Benefits of Hot Stone Therapy
Traditional hot stone therapy involves placing and gliding various sizes of basalt stones along the spine, shoulders and neck to promote deep relaxation and trigger the natural healing process. Hot stone therapy is typically performed as part of a Swedish or deep tissue massage service, and it offers several health and wellness benefits.
Deep tissue massage has been used as a natural relaxation and healing method for hundreds of years, and the effects can be enhanced with the use of heated basalt stones. These stones are strategically placed on various pressure points in the body to release tension and improve the massage experience. Hot stone therapy can be enjoyed simply for relaxation or can be used to reduce the effects of certain health problems. The primary goal of hot stone therapy is to open up the energy channels in the body, eliminate tension in the muscles and promote deep relaxation.
Hot stones are placed on certain points of the body to increase circulation and reduce inflammation. The heat relaxes the muscles before and during a massage treatment, enhancing the effects of a deep tissue massage and promoting deeper relaxation and a sense of calm. The stones can be turned and pressed into the skin and muscles throughout the massage treatment to stimulate the nervous system and relieve stress.
Hot stone therapy offers several health benefits, and it can be integrated into a complete wellness or pain management program. Key benefits of hot stone therapy include improved sense of well-being; a release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers; improved arthritic conditions; a release of stored stress and tension; improved circulation; and a decrease in aches and pain in the joints. In some cases, hot stone therapy may also have positive effects on people suffering from depression, insomnia and anxiety.
The trademarked version of hot stone therapy is called LaStone Therapy; this type of massage was created by Mary Nelson, a massage therapist in Tucson, Arizona, in 1993. This specialized technique has been adopted by many medical spas, day spas and wellness centers around the world. In this treatment, a combination of hot and cold stones are used. Many spas and wellness centers offer their own form of hot stone massage therapy, and this may not involve only basalt stones. Some hot stone massages are performed using a combination of colored gemstones and basalt stones, shells with basalt stones and only heated basalt stones. Many hot stone massage treatments also integrate hot oil treatments or reflexology into the session to enhance results.
Most people feel calm and relaxed during and after the hot stone therapy session, as the masseuse works her way through the body’s most tension-filled areas and opens up the “chakras,” or energy channels. The heat from the stones has a calming and soothing effect on the skin and muscles, and the pressure applied to the muscles helps promote circulation and relieves congestion between the joints and tissues. Some people may experience slight swelling or redness immediately after treatment, but these effects typically subside within a few hours. The therapeutic effects of hot stone treatments can be experienced for days and weeks after a single session.