Ever wondered what is a hot stone massage?
Or perhaps you had one in a day spa?
Hot stones massage is one of my favorite treatments I recommend it to anyone with a high level of tension and pain. The heat receptors and pain receptor in the skin have similar nervous pathways so by applying heat we can trick the brain into switching off the pain, therefore allowing your therapist to work deeper and have long lasting results. It's exactly like when you are very sore and have a hot shower or bath, you instantly feel less pain. It is also an excellent treatment for anyone with a tendency feeling cold as the warmth of the treatment will allow a deep state of relaxation. Finally it is also a great treatment for anyone with osteoporosis as it allows the muscle to relax quicker without killer firm pressure which is contraindicated for clients with this condition.
Let's debunk most hot stones myths
1) It's a very superficial treatment only recommended for relaxation
The pressure in a hot stones massage varies according to different sensitivity areas however if you have only experienced stones sliding on your skin you have not yet tried a real hot stones massage.
The heat helps the muscles to relax therefore allowing your therapist to work on deeper layers without excessive pressure.
2) It's going to be unbearably hot
The therapist controls the temperature of the stones all through the treatment. There is mainly two techniques used, sedentary stones and moving stones.
Sedentary stones are usually cooler they will be place on an area for example your back to pre-warm and relax the muscles, they will feel like a general sense of warmth rather then individual heat. There is always a layer (like a towel or blanket) in between your skin and and a sedentary stone.
Moving stones are a little warmer and the are introduced in a flowing stroke on different large muscle groups.
3) Anyone can do it
From my personal experience not only as therapist and massage trainer but also as a client the industry does not have a standard. It requires at least 30 hours of training to be proficient in this treatment if you are already a qualified massage therapist as this treatment requires time to master the heat receptivity component. Many spas train their therapist in 2-3 hours.
Provides relief from pain associated with chronic conditions like fibromyalgia, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome
Decreases pain and muscle spasms
Reduces chronic stress and tension
Increases flexibility in joints, aiding in easier mobility and movement
Relieves pain and tension created by strained and contracted muscles