Hot stone massage is a healing therapy used for centuries thought to have originated in China. According to records, hot stone massage was used as a spiritual healing ritual to cure illnesses. In modern society, hot stone massage is most commonly used to relieve stress and stimulate blood flow.
Hot stone massage is a form of massage where the massage therapist uses smooth, flat, heated stones. The stones warm up tight muscles and relax them. This gives the massage therapist the ability to work on other parts of the body. They are placed on specific pressure points, and as the areas are warmed and relaxed, it allows the therapist to apply deeper pressure without discomfort.
There are many benefits to hot stone massage. The heated stones relax muscle tissue, allowing access to deeper muscle layers which melts away knots, relives pain, reduces stress and promotes deep relaxation. The heat from the stones also expands blood vessels, which encourages blood flow throughout the entire body. This can all lead to better sleep. Studies show massage can lessen the need for sleeping pills, as well as prescription pain medications. Hot stone massage is often described as deeply relaxing and comforting. It is particularly beneficial for people who are chronically cold. This type of massage is frequently used to treat the mind, as well as the body and can even help with depression, anxiety and insomnia.
The stones used are usually made from basalt river rocks. These rocks are specifically used because they are smooth and retain heat well. The stones are heated to a precise temperature range between 110 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything over this temperature can cause burns. The stones can be placed in many locations, including bilaterally along the spine, on the chest, stomach, face, palms and even between the toes. The stones are also used as an extension of the therapists hands to massage muscle.
While hot stone massage can be beneficial for most, certain types of people should not partake. People with conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease and epilepsy may actually experience adverse reactions. This is particularly a concern with diabetics and those suffering from neuropathy. Diabetes affects how the blood vessels and nerves function throughout the body, and especially the fingers and toes. People with diabetes and neuropathy can lose feeling in their extremities, which means they may not be able to feel an injury or a burn. Pregnant women might also want to avoid hot stone massage, as it can be uncomfortable.