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What is a Hot Stone Massage?
Hot Stone massage is a variation of classic massage therapy. The massage therapist uses heated stones as an extension of his or her own hand. The heat relaxes the muscles, which allows the massage therapist to work deeper and quicker with the muscles. The therapist may also place the stones on “energy centers” on the client’s body to rebalance the body and mind. The stones are most commonly basalt rocks, which help retain heat, as the rocks are rich in iron. The stones are immersed in water, which is then heated up to keep the stones warm.
The Origin of Hot Stone Massage
Hot stones, warmed by fire, were first used by Native Americans to treat aching muscles; however, the more modern revival of hot stones in massage therapy is most commonly credited to Mary Nelson, a native of Tucson, Arizona. She trademarked her style of hot stone massage, which has a Native American spiritual component.
Benefits of Hot Stone Massage
A common question clients have is whether to get a hot stone massage versus a regular massage. Some people find the warmth of the hot stones to be comforting and simply receive the massage for relaxation. The heat from the stones helps the clients’ muscles relax, allowing the massage therapist to manipulate the muscle tissue more effectively. Clients also experience hot stone massage for a variety of health conditions:
- Back pain and aches
- Poor circulation
- Stress, anxiety, and tension
While all types of massage can help relieve pain caused by tense muscles, stiff joints or injuries, a hot stone massage may provide greater relief due to the heat component of the massage.