What is stone therapy?
Stone massage is a form of thermotherapy bodywork now included in many massage programs. It is a form of massage therapy that involves the application of two sets of stones, heated basalt river or ocean stones, and cooled marble stones to the body during massage therapy treatment. Stones may be used hot, cold, or in an alternating relaxing and reviving sequence during a massage therapy session. Stones are used in back layouts, as palm rests, between toes, and in the neck and shoulder area during a massage therapy treatment.
How does stone therapy work?
During a hot stone massage, the techniques of a regular massage are applied. However, the therapist also works with hot stones that are placed on specific parts of the body.
The stones are smooth and flat and usually made of the volcanic rock type called basalt. These particular stones are chosen because they retain heat.
The stones used for a hot stone massage are placed in hot water to warm up before being applied. They are then placed onto specific areas of the body, such as:
- the back
- the stomach
- the face
- the hands
- the feet
Some massage therapists hold the stones in their hands and use them to massage with. This allows the therapist to get deeper into the muscles without more pressure, helping their client to relax yet further.
Occasionally, cold stones can be used on the face or after the hot stones have been applied. Cold temperature helps to calm swollen blood vessels and soothe hot skin.
This type of hot stone therapeutic treatment is thought to have originated in China almost 2,000 years ago. Since then, the technique of using stones for healing has been used in many different cultures, including the Americas, Africa, Egypt, and India.
What are the benefits of stone therapy?
Hot Stone Massage is deeply detoxifying and profoundly relaxing. By combining massage with hot stones, the circulatory system is both stimulated and relaxed. This circulatory activity promotes the release of toxins from the muscles, assisting the body in self-healing. In addition, tense muscles are also softened and eased by the deeply penetrating heat of the stones. Pain and muscle spasms are banished and a feeling of peacefulness and spiritual well-being takes hold. The combined effect prompts a state of enhanced relaxation that washes away stress and sets the stage for re-energizing and rejuvenating the body, mind, and spirit.
Some other benefits of hot stone massage include:
- relaxing tense muscles
- aiding pain relief
- alleviating depression
- promoting sleep
- improving circulation.