Writer Bianca O'Neill tries out a unique form of massage using stones and breathwork she says was a "genuinely transformative" experience.
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In a nondescript warehouse in South Melbourne lies a veritable palace of zen; it’s Mirosuna, a recent addition to Melbourne’s mostly uncharted bohemian bent.
From sound baths to guided meditation in a warmly lit room lined with private, curtained chambers (for those who wish to fully immerse themselves in their most vulnerable practice without the confronting experience of catching a stranger’s eye), it’s marketed as a cosy escape for the professionals whose lives are filled with endless emails, zoom meetings, and work events.
Founder Sally Kellett is more than just a shrewd businesswoman and meditation guru; she’s someone you feel safe chatting to, part mother meditator, part new best friend.
During our chat at the Mirosuna HQ, we talk about life stresses, finding the time to add meditative elements into our everyday, and how their unique meditative massage (coined Original Meditative Massage, or OMM) can convert your tension into zen.
“We created a meditative form of massage, called OMM,” says Kellett. “It’s our own flow – we use stones throughout the body and the face, and we use meditation and breath work incorporated into it… It’s a really special experience.”
“A lot of your emotional and mental tension manifests physically, and so we use movement, and we use touch, to help release that. We want to co-create the experience with the client, and get them involved in that transformation process.”
I tried OMM myself in-house, and as someone who is a reasonably straight-up, only casually spiritual person, it was a genuinely transformative experience.
From shimmering visions that connected my conscious with some of my innermost stressors, to achieving a level of mindfulness I hadn’t experienced in years (thanks, pandemic), it was frankly a bit of a wow moment for me.
But not everyone has the time, or the money, to experience this kind of thing in person – so I asked Kellett how we can all bring these kinds of meditative massage techniques into our everyday life, and try them for ourselves at home.
She starts with some recommendations for express, at-your-work-desk versions of facial meditative massage – and admits she even uses the techniques whilst on Zoom calls to quiet her mind and help her focus.
The first step is to purchase jade or rose quartz stones, which are great for facial massage. Adding heat or cold enhances the effects of facial massage - Kellett tells me that cold is for puffiness, and heat is for tension.
Pop stones in the fridge to cool, or for heating, put them in a bowl of hot water. (But obviously test them with your hands before using them!)
Following the above movements in slow, deliberate strokes can reduce stress in under 15 minutes. “These techniques that would be good for both [TMJ and relaxation],” says Kellett, “because they are very physically and emotionally linked - especially the TMJ one.”
“I personally like the heat a whole lot more because I do it a lot for headaches and TMJ, and for that I need my blood to circulate. Cold is really good if it's like under your eye, for example. Whenever you're getting rid of water, or swelling, the cooling is really good.”
“It's the circulation that brings the oxygen back to the blood flow, which brings oxygen back to your face, which is what gives you that glow… try it with camellia oil, which is 100%, natural and organic. You can use any face oil you want, but I do suggest finding something that doesn't just absorb.”
If you’re interested in stepping up to the OMM massage at home, Michael – Mirosuna’s resident holistic massage therapist – suggests starting with setting your intentions. After all, this is no regular massage.
“Setting the space, but also setting the intention is important,” he tells me, “because home is very different - home can be a sanctuary for some people, but sometimes it's chaotic. So really setting a conscious time together to do that, in a quiet time where there's no interruption. And really give it your all.”
It’s an interesting point to make – that meditative massage needs to start with communication first. Often people set out to help relax a partner or friend via massage techniques without really thinking about what they want to achieve.
Is the plan to relax? Connect with your inner quiet? Ruminate on your day? And how have you communicated that to your intended masseuse? It’s important to think about how, as a team, you’re going to achieve that relaxation.
Next, he suggests some deep breath work that works for you. I tried a 16 count – 4 count breathing in, 4 count hold, 4 count breathing out, 4 count hold, and repeat.
It helps to achieve a deeper meditative state, and gives you something to focus on to help quiet your mind. Working together on breath work can also help connect you with your partner in your meditative state.
However, he’s quick to point out that this isn’t another thing to worry about – in the end, it’s meant to be something that relaxes you, not stresses you out even more.
“There's no right or wrong when it comes to breath work, meditation or massage, or anything like that,” he tells me. “Anything is better than nothing. But to get the most out of it, it’s doing what's right for you and what you feel attuned to.”
“It's honouring yourself in that time, because you're taking that time for yourself and your partner. The best thing that you can do in that time and space is to really honour yourself.”