The Hot Stone massage is a therapeutic massage technique in which heated stones are held by the massage therapist who uses them to apply the customary and traditional Swedish massage strokes.
The rocks (extremely smooth, volcanic basalt rocks of various sizes) are used due to their ability to absorb heat and retain it for extended periods of time. For the most part, these rocks are heated in water at 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Native Americans are known to also have used hot stones for medicinal purposes, but those were heated by direct fire. This technique of fire-heated stones was restored by Mary Nelson, a native of Tucson, Arizona and she trademarked it as LaStone Therapy.
Primarily due to the effects of the heat from the stones, the Hot Stone massage is profoundly calming and delightfully relaxing as it rapidly releases the tension out of every soft tissue, be it muscle, tendon or ligament, which is included in this treatment while gentle and comforting peace washes over the client almost immediately.
The hot stones are used throughout the entire session to massage, stroke, press, manipulate and to knead the client’s soft tissues.
On occasion, heated stones are laid out to rest at strategic spots along the spine as well as in the palms of the client’s hands and between the toes.
This maneuver promotes the optimal flow of energy throughout the entire body. As soon as the stones cool down, the massage therapist will replace them with newly heated ones but areas that are inflamed, injured or swollen, will often be treated with cold stones instead of the hot ones.
To get the most out of the Hot Stone massage therapy, clients are encouraged to:
- Indicate any discomforts such as those created by the stones which are too hot, the massage therapist applying pressure with too much force, the background music which may be too loud, the room temperature which could be too hot or too cold and so on.
- Refrain from consuming a heavy meal and to abstain from ingesting any amount of alcohol shortly before the session.*
- Arrive in plenty of time to check in and to relax before the treatment.
- Take a sauna or a steam bath before the session as this will relax and soften the muscles for better end results.
- Remove all their clothing and be assured that they will remain completely covered with a towel. This will give the massage therapist better access and direct contact with the skin.
- Take slow, deep breaths throughout the session as it helps to relax the body and release more toxins.
- To banish irrelevant thoughts from racing through their heads by concentrating on the feel of the therapist’s movements over their bare skins.
- Get off the massage table after the session very slowly as dizziness may set in otherwise.
- Absorb the full results of the massage treatment by allowing some quiet time in a peaceful place.
- Drink extra water after the massage to flush out and wash away the toxins released during the treatment.
The Hot Stone massage is beneficial in many ways as it promotes deep muscle and soft tissue relaxation, eases stress, releases toxins, alleviates pain, improves circulation and calms the mind.
There’s an impressive list of ailments which are treated with Hot Stone massages and they are:
- Muscle aches and pains due to over use, injury or stress.
- Back pain caused by injury, poor posture or misuse.
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
- Stress, anxiety, nervousness and depression.
A number of circulatory problems.