May 26, 2004 - Napa Valley Wine Country This Week

Cedar Street Spa -
Hot Stone Relaxation

by Christine Piccin

When I first heard about Hot Stone Massage, I envisioned a swami walking across a bed of red coals. That comic image couldn't have been farther from reality. My spa visit began in the warmly appointed lobby of Cedar Street Spa, located in a historic building at the corner of Cedar and Lincoln in downtown Calistoga. Calming music and the delicate scent of essential oils drifted from the spa's five spacious therapy rooms, priming me for my treatment.

Once on the massage table, while black basalt stones - from pebble - to fist-sided - were warming in a bath of water nearby, therapist Greg Baccei pinpointed my tight spots. Then, with the stones in hand, he worked my muscles using gentle, fluid strokes of Swedish massage. To my surprise, the satiny smoothness of the stones had become an extension of his fingers, their heat almost instantly relaxing me.

To finish my 1-1/4 hour scalp-to-toes treatment, I was wrapped in a blanket and hot stones of various sizes were placed strategically along my body to incorporate light pressure point therapy. I felt pampered and relaxed as I lay in my warm cocoon.

The Hot Stone massage was without a doubt the most effective one I've ever had. Spa Manager Wolfgang Seitzer concurs, declaring this treatment his favorite antidote to stress and tension. The heat of the stones penetrates the muscles without the discomfort sometimes associated with deep tissue work, he says. It also increases circulation, inducing a feeling of energy and rejuvenation.

Cedar Street is the newest of the four facilities run by Spas of the Wine Country. Golden Haven Hot Springs, also in Calistoga, specializes in mud baths and couples' treatments, and offers lodging. Lincoln Avenue Spa (Calistoga) and Sonoma Spa in Sonoma both focus on fresh mud treatments, body masques, aromatherapy steam treatments, and facials.

Cedar Street Spa's 20 therapists are experts in aromatherapy massage, Shiatsu acupressure, sports massage, deep tissue work, and personalized therapeutic massage. Baccei is one of the spa's six therapists trained in Hot Stone Massage. To make a booking, phone (707) 942-2947 or visit


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