Have you wondered, like many others, what the benefits of using hot stones in a massage are? Have you thought it might just be a gimmick? We happen to love this type of massage therapy and think that you might, too. However, we’ve found that most people, once they get in a massage routine, are hesitant to break out and try something new. After all, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? You might know, from photos you've seen, that in a hot stone massage, the massage therapist places warmed stones on your body as an addition to a regular therapeutic massage. However, there is so much more to this centuries-old practice, and here are a few things you might not know about hot stone massage:
- The stones are strategically placed on trigger points along the body, or spots likely to experience pain and sprains. These areas can include the hand, toes, back, and neck. Some of these spots are considered to be the energy centers of the body.
- Muscles that are tight and tense are much harder to penetrate during a massage. By placing these stones along the tense spots in your body, the muscles are loosened and relaxed, thereby allowing your massage therapist to really heal, lengthen, and soothe those areas, without greatly increasing the pressure of the massage. Essentially, the warmed stones allow your massage therapist to do his or her job more readily and effectively while still maintaining your greatest comfort.
- The rocks we use are basalt stones, which have an exceptionally high iron content, allowing them to retain heat for much longer than a typical stone. Basalt stones are the most common type of volcanic rock, and the ones we use are very smooth and feel wonderful on the skin.
- Did you know that poor circulation can lead to increased tiredness, mental “fogginess,” and a weakened immune system? As the heat from the stones seeps deeply into your muscles, your blood vessels open, bringing about improved circulation.
- Many of our clients also report psychological benefits, as well as the physical benefits, of getting a hot stone massage. Many happy recipients report feeling calmer, more at peace, less anxious, and even less depressed.
- The history of massaging using heated stones is rich, indeed. Verbal and written history supports the notion and the Chinese were using heated stones to improve organ function 2000 years ago. Native Americans often used hot stones as part of sweat lodge practices, and would place the stones on women’s abdomens to ease menstrual cramps. Hawaiians also used hot stones for various healing practices. More recently, in 1993, a massage therapist used stones of various temperatures and sizes to help relieve her niece's pain, as well as her own aches and pains. From this more recent movement, modern hot stone massage was born.
Chances are that you still have questions about this practice. Feel free to talk about it with your massage therapist. He or she will answer any questions, discuss it with you thoroughly, and then you can decide whether or not to try this ancient, healing, comforting kind of massage therapy. In our opinion, once you try the stones, you may never go back! We'd love to hear your thoughts on this. Have you had a hot stone massage?