We spoke with Norma Percy, co-owner of Iyashi Bedrock Spa. Rock bathing and yoga on Iyashi’s heated signature bedrock stones burns serious calories, and helps with anti-aging, and detoxification. We found out how to get the ultimate detox in Toronto, the best gift to give, and why it’s a great idea to do hot yoga in the summer.
Before we start, explain what rock bathing is. It sounds odd and we think people need to know!
Rock Bathing (which translates to ‘Ganbanyoku’ in Japanese) is an amazing and unique experience that involves lying, fully clothed, on heated stone beds, with 63% humidity infused into the treatment room (there is actually no water involved to produce the heat!). The gentle heat allows the body to slowly heat up from the inside out, and allows the toxins and stress to be released with the sweat.
Our stone beds are made from a special stone, called Black Silica, which are found in only one mountain in Hokkaido Japan. Black Silica is special because they naturally release Far Infrared Rays (FIR) and Negative Ions which helps the body perspire and “detoxify”. There are so many other benefits as well, including pain relief, increased oxygen flow to the brain which makes you more alert, increased immune system and the ability to fight off illnesses better since your body temperature increases a small amount. It is even good for weight loss since you will lose between 700-1500 calories per hour!
It sounds uncomfortable and painful to lie on the stone beds. Do you get as asked that as often as we think you do?
We get a few people asking if it is uncomfortable, and some are skeptical about it, but are usually intrigued and willing to try it. Imagine lying on a warm tropical beach… that is what it feels like when you lie on our stone beds (it’s true!). All it takes is one session, and 99% of the people come out after their treatment saying it was very comfortable and relaxing, and more exciting is that they return again!
Who needs to rock bathe?
Many of our guests find the stress relief to be the major reason why they like to come, and find they really miss it if they are away for a week. I would recommend Rock Bathing for anyone that needs to relax, de-stress and detox. It is a great way to do something healthy for yourself.
We have lots of couples that come together, mother and daughters, and friends. To be extra cautious we don’t allow pregnant women to Rock Bathe, as well as people with heart conditions. Rock Bathing will lower your heart pressure so people with low blood pressure should not use the facilities unless they have a note from their doctor.
People say your classes are expensive. What’s the difference between doing hot yoga at Iyashi or somewhere else?
There are many differences between our yoga and others, but the main one is that we’re a spa that aims to create a truly healthy wellness experience, including our unique Bedrock Stone beds, and we’re more than simply fitness focused. But don’t worry; you’ll get a good work out too. (Trust us, it’s better than any other 90 minute spa treatment that would cost much more!)
Another big difference is that most hot yoga studios just turn up the heat, or have heat lamps in the ceiling. At Iyashi, the heat comes from underneath the stone beds, which makes it feel incredible. Our clients also get the amazing benefits of Rock Bathing combined with the benefits of Yoga (double benefits) in one session. 30 minutes of Rock Bathing is included prior to the 60 minute Hot Yin Yoga class, so participants are able to relax and warm up their muscles for greater flexibility during the yoga. Our class sizes are also smaller than most Yoga studios; we can only have a maximum of 16 students at a time.
We clean our stone beds after every person uses them, and the Black Silica stones also have anti-bacterial qualities so our treatment room is always very clean.
When do you rock bathe, morning or evening?
I personally prefer the evening only because I like to lie down and relax after everyone’s left, but for each person it’s different and there are certainly benefits for both. Some people prefer the morning so they are refreshed, energized and invigorated for the rest of the day. They also find that their mind is more alert after a session and therefore prefer the morning. And others prefer the night since they find it helps them to be calm and relaxed and they find they sleep much better.
What else about your spa is detoxifying?
Everything! Aside from the rock bathing, you can get a massage by one of our amazing registered therapists, you can use our clean beauty products from Graydon (which are also available for purchase so you can have your own at home), we provide water and green tea to all of our guests, and we have lots of fresh plants to purify the air in our spa. We try to look at all of the details to create the most relaxing and healthy environment, and we’re always looking to improve.
Can we rock bathe and get a massage the same day? If so, which order should we book them?
You can definitely combine both services on one day (takes approximately 2.5-3 hours), and many do. We also now offer reflexology which is a great complement to both services.
It is amazing to do a Rock Bathing and/or Hot Yin Yoga class and then, when your muscles are super relaxed, to have a massage. A massage therapist told me that there is much less discomfort for a deep tissue massage after rock bathing because the muscles are more pliable.
Our massage room can accommodate a single massage or a couple’s massage, and we can provide receipts for insurance purposes too. Our therapists are excellent, and we have been told many times that “it was the best massage I ever had”.
It seems like a great winter sport. Do things quiet down for you in the summer when the temperature warms up outdoors?
We actually do slow down in the summer, but it shouldn’t be that way! Unlike the hot humid summer air we’ve been experiencing this summer in Toronto, rock bathing is extremely comfortable and relaxing, and it’s easier to breathe too because it’s warming you from your core.