What is Hot Stone Massage?
The hot stone massage is a method of using heated basalt stones in collaboration with cold stones such as marble or jade. The stones are applied to key points on your body to relax your muscles, allowing for a deeper and more intense all-over massage. This form of heat relaxes your muscles, which means that the massage itself is more effective and intense than it would be otherwise.
Why is Hot Stone Massage Beneficial?
It is generally accepted that alternating treatments of warmth and cold are beneficial and help to soothe an aching body. It is a common practice among many elite athletes as a way to recover faster and reduce muscle pain and soreness after intense training sessions or competitions. From elite runners to nearly all professional rugby players, the ice bath is a standard practice routine.
The heated stones soothe the nervous system, the cooler stones gently wake it up again. Heat opens up blood vessels, which increases blood flow and supplies oxygen and nutrients to reduce pain in joints and relax sore muscles, ligaments, and tendons. The warmth also decreases muscle spasms and can increase range of motion. Applying superficial heat to your body can improve the pliability of tendons and ligaments, reduce muscle spasms, and alleviate pain.
Why Use Cold Stones
Cold slows down blood flow to an injury, thereby reducing pain and swelling. Cold therapy slows circulation, reducing inflammation, and muscle spasm. Marble or jade stones offer cooling temperatures to provide a naturally contrasting balance, during treatment. The use of cold stones acts as a decongestant by dispersing waste materials. The cleansing action contributes to homeostasis healing inflamed, overworked and chronically tense tissues.
Heated stones encourage muscles to relax, while the cold stones cause blood vessels to dilate. This alternating application disrupts the spasm and pain mechanism.
Cryotherapy is the medical term that involves the application of freezing temperatures in the prevention or treatment of injuries. The success of using freezing temperatures or ice is due to the phenomenon of a characteristic known as the latent heat of fusion. Water has the potential to expand when frozen or evaporate when heated, and the right measure in both cases induce burning.
Using cold marble or jade stones is more convenient, as they do not create desensitization of the skin, in order that soft tissue mobilizations and manipulations are performed within a client’s comfortable tolerance.
The combination of relaxing warmth and refreshing coolness is thought to encourage the body to detox and heal, increasing lymph flow and helping to flush out waste. With the addition of heat, your body becomes relaxed in a much shorter space of time, and your therapist can focus on a deep working of the tissues using both the stones and hand strokes.
Your body is coated in fragrant or non-fragrant oil to increase your sense of relaxation and calm. Oil is smoothed gently onto your body, and each stone, in turn, is worked as an extension of the therapist's hands.
What to Expect from Hot Stone Massage?
Hot stone massage, with or without essential oils will make you feel nurtured, pampered and special. Before your treatment begins, you will receive a consultation to establish the medical conditions you have. If there is anything significant, your medical history will be taken into account when choosing the right stones and techniques for your body. You will probably feel deeply relaxed, blissed-out and meditative after your massage. Some people have reported closing their eyes and seeing bright colours. Enjoy the afterglow, float slowly back to the real world and re-hydrate your body by sipping plenty of water.
The added use of essential oils used in massages will make you smell and feel even more relaxed but energized. Be mindful to book hot stone treatments on a day when you won't have to rush out somewhere afterward, jumping in the car and tackling the rush hour traffic might seem sacrilegious.
Your treatment is likely to last about an hour or more; depending on the treatment required. It's not a good idea to eat a heavy meal or drink alcohol in the hours running up to your hot stone therapy. You will only be able to wear minimal clothing much for this treatment; usually swimwear during this massage your modesty will be preserved with strategically placed towels.
You'll undress and lie down in private, while your therapist waits outside. When you're ready, warm, oiled stones are placed on many different acupressure points around your body, including tiny ones between each of your toes. As you relax, you may start drifting off into a dreamy state and stop counting or noticing where the stones are being arranged.
A variety of strokes and techniques are used to massage you, the stones are worked over the knots in your muscles. The massage may be quite strong, although you are unlikely to feel the intensity since the stone’s warmth will relax your muscles
Chronic and Acute Pain Relief
Hot stone massage increases the range of massage techniques, helping treat both chronic and acute symptoms. Hot Stone Massage Can Ease:
- Back pain
- Muscular pain
- Poor circulation
- Rheumatic and arthritic conditions