Hot stone massage has become one of the most popular massage techniques all over the world. This is because this massage combines the traditional techniques with heat therapy using hot stones.
Normally, massage therapists utilizes the heated stones to complement the kneading of the muscles to relax the tighter knots in problem areas. The heated stones may be placed in specific areas like the palms, on the back or even between the toes so that the muscles in those areas will warm up and improve circulation.
Where did the Hot Stone Massage originate?
Although the hot stone massage therapy has only recently grown in popularity, the technique has been used by many different cultures that date back many hundreds of years.
There are many Native American cultures that have used a similar hot stone massage treatment as part of detoxification. In sweat lodges, participants pass along hot stones that they put on areas of their bodies that have discomfort for relief.
Hawaiian culture also featured the use of the Pohaku or lava stones. These were heated, wrapped in leaves and then placed in painful areas of the body. The stone's heat caused the leaves' oils to be released and these oils aided in relieving the pain. In the present day, the Pohaku is used with what is known as the traditional Lomi Lomi massage. This massage helps to improve circulation and relieve several ailments.
Tiger-stripe clam shells, mainly from the Philippines, are used in lava shell massages. The shells are used akin to the hot stones. But, instead of being heated in water, minerals, essential oils and algae are added to the inside of the shell to create a sort of chemical reaction that heats the shells up.
What to expect during a Hot Stone Massage?
Other people tend to believe that because the technique is called "hot stone massage" that it will be a painful experience. The fact is that the stones are actually warm and do not burn the skin. If you are about to have the massage and you feel that the stones are too hot then you can inform the massage therapist.
The hot stones are made of basalt, which are stones rich in iron, so they are able to retain heat for some time. They can then be used in different ways. They can be placed on the palm for a shallow massage that is in the Swedish-style or they can be held between the massage therapist's fingers to reach deeper muscles as they massage. The method of the stones being held between the fingers of the therapist, they are able to focus longer on knotted muscles.
The hot stones may also be placed on the back or other areas that appear to be tense in order to allow the heat of the stones to relax the tense muscles. Many people claim this is the most relaxing point of the hot stone massage treatment.
Benefits of a Hot Stone Massage
The technique of the hot stone massage is relaxing and also has health benefits. The heat from the stones can be used to relieve pain or discomfort from knotted muscles.
The hot stones can also provide relief from inflammation of the joints. It also improves circulation in the affected areas and removes toxins from muscles.