Hot stone massage therapy has a rich history, dating back 5000 years ago among Hindus in India. Its primary goal was to relax tense muscles and relieve muscle spasms, but it has also been proven effective in reducing sleep disturbances, stress, and anxiety. This type of therapy involves the use of smooth, heated basalt stones placed on either side of the spine or damaged soft tissues throughout the body. The stones are rich in magnetic or titanic iron, allowing them to absorb and retain heat exceptionally well.
If you’re considering hot stone massage therapy, read on to learn more about its benefits and what to expect during a session.
1. How is Hot Stone Massage Therapy Performed?
During hot stone massage therapy, the therapist places heated stones, typically basalt stones, on key acupressure points on your body. The stones are heated to a specific temperature; usually between 130 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, which can help reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation through increased blood circulation. In addition, the pressure from the stones can also help release knots and muscle tension, relieving pain and discomfort. The stones are placed on specific parts of your body, including:
- The sides of your spine
- Hand palms
- Legs, abdomen, or feet
2. What to Do Before the Session?
Before the session, do not eat a heavy meal as you will be lying face down for the massage, and it can make you feel uncomfortable. Conversely, you would want to drink plenty of water before therapy to drive toxins out of the body. Massage therapy increases blood circulation, which allows more nutrients and moisture to go around the body while removing any unwanted substances from the body. Since water is the primary cleanser of the body, it facilitates the cleansing process.
Many professionals recommend avoiding alcohol and caffeine before the therapy. Massage increases blood circulation, causing the alcohol to enter the bloodstream faster than it normally would, and heightening its effect. Additionally, alcohol is diuretic, meaning it causes the body to produce more urine and leaves the body dehydrated. It also makes the body desensitized to touch, so a person under the influence of substances cannot determine if the pressure is too less or too much.
3. What to Expect During a Hot Stone Massage Session?
There is a common misconception that hot stone massage therapy is painful, which is not true. Stones are heated by professional therapists to ensure they do not exceed the proposed temperature.
On your appointment day, you will be asked to lie down on a massage table, and the therapist will place the heated stones on various parts of your body. The therapist will use a combination of the heated stones and their hands to massage your muscles. Therapists consider each patient’s pain tolerance level, so let them know if stones feel too hot or uncomfortable so they can adjust the temperature and remove them if necessary.
4. What to Do After the Session?
Post-massage, you do not have to return right back to your routine. Instead, take some time to relax and enjoy the benefits of the massage. Tuck yourself in bed and sleep for a few good hours, lay on the couch and watch TV, read a book, or go out to breathe fresh air. Make sure you avoid any strenuous activity or exercise, such as jogging or running for at least 24 hours after the massage.
Stone massage therapy loosens up your muscles, so try to stretch in the next few hours to keep the muscles relaxed, free of tension, and flexible. Stretching will also help eliminate muscular pains or cramps.
The Benefits of Hot Stone Massage Therapy
Hot stone massages offer many benefits for the mind and body. Some of the most common benefits include:
- Reduces stress and anxiety: The heat from the stones sinks deep into the tense tissues, making you feel more relaxed which eventually reduces stress and anxiety.
- Relieves muscle tension and pain: The pressure from the stones and the therapist’s hands can help to release knots and tension in the muscles, which can help to relieve pain and discomfort.
- Improves circulation: The heat from the stones causes blood vessels to dilate, promoting stronger blood circulation that allows faster healing.
- Improves sleep: Hot stone massage therapy can help to improve sleep quality by promoting melatonin production that helps sleep problems like insomnia.
- Boosts immunity: Hot stone massage therapy can help to boost the immune system by increasing the activity of white blood cells that strengthens the body’s ability to fight viruses, diseases, and bacteria.
Massage therapy has been around for centuries and its benefits make the experience worth it. If you feel any tension in your muscles, hot stone massage therapy is exactly what your body needs. Book your appointment now at Zen Massage Therapy and experience the magic!