There’s nothing more relaxing and calming than a hot stone massage. In this complete guide, we look at what it is, why you should try it and what the health and well-being benefits are.
At Pippa’s Movement Therapy in Okehampton, we’ve put together a range of different low-impact solutions for our customers, including running tai chi classes, structural bodywork and massage. Hot stone massage is one of our most popular services and a great way to reduce stiffness and combat stress.
So, let’s dive in and see what it has to offer.
What is Hot Stone Massage Therapy?
Hot stone massage therapy is a specialised technique that involves placing heated stones on specific parts of the body. This helps promote relaxation, eases muscle tension and improves circulation. The combination of heat and pressure from the stones allows a therapist to work deeper into the muscles, providing a more intense and therapeutic massage experience.
The technique of hot stone massage involves what are called acupressure points. These are specific locations on the body where energy, or qi, is believed to flow through meridians or pathways.
In traditional Chinese medicine, these points are targeted to stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote overall wellness. When we apply gentle pressure to them in a certain way it can help relieve pain, reduce stress and balance the body’s energy.
History of Hot Stone Massage
Hot stone massage therapy has its roots in ancient cultures. Indeed, there is evidence of its use dating back thousands of years. Native Americans, Hawaiians, and even ancient Egyptians were known to utilize heated stones as a form of therapy to soothe aching muscles and promote overall wellness.
The modern revival of hot stone massage therapy started with American massage therapist Mary Nelson. She developed a standardized method called LaStone Therapy in the 1990s which has gained popularity worldwide and has become a staple in many spas and wellness businesses.
Benefits of Hot Stone Massage Therapy
Several benefits come with having a hot stone massage, it’s not just about relaxing and rejuvenating the soul.
One of the primary benefits is its ability to relieve pain. The heat from the stones penetrates deep into the muscles, helping to release tension and potentially reduce inflammation. This can be particularly beneficial for those suffering from chronic pain conditions such as arthritis, fibromyalgia or lower back pain.
In today’s fast-paced world, stress is all too common. Whether it’s coping with a huge workload or family pressures or coping with the challenges of a long-term illness, the soothing warmth of hot stones is a great way to reduce stress. With the right therapist, it induces a deep sense of relaxation, both physically and mentally.
Many of our customers have also noted that they had improved sleep, better mood and an overall enhanced sense of well-being.
A hot stone massage is also good for circulation. The warmth of the stones helps to stimulate blood flow throughout the body, encouraging blood vessels to expand. This means increased levels of oxygen and nutrients reach the muscles which can promote faster healing and improved muscle function.
The heat from the stones helps to loosen tight muscles as you might expect. If you’re feeling stiff, perhaps after exercising too much, this can be a great way to ease those pains and improve flexibility. Many of our customers at Pippa’s Movement Therapy are ardent sports enthusiasts who use hot stone massage as a way to wind down after some particularly arduous activity.
Types of Stones
The most commonly used are basalt stones. These smooth, volcanic rocks are known for their ability to retain heat, making them perfect for this type of therapy. The stones are typically flat and come in various sizes to accommodate different areas of the body.
Before the massage, the therapist will heat the stones in a specially designed heater filled with water. The temperature is usually set between 49 to 65⁰C. This ensures the stones are warm enough to provide therapeutic benefits without causing discomfort or burns.
The Hot Stone Massage Session at Pippa’s Movement Therapy
During a hot stone session, you will be asked to lie down on a massage table, usually face down to start with. I may place a sheet or towel between your body and the stones to prevent direct contact with your skin. The heated stones are then placed on specific points along your spine, palms, legs, and feet to promote relaxation and release tension.
Once the stones are in place, I use various massage techniques, such as gliding, tapping, or kneading, to work on your muscles. I might also hold the stones in my hands while performing the massage, allowing the heat to penetrate deeper into the muscle tissue. A full treatment is likely to last about an hour, depending on what you are using it for.
Who Can Benefit from Hot Stone Massage?
It is suitable for most individuals, including those looking for relaxation, stress relief or pain reduction. It can be particularly beneficial for people with chronic pain conditions, athletes and those recovering from injuries such as muscle strains.
Hot stone massage therapy may not be suitable for everyone, so it’s essential to consult with a professional before trying hot stone massage therapy. This is particularly the case if you have certain skin conditions or are suffering from a condition such as diabetes or heart disease – it’s always best to check with your GP first to make sure this is suitable.
During your hot stone massage session, most people feel a deep sense of relaxation as the warm stones work their magic on their muscles. I generally work with customers to ensure the temperature is comfortable and adjust the pressure to their preference.
Hot Stone Massage Therapy in Devon
If you’re looking for a great way to destress or you have issues with chronic pain or a muscle strain or other injury, hot stone massage therapy is an excellent restorative. The service is available at Pippa’s Movement Therapy in Okehampton Devon.