Elizabeth Estelle discovers the soothing powers of stones…
The SPA Traveller explores the health benefits of a hot stone massage and we send Elizabeth Estelle to The Grand Spa at The Grand Hyatt in Dubai
Images: Courtesy Grand Hyatt Dubai
This must be the first time I have started an assignment soaking my feet in a bowl of hot water sprinkled with rose petals… but the best feeling was yet to come.
Feeling fatigued after a long day sightseeing I had called by the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Dubai to try out the intriguing hot stone massage in their Grand Spa. I have to admit I really didn’t know what to expect.
Yes, I have tried more traditional methods, such as aromatherapy, and was keen to try out the stones which I was told had “rejuvenated and healed the body since the dawn of civilization”. Well, who can argue with that? As I sat soaking my feet in one of the treatment rooms the first thing I noticed was a small oven just to the right of the bed.
Now, this is not a regular feature of most health spas. As I peered inside the oven I could see the smooth black pebbles which are mined from a volcano in Hawaii, heating up in water.
After my feet were soothed and towel dried I was invited to lie on the bed. The therapist started by placing a white fluffy towel over my body then I heard splash of water as she selected a stone and then placed it on my spine. As the stone nestled into position I could feel heat radiate through the towel and onto the skin as she picked up two more stones.
A high percentage of iron and magnesium make the stones dense so they have an ability to hold heat for long periods of time. This became evident during the massage as those which had been put on my back (or chakra points) steadily radiated heat as the therapist started massaging my feet.
For the next few minutes it felt like a regular massage (apart from my towel being pinned down by the three stones) then I felt a warm blast on my skin as the therapist grasped a stone freshly-baked from the oven and placed it in her palm as she kneaded my muscles.
Yes, it was hot, but bearable and as the massage progressed I could feel the heat penetrate my skin and start to soothe away the tension knots in my back. She then placed a pebble in the palm of my hands which I grasped for the final few minutes of this very soothing treatment.
In a country where most people strive to keep cool as temperatures can soar to 50 degrees, it was quite refreshing to feel the intense heat intentionally filter through to your bones. As someone who loves sitting by a crackling coal fire back at home in England I felt like I had come home!