by Daniel Siddall
Maybe you have heard about Hot Stone Massage, but never followed through with receiving one because you considered it strictly a luxurious “spa-type” treatment that you couldn’t justifiably afford. Or perhaps you have had one, but other than the fact it feels wonderful to receive, you never fully understood the benefits of the treatment. Whichever category you fall under, I felt the need to delve into this topic a little deeper and hopefully, for those of you unaware of how beneficial it can be, shed some light on this unique type of massage therapy.
The concept behind Hot Stone Massage is such: stones, specifically Basalt stones, are used throughout the massage on the entire body in conjunction with traditional myofascial release techniques. The stones are left on various spots for healing, cleansing, and grounding. This process warms the body and the muscles quickly, thus inviting deep relaxation, and is additionally known to be very therapeutic. The deep penetrating heat from the stones is great for melting stiff aching muscles; this allows deep work to be more effective, similar to a deep tissue massage, but with less discomfort for the client. There seems to be a bit of a misconception that therapeutic bodywork and massage always equates to pain, however this isn’t and shouldn’t always be the case.
Due to the nature of Basalt Stones, they are known to be great natural conductors of heat, as well as very grounding. They are mostly prehistoric rocks that originate from past volcanic activity, and can the can be found in various waterways. This water is what helps to shape and smooth the surface of the stones. There is a history of these stones being used by various cultures, such as the American Indians. Being a spiritual culture deeply connected to the earth, they believed in the stones healing and grounding powers as well.
Some of the benefits of a Hot Stone Massage include:
- Deep relaxation and stress relief
- Soothes chronic aches and pains.
- Improvement in circulation and reduction of blood pressure.
- Increase in flexibility and range of motion.
- Relieves sore and stiff joints and can temporarily aid in relief from arthritis
- Deep penetrating heat softens and lengthens fascia (connective tissue) and enhances healing.
As a massage therapist with over five years of experience with various deep work techniques usually done by hand, incorporating heated stones is a welcome relief. I find this form of massage therapy to be as enjoyable to give as it is to receive. I personally feel that all the health benefits from all forms of massage are amazing, but if you want to experience something uniquely transporting and bring your massage experience to a new level, try a Hot Stone Massage!