Many of you have seen the images – you know, the ones where someone is relaxing with stones on their back. Nearly every massage/spa company uses them for marketing and advertising. They’re very effective, they do make you want to get one, right? But is it an actual massage? Can a hot stone massage help you? What are hot stones?
In this article, you’re going to learn what hot stones are, how they’re used in massage, and how they can benefit you if you’re thinking about booking a massage. By the end, we hope you have all the knowledge you need to decide whether a hot stone massage is right for you or not. Let’s get started.
What Is A Hot Stone Massage?
A hot stone massage is a unique type of massage session or enhancement. It’s used to help you relax and ease tense muscles, improve circulation, and help damaged soft tissues in your body. This type of massage involves the use and placement of basalt River rock on different points of the body. The rocks are heated before use and the massage therapist can use them on troubled areas during your massage.
What Does A Hot Stone Massage Feel Like?
During a hot stone massage, smooth, flat, heated stones are placed on specific parts of your body. The stones are usually made of basalt, a type of volcanic rock that retains heat.
According to research, hot massage stones are heated to between 130 and 145 degrees, although you’ll find some massage therapists prefer to use slightly lower or higher temperatures.
During the massage, the stones may be placed:
- along your spine
- on your back
- on your neck
- on your chest
- on your stomach
- on your face
- on your palms
- on your feet and toes
Massage therapists may hold heated stones as they massage your body using Swedish massage techniques such as:
- long strokes
- circular movements
Why Do They Use Hot Stones?
Basalt river rocks are the most commonly used stones during this type of massage because they are smooth from the river’s current and they hold heat well. They are typically made of volcanic rock, enabling them to heat quickly and retain that heat for an extended period. Before treatment, the rocks are heated in a professional heater to 110°F to 145°F.
They’re used in massage because they hold heat, which allows the massage therapist to apply heat for a prolonged period on a specific area of your body.
How Does Hot Stone Massage Differ From Regular Massage?
The main difference between a hot stone massage and a regular massage is that the focal point of a hot stone massage is using stones to apply heat during the massage therapy session to promote relaxation. The heat from the stones can also help improve blood flow and relax muscle tension.
Regular massages do not use stones to massage the body, they focus on pressure points and muscles. In a regular massage, the massage therapist uses pressure from their hands to massage different areas of the body.
What Does This Massage Therapy Treat?
Everyone knows that massage is an effective, natural cure for stress but this particular type of massage can also help treat and resolve other problematic conditions. It can relieve stress and anxiety, help manage depression, and relieve tension and pain from sore muscles. Studies have also shown that it may help relieve chronic illnesses or chronic pain.
While the hot stones are not a complete massage therapy solution, using them with regular massage can have lasting benefits. The heat from the stones can relax areas of the body; when combined with the Swedish massage, it can help you reach a deeper state of relaxation. The heat within the rocks relaxes the muscles, making them more pliable.
What Happens During Hot Stone Treatment?
Hot stone massage can be used with a wide range of different massage techniques. The exact ones that are used are going to depend on your unique scenario. During this massage, your massage therapist will prepare the hot stones for treatment and will typically place them strategically down the center of the back along the spine (or in a select area you request.) The hot stones can also be placed on the stomach, feet, chest, face, toes, and palms of your hands if needed.
The placement of the stones can help relieve pain in some of the problem areas you have. Before you start your massage therapy session, your massage therapist will discuss your concerns and determine the best location for the stones based on your needs and their evaluation of your physical condition.
Make sure you clearly explain everything you’re feeling and what goals you’re trying to achieve with the session.
What Massage Types Use Hot Stones?
Swedish massage is one of the most common massage types used with hot stones. Swedish massage techniques are meant to relax you so that hot stones can be used. However, with Soothe, hot stones are an enhancement you can get with your massage, so they can be used to enhance a handful of our massage services.
Does Soothe Offer Hot Stone Massage Treatments?
Yes! Soothe offers hot stone massage as an enhancement to most modalities. You can easily add hot stones to your massage during booking, after selecting your date, time, duration, and therapist preferences. Check availability for this massage enhancement with a massage therapist near you.