With stress and anxiety taking over our everyday life, the perfect way to unwind is getting relaxing massages. One of the much talked about therapies among these is ‘hot stone massage’, which is known to be an incredible combination of eastern and western massage techniques. The practice offers a distinctive experience of relaxation amalgamated with a whole lot of therapeutic benefits. In today’s post, we will tell you everything about the hot stone massage therapy:
What Is ‘Hot Stone Massage Therapy’?
‘Hot stone massage therapy’ or ‘thermotherapy’, is a form of therapeutic massage treatment where smooth round stones are heated to a certain temperature (precisely, to ‘luxurious warmth’), oiled thoroughly, and placed directly on specific points (acupressure points) of the body. Sometimes, the hot stones are also taken by the therapist in her palms for massaging the body. As the hot stones touch the surface of the body, the heat penetrates deeply into the skin and, along with the weight of the stones, endows a relaxing sensation. This releases the flow of energy and stimulates the natural healing process of our body. In other words, the hot stone massage therapy helps us get rid of a number of mild to severe ailments through a combination of hot stones and explicit massage techniques.
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How Is It Different From Other Massages?
The use of ‘stones’ itself makes the method different from other massage services. Typically, iron-rich ‘basalt’ stones (river rocks) are used for the procedure as they are lightweight, flat, are smooth in texture, and can retain heat for long. These are kept in water and heated to (120-130)°F with the help of an electric heater. When placed at the key points (energy centers) on the back of our body, these hot stones can restore the overall balance by elevating the relaxing experience as well as the benefits of the massage technique used.
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How A ‘Hot Stone Massage’ Is Done?
Here is a brief guide on how the hot stone massage is done at a massage parlor:
- Around 20 to 60 smooth, flat, and oval-shaped basalt stones (or river rocks) are arranged among which two are large and wide (8-inches long and 6-inches wide), eight are small in size (like an egg), and seven are medium (fits in palms easily) in size.
- ‘Hot stones’ are prepared by heating up stones in a large crockpot / tabletop skillet filled partially with water. The temperature of water needs to be at least 120°F in order to make the stones well-heated. Medium flame is maintained to reach the temperature as the water does not need to be boiled.
- Then, the stones are removed from the heat and cooled down to anywhere between 100°F and 110°F. They are wiped carefully with a dry towel and some massage oil is also rubbed on them nicely. There should be a gap of at least half an hour in between the removal of stones from the heat and starting off the massage.
- Meanwhile, a suitable place is determined where a bed / floor / massage table is available for lying down on. A thick clean towel / sheet is spread on it. Also, a relaxing environment is created by lighting up some aromatherapy candles and turning on a soothing music.
- It needs to be made sure beforehand that the participant is comfortable enough with the temperature of the stones as the heat takes at last 3 to 4 minutes to penetrate the skin. To prevent burn injuries, it is recommended that you place a towel / sheet on the surface of the skin before you put the hot stones on it.
- The massaging techniques vary widely based on the ailments of the participants. Professional therapists need to identify their requirements and provide front as well as back massage with hot stones accordingly.
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Benefits Of The ‘Hot Stone Massage Therapy’
The hot stone massage therapy not only enhances the benefits of the massage techniques but also aids in treating a number of ailments. Here are the benefits you can enjoy by opting for this therapy:
- Boosts blood circulation throughout the body
- Relieves tense muscles and back pain
- Cures long-standing muscular pain, aches, and spasms
- Removes stress, tension, and anxiety
- Offers profound relaxation
- Helps get rid of overall fatigue
- Promotes muscle detoxification
- Improves bodily metabolism
- Eases conditions like joint pain, swelling, stiffness, etc.
- Balances the mind, body, and spirit energetically
However, children and pregnant woman as well as people with hypertension, varicose veins, diabetes, cardiac problems, liver disorders, kidney disorders, rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, cancer, tumor, metal implants, pacemaker, chronic muscle fatigue, anorexia, lymphodema, epilepsy, etc. should avoid the hot stone massage therapy at any cost. Those who have gone through surgeries or experienced acute fever, multiple sclerosis, infections, etc., should also stay away from it.