Benefits of Hot Stone Massage
Receiving a hot stone massage is a relaxing and healing practice that can often be more effective than traditional massage techniques.
What is a Hot Stone Massage?
A hot stone massage is a form of massage therapy in which a trained therapist uses heated stones to massage your body, including placing stones on key points of the spine and muscles for best results. This technique of using heated stones dates back hundreds of years and can be an excellent way to loosen up the muscles so that the massage technique can be more penetrative to sore or inflamed muscles. Traditionally, the stones used in such a massage technique are black volcanic rocks (basalt) that range from small to large and tend to be naturally smoothed by the movements of the river or sea water. You can typically find hot stone massages as another option at a spa, but given the delicate and specialized nature of this massage, it is important to find a professional massage therapist who has been trained in this style.
Hot Stone Massage Benefits
There are quite a few benefits of hot stone massage, including the following:
The heat from the stones helps your muscles relax, allowing the massage therapist to manipulate your deep tissues more effectively. Overly tense muscles can hinder the massage procedure, so if your muscles are extremely tight or stiff, the heated stones may provide the extra relaxation you need for the massage to be beneficial in releasing tension and easing sore muscles.
While all types of massage can help relieve pain caused by tense muscles, stiff joints or injuries, a hot stone massage may provide greater relief due to the intense nature of the massage. Because the hot stones allow the massage therapist to penetrate deeper, you may find that a hot stone massage leaves you feeling physically better than a Swedish or deep-tissue massage that does not incorporate heat. It is important to let your massage therapist know if you feel that the heat from the stones is too much or that the pressure he is using is too harsh. Pain or discomfort during the massage process can cause more harm than good after the massage is over.
Massage therapy can result in mental benefits as well as physical ones in many people. You may find that the relaxation afforded to you through a hot stone massage helps ease some of your mental stress and tension. A hot stone massage may also help you combat some of the symptoms of anxiety disorders and depression. While massage therapy is not a substitute for traditional medical or psychiatric care, it can be an integral part of your treatment plan.
Typically, a massage therapist allows the heated stones to rest on trigger points in your body before beginning the actual massage. As the heat from the stones penetrates into your deeper body tissues, your blood vessels open, resulting in improved circulation. Poor circulation can lead to fatigue, which tenses the muscles, and a buildup of fluid and lactic acid in the muscles. Increased circulation delivers more oxygen to the muscles, which can help ease aches and pains.