What is Hot Stone Massage and What Are the Benefits?

If you're exposed to a lot of stress, hot stone massage may be a perfect option for you. Find out what it is, the benefits, and the contraindications.
What is Hot Stone Massage and What Are the Benefits?

Last update: 28 June, 2021

Muscular pain develops as a result of a series of factors ranging from stress, insomnia, anxiety, circulatory problems, or even joint problems. That’s why all kinds of therapies have been developed to solve these problems, such as a hot stone massage.

This is a treatment that combines common therapeutic massage with the application of stones on the skin at different elevated temperatures. This can help the flow of vital energy and alleviate physical and emotional disorders.

Here, you’ll find all the information you need regarding hot stone massage!

What is a hot stone massage?

The official name of this method is geothermal therapy and it focuses on the application of stones to the body. The stones are heated up beforehand and placed on the skin to relieve tension in the muscles to repair damaged soft tissue or even improve energy.

It’s important to note that the stones used for this therapy are special. They’re usually made of basalt, which is a type of volcanic rock with a flat and smooth shape. Beforehand, the massage therapist heats them to around 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

Then, the therapist applies them to specific areas of the body, such as the spine, chest, stomach, face, palms, and feet.

Concerning the technique, it will depend on the professional who’s doing the work. Some tend to hold the stones in their hands and then place them on people. They can also combine hot stone massage with Swedish massage, vibrations, or circular movements.

A pile of hot stones surrounded by small blue candles, spa towels, and a bottle of oil.
This technique provides muscular relaxation and reduces stress, as well as improving blood circulation.

Read more: Therapeutic Massage: Types and Benefits

What are the benefits of hot stone massage?

This practice has become popular thanks to its relaxing effects on the body, in addition to its properties in terms of energy renewal. However, there are many other benefits as well, which we’ll explain in detail below!

1. Muscle pain relief

This is the most popular benefit of hot stone massage. Heat’s the perfect ally to relieve muscle pain and tension in the body.

This is because it allows for increased blood flow in the affected area, which helps in the reduction of muscle spasms. Apart from that, it reduces any inflammation that may occur in the muscles.

2. Reduced stress and anxiety levels

Stress and anxiety are a problem that more and more people suffer as a result of their busy lifestyles. This causes the worries or inconveniences of everyday life to turn into small charges of negative energy.

However, among the multiple treatments that exist for this, techniques with hot stones are effective in attacking and reducing stress levels. Thanks to this massage, energy flows, and harmony are achieved between body, mind, and spirit.

3. Greater joint flexibility

When a person develops a joint disease, it triggers another set of widespread pains that are very uncomfortable. That’s why, when limitations are identified, such as difficulty moving, one of the first solutions to be considered is massage.

Massages performed with hot stones are usually the best option, as this type of therapy is ideal for relaxing the muscles and reducing inflammation.

4. Improved quality of sleep

Various factors, such as stress, anxiety, and even pain in the body often lead to other conditions linked to sleeping difficulties. In this regard, it’s important to stress the need for effective rest to work optimally during the day.

Hot stone massages are useful in promoting the general relaxation of the body, which makes deeper and better sleep quality possible.

5. Hot stone massage also offers aesthetic effects

Finally, we can’t overlook the benefits of these treatments for the skin. The improvement in blood circulation and the elimination of toxins contribute to much smoother and healthier-looking skin.

This means that it revitalizes, oxygenates, and illuminates dermatological tissue.

Recommendations and contraindications for hot stone massage

Despite the properties that hot stone massages have for the body, there are a series of recommendations that you should take into consideration. The fact that it’s a natural procedure doesn’t mean that there aren’t any contraindications. So, we suggest that you pay attention to the following points.

Consult a doctor

Before going to a center where they perform this type of massage, it’s best to first consult a doctor about your problem. It may be that your condition goes beyond simple muscle pain, so you’ll need to be seen by a specialist first.

In this sense, there are some cases in which these practices aren’t recommended. For example, if you have bleeding disorders, burns on your skin, or if you’ve had surgery in the last six weeks.

Carry out massages only with professionals

In any procedure that you’re going to undergo, you must thoroughly investigate the people who’ll be in charge of performing it. Not everyone knows the proper techniques when it comes to hot stone massage.

That’s why you have to make sure that you’re doing it with professionals with experience in the area. This will prevent serious consequences, such as burns or the worsening of injuries.

Avoid placing stones on damaged skin

If you have bruises, scrapes, cuts, or burns, no matter what degree, these types of massages must be avoided at all costs until the injuries are healed. Applying hot stones to the skin can increase the risk of more significant damage.

Also, they can cause infections caused by bacteria from the oils used.

Don’t perform in case of respiratory disease

This suggestion seems to be common sense, but many don’t take it seriously. Anyone with a cold, flu, or fever should avoid getting a hot stone massage until they’re fully recovered.

Remember that colds make it difficult to regulate your body temperature. Consequently, if hot stones are applied to the skin, the experience can be very unpleasant.

A woman lying on a massage bed with hot stones on her back.
Hot stones have some contraindications that should be respected in order to avoid complications.

Find out more: Muscle Pain When You Exercise Too Much

Hot stone massage in the context of geothermal therapy

In short, geothermal therapy is a safe and rewarding technique. Many of those who undergo hot stone massage experience relatively immediate changes as far as the relaxation of their muscles is concerned, as well as improvements at bedtime.

If you need more encouragement, here are some final recommendations that will be very useful:

  • Make sure you go to a place with previous experience that has the necessary hygiene methods.
  • Contact your massage therapist and explain your issues. That way, they’ll be able to adapt to your needs.
  • If you have any doubts, consult your doctor first and then the therapist.
  • Inform the massage therapist if you have any health conditions.

As far as the regularity of the massage, it depends on the type of person you are. For example, if you’re an athlete, you can get a massage two to three times a week for intensive training. If you’re less physically active, you can go once or twice a month.

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