The Joy of Hot Stone Massage Therapy

Feeling tired, sore, stressed and blah? Consider a hot stone massage to give you a little lift.  A hot stone massage is a little like sitting in an oversized chair while wrapped in a warm blanket as you sip cocoa and watch the snow fall outside. Well, not exactly, but you get the picture. A hot stone massage is relaxing and comforting and great for those who are naturally a little chilly and want to warm up. It’s also wonderful for relieving stress and easing muscle tension for just about everyone.  Let’s explore how hot stone massage works.

Hot stone massage uses smooth, flat rocks that are usually of the basalt variety. Basalt stones have been created from volcanoes, usually do not break easily, and contain large amounts of iron. The iron helps the stones retain their heat for longer periods of time. The basalt rocks are usually sold as a set and are often housed in a bamboo box. The sets contain a variety of sizes of stones that are intended to be used on specific parts of the body. Different sets can contain different amounts and sizes of rocks.

Before a hot stone massage, a therapist will sanitize the stones and heat them in a special warmer. Once you are on the table, the therapist will usually start you off with a Swedish massage, prepping your body for the hot stones. Next, she will place the stones on various parts of your body, using the larger stones for the larger parts of your body, like the back and thighs and the smaller stones for the smaller parts of the body, like the face and toes. Before placing the stones on your body, the therapist may cover your skin with a towel. The reason for this is twofold: first, the towel prevents direct contact with the stones and keeps them burning your skin. Second, the stones, when wrapped up in the towel, retain their heat longer. 

Replacing cooled stones with freshly warmed ones, the therapist will keep the stones on your skin as long as it takes to loosen your muscles and improve the circulation around the affected areas. From there she may remove the stones from your skin and massage the warmed area. Because heat eases muscles, the therapist will have an easier time penetrating the muscles with her massage. This is especially good for people who desire a deep massage, but prefer a lighter touch. She may use her hands for the massage or use one of the stones.  

Hot stone massage has endless benefits. Mainly it works wonders with sore, tired muscles, but it is also effective in improving blood circulation, calming the nerves, alleviating insomnia and depression, increasing joint flexibility and balancing the body and mind. Some people should forgo hot stone massage like those who suffer from high blood pressure, those who are pregnant and those with sunburns.

So put a little heat into your life and consider getting all the amazing benefits of a hot stone massage.

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