THE BENEFITS OF HOT STONE MASSAGE
A hot stone massage involves flat basalt stones being immersed in hot water and then placed onto specific parts of the body. Some people may turn to a hot stone massage as a way of relaxing after a stressful or tense time.
A massage therapist uses different techniques to relax the long, skeletal muscles of the body. There are many movements that the therapist can use, such as long strokes, circular motions, tapping, and kneading.
In this article we look at a type of massage called a hot stone massage. We see how hot stone massage therapy is carried out, and what the possible benefits and risks are.
What is hot stone massage therapy?
During a hot stone massage, the techniques of a regular massage are applied. However, the therapist also works with hot stones that are placed on specific parts of the body. The stones are smooth and flat and usually made of the volcanic rock type called basalt. These particular stones are chosen because they retain heat.
The stones used for a hot stone massage are placed in hot water to warm up before being applied. They are then placed onto specific areas of the body, such as:
Some massage therapists hold the stones in their hands and use them to massage with. This allows the therapist to get deeper into the muscles without more pressure, helping their client to relax yet further. Occasionally, cold stones can be used on the face or after the hot stones have been applied. Cold temperature helps to calm swollen blood vessels and soothe hot skin. This type of hot stone therapeutic treatment is thought to have originated in China almost 2,000 years ago. Since then, the technique of using stones for healing has been used in many different cultures, including the Americas, Africa, Egypt, and India.
In addition to deep relaxation, there are many benefits to having a hot stone massage. They include:
1. Pain relief
Hot stone massage has specifically been associated with symptom relief in people with a variety of conditions, such as fibromyalgia and other autoimmune disorders.
Several studies, including on fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis, have linked moderate massage techniques with lessening pain, and improving range of motion.
2. Stress relief
Massage is an effective method for stress relief. Several studies have shown that massage reduces stress and anxiety and improves cardiovascular health.
3. Increased joint flexibility
Muscle tension can make it difficult and more painful to move the joints. Massage helps to relax muscles, which makes it easier and more comfortable for someone to move.
People with certain joint disorders may benefit particularly from hot stone massage.
4. Decreased muscle spasms and tension
Muscles that are tense and in spasm can cause a lot of pain and interfere with daily life. Reducing the inflammation and tension in the skeletal muscles eases both muscle spasms and pain.
As previously said, massage and the use of hot stones can promote relaxation of the muscles and joints in the body to ease both pain and spasms.
5. Better sleep
Many people do not sleep well. Factors such as stress, insomnia, and busy schedules mean they get much less than the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep each night. A review of some of the literature on the effectiveness of massage shows that it is helpful in promoting relaxation and sleep in older people.