You may have seen images of massage clients laying facedown on studio tables with smooth, round black stones lined up in patterns on their back and thought to yourself, “What is going on here? What’s with the rocks?”
The answer is Hot Stone Massage, an ancient type of massage that incorporates smooth, flat heated stones on key points of the body to help facilitate the massage session.
First, some information about the stones or rocks! The most common type of stone used in this mode of massage are basalt rocks, also known as river rocks due to their innate smoothness and ability to retain heat. When it is time for a session, the massage therapist will prepare the stones by immersing them in a heated water bath until the stones reach a certain warm temperature.
The stones are then placed at specific points on a client to address individual needs and to warm and relax the muscles. The warmth that emanates from the stones can act as a great calming aid for the central nervous system to promote relaxation while simultaneously relaxing the muscles, and releasing pent up tension and knots.
Several other benefits that hot stone massage can encourage are:
-Relief from arthritis and osteoarthritis
-Decrease depression and insomnia
-Relief from back pain and aches
-Reduce stress, anxiety, and tension
-Relief from fibromyalgia pain or carp
-Increase flexibility of joints
This type of massage is popular for its ease and destressing capabilities. The warmth and weight of the stones help facilitate a massage without the deep kneading or pressure found in other typical modalities of massage like Deep Tissue or Sports Massage making it a very healing and effective experience for many different people.