Hot Stone Massage- All You Need To Know!
Like other techniques of massages, hot stone massage is a technique using which soreness is relieved. It relaxes the tension between muscles in the body. The hot stones when applied to the body penetrates deeply relieving soreness.
The hot stone massage is a massage therapy involving the use of smooth and heated stones. The therapist who performs this will place stones on specific body points and hold them while giving you a massage.
The localized weight and heat of the stone will relax the muscles allowing the therapist to apply deeper pressure to the areas without any discomfort. The stones sued are made of basalt. It is a type of volcanic rock that has the ability to retain heat, unlike other stones. The hot stone used is normally heated to 130 to 145 degrees.
Hot Stone Massage Basics
The hallmark of this massage is the usage of heated stones. Basalt river rocks become very smooth due to the river’s current and retain heat really well.
To prevent burns, one should never use ovens, hot plates, microwaves, or slow cookers. Massage therapists use anatomy to guide where the stones must be placed, some therapists often place the stones on points to balance the body and mind energetically.
Swedish massage therapy techniques are also sued typically when the message is done which include kneading ad rolling and long strokes.
What To Expect From Hot Stone Massage
During the hot stone massage, the therapist will place a stone on specific points as you already know. The points may vary from person to person depending upon muscle tension areas and the client’s health issues. The stones may be placed on these areas:
- Along both the sides of the client’s spine
- In the palms of their hands
- On the legs, feet, and abdomen.
Small stones may also be placed between your toes or placed on the forehead. After these stones are placed on the body, it will take a few minutes for the stone’s heat to penetrate the towel or sheet on your body and reach deeper into the skin. In this way, you will be able to discern if the stones are too hot.
The therapist then applied massage oil onto the skin. Holding stones in both hands, gliding movements are used by the therapist to move the stones along all your muscles. Swedish massage techniques may also be used by the therapist on the legs, back, neck, and shoulders. The stones may or may not be removed at this stage.
The hot stone massage lasts for 60 to 90 minutes. The hot stone massage is still evolving and many theorists offer their own versions of this amazing massage.
Here are some tips you can use to get the most out of your massage.
- Always visit a licensed therapist that is trained in hot stone massage.
- Do not eat anything before going for the massage
- Be completely thorough when you complete an intake form.
- Drink water before and after the hot stone massage to remain hydrated.
- Let the therapist know if you find the stones too warm during the massage or if you find the pressure to be highly intense.
Is Hot Stone Massage Painful?
The hot stones used for massage are several inches long and smooth. The towns should only be warmed by the therapists using an electric stone massage heater sot that it can receive the desired temperature for the hot stone massage.
If you find the stones to be too uncomfortable or hot, make sure you tell the therapist immediately to avoid injuries. Stones that are too hot will cause burns. The heated stones allowed the therapist to relieve pain and work on deep tissues when needed. Massage therapy should not hurt and you should always tell the therapist in case you feel burn.
Do Not Go for Hot Stone Massage If:
The hot stone massage is generally safe for everyone but as per the National Institute of Health, some reports have been found that mention serious side effects of this massage-like bone fracture, nerve injury, or blood clots.
While it is considered to be safe in general when performs by a trained therapist, know that it is not meant for everyone. Children and people who are expecting should completely avoid getting a hot stone massage.
If you have any medical conditions like diabetes, heart issues, migraines, varicose veins, decreased pain sensitivity, cancer, autoimmune diseases, mental implants, tumors, epilepsy, high blood pressure, etc, always consult your doctor before going for a hot stone massage. Also, if you are on medications that help thin the blood, seek advice from your doctor before proceeding.
If you have had recent surgery or any wounds or inflamed skin then also speak to your doctor.
Benefits Of Hot Stone Massage
All massage generally falls under the category of alternatives to mediation and steroids. They are becoming highly popular for many conditions as complementary treatments. Here are some important advantages of hot stone massage that you must know:
1. It helps relieve pain and muscle tension
Heat has been used for many centuries to ease muscle tension and relieve pain. It also helps increase the flow of blood in your body thus improving the affected area. It also reduces muscle spasms and increases flexibility. It helps increase the range of motion. Sometimes it is used with cold therapy as well to relieve inflammation. Depending upon various symptoms, alternative cold and hot stones may be used during the massage.
2. It Reduces Anxiety And Stress
American Massage Therapy Association states that massage therapy can help reduce anxiety, stress, and depression. A study from 2001 indicated that a massage for 10 minutes improved cardiovascular activity and response like stroke volume.
