Getting Started with Cold Stone Massage Therapy

Getting Started with Cold Stone Massage Therapy

When you hear of stone massage, you might immediately think of hot stone massage. But did you know that cold stone massage, like hot stone massage, is an effective way to promote relaxation and revitalize the mind and body? You may also alternate using cold stones and hot stones during a massage session, called contrast therapy, to create a dynamic, invigorating experience for your client. Used by themselves or in conjunction with hot stones, cold stones create a distinct, refreshing experience and promote healing in several ways.

Who benefits from cold stone therapy?

Certain people are naturally “hotter” and might prefer cooler things to feel more comfortable. These are people who prefer cold drinks or cooler weather. A cold stone massage is perfect for the coolness and invigoration that they seek. Athletes who have sustained injuries can also benefit from a cold stone massage. Cold constricts the blood vessels in the body and which alleviates swelling. It promotes healing and reduces pain in the injured muscles and tissues. Those who are experience sinus pain or inflammation are good candidates for cold stones, too.  The cold temperatures in the stones reduce nasal swelling and sinus inflammation. Cold stone massages are not recommended for clients who suffer from heart ailments, have easily inflamed skin, have kidney problems, and are sensitive to cold temperatures.  Cold stones should not be left on the skin for longer than ten minutes because freezing marble can “burn” the skin if proper precautions are not met.

What is needed to give a cold stone massage?

Purchasing a good stone set is your first priority.  Cold stones are usually sourced from marble because marble retains cold quite effectively due to its calcium content.  Marble stone sets are usually sold in set of about eighteen stones and include stones of many shapes and sizes.  Since marble needs to be cut, shaped, and smoothed by hand and not by nature, the shape and sizes available are endless.  Make sure that the stones fit comfortably in your hand and are easy to hold.  Marble stones are more fragile than their hot stone counterparts, basalt stones, so make sure to handle them with care and keep them from banging into each other when transporting them.  Clean the stones by washing them with a little soap and water and after they dry, moisturize them with a little bit of carrier massage oil to extend their lives.

You can cool your massage stones in a variety of ways with a variety of implements.  Refrigerators or freezers work well to gradually cool down the stones.  For a quicker option, get a bowl of water, fill it with some ice and submerge the stones for a few minutes.  Have a towel nearby to wipe away excess water before placing the stones on the client’s body.   When travelling, you can use a small cooler with an ice pack to keep the stones at a cool temperature.  Whatever method of method you choose, make sure to test the temperature of the stones first before placing them on a client and always ask the client throughout the session if the temperature of the stones is comfortable for them.

Finally, a good carrier massage oil is recommended when administering cold stone massage.  Massage oils and lotions can get slightly slimy if they come in contact with the condensation from the cold stones.

What are the benefits of cold stone massage?

Cold stone massage recipients enjoy a variety of benefits.  As previously mentioned, cold stone therapy is ideal for sports injuries because it reduces pain and swelling from the site and accelerates healing.  Cold stones placed on the face (usually over a towel or cloth) help alleviate sinus problems like congestion and swelling as well as reduce under eye bags and dark circles.  Menstrual discomfort like bloating and pain due to cramps is relieved by cold stones.  Clients who suffer from high blood pressure may benefit from cold stone massage therapy as well.  Overall, cold stones improve a person’s mood---lifting depression, decreasing anxiety and generally increasing their overall energy level.

So give cold stone massage therapy a try---either by itself or with hot stone therapy.  It is a fun and helpful way to heal injuries, reduce swelling and inflammation and get an energy boost. 

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