As the New Year approaches, we are all starting to think about how to repair our body from the grueling Holiday season. For us, we knew we needed professional help and so we sought the advice of The Standard Spa’s masseuse monarch, Mariela Gabaldoni. We spent some time on her table to learn about hot stones, the wonder of aromatherapy, and how to leave the toxins of 2011 in the past where they belong.
The Standard: Your hot stone massage is accompanied by beautiful fragrances in the room. Explain the importance of mixing scents into this process?
Mariela Gabaldoni: By incorporating essential oils or any other form of aromatherapy into the session (such as incenses) the clients needs are addressed in a warm and creative way. Scents have been used in massage to promote healing and relaxation. Lavender, for example, is a common part of a therapists and spas scent box in order to create a relaxing and soothing environment to unwind from tension and daily stress.
Which top scents do you recommend for an average person to own for relaxation and purification?
Chamomile, lavender, ylang ylang, rose, jasmine, and frankincense are the most popular. Ylang ylang, for example, is also known to have properties that fight high blood pressure and anxiety, therefore it’s important to learn the qualities and properties of the essential oils to better match the individuals medical history
How did you first discover the process of stone massage yourself and the powerful effects it has on the body versus a regular massage?
I fell in love with hot stone massage while taking a Lomi Lomi course with Sacred Bodywork. The heat and the stones created a feeling of warmth and support that transferred me into my sacred space; a dreamlike state. From then on, I chose to make it part of my work so people can experience that special place that only heat and stones can take you to enjoy fully.
Explain the difference with hot black stones versus any other stones? What two roles do the stones play during this massage?
Stones for hot stone massage can be chosen by size, texture, shape, and color. I chose to use black ones during therapy. The darker the stone, the longer the heat holds, and depending on their mineral make up, they can be used to release or add energy to different areas in the body. I place black stones in the chest region to decrease muscle tension and promote relaxation as well as to open the heart chakra thru vasodilation. The intention, an opened chest cavity will relieve physical congestion and tightness. It will also create space energetically for an individual to receive love and abundance.
You had mentioned that hands and feet are two very important parts of the body to lend attention to? Why is that?
It’s important to pamper our hands and feet often because most of our bones and joints are located there. They are the areas that are constantly in use, especially now more than ever due to technology (typing, devices, etc) versus the past. Despite all that, most of us do not take the time to massage our hands and feet, or soak them in warm water with salts or essential oils to ease them into relaxation.
Why is drinking water so important to keep the body functioning healthy?
By drinking water, especially after a massage, it speeds up and helps the body to get rid of toxins moved and broken by the therapist during the session.
Do you have any tips for peaceful meditation during this holiday season… something simple an individual can do while on vacation?
Following one’s breath is a simple and powerful form of meditation that harmonizes body, mind, and spirit. So finding a comfortable position with eyes closed and back straight, one can start paying attention to breathing without trying to influence it. Follow the breath cycle and see if you can perceive the points at which one phase changes into another – just becoming aware. Doing this a few times can promote wellness. It’s easy and accessible anywhere.
Looking for something new? Check out Mariela’s Thai Yoga massage. It takes place on a nice plush table rather than a traditional Thai mat. The combination of Thai yoga stretches and firm compressions loosens and lengthens sore, tight muscles. The treatment is a great way to help restore balance to your active body and to combat chronic areas of tightness. If you like the idea of yoga, but you never get around to it, let Mariela do the work for you.
Visit Mariela Gabaldoni at The Standard Spa, Miami Beach for one of her hot stone massages. Reserve at The Standard Spa. 60 min sessions run $155. 75 minute sessions run $185. 90 minute sessions run $215.