Earth Elements

Enrich Sessions with Nature

By Rebecca Jones
[Ten for Today]

1. Consider a Salt Lamp

If you’re looking to bring a bit of Mother Earth into your practice, consider a salt lamp. These natural chunks of salt crystals are not only beautiful, glowing in rich pink and orange hues, they also generate negative ions, which cleanse the air and enhance your mood. “Negative ions attach to pollen, fungus, and odors,” says Shane Hennessy, sales director at Evolution Salt in Boulder, Colorado. “They also offset the positive ions from TVs and cell phones, so there’s a real balancing effect.” 

2. Set Up a Salt Cave

Salt’s anti-inflammatory and mucous-clearing capabilities help people breathe better. Salt Spot in Round Rock, Texas, recreates that microclimate with the Salt Cocoon, a molded-plastic, portable enclosure. “This is an opportunity to have a big piece of equipment that benefits the client but doesn’t require you to be hands-on the whole time,” says Tabitha Liboiron, DC, owner of Salt Spot.

3. Soak In It

Another use for salt: soak in it before or after a massage. “You don’t even have to do a bath,” Hennessy says. Try a 15-minute foot soak. Salt crystals also make a great gift to send home with a client for postmassage self-care and can bring in extra money as retail products.


4. Play in the Mud

If salt is clean, mud is … well, muddy. But mud can be just as therapeutic, as it reduces inflammation. “A lot of therapists are intimidated by working with mud, especially if there’s not easy access to a shower,” says Jenny Farrand, national education and training director for Universal Companies, which markets a variety of therapeutic muds. “But even if you have a dry treatment room, you can apply mud to the feet and along the spine. You can even put down cheesecloth first, apply a thick layer of mud, then use a heat pack to create a great poultice anywhere a client has pain.”

5. Ground with Stones

Stones are old hat to lots of massage therapists. “Stones have an energy all their own,” says Pat Mayrhofer, president of Nature Stones, Inc. “They’re very grounding and incredibly balancing.”

6. Work with Wood

Patrick Ingrassia, founder of Nayada Institute of Massage in Amherst, New York, combines wood and stone in his Hot Stone Accu-Roller, a device that allows therapists to perform hot stone massage, deep-tissue work, and acupressure. “I’m using indigenous cherry wood that can be sustainably harvested,” Ingrassia says. 

7. Incorporate Crystals

Just as stones can be transformed into massage tools, so can crystals. “You can massage with rounded wands made from crystal and use them on acupressure points,” says Hibiscus Moon, owner of the Hibiscus Moon Crystal Academy in Pompano Beach, Florida. Crystals are also simply stunning to look at. “It’s a visual experience,” Moon says. “If clients come in and see the crystals laid out, it’s a feast for the eyes, and the energy of the stones draws them in.”

8. Integrate Amethysts

One crystal in particular—amethyst—is the foundation for the BioMat, a device that allows heat and negative ions to penetrate the body, delivering warmth and stimulation. “Massage therapists like to use it in their waiting rooms so clients will relax and be more open before their treatment begins,” says Connie Shank, customer support manager for BioMat. “Or they may use it on the massage table during treatment.”  


9. Reclaim Bamboo

Nathalie Cecilia, founder of Bamboo Fusion in St. Petersburg, Florida, says bamboo can be used to create a transformative bodywork experience. Cecilia uses different sized bamboo rods that are warmed on a heating pad to replicate tapotement, trigger point, and a variety of other touch techniques to relieve the stress on the bodyworker’s hands. “It feels so good,” Cecilia says. “The heat of the bamboo really relaxes the muscles and helps clients not to feel sore the next day.”

10. Turn to the Ocean

Technically speaking, seashells aren’t “earth” elements, but they have many of the same benefits as stones when used during massage. The shells can be heated, “and the ridges of the shell help with exfoliation,” says Julia Roman, owner and creator of Seashell Massage of Manheim, Pennsylvania.

To read this article in our digital issue, click here.