Hot stone massages are so passé. Try lying down on a slab of hot rock instead. This may be the easiest spa treatment you’ll ever have – and one of the most exotic. Ganbanyoku, or rock bathing, is the latest trend to come out of Japan and Toronto has the first and only spa in North America dedicated to it – the Iyashi Bedrock Spa. (See slideshow below)
The basic treatment is simple. You lie down on a bed of smooth heated slabs of rock embedded into a granite floor. But this is not any rock. This is black silica imported (at some serious cost) from Hokkaido in northern Japan. And these rocks, my friends, are special.
Known as ‘phantom ore’ because of its rarity, black silica emits infrared rays – invisible rays of natural light – that help dilate blood vessels and break down toxins that are then flushed out of the body. The heat penetrates more deeply into the body’s core than the heat from a regular sauna and this helps to flush out harmful pollutants and heavy metals from the organs. Other beneficial effects: it boosts circulation, metabolism and immunity.
Black silica rock also emits negative ions that increase oxygen flow to the brain and promotes mental alertness. Long been recognized as a natural antidepressant, negative ions also pack some hefty feel-good and stress-relieving power.
What to expect
Expect a nice cozy snooze. At first. Then you begin to sweat. Even if you’re not a big sweat-er, you’ll sweat. Buckets. The effect feels more intense than a sauna even though the room isn’t as hot – the rock beds are in a humidity-filled room at a temperature between 44C to 46C.
The drill: you lay down on the bedrock in 15-20 minutes intervals with a 2-3 minute cool down period between each interval. Plenty of water breaks are advised!
Not surprisingly, the decor is Japanese inspired with clean lines and elegant textures of stone and wood. There are two different spa rooms: one has 17 rock beds (women only) and a co-ed room holds 4 rock beds. The lighting is dim and cocoon-like and the heat comes from the ground. The two lounges offer a place to relax , rehydrate and sip a cup of green tea.
Hot Yin Yoga
Here’s hot yoga with a twist. In addition to rock bathing the spa offers yoga sessions that use gentle positions with lots of stretching. Poses are mainly in seated or lying down positions in order to maintain as much contact with the rock as possible.
What to wear
For the rock bathing, specially-made Oriental pajamas are provided. For the yoga, participants bring their own comfortable clothing.
The 17-bed Traditional Suite is women’s only: $47.50 for 60-minutes or $59.50 for 90-minutes.
The co-ed 4-bed Deluxe Suite is $59.50 for 60-minutes or $74 for 90-minutes.
Hot Rock / Hot Yin Yoga Session: One 90-minute session includes 30-minutes of rock bathing, followed by a 60-minute hot yin yoga class. Cost is $50 per session
Save: Buying a series of treatments reduces costs quite substantially. Also, check out their website for promotions and discounts.
RMT Massages are now available by appointment.
Location: The Iyashi Bedrock Spa is located uptown at 2662 Yonge Street, midway between the Eglinton and Lawrence subway stations.
Email: [email protected]
For more about spas visit Carol’s spa page on her blog