A hot stone massage is a light massage technique performed using hot stones that helps relax stiff and tension muscles in the patient’s body. It is usually used during a Swedish massage as Swedish massages are smooth and gentle massages.
Basalt rock is usually used for hot stone massages as it can retain heat for a long time, when compared to other stones. Of course, these stones are sanitized, smoothed with water and heated before massaging the patient’s body.
There are many benefits associated with a hot stone massage, as seen below:
Helps at relaxing tired muscles
The massage therapist places these rocks on key points on the human body to give relief to rigid muscles that are always suffering from some dull pain. The massage also helps reduce stress and anxiety and is today a popular holistic treatment that helps improve the body functioning.
Hot stone massages are best for relaxing muscles as it lets the therapist easily perform deep tissue massages. The massage targets connective tissues and helps eliminate all the knots that form on the back and shoulders because of stress.
The massage therapist also places the stones on the patient’s back, between toes and the energy centers of the body. In case of oil massages, the rocks’ heat is pushed over muscles to warm the muscles, and start the relaxation process. This done the therapist uses his hands for massaging the back.
The heated stones are lastly placed on the back for some time, and then placed in the palms to relax muscles. In case of inflamed or injured muscles, the therapist may also alternate the hot stones with cold ones.
Hot stone pain relief
Hot stone massage also helps provide relief from pain. These hot stones work well at managing pain as it makes the recipient calm and reduces the stress in the body. It is this low-stress state that makes pain relief easy. Moreover, the heat of the stones gives an intensity not seen in any other massage therapy.
Improves blood circulation
Hot stone massage is also effective in opening blood vessels, and improving blood circulation. The better is the blood circulation in the body, the more oxygen that is carried to the muscles.
Moreover the heat makes muscles relax. Not many people are aware of the fact that tense muscles and poor circulation tend to lead to chronic fatigue. A hot stone massage helps improve vitality to tissues and also keeps blood flowing evenly in the body.
Benefits the mind
People who are under constant stress are always triggering chemical reactions in the body because stress releases two hormones; adrenaline and cortisol. This in turn increases blood pressure levels, makes heartbeat race, increases breathing and makes the entire body tense.
However with a hot stone massage, the body ends up in a relaxed state wherein these chemical responses also stop. This makes the mind feel much calmer. Moreover, the massage therapist may also enhance this calming effect by using calming soundscapes like running water and soft, chirping birds or soothing music.