Both verbal and written history confirm the Chinese used heated stones more than 2,000 years ago as a means of improving the function of internal organs. Stones were also used for healing work in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Egypt and India.
Hot stone massage is a natural therapy that applies warmed stones to the client’s body to maximize therapeutic benefit. The stones are typically river rocks or other very smooth-surfaced stones made of basalt. These stones are heated in sanitized water before use. The high iron content in basalt helps the stones retain heat during the massage. Hot stone massages are beneficial on both physical and psychological levels.
Always check with your doctor before getting a hot stone massage; individuals with certain conditions–including pregnant women, people with high blood pressure, a history of blood clots, a high platelet count (thrombocytopenia), bleeding disorders or taking blood thinners, open wounds or burns of the skin, a fracture or severe osteoporosis, diabetes, surgery within the past 6 weeks -are advised to avoid this type of therapy.
Benefits of Hot Stone Massage:
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 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.
Heat from the stones penetrates into your deeper body tissues causing your blood vessels to open resulting in improved circulation. Poor circulation can lead to fatigue, which tenses the muscles causing 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.
Massage therapy can result in mental benefits as well as physical benefits. 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. Massage therapy can be an integral part of your mental wellness treatment plan.