If you have read the first post in this blog (About “The Rules” and The List), you may (but most likely may not) remember what I wrote there about the new things I will be doing and blogging about: that some of the things on The List may be ones that I have thought about for a longer time already, whereas others may end up there quite spontaneously. The thing I am writing about now belongs to the former category.
I have dreamt of having a hot stone massage for several years already. In fact I have a memory that relates to this theme from about five years ago, from the time when I was living in another apartment than now. On a street close-by to where I lived and thus on one of my daily walking routes was (and still is) a beauty salon/small day-spa that advertised hot stone treatments. I would walk past it on a weekly basis, every time distantly dreaming of one day walking in and treating myself to this pampering that just sounded so awesome.
I never did, of course; I always just walked by.
Even though (or perhaps because?) I live in a country with a cold climate and decent winters (at least for the time being, and I’m seriously hoping global warming won’t change that!), I feel drawn to warmth and heat, probably partly because I tend to be very sensitive to cold. If I had to choose between freezing my arse off or sweating like a pig, I’d opt for the latter one any day. I love lying in the sun on a hot, breezeless summer day or relaxing in the gentle warmth of our summer cottage sauna.
So, for these reasons at least, the idea of having hot (yet hopefully not sizzling) stones all over my body sounded so awesome that I absolutely had to and wanted to try it. Yet, despite being very much drawn to finding out what the heat of the stones on the skin would feel like – I imagined it must be a thoroughly relaxing experience – it took me over five years since the idea first came to my mind and the inauguration of this 30 new things project that I finally decided that I had waited and dreamt about this long enough.
Conveniently, the occasion for finally doing this arose quite easily in the end: I had given my dear friend her birthday present in the form of a promise to take her to a local spa for a pampering treatment of her choosing. Eventually I saw the light and realised (what probably seems quite obvious to you, but what really took me weeks to get it in my head) that it would be the perfect time for me to have my long-awaited and long-dreamt hot stone treatment as well.
In short – in case you’re not familiar with what this little luxury is about – a hot stone massage is done by using heated stones (well, you really don’t have to be a super sleuth to figure that bit out…) that feel hot to the skin, as they are warmed up in hot water to 40°C, or at least that’s what I was told. They are then placed either on certain points on the body, such as along your spine, or used by the massage therapeutist as “tools” to massage the muscles. As the stones release their warmth and cool down, they are then replaced with new, warm ones until the treatment is over.
Sounds like total relaxation, right?
The day finally came when we – me and my friend the birthday girl (whose birthday had been 6 months earlier… sometimes things like giving a birthday present just take time) – had our appointments made in the local spa and we were really ready for some wellness and pampering. To make sure that total relaxation would be on the agenda of the day, we first went to the spa proper and spent three hours lingering in the pools and whirlpools, sweating in the saunas and releasing muscle tensions in the various water massage spots they have available.
As you can imagine, after all that I felt quite relaxed already when the time came for my hot-stone massage. I can’t say how different the experience would’ve been, had I not been such jelly already (well I’m quite sure it would’ve been great anyway), but what I can say is that from the first moment to the last seconds of the hot stone treatment, it was pure bliss.
I was lying on my stomach on a heated (!!! such luxury!) massage table and covered with heavy blankets or towels, and all that already made me feel as if I was engulfed in a sea of warmth. Umm… heavenly. And the actual treatment hadn’t even begun yet! It started out with a short and crisp dry brushing of the legs and torso, to increase the circulation. Then, after adding some fragrant oil on my skin, the beautician placed the first stone on the sole of my left foot.
(Insert here an expression of utter happiness, elation, euphoria.)
The stones were used for slooooooooooow massaging movements on the muscles in each foot and leg – they were treated separately, twice. After both legs had been massaged once (need I say? it felt wonderful) it was time to treat my back and… in fact I can’t even remember if the stones were just placed on my back or of they were used to massage the muscles in my upper arms and back as well. I seem to have no recollection of that part of the program… What I do remember is that all in all, it felt as if the warmth of the stones went all through my body and to the bone, to the marrow.
As the warmth slowly dissipated and released all kinds of tensions (although I had thought that I was so relaxed from all the sauna and swimming already!), some of which I hadn’t even been aware of, my body kind of just loosened its grip and I was left drifting somewhere between the edges of consciousness and sleep. It was funny how the one hour that was reserved for the massage felt, on the one hand, to extend into eternity, and on the other hand it was over all too soon.
When I emerged from the treatment room I felt really disoriented and out of place; out of time really. I couldn’t remember when was the last time that I was so thoroughly, so utterly relaxed, with all the tension in the muscles gone, and all in all just feeling so very mellow; such a happy camper.
There was just one thing that I didn’t (and still don’t) quite understand: why on earth did I wait so many years before I finally treated myself to this?! Well, one thing is for certain: this will absolutely not be the last time that I’ll pamper myself in this way; the experience was so heavenly, the relaxation so extreme.