Massage is perhaps the oldest treatment used by human beings. Virtually almost all cultures used touch, heat and other substances such as oil and stones as therapeutic tools for massage. Hot stone massage is a special form of massage where smooth, rounded and flat stone from riverbed are used by the massage therapists. The stones are warmed and placed on certain points of the body.
Minerals such as iron present in stone helps to retain the heat at the time of massage. The heat from the stones disperses deep down into the strained muscles.It relaxes the body both at physical and mental level. Hot stone massage was used by ancient Native Americans and Chinese for treating painful muscles. Nowadays hot stone massage has becomes popular therapy in many spas and massage centers.
Health Benefits Hot Stone Massage
Hot stone massage has several health benefits. It can be used for muscle aches, arthritic pain and other autoimmune problems. However, it should be avoided when a person is suffering from inflammation of veins, thrombosis, pregnancy, and hypertension.
- The heat from the stones helps to relax the strained and sore muscles. It allows the therapist to provide deep and penetrating massage, where the therapist does not have to put excessive stress on his body.
- An individual experiences instant relief from pain present due to pulled and sore muscles. Since hot stone massage allows the heat to flow deeper inside the muscles, person feels more relaxed and rejuvenated after the session as compared to other forms of massage which does not make use of heat.
- Hot stone massage improves circulation of blood. The stones are placed on certain specific point by the therapist before he actually begins to massage with the stones. The heat from hot stone goes deep down into the tissues. As a result the blood vessels dilate leading to increased flow of blood to the tissues. This means more oxygen to the fatigued and strained muscles and tissues. It helps to ameliorate pain at a faster pace.
- Aside from its beneficial qualities at physical level, hot stone massage also helps to ease mental stress and tension. People suffering from depression and anxiety find benefit from hot stone massage.
How To Give A Hot Stone Massage?
Before starting hot stone massage following steps are necessary.
- The stones should be smooth, flat and round or oval in shape. It prevents skin irritation.
- Immerse the stones in hot water before it is used to make them warm.
- They are mostly basalt stones as they have capability of retaining heat.
- Before placing the stones the skin should be massage with oil so that the stone glides easily on skin surface without hurting it.
Usually the technique is to lie on the table with face down. The therapist works on the back. He rubs some amount of massage oil on the skin to make it smooth. After which he places the hot stones on the back at certain points or area of sore muscles. In the beginning if the person is not able to bear the heat, the stones are placed under the thin clean cloth that is placed on the back. Gradually the thin cloth is removed. The heat of stone penetrates in the muscles and tissues.
The therapist than holds the stone in his hands and kneads the muscles gently. The person does not feel pain because of heat. As the stone becomes cold, the therapist replaces it with other warm stone. The therapist uses different size of stones for different area. Often the therapist leaves heated stones between the toes, in the palms for some time to increase the energy flow.