Heat has long been used as a source of comfort and relaxation, so it’s not surprising that people find a hot stone massage so soothing and relaxing. It can be a massage on its own, or as part of a Swedish massage. as it’s a very effective way of easing tight, stiff muscles so that your therapist can massage you more deeply, more quickly.
The origins of hot stone massage go back to the early days of the Native Americans, who warmed stones around a fire and then used them to treat aching muscles. Arizonan resident Mary Nelson is generally credited with bringing this form of massage into more modern-day surroundings.
Today, spas all over the world offer their own versions of hot stone massage. It is also called river rock massage, lava stone massage or warm stone massage, among others, but the basic technique is the same throughout.
What Can I Expect From A Hot Stone Massage?
The stones used for this type of massage are usually from black volcanic rock called basalt, chosen for its ability to absorb and retain heat. The stones have been worn smooth by natural forces in the sea or rivers.
Before you arrive for your massage, your therapist will gently warm the stones in a bath of water that has been heated to between about 50C and 65C. It’s important to make sure you know how the stones have been heated – never allow yourself to be massaged with stones that have been heated in an oven, microwave, hot plate or slow cooker.
Ones the stones are the right temperature, your therapist will hold them as she or he massages your body using one of several Swedish massage techniques, which could include long strokes, circular movements, vibration, tapping or kneading. As one stone cools, it will be replaced with another hot one.
Many therapists believe that the stones have their own energetic charge and may, in addition to using them for massage, place and leave them in specific points along your spine, on your stomach, in the palms of your hands or sometimes even between your toes to improve the flow of energy through your body.
What Are The Benefits Of A Hot Stone Massage?
The warmth radiated by the stones can be very helpful at easing tension and pain. It can also help increase blood flow to affected areas – as the warmth from the stones penetrates into your deeper body tissues, your blood vessels open. Regular treatments may help to reduce muscle spasms and increase flexibility and range of motion.
Many people experience significant mental as well as physical benefits after their hot stone massage. Mental stress and tension are eased, and the technique can even help combat some of the symptoms of anxiety disorders and depression.
Hot stone massage has also been effective in helping to relieve the pain of autoimmune diseases such as fibromyalgia. Studies have shown that sufferers of this chronic condition slept longer and had fewer pain trigger points after a single half-hour hot stone massage than patients who received relaxation therapy. The technique has also proven effective in patients with rheumatoid arthritis, who showed a greater range of motion, reduced pain and better grip strength after one month of hot stone massage therapy.
If you’d like to experience the soothing relaxation of a hot stone massage, why not make an appointment with one of the trained therapists at Aesthetic Elements? Book today!