We all go through times when we feel like we need something extra to relax and de-stress while going through the meandering complications and complexities of everyday life.
The Hot Stone Massage is a special kind of massage where the therapist uses smooth, heated stones as an extension of his / her own hands, in order to relieve body tension and to warm up the muscles. Native Americans, in fact, originally used heated stones to treat aching muscles, and this is where the practice originates from.
Before the massage, the stones are sanitised and heated in a bath of water at 120 – 150 degrees. The stones are usually made of basalt, a black volcanic rock which has usually been smoothened by natural forces in a river or sea. These stones have a high iron content, which helps retain the heat during the massage.
Before actually starting the massage, professional therapists asks you to sign a form for information about any allergies, skin conditions, illnesses, or whether you have had any medical procedures, recently. It is generally advised that expectant mothers in the later stages of their pregnancy do not opt for certain types of massages.
With all the paperwork completed, you are first asked to lie face down while the therapist warms up the stones. She then proceeds to relax the body with a traditional massage, that is, s/he lubricates the skin with a natural massage oil and starts performing various massage strokes in order to warm up the muscle tissue which releases tension and breaks up muscle ‘knots’.
After this basic massage, the therapist slowly starts introducing the stones to your back, holding the heated stones to key places on your back and s/he then massages you once again, this time using the stones. The therapist may use many different stones of various shapes and sizes, placing large stones on large muscles and small stones on the smaller ones. As the stones cool, they are replaced with other heated ones.
The therapist might even leave certain stones on important points along your spine, in the palms of your hands or on other parts of the body so as to improve the flow of energy. Do not hesitate to speak up if a stone is too warm, or if you are not comfortable with any aspect of the massage.
Hot stone massage therapy eases tension, cures muscle stiffness and increases circulation and metabolism. The hot stones are also known to expand blood vessels, thereby encouraging a more balanced blood flow, throughout the body. A hot stone massage can also have a sedative effect, relieving chronic pain, reducing stress and promoting deep relaxation.