No one loves spa treatments more than Germans, so it's worth a heads-up when new equipment shows up from that country. The MLX Quartz massage table is one such innovation, found at a few select spas in the U.S., providing a modern version of psammotherapy, or sand therapy.
Here is how it works. The spa table is filled with quartz sand, a silica crystal (and the most common type of sand), heated to 107 degrees.
You lie on a sheet which prevents the quartz sand from sticking to your body, and the therapist packs the sand around you so you are completely supported, but not buried. The small quartz grains store heat optimally, release it slowly and evenly, and fit to the contour of your body. Your head is on a comfy pillow, and you should be deeply relaxed in both mind and body.
The massage includes the application of warm, quartz-filled poultices (called stamps) to deliver focused heat to the side of your body that is face up. The table can literally tilts to 35 degrees so that your head is slightly lower than your feet, in the deeply relaxing zero gravity position, while you get a scalp massage.
Cleanse and Balance The Body's Energy System
There is a metaphysical aspect to this service, which is basically an energy treatment. In alternative healing, quartz crystals are also thought to be able naturally cleanse and rebalancing the body's chakras, or energy centers.
They may also amplify the healing energies of the therapist. Hopefully any therapist using this table will be trained to very careful about their thoughts and intentions when working on you.
This cleansing, rebalancing effect can be amplified with the use of sound. At The Spa at The Breakers in Palm Beach the therapist uses Tibetan singing bowls to further balance your chakras and create a beautiful experience.
It helps if you are aware of subtle energies, or at least open to the idea that they exist and that crystals, a therapist's intention and your own intention can all affect them. If you pride yourself on being a skeptic, this is not the treatment for you.
Spa Nalai at the Park Hyatt in New York City uses the quartz table as part of a signature two-hour treatment that begins with full body exfoliation, a detoxifying wrap in using French Green Clay, and finally a massage using heated quartz poultices.
Awaken Whole Life Center near Kansas City offers any massage or energy service on the quartz bed for an additional $20. Or you can receive a customized massage that includes aromatherapy oils and the quartz poultices (or stamps).
The Beginning of Quartz Massage
Where did quartz massage come from? It goes back to the 1980s, when Rita Blum was one of many Germans on holiday in the Italian island of Ischia. She took a "sand bath" and afterward said she felt like "newborn." She and her husband decided to introduce sand therapy to Germany. Her husband built a prototype -- a box equipped with a heater and sand. It received wife Rita's thumbs-up, so they established a company and sold the sand-baths all over Germany.
The Gharieni Group Germany, a manufacturer of high-end spa equipment, recruited the Blums and together they developed the multifunctional MLX Quartz. When it is not being used for quartz therapy, a top goes over it that allows it to be used as a regular massage table. Right now there is just a handful of these, but you might be seeing them more frequently in the future.