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.
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
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.
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.
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,
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 www.spaswc.com.