What is a hot stone massage?
Often you can see spa pictures with a beautiful back covered with hot stones. Although this picture does have aesthetic merit, hot stone massage is much more than just being covered with pleasantly warm basalt rocks.
The stones are engaged in the massage all the way. A well-trained therapist will perform this massage to relax your muscles and rebalance your body’s energy to achieve perfect relaxation on different levels. Generally, the therapist will follow a Swedish massage technique. Still, the stones will be used to open the body’s energy pathways. While some of the stones are used to massage the body, some remain strategically placed on key areas of the body, providing the necessary effect. Using the heated stones allows a therapist to reach deeper into the muscle tissue, achieving some essential therapeutic goals.
They say the ancient Egyptians were the first to use this massage. Even the American Indians used hot stones for massage in their “sweat lodges” for various ceremonies. In Hawaii, hot molten lava rocks called pohaku are used. A hot stone massage is also used in the traditional Ayurveda, a natural alternative healing medicine practiced in India.
How it’s done
The stones used for a hot stone massage are usually basalt stones which are chalky grey in color but turn dark once oil is applied to them. The stones are heated to 130 degrees F. and placed strategically along the spine and/or between the toes. The therapist gently rubs the stone into muscles and tissues on both sides of the body; the firmness of the stone and the heat enhance the massage’s therapeutic benefits.
Health benefits of hot stone massage
Hot stone massage performed by a certified therapist can help relax the body’s muscles and soft tissues, alleviate pain, improve circulation and help rid the body of toxins. This massage treatment can also reduce stress, promote calmness and increase relaxation. Many hot stone massage enthusiasts even claim they experience a sense of enlightenment, inner peace, and renewed energy after a hot stone massage session.