Sacred Strokes Series
Sacred Strokes is a term used to describe certain motions, stroke applications and stone layouts that result in an entire full-body treatment. This is a remarkable series of courses in the hot and cold stone massage industry. In the traditions of the Shaman, every stroke is sacred. We believe that the body is the ‘altar’ we have come to serve. We are the ‘Stone Walkers’ who are trained to bring mobility to the stones.
Required Prerequisite – “Stone Medicine”
There are currently 16 individual treatment plans offered in the ‘Sacred Strokes Series’. Students can take one course or a combination of classes. Each course is a one day event worth 8 CE’s. Each course is named for the Sacred Stroke that it represents, such as ‘Grandmother Cedar’ or ‘Buffalo’. These names came through the ancestors of this ‘Medicine’. In the days before written text it was an easy way to teach a formula for wellness. The names brought to mind how a certain animal, plant, ceremony or item might be ‘enacted’ on the body with stones. The names helped explain how the stones could move over the body to bring varying temperatures and pressures in a consistent pattern while offering the ‘medicine’ (or energy) of the animal or plant that it was named for.
This traditional way of teaching through oral stories and legends is being revived through Stone Medicine LLC as an ancient yet pertinent teaching methodology. Adding the knowledge of modern science to the training helps us understand how complex each motion can be while expressing it simply through the named Sacred Strokes. Because each treatment is so specific and reproducible they work very well for the clinical or spa setting as 60 to 90 minute sessions. The names make these strokes (sessions) easy for you to expand your menu offerings and you will always know exactly which session your client is requesting.
Each class day brings you exciting demonstrations, stories from history, lectures on science and plenty of time for hands-on practice. The written manuals are designed to bring you the oral traditions on how the ancient ones intended for this healing practice to be shared.
Some specific issues addressed in the Sacred Strokes courses include: assisting with emotional imbalance due to grief, depression, domestic violence, addiction and other stress inducing maladies. Some strokes focus on reducing physical pain, trauma, post trauma symptoms, pre and post surgery pain, neurological disorders, external scars, adhesions, and other complications. This method allows the therapist to tailor the treatment plan to the specific needs of the individual.
A benefit of the therapist of knowing these strokes (treatment plans) is a renewed sense of purpose and a re-energized treatment plan. These unique offerings aid in developing fresh marketing and promotional materials. You will discover your body is protected from injury and fatigue when using stones as the temperature is doing most of the ‘work’ for you.
In this image, Certified Stone Medicine Instructor, Janelle Lakman, offers ‘Lightening and Thunder’ (piezoelectric affect) through heated stones during a demonstration at an outdoor workshop. This course was held at a campground on a beautiful river in Idaho where students could collect stones in the traditions of our elders. These unique settings allow you to live on the land for a few days with your ‘tribe’ (fellow students) to enhance or rediscover your personal connection with Mother Earth. These rare events are not to be missed so watch the calendar for the next outdoor course!
In the massage profession we happily claim to work on the mind, body, spirit connection. Sacred Strokes courses are designed to offer the student in-depth knowledge about the physical, spiritual and emotional benefits of these unique treatment sessions. While these strokes offer spiritual empowerment along with physical wellness for the client, they help remind you of the magic in this form of Geothermal Therapy. With these strokes we know we are helping to bring the client into balance with nature, the environment and their personal life circumstance while enhancing the body, mind, spirit connection.
While it is outside our scope of practice to diagnose any emotional/mental or physical illness it is common for a client to express what they are dealing with. During the client intake you might learn that the client is taking medication for chronic physical conditions or emotional issues such as depression or PTSD. Knowing you have the education to offer a session that can help your client with these diagnosed physical and emotional conditions helps you tailor a specific treatment plan for that client.
During the prerequisite class of Stone Medicine-Level I, you will learn a variety of strokes to help you design treatment plans that are unique to the client’s condition on any given day. Those foundation strokes allow you to develop more experience in safe and affective stone massage using alternating temperatures. Once you have mastered the basic strokes, you are ready to expand your techniques to include a variety of strokes that will improve results and increase your repeat clientele.
