You can now find hot stone massage in many of the top beauty spas across the country; however, hot stone therapy really does have some health benefits too. Hot stone massage has benefits not just for the recipient of the treatment but also for the massage therapist.
There are several ways in which hot stone massage is offered, so find a treatment that suits you and discover the healing power of the stones! Just make sure that your therapist is trained in the type of hot stone therapy that you choose as, with some health conditions, you should use caution.
History of Hot Stone Massage
Hot stone massage is not a new concept; native American Indians have been using hot stones in massage for centuries. The Chinese have used hot stones for thousands of years to treat internal health problems (source). Stones have been used in a variety of ways throughout the years, including saunas, hot baths, sweat lodges and medicine wheels. Modern day hot stone massage therapy was re-born through Mary Nelson in 1993, with the introduction of LaStone therapy (source: The Official LaStone Therapy Manual, Mary Nelson with Jane Scrivner).
Types of Hot Stone Massage
Mary Nelson’s LaStone therapy was the start of the popular use of hot stones in massage therapy; although hot stones are most commonly associated with traditional full body massage, you can use hot stones in lots of other ways too. The use of hot stone massage can be incorporated into:
- deep-tissue massage
- chakra healing
- aromatherapy massage
- pedicures and manicures.
Benefits of Hot Stone Therapy to the Recipient
Hot stone massage has many healing benefits to the person who receives it, no matter what format the treatment takes; these include:
- relaxation of the muscles
- reduction in stress levels
- reduction in inflammation and pain
- improves circulation
- integration of mind-body-spirit.
Hot stone massage can be used to treat the symptoms of arthritis, back pain, depression and heart problems, in addition to other health related problems.
Benefits of Hot Stone Therapy for the Therapist
We traditionally think of the benefits that a therapy brings to the recipient. Hot stone massage therapy also has some benefits to the the therapist who is giving the treatment; these include:
- reduction in the stress put on the therapist’s hands and wrists
- the emotional benefits of the use of aromatherapy oils in hot stone massage work
- physiological benefits that balance the mind as well as the body
- alternating hot and cold temperatures of stone massage benefit both the giver and receiver of the treatment and leave both feeling rejuvenated (source).
Use of Geo-Thermal Practices in Hot Massage Therapy
Hot stone massage is more beneficial when the therapist also uses cold stones within the treatment too; alternating temperatures (geo-thermal) maximize the full potential that can be gained from a hot stone massage. Basalt stones are usually used as the “hot” stone whereas marble stones are used as the “cold” stone within the treatment. Basalt stones are heated up to varying temperatures, depending on the client’s condition and health; marble stones are “cooled” with ice several hours before a treatment.
Cautions for Using Hot Stone Massage
Hot stone massage is extremely beneficial in relieving many health conditions; however, there are a number of cautions to be aware of before undertaking a treatment. If you are pregnant, elderly, under the age of eighteen, taking prescribed medication or suffer from a serious health condition, such as heart problems, you should seek the advice of a qualified medical practitioner before having a hot stone massage. In addition, check the qualifications, training and experience of the therapist. Different therapists may use varying heat temperatures and various levels of pressure in using the stones, depending on their training and experience.
- La Stone Therapy website
- The Official LaStone Therapy Manual, Mary Nelson & Jane Scrivner
- Massage Mag website, The History of Hot Stone Massage, Pat Mayrhofer
- Author is a trained LaStone Therapist in Reflexology