Hand & Foot
What is a hot stone massage?
As with any form of massage, a hot stone massage is designed to help people relax, unwind and also helps soothe their muscles. When the massage therapist performs a hot stone massage, the other added benefit is that otherwise damaged soft tissue can be positively impacted
During a hot stone massage, the therapist will use smooth, flat stones that have been heated. These are placed on various parts of the body. Typically, the most commonly used stone in this massage technique is basalt. A basalt is a form of volcanic rock that is excellent for retaining heat. These basalt stones will usually be heated to a temperature falling between 130 and 140 degrees during a hot stone massage.
Certain parts of the body are susceptible to the effects of the stone—more so than others. Traditionally, in hot stone massage, the stones are placed on the following areas: spinal area, stomach, chest, palms, and feet; sometimes, they can also be placed on the face.
The massage therapist will apply the stones in several different ways. Some, for example, may hold the heated stones within their hands as they massage you using the techniques common to Swedish massage. Others may utilize massage techniques applicable to other forms of massage treatments. The strokes involved could include longer strokes, circular motions, vibrating motions, kneading, and tapping.
In some instances, you may find that a therapist will employ cold stones during a hot stone massage—and while this may sound anomalous, there is a purpose. Hot stones tend to enlarge the blood vessels, promoting enhanced blood flow. After using hot stones, cold stones may be introduced to calm those areas and consequently soothe them.
What are the benefits of hot stone massage
Hot stones, as mentioned, can be used as a complement to other forms of traditional massage. Regardless of how extensively the hot stones are utilized, there are significant benefits associated with the treatment, including:
Can hot stones relieve muscle tension and pain?
This is perhaps the main benefit of a hot stone massage. How exactly does it help with muscle pain? First off, the heated stones will expand the blood vessels. This, in turn, prompts more blood flow to the area. Increased blood flow helps with the healing process. Hot stones have also been known to work on muscle spasms and stiffness. Again, the alternating of hot and cold stones can be beneficial.
Do hot stones relieve stress and anxiety?
Many people get a massage because of all the tension and stress associated with their daily lives. The hot stone massage is among the number one forms of massage that people will schedule for this reason. Studies have shown that as little as fifteen minutes of massage can vastly decrease stress. Other studies have been done that show that following trauma or surgery, massage goes a long way toward diminishing anxiety.
Do hot stones help with better sleep?
A problem that plagues many is lack of sleep and poor sleep habits. Did you know that massage, significantly a hot stone massage, can promote better sleep? Those who have insomnia, for example, can benefit greatly from regular massage and potentially be able to sleep with some consistency. Those treated using massage were also shown to be more alert and productive during their waking hours.
Can help with autoimmune diseases?
While more research is needed, the studies thus far in terms of the connection between hot stone massage and certain types of medical conditions have proven quite promising. For example, hot stone massage can help relieve conditions such as fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia can cause pain throughout the body. Studies have found that people treated with massage for this condition had lower pain levels and fewer associated trigger points. Also, people who have rheumatoid arthritis have discovered some relief from massage therapy. People have reported that following a hot stone massage, they experience less pain and a more excellent range of motion overall.
Can a hot stone massage boost immunity?
Massage has been known to impact the immune system—a positive one! Swedish massage and deep tissue massage have both been used to treat people suffering from certain conditions and symptoms, and as a result, the immune system responded. Add hot stones into the equation, and you get to reap even more benefits from the treatment in question.
If you are experiencing stiffness or pain in your muscles, joint pain, poor sleep, and stress, perhaps going in for a hot stone massage may be just the thing you need to relax and help you feel healthier in general. If you are concerned about an underlying health condition or have questions, then consult a physician before seeking this type of massage treatment.
Are the risks of hot stone massage?
As with most types of massage, there are very few risks connected to getting a hot stone massage. That said, you do want to ensure you are working with a therapist who is experienced and trained when it comes to hot stone usage during a massage. If you do have any of the following conditions, it is highly recommended that you talk to your doctor first before receiving a massage treatment of this nature:
- Bleeding or clotting disorders
- Any wounds or burns on your skin
- Fractures or broken bones
- If you’ve recently had surgery
The primary key with hot stone massage is preventing burns to the skin’s surface. This is why working with a trained massage therapist is so essential. The therapist will usually place a cloth barrier between your body and the stones to protect the skin. Also, keep in mind that a therapist should always use a stone heater to achieve the correct temperature on the rocks. Stones heated with a microwave or oven should never be used during this type of massage.