If you are looking for a massage session to warm your bones during the cold winter months, a hot stone massage may be just for you. Hot stone massage is the use of smooth, heated stones during a relaxation massage. The use of hot stones in massage can be traced back over 3,000 years ago in India and China. More recently, a renowned massage therapist from Arizona brought this ancient art of massage to therapy offices and spas everywhere. If you are curious about hot stone massage, read further about what to expect, benefits and contraindications, and how to get the most out of your hot stone massage treatment.
So, what can you expect during a hot stone massage? The massage therapist will heat the stones in preparation for your session. The stones used in the massage are either basalt or river rocks, which are both smooth in texture and retain heat well. The stones are immersed in water and heated in an electric pan. Once the stones reach a specific temperature, the stones are placed on specific points of the body, such as the back, abdomen, legs or hands. Meanwhile, other hot stones are incorporated in massage over other parts of your body. Massage oil is used during a hot stone massage. This allow maximum glide with the stones as well as letting the therapist quickly manipulate the stones over your back, arms or legs during the massage. Your therapist will check the temperature of the stone on their skin before using the stone in the massage.
Always communicate with your therapist of the stone is too warm on your skin. Your skin may have a pinkish hue after the stone is removed, showing improved circulation. The heated stone warms and relaxes the muscles only using light pressure during the massage. The heated stones are also used to relieve tension in the neck, upper back and feet. The treatment sequence will then be repeated on the opposite side of your body. The massage is generally 90 minutes in length. Also, expect you therapist to step away from you as stones are rotated from the heating appliance, to you and then returned to electric pan. The therapist will also take an extra effort to keeping any noise caused by the stones at a minimum during you massage.
Hot stone massage can be a beneficial treatment approach for several reasons. This modality allows for deep relaxation of the soft tissue without significant pressure applied from the therapist. All other massage benefits apply, such as improved circulation helping in flushing out metabolic waste from your soft tissues. Hot stone massages are also beneficial in pain relief, alleviate stress and improved flexibility. As with any other massage, your therapist should perform a thorough health information interview before a massage. Certain diagnoses are contraindicated for massage. They include: high blood pressure, open sores or skin lesions, and any diagnosis where decreased sensation occurs, such as diabetes. Pregnancy is also another condition contraindicated for hot stone massage.
Preparation for a hot stone massage is similar to getting ready for any other massage. Tips include:
o Eat a light meal and avoid indulging in alcoholic beverages before your massage.
o Take your time, allowing for ample time before and after to get the full benefits from your hot stone
o A tip to relax quicker is following the rhythmic movement of the stone on you back or other body part. You will move into deep relaxation before you know it.
o After the massage, sit up slowly onto the edge of the table, as there is an increased possibility of dizziness post massage. Your therapist may offer to help you sit up before leaving the room for your safety.
This winter, indulge in a hot stone massage. It’s a special treat to enjoy in solitude or alongside a loved during a couples massage.