In a typical hot stone massage session, the massage therapist places the hot stones on specific points on your body and may also hold the stones while giving the massage.
The localised heat and weight of the stones warm and relax muscles, allowing the massage therapist to apply deeper pressure to those areas without causing discomfort.
Basalt river rocks are typically used in hot stone massage, because the flow of the river has caused them to become smooth, and they retain heat well.
In preparation for the treatment, the massage therapist heats the stones in a professional stone heater until they are within a precise temperature range, typically between 43 and 54 degrees C. Microwaves, ovens, hot plates, and slow cookers should never be used as they can cause burns as they will not heat to the correct temperatures.
Massage therapists often use the client’s anatomy to guide the placement of the stones. Some therapists will also place stones on points thought to energetically balance the mind and body. A common placement is down the spine, and also in the client’s hands.
Swedish massage therapy techniques are typically used during the massage, which may include long strokes, kneading and rolling.
Hot stone massage has often been described as comforting and deeply relaxing. The heat of the stones relaxes muscles, allowing the therapist to work deeper while using lighter pressure.
Some studies have suggested that massage, in general, may provide benefits to people with conditions including prenatal depression, pain syndromes such as arthritis or fibromyalgia, hypertension, autoimmune conditions, and aging-related conditions including Parkinson’s and dementia.
People often use hot stone massage for the following conditions:
During the massage, the therapist places stones on specific points on the body. While the points may vary depending on the areas of muscle tension and the client’s health history, the stones are generally placed in the following areas:
Along both sides of the spine
In the palms of your hand
On your legs, abdomen, feet
Small stones may be placed between the toes or on the forehead.
After the stones are placed on your body, it may take a few minutes for the heat to penetrate the sheet or towel so you can discern whether the stones are too hot.
The therapist applies massage oil to the skin. Holding stones in both hands, the therapist uses gliding movements to move the stones along the muscles. The therapist uses Swedish massage techniques on the back, legs, neck, and shoulders while the stones are in place or after they have been removed.
The length of a typical hot stone massage is between 60 and 90 minutes. Hot stone massage has continued to evolve, with many massage therapists and spas offering their own versions of the massage.
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