Ever wondered what a hot stone massage is all about? If you have yet to experience one it may all seem a bit strange to you; placing anything hot directly on your skin just sounds dangerous, right? Wrong! Hot stone massages remain a popular element to many spa breaks up and down the country and they actually come with many health benefits. So before you rest your tired muscles on a warm massage table and experience a hot stone massage for the first time, read on to see what they are all about and what to expect.
So What is a Hot Stone Massage?
This is a natural therapy that dates back over 5000 years to regions such as India and China. Flat and smooth stones (typically made of basalt) are heated in sanitising water and then placed on parts of your body for various therapeutic benefits. Basalt contains high levels of iron, helping the stones to retain heat throughout the massage. Okay, you can be forgiven for thinking this is absurd and, fair enough, there doesn’t seem to be much to it. “So what, you heat stones and then leave them on my back and that’s it?” No, there is actually a lot more to it than what you have read so far. Hot stone massages come with plenty of physical and psychological benefits that allow for an improved wellbeing. Let’s talk you through them:
Heat helps muscles to relax, that’s one of the reasons hot water bottles are so helpful when we have stomach cramp too. Relaxed muscles are much easier to manipulate and your massage therapist is able to get into your deep tissue much more effectively. Tense muscles can be painful and can also hinder the whole procedure, making it hard work for both you and the masseur. Hot stones allow tight muscles to unwind and relax, ready to accept the benefits of the massage.
Most types of massage help to relieve pain caused by stiff joints and tight muscles, however hot stones provide greater relief due to the heat and intense nature of the procedure. The massage therapist is able to penetrate deeper and find those painful spots deep below your muscle tissue.
Mental Benefits/Stress Relief
There are many mental benefits to a hot stone massage, such as stress relief and respite from anxiety. If you suffer from depression or other mental ailments, a hot stone massage can form part of your overall treatment plan and wellbeing recovery. Stress is the root of countless diseases and disorders so it is really important to manage your levels of mental tensions and do what you can to have them relieved.
A trained and practiced massage therapist will know to leave the heated stones on various trigger points in your back before actually starting the massage. The heat from the stones penetrates your skin and enters deep into your body tissue, opening up blood vessels and allowing your blood circulation to improve. Increased circulation provides increased levels of oxygen to the muscles, which can aid with preventing little aches and pains.
Improves Health Conditions
Health conditions such as Arthritis, Fibromyalgia and Hypertension can all be improved with hot stone massage. In fact, more and more doctors across the world are recommended such a procedure to help alleviate the stress and pains caused by these conditions. This type of massage also releases toxins in the body, allowing you to flush away unhealthy and unwanted toxins afterwards with a drink of water.
Makes for a Better Night Sleep
If you struggle to fall asleep at night or suffer from insomnia, a hot stone massage can help you overcome this. Over-fatigue can make it hard to switch off at night, but the relaxation from this therapy can make it a lot easier. Lack of sleep has potentially serious health detriments so it is not something that should be treated lightly.
Try One for Yourself!
So there are the main benefits to a hot stone massage explained, try one for yourself to see how they might help you. It is recommended that you check with your doctor first, especially if you suffer from an irritable skin condition. Pregnant women and individuals with high blood pressure are also advised not to try this type of therapy. Take a look at our excellent spa days and spa breaks and treat yourself or a loved one!