Massage & Bodywork

November/December 2012

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TEN FOR TODAY 6. 7. TRY SELF-HEATING STONES Heating stones can be a challenge for therapists making house calls, because heaters are bulky. One option: self- heating stones. Sassi Stones are handmade from crushed stone and clay, and inside each is a lithium ion battery. "You connect the heater and the battery together and close the stone, which is held together by magnets," says Sabrina Ebel, director of operations for the Arizona-based company. It takes just a minute to heat the stones, and they stay warm for up to two hours. "Only the bottom of the stone gets hot. The top part stays cool so massage therapists never burn their hands," Ebel says. And the bottom of the stone has a set maximum temperature to protect the client's safety, too. THINK LIGHTER OPTIONS Transporting heavy stones just wasn't working well for petite Ottawa massage therapist Huguette Long, so she devised a lightweight alternative to give her home-based customers the same type of experience they might find at a spa. Long developed Thermal Palms, which are soft, handheld, heated vinyl wraps that glide easily over skin or over clothing and won't hurt bony areas. "The wraps themselves, if taken care of, will last about 40 sessions or more," says Eric Brown, massage therapist and owner of the Toronto company that makes Thermal Palms. 8. BRING IN BAMBOO Another alternative to hot stones is warm bamboo. St. Petersburg, Florida, massage therapist Nathalie Cecilia developed the technique because her hands started to hurt from delivering massage. "With this, the therapist doesn't need to use so much pressure," says Cecilia, founder of Bamboo Fusion. The company offers continuing education credits and products for bamboo massage. "Because the bamboo is harder than your thumb or fingers, it helps to go deep into the fascia. It tends to melt the tension without any effort." It differs from stone massage in that stones are round while bamboo is longer and bigger and covers a larger area of the client's body. Cecilia just heats the bamboo with a heating pad until it's warm, then uses antibacterial wipes to clean each piece after she's finished. 9. WRAP CLIENTS IN WARMTH Hot wraps provide yet another means to deliver therapeutic heat. Detoxifying wraps can aid in a number of conditions, including acne, burns, chronic fatigue, dermatitis, and fibromyalgia. (Note: wraps are not recommended for clients with some conditions, including cancer, hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, lupus, and urinary tract infections.) According to massage therapist Nicol Sockey of Set-N-Me-Free (a Portland, Oregon, company that markets a popular aloe vera wrap), heat facilitates absorption of treatment products. The cloth wraps are soaked in a heated liquid solution, then wrung out and applied, mummy- style, to the skin. The client puts on a vinyl suit over the wrap to keep the heat in. "For the next 45 minutes, they can lounge comfortably," Sockey says. "They usually fall asleep." 10. SET UP A PERSONAL SAUNA Steamy Wonder calls its steam canopy a "wrapless wrap." The lightweight, portable canopy can convert your massage table into a personal sauna for a client. "It's based in ayurvedic philosophy," says Kenny Zolo, manager of the Iowa-based company. "That is, a proper steam sauna for purification and detoxification should be done lying down, not sitting. And your head should be left out, with an ice pack on it to cool the brain. Your blood pressure won't go up when you get a sauna this way." Rebecca Jones is a tenured Massage & Bodywork freelance writer. She lives and writes in Denver, Colorado. Contact her at See what benefits await you. 27

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