The practice of Hot Stone Therapy Massage is a variation of massage therapy in the traditional sense. The process consists of heated stones placed on key parts of the body. The therapist might manipulate the stones using them to massage certain sections of the body. The healing usage of stones dates back to ancient times, but when Mary Nelson, an Arizona massage therapist, introduced her hot stone massage technique, LaStone Therapy, this method of massage really began growing in popularity.
A common misconception concerning Hot Stone Therapy Massage is that it will be painful. This is to be expected, as who would not think that hot objects placed on bare flesh would not cause pain. But such is not the case with Hot Stone Therapy Massage. The stones are always flat and smooth. They are about the size of an egg, and they are heated in an electrical unit that provides temperature control. The therapist always has the stones in their hands prior to applying them to the body. This way, they know that the heat is enough to be effective, but will not burn. The heat is meant to penetrate gently and gradually.
Your Hot Stone therapist will usually begin in a traditional manner, applying oil to the body. The purpose is to enable the stones to glide smoothly on the surface of the skin. The client will be face down on the massage table, and the stones will most often be placed on the back. Once the stones have relaxed the tissue, the therapist will move the stones aside and perform traditional massage therapy techniques, or they may glide the stones along the surface of the skin, using them as massage tools. Once that area of the body has been manipulated, the therapist will return the stones until the end of the massage. The therapist may also place stones between the toes or on the palms of your hands.
Just like regular massage therapy, Hot Stone Therapy Massage is not recommended for those that have recently had surgery, or for pregnant women, without a doctor’s release.
Benefits of Hot Stone Therapy Include:
Massage may also help to relieve conditions such as:
Another benefit of Hot Stone massage is the overall feeling of spiritual well-being that clients are left with. The stones relax the muscles, allowing the mind to calm and assume a meditative state. This frame of mind is energising and restorative. When combined with essential oils meant to stimulate certain sense, this can be a very beneficial treatment. The heat from the stones restores energy flow, and will help to balance and harmonise the body.
Hot Stone Therapy has been in existence for a very long time. Various cultures have utilised the practice, as well as variations such as heat saunas, and Native American hot rocks and sweat lodges. Cultures have used cold stones as well, in situations such as slowing bleeding after labour, and for superstitious reasons such as gaining strength and endurance.
The Chinese used hot stones to relieve pain, stress and tension. In the Ayurvedic methods of healing in India, hot stones were combined with their use of Maram points. The Japanese utilised hot stones in a practice called Anman, which is the oldest form of Asian massage. Hawaiians used lave rocks in their practice of Lomi-Lomi massage. Hot rocks were also utilised for healing and relaxation in Africa, Ancient Egypt, and South America throughout history.
The stones used in Hot Stone Therapy Massage are very unique. They are used in two ways during the process. The first it to heat the body, and make the muscles more pliable and receptive to touch. The stones can be laid under the client, with a layer of fabric between, or on top of the client, also on a fabric surface. Stone layout will be determined by the Chakras. Another method is to apply the stones directly to the skin, often manipulating them in a manner that allows the stones to actually massage the client. Pressure can be applied as it is with traditional massage: light, medium, or deep. The stones are typically viewed as an extension of the therapist’s hands.