The Origins of Hot Stone Massage
There is evidence that the Chinese used heated stones more than 2,000 years ago as a means of improving the function of internal organs. Stones were also used for healing work in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Egypt and India. The use of heated stones in massage was reborn with the introduction of LaStone Therapy, created by Mary Nelson, in 1993. Hot Stone massage has since then blossomed into a huge industry.
Hot Stone Massage, done correctly, is one of the most relaxing forms of massage a person can receive and has become popular around the globe once again. The full-body, hot-stone massage has evolved to include deep tissue-specific work, hot-stone facials, hot-stone pedicures and manicures, and hot-stone meridian therapy. There are many therapists who use their own variation of stone massage, from just placing stones on the body, to using them in any complimentary therapy treatment.
How does Hot Stone Massage differ from other types of massage?
The use of the hot stones makes this style of massage unique. Typically made of smooth volcanic basalt, the iron-rich stones retain heat. River rocks are sometimes used because they have become smooth over time from the river's current.
To prepare for the treatment, the stones are heated in water, using an electric heater, until they are within a precise temperature range (typically between 52-54°C). The therapist will use oiled stones to massage areas of the body and the localised heat warms and relaxes the muscles, allowing a more effective pressure to be applied. The stones are placed on specific points on the back, and while the points may vary depending on areas of muscle tension and the client's health history, they are generally placed along both sides of the spine, in the palms of the hand, on the legs or between the toes to aid relaxation.
While many therapists use anatomy to guide the placement of the stones, some massage therapists will also place stones on points thought to energetically balance the mind and body. Hot stone massage has continued to evolve, with many massage therapists and spas offering their own versions of the massage.
What are the benefits of Hot Stone Massage
People find the warmth of the hot stones to be comforting and deeply relaxing.
The heat relaxes muscles, allowing the therapist work the muscles using a more effective pressure. The stones themselves have great healing properties and can help with severe back pain and sciatic pain.
Hot stone massage is one of the best ways to give the body a break and is now seen by many people not as a luxury, but as a necessity to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here are the main benefits of having a hot stone massage.
- A good way to manage stress. Studies show that stress is the number one root of a lot of diseases and disorders. Whether it’s stress from work, home or daily activities, the result is the same: too much stress can lead to health problems.
- Highly effective in muscle relaxation. The heat in the stones is effective in enabling the muscles to loosen up and relax. This makes it easier for deep tissue manipulation.
- Improves health conditions. More and more doctors are beginning to recommend this therapy as part of medical treatment of a lot of health problems such as Arthritis, Fibromylagia, Hypertension and Musculoskeletal problems.
- Improves sleep. It’s really hard to get a good quality sleep when you’re over fatigued. With the relaxation you get from this therapy, it makes it easier for you to drift off into a deep sleep where your body can recuperate from daily fatigue. This is why people who have Insomnia are often advised to try this therapy.
- Relieves pain. Manipulation of muscles can significantly reduce muscle spasm and give comfort to painful muscles so those who suffer from back pains or muscle aches often go for this therapy.
- Improves blood circulation and flow of energy. The stones are placed on key points of your body known as energy centers which are sometimes clogged or blocked.
- Allows for easy rehabilitation. Massage can facilitate easy recovery from injuries such as sprains.
- Releases toxins from your body. When muscles are massaged, toxins that are clogged within are released. This is why, it’s advised that clients drink plenty of water after a session to help flush out those unhealthy and unwanted toxins.
- Gives you a happy feeling. A calming and soothing massage can do wonders in giving you an emotional boost, leaving you with a happier and more positive outlook in life
- Taking a break from work and from life is truly a necessity that most people overlook and take for granted. No, you don’t need to fly and have a vacation once a week. Just being able to give yourself some down time to unwind and relax is a healthy habit indeed,and one we should all maintain.