A massage might just be everyone’s favourite alternative form of treatment. And why not? They offer great healing benefits while also being both physically and mentally relaxing. Of all the different massage types though, hot stone massage therapy might just be the best type. By combining the heat therapies and traditional massages, it can provide the best of both worlds.
What is a hot stone massage?
A hot stone massage, AKA hot stone therapy, is a form of alternative therapy similar to other traditional massage types. An ancient practice going back thousands of years, it actually uses basalt stones formed from cooled lava. These stones are then pre-heated to specific temperatures and then laid on specific points across the body. This helps to ease muscle tension and rejuvenate soft tissue. Massage techniques will then be used in conjunction with these hot stones to help further amplify effects.
What are the Benefits of a Hot Stone Massage?
The main reason for hot stone therapy are, of course, the hot stones themselves. While most massages do succeed in relaxing our body, sometimes our muscles are too tense or stiff for it to work. This is where a hot stone comes into the picture. The heat from these stones seeps through the tense muscles and loosens them up. This lets the therapist deliver a deeper and relaxing massage without needing to use extra pressure.
The hot stones are placed along the meridians and crucial points on your body to clear blockages within the body. Because the stones retain heat, they can release anything that is impeding the flow of energy. This helps to bring better spiritual, physical, mental and emotional health.
A hot stone massage can help with a wide variety of medical conditions and circumstances. It delivers all the same benefits of a traditional massage plus some added benefits. Specifically, the heat helps dilate blood vessels and improve blood circulation. This allows for greater oxygen delivery which helps;
Relieve Tense and Sore Muscles
While most massages work to help ease muscle pain, hot stone therapy provides heat to the areas, helping do so through a low pain and stress free treatment. This means reduced muscle spasms, increased flexibility, and even better range of motion. Helping ensure you can move easier for longer.
Like all massage therapies, a hot stone massage is perfect for stress relief. Just the act of getting a massage can help the release of feel-good hormones and crack down on stress hormones. In turn, this relaxed mood can even lead to better restorative sleep and lower anxiety.
By increasing blood flow and sweat, a hot stone massage releases toxins from our skin and body. This purification in turn helps improve skin appearance. Just be careful to drink lots of water before and after to ensure all the toxins get flushed out.
What should I expect?
Other than the use of the heated stones, you can expect a hot stone massage to be quite similar to a traditional massage. Both being full body treatments that make use of all the traditional equipment such as a massage table, massage oils, and towels.
The massage therapist begins the session with a relaxation massage while the stones are being heated. When the warm stones are ready, the therapist will double-check the temperature before placing them on your back. If you find the stones uncomfortably hot, let your therapist know immediately. If you’re nervous about the heated stones, you could also ask for a towel to be used between your skin and the stones. Your therapist may also use cold stones in addition to the heated ones. This is usually done to calm the blood vessels and soothe inflamed skin.
These massages can also take anywhere between 45 minutes to 90 minutes based on your desired treatment. First sessions can especially take longer as you and your massage therapist find your comfort space. So, ensure that you leave yourself plenty of time both before and after your first treatment.
Which is better hot stone massage or deep tissue?
A deep tissue massage uses slow and forceful strokes to target your deeper tissues to relieve muscle stress and injuries. However, compared to a hot stone massage, deep tissue is painful. The deeper pressure needed means that in the moment, it can be a lot more difficult to lie through it. Unlike a hot stone massage though, deep tissue can provide longer-lasting pain relief and reduce blood pressure.
In direct comparison, hot stone is more relaxing using much softer pressures and massage techniques. However, its also more expensive and less suited to removing any chronic or immediate pains.
Are there any Potential Risks?
A hot stone massage tends to be completely safe when done by a registered and qualified massage 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 stones.
Where to Start?
If you’re unsure where to start, then Avaana has you covered. Avaana can help you compare and contrast your local professional massage therapists, ensuring you receive only the highest quality treatment. With over 1000 practitioners registered across Australia, try Avaana today and find your perfect therapist. Book with Avaana today, and even get up to 20% off your first booking!
Be well, feel good, and smile a lot!