The Ultimate Guide to Hot Stone Massage

What is hot stone massage?

Hot stone massage is a type of massage therapy that involves the use of smooth, heated stones. The massage therapist places the hot stones on specific points on your body and may also hold the stones while giving the massage. The localized heat and weight of the stones warm and relax muscles, allowing the massage therapist to apply deeper pressure to those areas without causing discomfort.

What are the origins of hot stone massage?

Hot stone massage therapy has been around for centuries. It is believed that it originated around 5,000 years ago in India where smooth stones were forged from riverbeds and then heated before the application process. This form also has origins in Japan, ancient China, Hawaii, and has even been used by the Native Americans. But it wasn’t until the early 1990s that the popularity of this technique skyrocketed once more thanks to Mary Nelson. Mary had accidentally rediscovered this technique with her own personal touch while working in Tucson, Arizona. After this discovery, she worked to perfect the process and traveled to teach other therapists who wished to learn.

What are the benefits of hot stone massage?

Hot stone massage therapy combines relaxing warmth to encourage the muscles to relax.

Some other benefits of hot stone massage may include:

  • aiding pain relief
  • alleviating depression
  • promoting sleep
  • improving circulation

Hot stone massage is said to have health benefits for people with:

  • muscular pain
  • poor circulation
  • rheumatic and arthritic conditions
  • fibromyalgia
  • back pain
  • stress
  • insomnia
  • depression
  • autoimmune disease

How does hot stone massage therapy work?

Basalt stones are the main type of stone used and are a form of volcanic rock that is phenomenal at retaining heat for long periods of time. The hot stones are never rough. They are always flat and smooth. The hot stones used on the back are about the size of a large egg, only flat.

These stones are heated to temperatures ranging between 100 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit, in a heater specifically designed for this use.  Water is used in the heater to regulate stone temperature and is checked with a thermometer prior to the massage and as needed thereafter. The massage therapist also holds the stones first before touching them to your body, which ensures that the temperature will not be too hot. Everyone, however, has their own comfort range. Be sure to speak up if the stones are too hot for you.

The stones are then placed on the body according to the guest’s requested areas of concern. These places can include the back, stomach, hands, feet, or even the face. Before the application process, a sheet or towel is typically used to act as a barrier between the guest’s skin and the stones to avoid burns or discomfort. Alongside this technique, the stones are sometimes held by the massage therapists and massaged into the muscles acting as an extension of their hands, applying oil or lotion to the body, which allows the hot stones to glide smoothly along the muscles.

How can I prepare for a hot stone massage session?

It is important to make sure you are well hydrated both before and after your session. The hot stones will cause an increase in your internal body temperature which can lead you to become dehydrated. It is also advised not to eat any large meals prior to your appointment.

Make sure you arrive at your appointment 10-15 minutes early so you can fill out the necessary paperwork. This is also the time to let your therapist know of any important health concerns in case of any contraindications. If you are nervous, talk with your therapist before your session begins. They are there to help you feel relaxed and answer any questions that you may have. During the session, make sure you continue to communicate with your massage therapist if you are uncomfortable in any way.

Is hot stone therapy right for me?

Hot stone therapy is not recommended for anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, varicose veins, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, decreased pain sensitivity, recent wounds, areas of weakened or inflamed skin, tumors, metal implants, recent chemotherapy, radiation or surgery, pregnancy,  or are on medication that thins the blood. If you have a serious medical condition, please speak with your doctor or practitioner to determine if the treatment is suitable for you.

Hot stone massage is designed to be incredibly relaxing as well as beneficial to your health. If you find yourself stressed out or anxious or even dealing with those nagging pains of day-to-day life, you should seriously consider trying out this fantastic massage enhancement. It will have you relaxing in no time, and you’ll probably ask yourself why you haven’t scheduled your session at LaVida Massage + Skincare sooner.