Another study from 997 suggested that 15-minute massage therapy in workplaces reduced stress significantly as compared to a break of 15 minutes in between the work without massage.
A study from 2015, found out that people who have undergone abdominal colorectal surgy experienced less tension, anxiety, and pain after post-operative massage.
3. Promotes Sleep
A study from a 2006 literature review states that massage can be a great alternative to sleeping pills in people having insomnia. The research suggested that back massage helped people significantly in promoting sleep and relaxation.
A study from 2001 showed that infants having problems sleeping were given a massage for 15 minutes and the result was amazing. The children were able to sleep faster. They were more active, alert, and positive after waking up. Massage also helps enjoy people restorative sleep although the reason behind this is not understood.
4. Helps relieve symptoms of autoimmune disease
Hot stone massage helps relieve painful conditions like fibromyalgia. It is a condition that causes chronic pain and widespread injury. As per a study from 2002, people having fibromyalgia who received a massage for 30 minutes slept slightly longer and had fewer trigger points along with decreased substance P levels in the body. Substance P is involved in transmitting pain signals as compared to people with the same condition but no massage.
However, more research is required before the hot stone massage is considered to be a standard treatment for fibromyalgia.
A study from 2013, found out that people having rheumatoid arthritis may benefit from a slight pressure massage like the hot stone massage. Participants from this study experienced less pain and greater grip strength. Also, they had a greater range of motion after one month from hot stone massage.
5. Decreases cancer symptoms
Hot stone massage may help treat some cancer symptoms. A large 3 years of research published in the pain and symptom journal examined what effects massage had on people having anxiety, depression, pain, fatigue, nausea, etc due to cancer disease. This study involved nearly 1290 people.
The study had all different types of massage especially the Swedish massage was helpful with cancer symptoms. Research suggests that the comforting use of other humans’ hands played a key role.
6. It boosts immunity
Hot stone massage might give a boost to your immunity. According to a 2010 study conducted, a single session involving Swedish massage vary gas acute and positive impact on immunity.
Blood samples were taken before and after the massage session to notice differences. It showed a decrease in arginine-vasopressin. This hormone is the one that helps regulate water retention and blood pressure.
Anyone who experiences muscle tension, pain, stress, insomnia, etc may benefit greatly from a hot stone massage. If you have a chronic or serious condition that causes pain, you must talk to a doctor first and then proceed towards a hot stone massage.
7. Other Benefits
In addition to all the great benefits mentioned above, hot oil massage also helps:
- releases toxins to improve the appearance of your skin overall.
- Improves flow of energy.
- Helps promote better sleep in adults and children.
- Helps create a sense of warmth and comfort.
- Helps increasing joint flexibility.
Risks and Side Effects of hot stone massage
You have already read above who should not go for hot massage therapy. If you have any such condition as diabetes, cancer, open wounds, etc then you shouldn’t go for a hot stone massage.
If you expecting a baby, talk to your doctor about the massage. Always visit an experienced therapist who has prior experience with such massage techniques.
Steps involved in hot stone massage
Here are all the steps that are followed by the therapist in a hot stone massage.
- All the materials are gathered first.
- The therapists then set the area for massage.
- Stones are heated for 30 to 60 minutes before the massage using stone heating equipment.
- Know that stone sis never placed directly on the skin. A flannel sheet or a towel is always used for keeping the stones and acts as a barrier between the skin and hot stones.
- Massage is performed then by keeping the stones on various body parts.
- Sometimes cold stones are also sued to provide an alternative treatment.
The Bottom Line
Many studies have suggested that hot stone massage can be highly useful to reduce anxiety, stress, and promotes relaxation. It also helps ease muscle tension and pain. It can be helpful for several problems under different circumstances.
However, more study is needed to know exactly why hot stone massage and other massage therapies have such a powerful impact on people. Researchers believed that it has something to do with a human touch. For many people, touch feels like a sense of security and connection thus relaxing them and uplifting mood.
To make sure you have a good and positive experience with a hot stone massage, make sure you visit a trained therapist only. You might feel sore after the massage due to pressure and deep manipulation. You should not feel pain, if you do, let your therapist know immediately.
There are alternatives to hot stone massage that works well in performing the same benefits. You can also use Swedish massage there and lymphatic drainage massage for getting great results.