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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Everybody must get stonedEverybody must get stoned

Everybody must get stonedEverybody must get stoned

A four-hand, hot-stone massage may be just the thing to untie the knots in those aching muscles

Rick Valenzuela

Amara Spa staff apply hot stones to a client during a massage treatment. The stones are heated to a temperature of 50-60 degrees Celsius.

"HOT-STONE massage is one of our most popular treatments," says Dang Deeprasit, manager of Amara Spa.

Opened four months ago, Amara Spa is one of only two salons in Phnom Penh that offer the hot-stone treatment and the only one that uses two therapists during the procedure, said Deeprasit.

The four-hand, aromatherapy, hot-stone body treatment is an interesting variation on the typical, run-of-the-mill massage.

Using smooth, water-heated Basalt volcanic stones, the treatment aims to warm and relax the muscles.

"Lava stones are used during the treatment because they absorb heat and retain it for a long time," explained Deeprasit. The stones come in various sizes and are either placed on parts of the body or used to massage the body.

Rock and roll

It is alleged that this specialty massage originated in ancient times when it was used to improve mental, spiritual and physical health. In China, hot stones were used as early as 1500 BC as a method for relieving muscle pains and stress. American Indians used hot stones to detoxify and to promote balance in the body, and in some European countries hot stones or bricks were wrapped in cloth and used to provide relief for injuries.

Lava stones are used during the treatment because they absorb heat and retain it.

Rick Valenzuela

Having two areas of your body worked on simultaneously makes for double the fun.

The treatment begins when the smooth, flat stones are immersed in hot water until they reach a desired temperature (usually between 50-60 degrees Celsius). They are then placed at various key points along the spine, in the palms of the hands, between the toes and on the feet. Make sure that you let the therapist know if the stone are too hot or should be heated further if they are not of the desired temperature.

Once the muscles are warm, and primed for massage, the therapist will apply oil to the body and use the hot stones to massage muscles of the legs, arms and torso.

"The hot-stone treatment is great for relaxation and sore, tired muscles," said Deeprasit.

Applying hot stones to the body is said to alleviate a variety of health conditions and ailments including back pain, arthritis, stress and insomnia. The warmth of the hot stones is deeply relaxing and acts to calm the body and the mind. Hot stones are also used for improving blood circulation by increasing the temperature of the skin and muscle tissue.

Deeprasit, who is a proponent of the treatment, said that the treatment also promotes detoxification. "Drinking lots of water after the treatment is important to flash out the toxins which are released during the massage," she said.

Amara Spa is at the corner of Sisowath Quay and Street 110, where a four-hand, hot-stone massage will set you back US$55.

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