
There are specific techniques and lifestyle choices that pacify and calm vata dosha. I have implemented these principles into the art of stone massage and esthetic bodywork called Sacred Stone Therapy.
Karyn Chabot is the founder of Sacred Stone Center for Holistic Education and Therapy.