At times, after a long bus or train ride, when your whole body aches from sitting in one place for too long. Or, your posture has changed and your shoulders hurt, using heated mineral rocks to cure body pain is called hot stone massage therapy. It can be done at home or in the spa. At home, simple hot water and wet cloth and stones are good ways to start.
However, reflexology is a therapeutic practice for which you may need experts. It is good for relaxing and treating chronic pain. Our body has different points which can be pressed so that the nerves can loosen up and blood flows to the whole body. This process is stress relieving and improves sleep quality too.
What is Hot Stone Massage?
There are many different kinds of massages and hot stone massage is when the masseuse or the therapist places stones on different parts of your body to relieve the pain from there. It melts away the knots in the muscles, and any aches or stresses in the body. Hot stone therapy is good after a long hike, physical activity, like exercise etc.
The therapist works on all muscles including the connective tissues. It is called Shiatsu massage or Deep Tissue Massage. It causes deep relaxation and calm in the body. Most people have a feeling of sleep after a massage. The release of endorphins – the brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that produce feelings of wellbeing prompts us to sleep. The levels of stress reduce and hormones such as adrenalin, cortisol and norepinephrine, are also reduced.
The day you are going to take a massage. It is important that you follow the instructions below:
- Eat Light
- Take a Hot Shower
- Wear something comfortable
- Go a little early and communicate your Needs
- Just relax during the massage
8 Benefits of Hot Stone Massage – Emerge in Relaxation Mode
Just relax and don’t think about anything. Just be prepared to enjoy your hot stone massage therapy. You are going there for some time for yourself because you have no more energy o use and your body aches because of the daily activities you have done.
During a hot stone massage the water is heated to 110–130 F which gets your stones to the proper temperature. The therapist usually uses marine stones, sandstone, or limestone or basalt for the massage. These have minerals which gives benefits to the one getting the massage. During the massage each stone is placed on key areas of the body to help with energy flow. As muscles relax they release toxins and helps to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.
People with the following issues should definitely go for a hot stone massage at least once in six months to approximately once every month:
People with anxiety feel instant relaxation from hot stone massage as it produces endorphins. These hormones make us feel “happy high”. Anxiety may occur because of triggers, or overworking or maybe a clinical condition. But massaging can give temporary relief from it.
2. Digestive disorders:
The pressure applied to the abdominal area the combination of heat stimulates the performance of digestive organs. It relieves constipation. If you have gas or any other digestive problem, massage is good for you.
It is a condition which causes chronic pain in the body. The hot stones placed in different areas can instantly relieve the person of the pain. Massaging can be an addictive pleasure for those suffering from fibromyalgia.
Research shows that massaging the hands is not only great for the hands but can also help to relieve headaches. There are reflexology points in our hands, like the feet that correspond to the entire body, including the head, neck, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and sinuses.
5. Insomnia related to stress:
Sometimes, those who suffer from physical pain find it hard to go to sleep which causes mental stress. Scientists have found that hot stone massage improves the quality of sleep after 12 treatments.
6. Low back pain:
The smooth, flat, heated stones along your spine will increase blood flow and relax muscles and cure back pain. Swedish massage and sports massage are both good for your lower back pain.
7. Myofascial pain syndrome:
It is another word for muscle pain. Myofascial tissues surround and support muscles throughout your body. The hot stones kept on both sides of your spine causes the stiffness to reduce which is called myofascial release.
8. Nerve pain:
Because of our sitting posture for work, sometimes we experience muscle pull which can cause nerve pain. Hot stone massage therapy is great for nerve pain for neck, back and sciatica nerves.
Who may benefit from hot stone massage?
- Those who are looking to relieve muscle tension and pain.
- Have stress and anxiety
- Suffering from lack of sleep
- Have symptoms of autoimmune diseases
- Showing cancer symptoms
- Poor immunity
What happens during a hot stone massage? What to expect?
There is a slight difference between deep tissue massage and hot stone massage. The people at the spa will ask you which one you want. If you want to work on your chronic pain and limited range of motion; improve posture, balance and movement; and help our athletes train, then go for deep tissue massage.
The hot stone massage is much like using a heating pad, to relieve the tension of your muscles by the use of heat.
1. Don’t wear many layers of clothing when you go for a massage. Most often you just require to be naked (You will be appropriately covered with a blanket during the session) exposing the part of the body which is getting treated.
2. Hot stone massage usually takes about an hour. It eases your muscle stiffness, and increases blood circulation and metabolism. As muscles relax they release toxins and helps to relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.
3. The water is heated to 110–130 F which gets your stones to the proper temperature. The therapist usually uses marine stones, sandstone, or limestone or basalt for the massage. These have minerals which gives benefits to the one getting the massage. During the massage each stone is placed on key areas of the body to help with energy flow.
4. The masseuse uses her hands and fingers for applying the massage oil as a lubricant The hot stones are placed gently on the muscles on either side of the spine. This promotes deep tissue relaxation. The smaller stones may be placed between the fingers and toes.