Below is a brief description of the Sacred Stroke and their ‘names’ and a few of the gifts they offer the body:
Sacred Strokes 1 – Three Relations
This stroke involves a variety of stones in alternating temperatures. The name of this treatment session refers to the three layouts of ‘Necklace’, ‘Headdress’ and ‘Breast Plate’. The stones come to the layouts via specific strokes on the supine side of the body. This treatment enhances self confidence, relieves depression and stress, improves circulation and supports relaxation. It improves skin texture due to exfoliation and circulatory stimulation. Trigger point therapy reduces muscle spasms bringing relaxation. Lightning (piezoelectric affect) stimulates the immune system. Facial massage relaxes muscle tissue and could eliminate headaches and jaw pain. Deeper breathing ability is achieved with alternating warm and cool stones. It decreases hypertonicity of anterior thoracic muscles as well as intercostals during specific stroke applications. return to top
Sacred Strokes 1 – Balancing the Water Fall
This is a very unique treatment using guided imagery (Shamanic Journey) during pressure point therapy, offering chilled stones while supine. Many Chinese meridian points are the same as those used by our Native ancestors and they support a full body session. This method effects the facial nerves and lymphatic system. Our intention is to bring balance to the body’s fluids. The session is very easy to offer, with no stress on the practitioners body, yet achieves amazing results for the client. Excellent for client who may suffer from MD, MS, PTSD, stroke, stuttering and other neurological issues or chronic conditions. This is a very effective treatment for persons with nerve impingements that prevent effective oral communication. This helps eliminate/prevent the crystal-like obstructions forming at the nerve endings. return to top
Sacred Strokes 1 – Bury the Soul
This is a warm and cool temperature full-body layout. Warm temperatures relax soft tissue while cool temperatures decreases inflammation and swelling. Alternating temperatures with weight and pressure may improve organ function. People with emotional disturbances will benefit from this session. Emotional symptoms can be caused from not being able to function physically. This is a great healing ceremony to offer outdoors. return to top
Sacred Strokes 1 – Thunder and Lightning
This is an in-depth study on what piezoelectric and pyro-electric affect can do for the body. The science and the traditions unite to offer the practitioner an understanding of how the body’s electrical system can be affected through vibration and stimulation of the fascia. The practitioner can quickly yet gently stimulate the body to improve neurological wellbeing. This is an excellent technique to use for decongesting stubborn muscle tension, softening scar tissue, enhancing lymphatic drainage and bringing the circulatory system back to homeostasis. return to top
Sacred Strokes 2 – Grandmother Cedar
In this treatment we use a variety of stones and temperatures, combined with the oil of Cedar Wood for aromatherapy. Cedar is very invigorating, and stimulating, dilating nasal passages and removing congestion. This stroke is very ancient and calls up the ancestors to support the client through difficult life circumstances reducing stress and anxiety. This stroke is one of the few that requires the practitioner to lay an “intentioned” Sacred Symbol. This is so good for Jet Lag! Balance and grounding as well as clearing the thinking, help bring the client to a fully rejuvenated state. This session is fun to offer, is not physically demanding on the practitioner. return to top
Sacred Strokes 2 – The Cousins ~ Supine
This course involves several traditional strokes known as “Removing the Mask”, “Replacing the Mask”, “Face Paint”, “Losing the Mind”, “Bear Hibernation”, “Salmon” and the unique approach to a full back layout known as the “Cradle Board”. These simple yet powerful strokes and layouts can be implemented during any Stone Medicine session. Each stroke takes only a few minutes to offer yet will enhance an entire treatment session with a variety of health benefits. Depending on the stroke you choose you can offer lymphatic drainage, neurological stimulation, cross fiber friction, soften and/or tone muscle mass, rejuvenation and relaxation. These add-on strokes will enhance any massage modality and are offered with a variety of stone sizes, textures and temperatures. return to top
Sacred Strokes 2 – The Cousins Prone
This course offers similar education as the ‘The Cousins Supine’ course above adding new strokes with different animal energies that are especially powerful on the back. Many of the health benefits stated above apply to these strokes as well as deep tissue cold therapy additions. Although these two classes are taught supine and prone, many of the individual strokes can be used on both sides of the body and a combination of these strokes can create a unique, prescriptive treatment plan for your client. This set of strokes include: “Symbol of Pejuta”, “Eagle Wing”, “Turtle”, “Frog”, “Dolphin”, “Cricket”, “Rattle Snake”, “Bear Paw”, “Bear Walk”, and “Otter” with a special abdominal stone layout known as “Canoe”. The Cousins are each a one day class but are excellent to take back to back on a week-end so you gather an entire tribe! return to top
