Hot stone massage is a form of massage therapy that involves the use of warmed stones placed on the client’s body. Before the session begins, the massage therapist first sanitizes the stones and then heats them to approximately 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Proper temperature is critical in delivering a comfortable yet beneficial hot stone massage. If the stones are too cold, the practice won’t have the same beneficial effect. If the stones are too hot, however, it can cause discomfort for the client.
Equally as important as the stones’ temperature is the shape and type of stones used in the massage. Flat-bottom river stones made of basalt are often preferred for use in this therapeutic practice. The flat bottom promotes greater exposure of the client’s skin. Stones with uneven bottoms will result in gaps between the stone and the client’s body, diminishing its beneficial effects. Basalt also contains a high concentration of iron, allowing it to retain heat with greater ease.
Hot stone massage is naturally soothing and relaxing. The warm stones work to release muscle tension and stress, boosting the effectiveness of the therapist’s manipulation. When the muscles are relaxed, the therapist can penetrate through the tissue to target problematic areas. This is one of the reasons why so many professional athletes have seek hot stone massages after exhausting training and/or games.
Of course, hot stone massage also encourages blood flow to areas on which the stones are placed. Warmth, whether it’s from a stone, heat pad or anything else, draws blood. And when there’s more blood flowing in the body, injuries heal faster.
Another reason why you’ll love hot stone massage is because it reduces pain and inflammation. The therapist can penetrate through muscle and tissue with greater ease thanks to the relaxation effects of this practice. If there’s a muscle knot that’s causing you pain, the therapist will have an easier time releasing the knot by using hot stones.
Arguably, the greatest benefit of hot stone massage is its ability to lower stress levels. There’s just something naturally soothing and relaxing associated with this practice. The combination of hot stones with traditional soft tissue manipulation is a powerhouse for lowering stress. Most clients report a noticeable improvement in their stress levels after just one short session of hot stone massage.
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