5. The masseuse will then glide the hot stones all over your body. There may be extreme pain. But soon your body will get used to the temperature and you will feel great.
Is it painful?
Hot stone massage technique carries blood and nutrients to your muscles and eliminates toxins from your body. After a stimulating hot stone massage the muscles that you may not usually use, might experience delayed onset muscle soreness. This is a general physical response to the inflammation as your body heals. It is true that the therapist believes pain is just a part of the massage and it has to be painful to work.
Who shouldn’t get that hot stone massage?
There can be serious after effects for people with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, varicose veins, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, decreased pain sensitivity, recent wounds, areas of weakened or inflamed skin, tumours, metal implants, recent chemotherapy, radiation or surgery or are on medication if they go in for hot stone massage.
Symptoms should avoid hot stone massage therapy:
1. A bleeding disorder or take blood thinners:
Inform the massage therapist that you are on blood thinners as soon as you book an appointment. If you are on blood thinners, massaging can cause bruising easily and it may be problematic to stop internal bleeding. A proper approval will be required in that case. People with low blood plateletes count (thrombocytopenia) should not go for a hot stone massage.
2. Burns on your skin:
Massage can increase pain if you have burns on your skins which are still open wounds.
3. History of blood clots:
If you have thromobosis, your deep vein cells can break loose while massaging which can cause serious, potentially fatal health problems such as a pulmonary embolism.
4. Surgery in the last 6 weeks:
If you don’t inform the therapist about your surgery then you will be liable for any dangerous outcomes of the massage.
5. Fracture or severe osteoporosis:
You will not get any help or improvement in bone density or get rid osteoporosis. Massage can sore or alleviate associated problems.
Massage accelerates insulin uptake and those who are experiencing neuropathy may not know if the pressing during the massage is too high which may cause injury.
Where is the origin of hot stone massage therapy?
Ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese and Indians convinced the world of therapeutic properties of massage and used it to treat a variety of ailments. Myotherapy: the practice of kneading or manipulating a person’s muscles and other soft-tissues to release stress is a form of manual therapy. It holds, moving, and applying pressure to the muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia.
The most simple massage therapy is with rubbing oil across the body and pressing the pain points with appropriate pressure.
Types of Hot stone Massage Therapy?
Depending on the types of stones the therapist gives hot stone massages. Mostly, igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks are used for hot stone massage. The two below are some examples, but now many new kinds of stones are used with experimental formulas which helps to make you stress free.
In the Indian prana there are seven chakras, or energy centers in the body, and the therapist must use the gemstones associated with each center in their therapy. Till now, studies have shown best results when certain gemstones are used for the particular chakras and the most common are:
- Garnet is a red gem good for the chakra located at the base of the spine.
- Carnelian for the orange chakra located in the navel area.
- Citrine topaz the yellow gem is good for chakra located at the solar plexus.
- Rose quartz or jade for the pink and green chakra located at the center of the chest.
- Aquamarine the light blue gem is for chakra located at the throat.
- Lapis; the blue chakra is great for the center of the forehead.
- Amethyst for the violet of clear chakra located at the crown of the head
2. Lava massage:
Hot lava shells called Tiger-striped clam shells are used. The heat is produced by inserting a ‘lava gel sachet’ and ‘activator liquid’ into the shell. Smooth part of the shells are used to rub it on your body accelerating movement of blood to all part. You will feel slow deep strokes on your torso and limbs.
The Tiger Clam shells are a massage tool and have been harvested for food in the Philippines for hundreds of years. In some cases, these shells also give off calcium ions which regenerates your skin.
3. River Rock Massage:
Sedimentary rocks that are round, flat and smooth can be used for river rock massage. It’s good for pain relief, headaches and uplifting moods. Basalt river rocks have many mineral properties and are heated and used. Along with this the masseuse also kneads, rolls and provides pressured long strokes to the body parts. Swedish massage is a kind of river rock massage.
6 Risks and Warnings of Hot stone massage?
Hot stone massage can cause burns and redness on the skin because of over heating at times. Also, because of the pressure applied, oil used during the therapy and how much your body can take, you will need to be prepared. Although, a little soreness may last for a day or two after a hot stone massage therapy, but that is normal.
Here are a few risks involved in hot stone massage. It all depends on the products used by the therapist and your body’s ability to take the massage pressure.
- There may be breaks in the skin so anyone with injuries should avoid a hot stone massage until those injuries have healed.
- Muscles may remain sore from the pain for a few hours or days after the therapy.
- Massaging does cure infection or illness, heart disease, or diabetes.
- Do not get a massage when you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Pregnant women should get approval before getting a massage.
- Avoid eating anything heavy two hours before or after the massage.
This article explains how hot stone massage helps relieve muscle tension and pain. The heated stones are placed on stressed muscles. People get hot stone massage usually after a heavy physical activity and to reduce stress and anxiety. It promotes sleep, helps relieve symptoms of autoimmune diseases, decrease cancer symptoms and boosts immunity.