Sacred Strokes 2 – Sun Dance Tree
This course offers some basic and historical education on the traditional Sun Dance while teaching you how to offer the strokes and layout known as “Willow Tree”. This class requires a variety of stone shapes and sizes and implements the full range of temperatures. The health benefits are improved circulation, joint mobility, lymphatic drainage, detoxification, relaxation, lowered blood pressure, and neurological stimulation. return to top
Sacred Strokes 3 – Horse
This stroke uses a variety of pressures, speeds, temperatures and vibrational rhythms combined with specific facial strokes and body layouts. It warms the soft tissue and increases joint mobility. You learn to offer stimulation with unusual stone shapes and sizes to support the client in ‘moving forward’ and relieving ‘stuck’ energy blocks. This is a powerful stroke for those changing careers, dealing with loss due to death or divorce, making geographic moves and other emotional and mental stresses. return to top
Sacred Strokes 3 – Elk
We use this stroke for lymphatic drainage on face, head and extremities while laying supine, as well as large muscle mass deep-tissue strokes, while laying prone, to bring the magic and power of Elk to the client. This is amazing for people searching for a deeper spiritual connection. The physical benefits of lymphatic drainage make this a wonderful detox treatment for folks dealing with addiction, recovering from illness and post surgery removal of anesthetic. return to top
Sacred Strokes 3 – Rebuilding the Lodge
This layout is placed after multiple soft tissue strokes using a full range of temperatures and pressures. The imagery helps represent the building up of family connections. An extremely nurturing and relaxing session! The combination of warm stones and piezoelectric effect decreases hypertonicity and increases natural nerve conduction. Your client will experience a decrease in the fear of not being able to move forward and gain the confidence that “I am getting better”. return to top
Sacred Strokes 3 – Medicine Wheel
This is one of the best treatment plans for emotional and mental balance and clarity. When a client is struggling with decision making or over stressed due to the inability to prioritize an incredibly busy schedule, this treatment helps them find stability. Stress is the number one issue for body and emotional dysfunction. This series of stimulating neurological strokes and layouts will bring harmony and balance to the mind and body. The warm stones assist in aligning the connective tissue between the large muscle groups. It improves the “brain/body” connection. return to top
Sacred Strokes 4 – Buffalo
Uses a variety of stones and temperatures. Includes many unusual light/gentle strokes (supine) to facilitate detox through lymphatic drainage with a focus on the extremities. Pressure point/reflexology enhances the session. The deep tissue strokes, while prone, decrease “holding patterns” and soften hypertonic muscles. This treatment is used for folks who have neck and shoulder pain from stress or injury. This increases range of motion. It supports those who feel un-grounded or “spacey”. return to top
Sacred Strokes 4 – Wolf
In this stroke, cool stones and Sage Essential Oil are offered with a focus on the nose and sinuses to open breathing passages. Special leg and hand strokes with layouts of cool stones assist with detox. Neck and foot pressure point work helps rejuvenate the body through gentle reflexology. The addition of warm stone strokes improve flexibility in legs, hands and feet. This is a great treatment for sciatic pain as the unique reflexology point is stimulated to improve innervation. It also decreases arthritic pain. return to top
Sacred Strokes 4 – Shaman’s Staff
This stroke and layout is used for folks going through any kind of ‘withdrawal’ symptoms whether it is physical withdrawal from alcohol or drugs (prescription or otherwise) or emotional withdrawal from toxic relationships or environments. It involves various elongated oval stones and many small toe stones in alternating temperatures. They are moved along the surface of layout stones to create pyro-electric vibrations to represent the ‘Wind Song’. This is a neurological stimulant. This session moves slowly and requires the therapist to be very present and conscious of all body responses. return to top
Sacred Strokes 4
White Bear: This full body session involves side lying massage with stones of alternating temperatures combined with deep tissue strokes and surface stimulation using Thunder and Lightning (piezoelectric affect). This is an opportunity to use all the beautiful little gem stones in a layout known as the Honey Hive. It is excellent for pain relief , reducing swelling, inflammation, reducing stress, releasing soft tissue , softening scar tissue, improving circulation and stimulating lymphatic drainage. return to top
Visit the calendar page to find the next class date and location. Each course listing includes the class fees. For more information on class registration or to host a course at your location contact the instructor or the main office at: info@SacredStoneMedicine.com