Using smooth volcanic stones, a hot stone massage uses heat to penetrate into the muscles to enhance the relaxation experienced by allowing muscles to relax quicker than normal.
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As the name suggests hot stone massages use heated stones placed on specific areas of the body to enhance the relaxing feeling from the massage. The heat from the stones allow muscles to relax quicker than normal. The stone are usually basalt river rocks, volcanic rocks, which hold heat well and are smooth from erosion.
When you are ready the rocks are placed on the body, usually in the palms, down the side of the spine and on your legs and feet. This may vary based on the type of muscle relaxation you are targeting or any injuries you may have. From here it is typical for Swedish massage techniques to be used with slow medium pressure movements used to alleviate tension and release knots which have built up over time.
While there is debate over the physical benefits of the hot stones themselves, they are known to provide a range of benefits to the recipient. These include helping
Of course, these are also found in other types of massage such as Swedish massage and Remedial massage, however the stones can be a nice novelty as well as provide a quicker and deeper relaxation experience.
Generally hot stone massages are a perfectly safe and relaxing form of massage and can be undertaken as often as you like. You may experience a decreased sensation if carried out too often, but once a week massage would be ideal.
It is worth checking with your GP if you have had a recent surgery or similar medical condition which may be aggravated before undertaking this type of massage.
There are a few thing you can do to make sure you hot stone massage goes as smoothly as possible.
Its best not to eat directly before your massage. This can cause discomfort when pressure is applied to certain areas of the body so best to go on an empty stomach.
Shower before your massage. Being clean will make you feel comfortable and is also appreciated by the massage therapist!
When the massage therapist places the stones on you, do let them know if they are too hot and become uncomfortable. They are trying to relax your body so don’t suffer in silence if something is uncomfortable. What is a nice for one person may be hot for another.
This useful video will show you exactly what to expect from a hot stone massage. Due to the equipment needed we recommend leaving hot stone massages to professionals.