Whether it’s to heal from an injury, alleviate pain from strain or headaches, or simply to relax and unwind, a hot stone massage has plenty to offer. And once you’ve tried it, you’ll need little excuse to go back for more sessions! Hot stone massages have traditionally been used in several cultures, from China in the east to native American systems, to stimulate internal organs or heal the body in general. Now, with the widespread availability of such massages, you too can tap the benefits.
Hot Stone Massage Uses Stones And Oil For A Therapeutic Massage
Hot stone massages are often utilized in alternative medicine as a therapeutic treatment. Therapists use heated basalt stones, warmed in water, to give you a deep and relaxing massage. This combines the benefits of a deep tissue massage with the rejuvenating warmth from the stone.1
Typically, you begin lying face down. The stones are placed on various points along the back, on either side of your spine where acupuncture points are present. The stones may be placed on a towel, a thin sheet, or cloth for the heat to gently penetrate your body tissues and aid muscle relaxation – not directly, though.2 Smaller stones are also used like an extension of the therapist’s hands, with oil as a lubricant, to massage your muscles and body tissues.3 Pressure is applied with the stones on body parts where you feel tension. The back, legs, feet, and arms are usually kneaded using these warm, oily stones.
1. Increases Circulation Of Lymph And Blood For Holistic Well-Being
When your massage therapist uses long Swedish massage style strokes to rub the smooth hot stones over your body, it boosts circulation via thermal stimulation. The increased circulation of not just blood but also lymph means your body is treated to a complete detox and holistic healing.4
2. Eases Anxiety And Restlessness
When the hot stone massage diffuses heat into your tissues, the muscles in your body relax. This combined with the rhythmic massage strokes and the warming stones helps you enter a deep relaxation state, dissipating any restlessness or even anxiety you might be feeling.6 It can even help relieve the pain and tension associated with headaches.7
3. Revives Fatigued Muscles
Massage, in general, helps relax tired muscles. With the traditional mineral-rich hot stones used in hot stone massages, your therapist can further work the already relaxed muscles.8 The placement stones also help loosen muscles and get rid of muscular “knots” in your body. The application of heat eases any pain or discomfort you might feel as a result of such knots.9
4. Relieves Pain From Sprains, Strains, And Bursitis
The American Massage Therapy Association suggests the use of hot stone massages for alleviating pain associated with a strained muscle or a sprain. It can even bring you relief from inflammatory conditions like acute bursitis that may cause pain with movement.10
5. Helps With Sports Injury Rehabilitation
6. Activates Reflex Points In The Body More Deeply
Reflexology massages target specific points in the body with a view to stimulate other body parts that each point corresponds to. This helps ease congestion or stress in these organs. A hot stone treatment gives the therapist the opportunity to deepen the experience and leverage the benefits of such therapy. While larger hot stones can give soothing warmth to the feet and lower half of your legs, special pointed hot stones can be employed for the actual reflex point massage.12
7. Improves Consciousness Of Self And Stimulates Energy Flow
For believers in the system of chakras or energy centers of the body, hot stone massage comes with added benefits. Stones are used by a therapist to stimulate the chakra points – like the root chakra at the base of your spine or the third eye on your forehead. This helps stimulate energy flow through the body. Meanwhile, the physical weight of the stones and the fact that the stones themselves have come from the earth help you reconnect with the earth, making you feel more grounded, de-stressed, and relaxed.13
id="not-for-everyone-who-should-avoid-hot-stone-massages">Not For Everyone: Who Should Avoid Hot Stone Massages
Anyone with a chronic medical condition should consult their doctor before signing on for hot stone massages. If any of the following apply to you, trade in that hot stone massage for something gentler or pick another alternative remedy14:
- Recent surgery
- Heart disease
- Autoimmune dysfunctions
- Skin conditions
|↑1, ↑13||Trulock, Alison. Hot Stone Massage: The Essential Guide to Hot Stone and Aromatherapy Massage. Sterling Publishers, 2008.|
|↑2||(Don’t) Feel the Burn – Hot Stone Massage.
|↑3, ↑4||Kuge, Hiroshi, Hidetoshi Mori, Tim Hideaki Tanaka, Kazuyo Hanyu, and Tateyuki Morisawa. “Difference between the effects of one-site and three-site abdominal hot-stone stimulation on the skin-temperature changes of the lower limbs.” Journal of integrative medicine 11, no. 5 (2013): 314-319.|
|↑5, ↑9, ↑12||Williams, Anne. Spa bodywork: a guide for massage therapists. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2007.|
|↑6||SPA, DAY, AMENITY SPA, RESORT SPA, and DESTINATION SPA. “Spa Definitions.” Retrieved February 3 (2007): 2013.|
|↑7||(Don’t) Feel the Burn – Hot Stone Massage.
|↑8||Sawarkar, Gaurav. POINTS, INDIAN MEDICINAL MARMA. UNIQUE JOURNAL OF AYURVEDIC AND HERBAL MEDICINES.|
|↑10, ↑11, ↑14||(Don’t) Feel the Burn – Hot Stone Massage. American Massage Therapy Association.|