Massages have long been heralded as beneficial to overall physical and mental health. Involving manipulation of soft tissue and strategically applied pressure can leave you feeling feeling relaxed.
There are many different types of massages, all with their own benefits. Hot stone massages are one such massage subset that has been practiced for centuries with amazing results and the reputation to prove it.
Keep reading to learn about hot stone massages and their benefits!
What is a hot stone massage?
Hot stone massages were originated from China and the South-Pacific region. The process involves placing hot stones along the body.
In addition to letting the stones rest on the body, massage therapists can also use the hot stones to knead, press, stroke, vibrate or otherwise aid in the actual massage itself.
The stones are usually smooth and flat to allow for easy sanitation and placement. Traditionally volcanic rock made of basalt is used for the stones. As a result, they are said to contain the healing energy of the earth.
Nowadays, basalt stones formed from cooled down lava are still the most common stone to be used in hot stone massage.
The stones are usually heated up to specific temperatures by either using a professional stone heater or by submerging them in hot water.
These methods allow for more exact temperature measurement and ensure that the stone’s interior and exterior are heated evenly, preventing burns. Using water or a stone heater also ensures that heat continues to radiate from the stone throughout the session rather than cooling down rapidly (as would happen with other heating methods like hot pads and plates, microwaves, ovens, etc.).
Stone massages have become quite popular and given their many benefits it’s easy to see why.
Hot stone massage benefits
1. Alleviates Muscle Tension and Bodily Aches
Heat has been used to deal with bodily ailments for centuries. The stones are typically placed on the body at the start of your session.
As a result, the stones start working to alleviate any aches or tensions in the body before your masseuse even lays a finger on you. Therefore, this makes your massage that much more effective. As muscle tension is lessened, your masseuse can work the tissue with more ease. Making for a better massage experience all around.
2. Chronic Pain Relief
Heat has been proven to be an effective pain management strategy for many people. So, it makes sense that hot stone massages can have positive effects on reducing pain as well. Though this is true for the average joe who walks in with a kink in his neck or an athlete with muscle aches in her legs, it is particularly useful for those suffering from chronic pain. Because heat loosens up the body’s muscles, massage therapists can manipulate deeper tissue, and this ultimately results in less pain.
3. Improved Circulation
Hot stones take your typical massage, which itself has its own benefits, and makes it even more effective by adding heat. One reason the heat makes massages more effective is because it increases circulation, which has a whole host of positive effects. During hot stone massages, the heat from the stones increases blood flow to the targeted area and improves overall circulation, which induces relaxation and helps loosen muscles.
4. Improved Mental Health
Hot stone massages are known to improve mood while decreasing anxiety and stress. This is tied to the idea that the body follows the mind. In essence, because the body feels more relaxed and less tense, the mind is free to follow suit and relax. So the reduction in physical stress, tension, and pain results in an overall rejuvenation of the mind. The result is that you leave the massage room feeling calmer, happier, and more at peace.
5. Improved Quality of Sleep
Studies have shown that massages are quite effective at promoting sleep for people of all ages. In fact, they are so effective that some people recommend massages as an alternative to sleeping pills for those with insomnia. With the added heat from a hot stone massage, you’ll feel even more relaxed and ready for a stress-free, comfortable, good night’s sleep.
The next time you find yourself struggling with body pains, don’t just book a typical massage. Instead, consider a hot stone massage and get the most out of your session. Not only does the heat penetrate deep into the muscle but it also adds layers of benefits to the traditional massage. They can help with chronic pain, promoting better circulation, and improving your mental health. Even if all you’re looking for is a way to wake up feeling better rested, you can’t go wrong with a hot stone massage. So, next time you’re ready for a massage, consider a hot stone massage.