You’ve heard your best friend rave about hot stone massages and their supposed benefits but you’re still a little skeptical. How are a bunch of rocks supposed to relax and soothe your muscles? And how do these stones not burn me? It may sound gimmicky, but there’s no smoke and mirrors about it. Hot stone massages are well known for their relaxation capabilities. There’s no shortage of information about hot stone massages but in this Complete Guide, we take a deep look at what is hot stone massage and how it can work wonders for your aches and pains.
History of Hot Stone Therapy
Amongst the many types of massage therapy, hot stone massages is one of the oldest recorded methods, first used by Ancient Chinese medical practitioners. Native Americans, Europeans and Ancient Egyptians have also been recorded using hot stones to relieve pain. The unique therapy method experienced a resurgence in the early 90s after American massage therapist Mary Nelson discovered its usefulness and reintroduced it to the massage and spa industries. Nowadays, hot stone massages are commonplace in spas all over the world. There are even pure hot stone spas where many people enjoy its healing and relaxing properties.
What is a Hot Stone Massage
At its very core, hot stone massages involve the use of heated stones which are placed on key points of the body (such as the spine, neck and shoulders). The heat relaxes the surrounding muscles and primes it for further massaging by a massage therapist.
Basalt volcanic stones are often the hot massage stones of choice in hot stone massage. This is because of their smoothness and heat retention properties. Stones are usually heated to 52°-54° with temperatures being based on the client. A full hot stone massage session is usually around 60 minutes, with some sessions going up to 90 minutes. That’s over an hour of full relaxation!
What to Expect During a Hot Stone Massage
The idea of a 90 minute hot stone massage can be daunting but there’s no need to worry. Hot stones massage is a safe practice designed solely for the relaxation and healing of your body.
At the beginning of the session, you’ll be asked to lie down so the therapist can place the hot stones along your body. The stones are rarely placed directly on the skin. Instead most therapists will place a towel between you and the stones to act as a buffer for the heat. As with any other massage, you should immediately let your therapist know if you feel any discomfort.
As the stones begin to soothe and relax your muscles, your therapist will further massage your body using Swedish massage or deep tissue techniques. These can include movements such as long strokes or circular patterns. Your therapist can do this with their hands or with the use of the hot stone itself. They may also use a massage oil to further relieve stress and relieve you of any knots and tension.
Benefits of Hot Stone Massage
Still on the fence about getting a hot stone massage? These hot stone massage benefits will convince you to give it a try!
Eases Muscle Pain and Reduces Tension
The heat that hot stones provide are able to relieve aching, tense muscles. By relaxing your muscles and reducing swelling and inflammation, the stiffness you feel all over your body can be greatly reduced. The warmth can also promote healing, increased joint flexibility and get your body feeling agile in no time.
Reduces Stress and Anxiety
Feeling emotionally tired and mentally strained? Not only does hot stone therapy relax your body, but it can relax your mind as well. A session of hot stone therapy can help bring those stress levels down and alleviate any anxiety you may be feeling. Sink into the relaxing atmosphere of a hot stone massage session and you’ll be leaving the spa like a brand new person.
Massages by itself improve circulation in your body; hot stones take it a step further and improve your blood’s circulation even more. Good circulation in your body means that oxygen and blood is being properly distributed to your organs. This helps them stay functional and makes them work efficiently.
If better sleep quality is what you’re looking for, then a hot stone massage might be what you’re after. The deep relaxation of a hot stone massage can remain with you throughout the day and can lead into better sleep. Whether it’s helping you fall asleep faster or sleep deeper, it’s been shown that massages can help you achieve a night of rest like no other.
Experience the Relaxation of Hot Stone Therapy for Yourself
This article has helped you to answer the question of what is hot stone massage! Now it's up to you to give it a go. The popularity of hot stone massages is no temporary fad - it’s here to stay and it’s thanks to the amazing benefits it has. There’s no time like now to treat yourself and indulge in a relaxing hour of relaxation and tranquil.
Can’t find a hot stone massage place near you? Or maybe you’d rather enjoy the benefits from the comfort of your own home. Our range of massagers - like the warming uJolly Shoulder Massager - can give you the same soothing and relaxing benefits as a hot stone massage.
To make sure you reap the full rewards of your hot stone massage session, remember to read our tips on tips on what you need to do after a massage! It’ll help your body recover and ensure you feel the benefits for longer!