The history of using heated stones and gemstones as an adjunct to body work dates back thousands of years, however it was not until the late 1990s that the use of hot stones was incorporated into massage therapies. Mary Nelson – a massage therapist from Arizona, USA is generally considered the first person to introduce Hot Stone Massage Therapy (she called it ‘LaStone Therapy’) to the world. Since then the popularity of this form of massage therapy has increased substantially.
What is Hot Stone Massage?
Hot stone massage is a type of therapeutic treatment in which heated stones are either placed on specific points along the body or used as a massaging tool with steady soothing pressure to achieve therapeutic benefits.
It is extremely effective in treating extremely tense muscles. The basic purpose of using hot stones before the hands-on massage therapy is to loosen the extremely tense muscle so that a therapist is able to provide a deeper and more relaxing massage without inflicting excessive pain. The weight and warmth from the hot stones penetrate slowly into the soft tissue of the body in a way that can’t be achieved by massage alone. The hands-on massage techniques used in hot stone massage are the same as those used in a regular massage.
What Are The Hot Stones?
The size, shape, and texture of the stones used are incredibly important for achieving the desired results. Stones used in hot stone massage possess some specific qualities that make them ideal for this type of body treatment. First of all, the stones need to have a very smooth and flat surface; secondly these stones need to be able to retain heat for a long time, thirdly they need to release the heat slowly and they need to be of an ideal size and weight to easily hold them during treatment.
Basalt rocks are usually preferred over any other type of rocks as this volcanic rock is able to safely hold the heat without cracking and release the heat at a more controlled and even rate. The rocks used during hot stone massage are placed in hot/warm water before they can be applied to the body. Some massage therapists also use the cold stones after hot stone application to help calm swollen blood vessels and soothe hot skin.
What are the benefits?
Hot stone massage is very effective in treating many physiological conditions, including muscular tension, muscular pain, edema and inflammation. It is particularly effective during cold weather, as our bodies need to work harder to maintain homeostasis, or a stable, internal environment, including a constant body temperature.
The primary goal of hot stone massage is vasodilation, or the expansion of blood vessels, which increases blood flow and the movement of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body. This helps the function of our major systems, including: the central nervous, muscular, and lymphatic systems. Increased circulation also increases joint mobility by lengthening muscle fibres and connective tissue.
Hot stone and remedial massage also assist the body to utilise energy more efficiently, improving overall metabolic processes and functions. This has many benefits, including maintaining a healthy metabolism and immune system, which assists the body’s defence against infection, including colds and flu, and supporting overall general health.
Additionally, the specific placement of the stones during a session, provides a targeted release of specific muscles and trigger points. As a result, hot stones in conjunction with remedial massage also assists in the reduction of stress and anxiety levels, improving sleep quality.
Hot Stones With Remedial Massage
At Melbourne Natural Therapies, our qualified remedial massage therapists, can tailor a hot stone and remedial massage session to treat your individual condition or circumstance.
If you would like to experience the many benefits of hot stone therapy, give us a call, or book online:
Melbourne Combined Natural Therapies:
Remedial Massage Melbourne