Hot stone body massage, sometimes referred to as hot rock massage, dates back thousands of years. Hot stone massage history shows evidence of the ancient Roman and Chinese using this method to practice medicine. There are many massage methods used today. Hot stone therapy is one of the most popular and sought out forms of massage. The use of hot massage stones dates back to Egyptian, Indian, African, and American cultures over the centuries. This ancient method of massage also saw use in 1993 by Mary Nelson, a renowned massage stone therapist, and entrepreneur. Since then, people with ailments of all kinds have sought relief through this form of alternative medicine. Proponents of hot stone body massage can attest to its potency. They usually claim it has healed symptoms of chronic diseases, given them more vital energy and overall improved health. Lauded for its healing and muscle-relaxing capabilities, hot stone massage combines ancient methods of healing with modern massage techniques.
What is a Hot Stone Body Massage?
A hot stone body massage is a method of massage therapy which employs heated basalt stones. By placing these flat, heat-retaining volcanic stones along with certain parts of the body, sore muscles and damaged tissues can be healed with ease. The relaxed, warm muscles are more natural for a masseuse to manipulate. It means he or she can dig deeper into the problem areas and tissue. Smooth, flat stones are heated to approximately 145 degrees Fahrenheit in sanitizing water. This is done before the masseuse places them on a person’s body. The hot massage stones can be arranged in patterns, a line or other configuration to properly heat and loosen stiff muscles which would otherwise prove challenging to work with.
Depending on the body part getting hot stone therapy, the masseuse may elect to leave the stones for a long or short duration. Throughout the massage, the masseuse uses moderate pressure and utilizes light and heavy pressure as needed.
How Can a Hot Stone Body Massage Help You?
There are many hot stone massage benefits to experience. They depend on your particular ailment and the duration of the hot stone body massage session. The frequency at which you partake in the therapy also plays a role in your experience. Each body is unique, with a different set of ailments and requirements. As such, hot stone therapy impacts each person in different ways, with varying degrees of positive impact.
Among the most prevalent benefits of hot stone massage are:
Stress Relief – Receiving a hot rock massage can ease tension, anxiety, and stress. Also, it promotes relaxation and general comfort in the body.
Enhanced sleep – Massage therapy enthusiasts report that getting a massage improves sleep, and in some cases, it cures insomnia.
Ease muscle soreness and tightness – Hand and stone massage can reduce the pain felt in muscles after exercise, overuse, or fatigue. The masseuse puts in more work on tight muscles, making them more malleable with the massage.
Contribute to the immune system – A 2010 study reported that Swedish massage therapy using hot stones improved immunity.
Ease symptoms of chronic conditions – People with chronic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia can also benefit from hot stone body massage sessions conducted regularly over time. Studies have shown that sufferers of chronic conditions report less pain and better sleep under a massage therapy regimen, under the supervision of a medical professional.
How is a Hot Stone Body Massage Performed?
A hot stone body massage can be conducted in several different manners. Regardless of the techniques used by the masseuse, the common trait of hot stone therapy lies with the heated rocks. If you have never experienced a hot stone massage, what to expect is a warm to hot sensation in the areas where the stones are placed. The following is a general outline of how a hot rock massage is conducted.
- Apply oil. The masseuse applies oil to the area. Meanwhile, the stones are being heated in a sanitizing water solution. The masseuse will begin to warm and prep the skin by rubbing and massaging the area by hand.
- Cover in a towel. The hot massage stones are then covered in a small hand towel to keep the client from burning when placed on the skin.
- Skin warming movements. Alternatively, the masseuse can opt first to turn the hot stones in his or her hands after they would touch your body to introduce heat to the skin without shocking the client with the temperature.
- Placement. The hot massage rocks are then placed directly onto the skin for heating.
- Massage. The masseuse will conduct the massage according to his or her understanding of your body and its needs. Sometimes, Swedish massage techniques are employed to aid stress reduction and muscle loosening, with or without the stones in hand.
- Cool stones. Sometimes, cold stones are used in conjunction with hot stones, counteracting inflamed muscle areas, and offering a soothing effect.
The Swedish massage techniques often used include stroking, kneading, tapping, circles, and vibration. After the hot stone body massage is complete, the masseuse or the spa may allow you to lie down still for a few minutes or use cool stones. The masseuse will then instruct you to put on your clothes or provide you with water while giving you further recommendations for therapy. If you are looking for a comfortable, safe, and professional environment to explore the benefits of a hot stone body massage, you can begin your search here.
Kim is the founder and CEO of Skin Apeel Day Spa in Boca Raton, Fl since 1992. Kim has 38 years experience as a licensed skin and holistic beauty specialist. She is an industry expert and contributor for Day Spa and Les Nouvelles Esthetiques International Magazines. Kim is a guest panel speaker for Premier Skin Care Circuit, and has been named two years consecutive as one of Boca Raton’s Successful Women in Business.
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