Hot stone massage therapy is the application of hot stones to the body when you are giving a massage.
Typically the stones are basalt stones, which are river rocks, and once you apply the lotion to them, they turn a nice beautiful black-ebony colour.
Typically the stones are heated in a hot stone warmer, which is somewhat like a crockpot, up to about one hundred and forty-five degrees; the lowest temperature that they usually are is one hundred and thirty-five degrees, and it depends on the area of the body that you’re placing the stones, how hot you want them.
On the extremities, you typically want the stones a little bit cooler than, let’s say, on the back of the feet, you can handle a little bit more heat.
Also, interestingly enough, often fair-skinned people can handle a little less heat than people with a little darker or Mediterranean skin.
So it’s essential to check in with your client and determine how much heat they like.
Hot stone massages are an excellent relaxing way for deep tissue to be delivered into the muscles or under even lighter pressure, that heat helps you access those muscles much faster, and it’s a lovely, relaxing therapy.
Five Benefits of Hot Stone Massage
In addition to deep relaxation, there are many benefits to having a hot stone massage. They include:
- Pain relief
Hot stone massage has specifically been associated with symptom relief in people with a variety of conditions, such as fibromyalgia and other autoimmune disorders.
Several studies, including on fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritisTrusted Source, have linked moderate massage techniques with lessening pain and improving range of motion.
- Stress relief
Massage is an effective method for stress relief. Several studies have shown that massage reduces stress and anxiety and improves cardiovascular health.
- Increased joint flexibility
Muscle tension can make it difficult and more painful to move the joints. Massage helps to relax muscles, which makes it easier and more comfortable for someone to move.
People with certain joint disorders may benefit particularly from hot stone massage.
- Decreased muscle spasms and tension
Muscles that are tense and in spasm can cause a lot of pain and interfere with daily life. Reducing the inflammation and tension in the skeletal muscles eases both muscle spasms and pain.
As previously said, massage and the use of hot stones can promote relaxation of the muscles and joints in the body to ease both pain and spasms.
- Better sleep
Many people do not sleep well. Factors such as stress, insomnia, and busy schedules mean they get much less than the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
A review of trusted sources of some of the literature on the effectiveness of massage shows that it helps promote relaxation and sleep in older people.
Hot Stone Tips
The hot stone massage is a treat, so indulge as much as you can. Arrive early so you have time enough to relax and absorb your surroundings. It’s not a good idea to eat a heavy meal or drink alcohol in the hours beforehand.
Your hot stones treatment is likely to last about an hour; plenty of time for melting away all your knots, aches and worries.
Always tell your therapist about any medical conditions you have – particularly if you have heart disease or high blood pressure. They will take your medical history into account when choosing the right stones and techniques for your body. For similar reasons, tell your therapist if you are, or think you might be, pregnant.
Don’t be afraid to tell your therapist if the stones are too warm for you – they can be heated to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. You’ll relax much more quickly and start enjoying that delicious feeling of total well-being if you’re comfortable.
We recommend you should book hot stone treatments on a day when you won’t have to rush out somewhere afterwards. You’ll feel so relaxed and soothed after your treatment, that jumping in the car and tackling the rush hour traffic might seem sacrilegious.
Use of Cold Stones in a Massage
In some cases, a cold stone can be used alternately with a hot stone. Cold temperature is effective in soothing hot skin and calming swollen or tense blood vessels.
In addition, it is a helpful decongestant that can push wastes and fluid around inflamed areas. This option is suitable for alleviating nerve sedation, tendonitis, lymphatic drainage, friction work, and inflammation.
What happens during the warm stone massage
Similar to a traditional massage, you will recline onto a massage table. Some facilities use heated tables.
Your massage therapist will have prepared several hot, smooth stones by heating them in a warm stone cooker or crockpot. Basalt is a favoured choice of many spas because of the rock’s ability to retain heat.
Soothing scents may be added to the heated water to further relax you. Your massage therapist might add chamomile, a calming scent, or lavender, a natural anti-depressant. If you suffer from migraines, peppermint and rosemary may be used. If you are looking for arthritis or joint pain relief, your therapist may use ginger.
The heated stones will be gently placed on the muscles on either side of the spine to promote deep tissue relaxation. Smaller stones may be placed between the fingers and toes to warm and relax the area.
Next, the massage therapist will gently glide the warm stones over your body. As the stones cool, your therapist will select other stones until your muscles are completely relaxed.
Hot Stone Massage Risks and Warnings
When performed by a trained therapist, a hot stone massage is generally safe. There are some circumstances where it should be avoided. Consult your doctor before getting a massage if you have:
- a bleeding disorder or take blood thinners
- burns on your skin
- open wounds
- a history of blood clots
- had surgery in the last 6 weeks
- a fracture or severe osteoporosis
- a low platelet count (thrombocytopenia)
A prenatal massage may help relieve stress and ease uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms. Still, most massage therapists won’t use hot stones on pregnant women. If you’re pregnant, you should only get a message with your doctor’s approval, and under the hands of a trained prenatal massage therapist.
To prevent burns, there should always be a barrier, such as a towel or a sheet, between hot massage stones and your skin. Check with your therapist to see how they heat the stones. A professional massage stone heater should be used. Never use stones that have been heated with a: