Hot stone massage is a massage technique which originated in the Far East, and one which was frequently practiced in the baths of ancient Rome. Hot stone massage is a variation on classic Swedish massage therapy, where by heated smooth, flat stones are used as tools to perform the massage treatment. The stones are also placed on key points on the body thought to be energy centres, to rebalance the body and mind.
How does Hot Stone massage work?
The hot stones are usually made of basalt, which is a type of rock rich in iron, and one which also retains heat effectively. River rocks are a popular choice for this treatment as they are smooth to touch, and rounded by the current of the river.
The stones are immersed in sanitized water and heated in an electric heating device to between 120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, and then left to cool slightly before being utilized in the massage. The stones may be placed at specific points on the back, in the palms of the hand, or between the toes. The heat warms and relaxes the muscles, which allows the therapist to apply deeper pressure, if desired. The warmth of the hot stones loosens stiff muscles, improves circulation and calms the nervous system.
Which clients would benefit from Hot Stone massage?
Many people chose hot stone massage to help alleviate muscular tension, and to aid relaxation. However, the treatment can be very effective for those suffering from the following conditions: backache, poor circulation, osteoarthritis, and arthritis pain, stress, anxiety and tension, insomnia, and depression.
The Hot Stone massage treatment
The hot stones are generally used in two ways during the massage: One is to transfer heat onto the body by laying stones under / on top of the client. Stones are arranged typically along both sides of the spine, or along the chakras. Whilst these layout stones are delivering concentrated centres of heat, the therapist is simultaneously massaging the client with oiled, heated stones held in the palm of the hand with firm strokes along the muscles of the legs, arms, and torso areas.
Authentic hot stone massage is not simply the “gliding” of heated stones lightly upon the surface of the skin, but rather the stones are used as tools to deliver effective tissue and muscle massage at a pressure level comfortable to the client. The hardness of the stones enables the therapist to easily provide a deep tissue massage with very little stress to her own joints and hands. The hot stones are thoroughly utilised to massage the back, using both effleurage, and pettrissage movements.
A thorough consultation will be be performed prior to the treatment (free of charge). The following contraindications should be adhered to. Hot stone massage should not be performed on pregnant women and small children, nor those with anorexia, varicose veins, open wounds, chronic high blood pressure, liver or kidney disorders, heart problems, epilepsy, pacemakers, diabetes, acute fever, and MS sufferers.
Hot stone massage is a wonderfully soothing and very relaxing treatment which can restore both physical, and emotional balance to the body and mind.