What is Hot Stone Massage?
Hot stone massage is a variation on classic massage therapy. Smooth, flat stones are heated and placed on key points on the body. The massage therapist may also hold the stones and use them to massage certain areas of the body. The heat of the stones warms and relaxes the muscles, which allows the therapist to apply deeper pressure, if desired. The warmth of the hot stones improves circulation and calms the nervous system.
The hot stones are usually made of basalt, a type of rock that is rich in iron, so they retain heat. River rocks are normally used because they have been smoothed over time by the river current.
The stones are immersed in water and heated in an electric heater until they are within a theraputic temperature range. The placement of the stones is at specific points on the back, in the palms of the hand, or between the toes, but may vary depending on the client’s condition.
Benefits of Hot Stone Massage
A common question people have is whether to get hot stone massage, a Swedish massage, or a regular massage. Some people find the warmth of the hot stones to be comforting and choose this type of massage specifically to aid in relaxation. Hot stone massage is suited to people who tend to feel chilly or who have cold feet. It’s also suited for people who have muscle tension but prefer a lighter massage. The heat relaxes muscles, allowing the therapist to work the muscles without using deep pressure.
People also get hot stone massage to help treat a variety of health conditions:
- Back pain and aches
- Poor circulation
- Stress, anxiety and tension
At Carol Kennedy Massage Therapy, Carol combines the warmth of the stones with a standard Swedish and deep tissue massage as needed. The heat of the stones helps the muscles relax and loosen so less pressure is applied. Carol also uses the stones in her hands as a tool to apply heat in a more directed manner. Generally, clients prefer to receive this type of massage on a cold winter day and often feel “like someone enveloped you in a total body heating pad.”