What is Hot Stone Massage?
Hot stone therapy is a specialist massage that uses smooth, flat, heated basalt stones that are positioned along your spine, in the palms of your hands, along your legs and between the toes. Typically from river beds, basalt stones are used for massage as they have a rich iron content that retains heat. Cold marble stones are often used in the treatment to help aid with detoxing and healing the body.
How Does it Work?
Your massage therapist will warm the stones in water until they are within the precise temperature range of between 120 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
A hot stone massage may begin with a traditional Swedish massage technique to prepare your muscles. Your massage therapist will then place the warm stones on key acupressure points on your body. The stones warm and relax your muscles, allowing deeper pressure to be applied during your massage.
Using massage oil and a combination of strokes and techniques, your massage therapist will massage your neck, back, arms and legs, with and without the stones. You should always tell your spa therapist if the stones are too warm or the pressure is too intense.
The origins of hot stone therapy can be traced back to over 2,000 years ago, when the Chinese used heated stones more than 2,000 years ago as a means of improving the function of internal organs. You can read more about the history of stone therapy.
Benefits of Hot Stone Massage
The combination of hot and cold stones encourages your body to detox and heal through increasing your lymphatic flow and encouraging your body to remove waste products.
Other benefits of hot stone massage include:
- Relax tense muscles
- Decreases pain
- Alleviates depression
- Improves sleep pattern
- Improves circulation