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What is a Hot Stone Press?

A traditional hot stone abdominal press technique is used to introduce heat to the body, invite the womb to return to size and expel excess air and trapped energy from the womb space which is believed in many cultures to be the ‘heart of the woman’. Before putting on a belly wrap, mamas get a hot stone pressed to her abdomen and body. A river stone roughly 3lbs in weight is heated over a low flame for 20 minutes or the stones can be put in a crockpot to heat up (keep crockpot dry with no liquid).

It is then wrapped in layers of cloth interspersed with pieces of leaves that have healing properties such as turmeric, ginger or lemongrass. This practice infuses deep heat over the entire body (except the head and genital area), but focuses on the abdomen and torso area. Since we don’t always have access to large leaves and fresh turmeric, we make this press with powdered herbs and batik cloth. The effects of the deep heat on the abdominal area are the following: *It promotes faster shrinking of the womb *Helps to flattens the tummy *Expels trapped air *Helps with digestion and constipation *Helps heat and nourish the womb space of the mama *Breaks up residual blood clots allowing for the lochia to flow more easily speeding the healing process *Relieves tense muscles We first prepare the bundle by mixing up a special warming herbal mixture of Black Pepper, Cardamom, Cumin, Ginger, Nutmeg, Turmeric, and Anise. Theses spices are then laid on the piece of cloth and a heated river stone is laid on top of the spices. We then gather the edges of the cloth and bind them together to form your bundle. This bundle will be used to press gently but firmly on the mother’s abdomen (or maybe even her arms and legs!). The process is very soothing and relaxing and makes for an excellent way to pamper moms post birth. *Note: after a cesarean birth the mother will need to wait at least 6-8 weeks before receiving the hot stone press. Written by Master Mother Roaster Sara Harkness

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