Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lie Down, Relax, Let's Get Stoned

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Lie Down, Relax, Let's Get Stoned

Article excerpt

Byline: By Eileen Larkin

Being pummelled with stones might not be everybody's idea of a relaxing experience, but for Eileen Larkin it was pure bliss.

Have you heard about hot stone massage? If you have never experienced this unique indulgence, you owe yourself this exquisite moment.

Out of this world experiences don't come much better than this therapy.

Being kneaded with hot rocks might not sound restful, but believe me, it is.

Said to have healing properties for both the skin and muscles, hot stone massage is an ancient practice originating thousands of years ago in the Far East.

In India and China prior to the invention of needles, stones were used on acupoints and on meridians to help restore balance to the body.

In Japan, small basaltic stones found at hot mineral springs have been traditionally used to massage the neck and shoulders and other tense areas as people soaked in the healing waters.

But you don't have to go half-way around the world to try it. In fact, I went no further than Newcastle's own City Retreat Salon and Spa, just one of the establishments now offering this treatment in the UK.

Based in what was the old BT building on the Swan House roundabout but now renamed 55 Degrees North, the City Retreat is a surprising oasis of calm and tranquillity just metres away from what is one of the busiest routes into Newcastle over the Tyne Bridge.

Hot stone massage goes beyond the typical kneading and pummelling to provide deeper relaxation, health and wellbeing.

Smooth lava stones are water heated to a comfortably warm temperature prior to treatment, and then placed on specific acupressure points on the body to melt away knots, tension and stress.

A light head massage is included.

The theory is that the heat from the stones helps to increase your heart rate and helps to regulate blood flow.

It is also said to help rid the muscles of toxic waste products, which build up from stress and bad lifestyle habits.

Stiff joints benefit from the penetrating heat, making this an excellent choice after exercise or any physical work.

Hot stone therapy is also used to help relieve stress, depression, PMT and is also believed to be effective for some skin disorders.

Sometimes cold marble stones are used along with the warm ones to further stimulate the circulation and even to help ease cases of muscular injury and inflammation.

The whole treatment is both relaxing and revitalising and is claimed to clear the body's energy channels.

The process for me began with a touch massage to my feet, allowing me to become accustomed to the therapist's caress.

Body brushing followed to increase the micro-circulation and therefore aid the removal of toxins. By this time my body was tingling and the will to stay awake was becoming weaker by the moment. …

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