Hot stone massage is believed to have been used in India and China over 3000 years ago and combines the advantage of hydrotherapy with the use of heat. The heat contained in the stones provides heat to the skin which facilitates the absorption of moisturizing oils whilst stimulating and relaxing the muscles to allow the therapist to work at a deeper level. Hot stone massage is also referred to as hot rock massage therapy.
Indigenous people have used hot stones for centuries and it has become extremely popular in day spas throughout the world. In Hawaii, stones were incorporated in with a Ka Huna Massage and Lomi Lomi massage.
In a hot stone massage, the stones, which are normally polished Basalt stones, are heated by water in an electric roaster. The heated stones are then placed along the meridian or pressure points. Proponents of hot stones argue that stress, anxiety, and other life annoyances vanish long enough for you to relax at the deepest level creating a sense of wellbeing. Insomnia may be improved through the use of hot stone massages as it puts the mind at ease. It is claimed that depression may also aided by the application of hot stone therapy.
The benefits of the treatment are claimed to include release of muscle tension which promotes deep relaxation. As the hot stones relax the body, the mind becomes calm and retreats into a deep meditative state. Sensory stimulating aromatherapy oils used in combination with the stones help aid in the rejuvenation of the mind. The soothing heat provides a positive energy flow allowing a sense of harmony and balance.
The use of heat to release the muscles permits for a deeper massage in a much less intrusive manner when compared with a traditional oil/lubricant based deep tissue treatment. The deep penetrating heat from the stones may also help to relieve pain associated with arthritis. As with any massage, it aids blood circulation keeping your heart healthy, along with supplying nutrients and removing waste products from the cells.
From the therapists point of view, the use of hot stones reduces stresses and strains on the joints of the fingers, thumbs and hands and makes it possible to provide a deep treatment with significantly less energy.
What Happens During a Hot Stone Massage?
-Prior to your arrival then the therapist will ensure that the stones are sanitised.
-They are heated to the correct temperature in a hot water bath
– The massage therapist will use traditional Swedish massage whilst holding a hot rock in their hand. When the stone has lost too much temperature then it will be replaced with another.
-The therapist may also place heated stones on specific Chakra or meridian points on your body, or on the palms of the hand, or even between the toes as it is claimed to facilitate energy flow.
What You May Need To Know About Hot Stone Massage
-Practitioners use stones which differ in size and shape. They are usually polished Basalt.
-The heat contain in the stones allows muscles to release more rapidly than in a traditional massage, often less intrusiveness than a deep tissue treatment.
-Therapist technique and touch is very important. There is a perception that less experienced therapists may sometimes utilise too high a pressure.
-You must tell the therapist if stones are too hot or the pressure they are applying is too much for you.
-If you have inflammation or muscle injury, cold stones are sometimes used.
A hot rock treatment massage is normally more expensive than an oil massage as it requires more preparation and cleaning-up (and usually lasts longer).