A massage might just be everyone’s favourite alternative form of treatment. And why not? It offers immense healing and is also physically and mentally relaxing. A hot stone massage is believed by many to have extra positive benefits because it uses a natural stone to offer heat therapy as well as a traditional massage.
What is a hot stone massage?
A hot stone massage is a form of alternative massage therapy which involves a traditional massage as well as the use of hot stone. It is an ancient practice going back thousands of years and uses stones made of basalt, which is essentially a form of cooled lava. These stones are created deep in the core of the earth and are an organic natural substance. They are pre-heated to a certain temperature and laid on the body to ease muscle tension and heal and rejuvenate soft tissue.
Massage techniques are often used in conjunction with the hot stone to deliver an invigorating experience. It is also believed to improve energy flow in the body thereby helping with many health conditions.
What are the benefits of a hot stone massage?
A hot stone massage can help with a wide variety of medical conditions and circumstances. It delivers all the benefits of a traditional massage plus some added benefits. The heat from the hot stone dilates blood vessels and improves circulation. This allows greater oxygen delivery which delivers a wide range of benefits such as:
- Relief from chronic and acute pain
- Release of toxins
- Improves flexibility
- Promotion of higher quality sleep
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Encourages deep tissue and muscle relaxation
Can anyone go for a hot stone massage?
A hot stone massage is ideal for those who enjoy therapeutic massages but are not particularly fond of the strong pressure that is used during these massages. The heat from the hot stone works in tandem with the massage strokes to release deep-seated tension within the muscles without the use of extra pressure.
Hot stone massages are also ideal for those who seek not only physical but also mental relaxation. They have been found effective for those with the following conditions:
- Aging related heath concerns
- Auto-immune diseases
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Chronic and acute muscle pain and aches
- Circulatory problems
- Depression and other mental health concerns
- General stress and anxiety
If you have any serious or chronic medical conditions, you should consult your doctor before booking a hot stone massage.
What should I expect in a hot stone massage?
Other than the use of the hot stone, you can expect a hot stone massage to be quite similar to a traditional massage. It is a full body treatment similar to many other massage forms. It makes use of all the traditional equipment such as massage table, oil and towels in addition to the hot stone which make for a relaxing and unique experience.
The therapist begins the session just like other therapeutic massages with a relaxation massage while the stones are warmed nearby on a professional stone heater. The heater is temperature-controlled but the therapist will check the stones for a comfortable level of heating before placing it gently on your back. If you find the stones uncomfortably hot, let the therapist know immediately.
If you’re nervous about the hot stones, you could also ask for a towel to be used between your skin and the stones. The stones are smooth and round and will be placed along specific points on your body. The weight and the heat from each hot stone instantly relaxes the muscular fibers allowing the therapist to deliver deep tissue muscle relaxation without the use of strong pressure. Your therapist may also use cold stones in addition to the hot stone. This is usually done to calm the blood vessels and soothe inflamed skin.
What is the benefit of using a hot stone for a massage?
The main reason for a hot stone massage is the hot stone itself. While most of us get massages to relax our body, sometimes the muscles are so tense or stiff that the benefits do not penetrate through to the deeper tissues. This is where a hot stone comes into the picture: The heat from these stones seeps through the muscles and loosens them up. This lets the therapist deliver a deeper and relaxing massage without the use of additional pressure.
The hot stones are placed along the meridians and crucial points on your body to clear blockages within the body. It is believed that because the stones retain heat, they release anything that is impeding the flow of energy to bring better spiritual, physical, mental and emotional health.
What should I know before booking a hot stone massage?
A hot stone massage tends to be safe when done by a registered and qualified therapist. However, you are advised to consult your medical practitioner about a hot stone massage if you match any of these conditions:
- Have open wounds
- Suffer from diabetes
- Have a bleeding disorder
- Medicate with blood thinners
- Thrombocytopenia i.e. low platelet count
- Have had surgery recently
- Have burn-related injuries
- Suffered a fracture or have severe osteoporosis
Although a prenatal massage can help with many uncomfortable pregnancy symptoms, pregnant women are generally advised to stay away from a hot stone massage. Children should also not be brought for massages that make use of hot stone.
If you would like to book a massage near you, Avaana can help you find a therapist.