Hot stone massage therapy is unique and unlike any other therapy. It involves smooth, heated stones to perform the massage by a trained therapist. Hot stone massage helps to relax and ease out the tensed muscles and damaged soft tissues that are in the body.
For a hot stone massage, flat and smooth heated stones are placed throughout the body. They are made of basalt, which is a volcanic rock.
The University of New Hampshire Health Services states that the hot massage stones are heated at 130 to 145 degrees. Before heating, it is first dipped in water and is heated using a particular machine.
What Are The Benefits Of Hot Stone Massage?
1. Relieves Muscle Pain
Heat plays an essential role in releasing muscle tension and pain. Hot stone massage help increase the blood flow to the affected area. It can also reduce muscle spasms and boost flexibility and range of motion.
You can also choose to alternate between hot and cold stones during the massage.
2. May Decrease Symptoms of Cancer
It benefits us in reducing symptoms of cancer. In the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, a 3-year-old study was conducted that examined the benefits of hot massage on fatigue, pain, stress, anxiety(1), and depression in 1290 patients who were suffering from cancer. Researchers believe that the comfort of touching played a significant role in providing relief.
3. Reduces Stress
It benefits our body by reducing stress and depression. The American Massage Therapy Association says, “massage therapy can be effective for stress relief.” A 2001 study stated that a ten-minute massage showed an improved cardiovascular response and prevented a stroke.
4. Promotes Better Sleep
Hot stone massage benefits those people who are suffering from insomnia.
A literature review of 2016 found that an alternative to sleeping pills in adults who have insomnia(2) is through a hot stone massage. It stated that the back massage helped to promote better relaxation and sleep.
Another study in 2001 showed that infants who suffered from a disturbed sleep cycle slept faster after 15 minutes of a massage. A hot stone foot massage helps you to enjoy a more undisturbed sleep, although this is hard to understand why.
[ Read: Benefits of Lymphatic Massage ]
5. May Boost Immunity
A study in 2010 observed that one session of Swedish massage therapy has a positive and robust impact on boosting immunity. The blood samples were taken before and after showed a reduction in arginine-vasopressin, a hormone that functions in regulating the blood pressure and prevents water retention. It benefits in boosting immunity.
6. Reduces Symptoms Of Autoimmune Diseases
Hot stone massage benefits health in treating and reducing symptoms of painful conditions like fibromyalgia. This condition causes widespread chronic pain.
According to a study conducted in 2002, people who had fibromyalgia slept longer with fewer trigger points when they received a 30-minute massage. They also showed decreased levels of a substance called P (an element that transmits the pain signals) compared to people who received relaxation therapy.
Ways to Take the Massage
Hot stone massage techniques require the stones to be placed
- On the stomach
- On the spine
- On your chest
- On your palms
- On your face
- On your feet and toes
The massage therapist holds the heated stones while massaging the body using Swedish massage techniques like
- Long strokes
- Circular movements
The hot massage procedure requires the usage of cold stones. They are used after hot stones to reduce the swelling of any engorged vessels which eventually calms the skin.
[ Read: Prostate Massage Benefits ]
Precautions to Follow
It is usually considered safe when a trained therapist performs the massage.
However, in certain conditions, a massage is not recommended-
- If you are on a blood thinner or a bleeding disorder.
- If you have burns on your skin.
- If you have an open wound.
- If you have a history of blood clots.
- If you have undergone surgery in the last six weeks.
- If you have a fracture or osteoporosis.
- If you suffer from thrombocytopenia or low platelet count.
- For pregnant women, massage is advised, but massage therapists prefer not to use hot stone massage on them without prior doctor’s approval as it may harm the baby.
Precautions must always be taken to use a sheet or towel to prevent burns on the skin because of the massage stones. The professional stone massage heater must be used to heat the stones and not
- Slow cooker
- Hot plate
Studies confirm the hot stone massage helps reduce anxiety, stress, and restlessness. It may aid in a variety of health conditions. Although more research is needed to find out how the hot massage has a powerful impact on the body, researchers have concluded that the human touch provides connection and comfort.
To make sure that you have a good experience, visit a trained massage therapist only.
1. How often can you take a hot stone for massage?
This fact depends on your body’s need and the purpose for which you have to take a hot stone massage. If you have opted for a hot stone massage for a particular ailment, a session every week or two weeks is enough to keep your problems at bay.
2. Is hot stone massage better than tissue massage?
It is considered better as the hot basalt stones in the hot stone massage access the muscle tissues faster and deeply as compared to the deep tissue massage.