Are you stressed out of your daylong hectic schedule and want to get some relief from your muscle pain? There is a variety of massage technique available that you can choose from.
One such massage is a “hot stone massage”. Hot stone massage, also known as a therapy massage is used for treating any sort of muscular inflammation. Unlike any other massage, hot stone massage uses warm and heated stones placed on key body areas.
A heated stone massage has been used for centuries for its health and relaxing benefits. In ancient civilization, hot stone massage was considered to be healing in many ways especially for cleansing the body, relaxing the heart and soothing the mind. The early practice and evolution of hot stone massage mainly originated in four geographical areas: India, China, Hawaii and the mainland United States.
What is a hot stone massage?
A hot stone massage is a Swedish massage technique which involves placing heated, round and oval smooth stones of varying sizes and weights on the body to treat sore muscles.
The stones used for this massage are smooth basalt stones. Basalt stones are typically iron-rich volcanic rock that can absorb and retain heat for a longer period of time. Gemstones and tenshi stones are other stones useful for hot stone massage.
A hot stone massage is also known by following names: Stone therapy, hot rock therapy, stone massage, river stone therapy, river rock massage, geo-thermal therapy.
Who should go for hot stone massage?
People who are suffering from some muscular tension, inflammation or injury, preferring a lighter massage should go for hot stone massage.
Many people find the warmth of the hot stones to be comforting and get the massage for body relaxation. The heated stone relaxes the muscles, allowing the massage therapist to work on the muscles without using deep pressure.
People also get hot stone massage for other health reasons such as:
- Arthritis pain
- Back pain
- Body aches
- Poor blood circulation
- Stress, tension and anxiety
Who should not go for a hot stone massage?
People suffering from any of the below mentioned physical conditions should not go for a stone massage:
- High blood pressure
- Infectious skin disease, rash, or open wounds
- Immediately after any body surgery
- Immediately after chemotherapy or radiation
- Massage should not be done on areas of recent fractures, or other bone injuries.
Stone massage technique:
- Basalt stones in varying sizes and weights.
- Massage oil
The various step involved in a stone massage therapy includes;
- The stones are first sterilized to remove any dirt from them and then immersed in water and heated to about 120 to 150 degree in an electric heating device.
- The client is asked to lie on his/ her stomach and relax.
- The massage therapist then massages the skin using massage oil with Swedish massage technique. Oil massage moistens the body and relaxes the body allowing the skin to absorb the heat from the stones. Oiling also helps the stones to glide smoothly on the skin.
- A variety of stones are then placed on various focal parts of the body such as the lower and upper back.
- A large stone is placed on the sacrum. It provides heat to the entire lumbar area.
- Medium sized stones are placed along each side of the spine along the muscle.
- (Usually larger stones are kept on areas such as the sacrum (the triangular groove at the lower back). Medium sized stones are place over the top of the shoulders, in the palms and below the neck. Small stones are placed on the forehead, cheeks, chin and between the toes.)
- The stones may also be placed on the palms or between the toes to enhance the blood flow.
- Using the warm stone, the massage therapist gently massages your body while the other stones are left on the body for 30-40 minutes.
- The cold stones are replaced with another heated one during the duration of a massage.
- The stones release heat that calms and relaxes the muscles. The heat also improves blood circulation and calms the nervous system.
- Some massage therapists place hot stones on points that are thought to be energy centres (the chakras) of the body to re-balance the body and mind
- The entire process takes around 2 hours depending on the body areas on which the massage is required.
One can go for a hot stone massage for all or any of the following body parts:
1) Hot stone massage for the face
2) Hot stone massage for the lower back
3) Hot stone massage for the upper back
4) Hot stone massage for the neck
5) Hot stone massage for the front
6) Hot stone massage for the legs
7) Hot stone massage for the entire body
Benefits of Hot Stone Massage
- A hot stone massage promotes deep muscle and tissue relaxation
- A hot stone massage alleviates stress
- A hot stone massage releases toxins
- A hot stone massage relieves any body pain
- A hot stone massage improves blood circulation
Points to remember:
- Always go to a hot stone massage therapist for better results. A trained massage therapist knows how much pressure is required at various body parts and can provide you a relaxing and a refreshing experience.
- Before going for the massage, do not have a heavy meal.
- Keep telling your therapist how hot the stone is. If you feel the stone is too hot, ask the massage therapist to cool them.
- Relax and enjoy the entire experience.