What happens during a hot stone massage?
A hot stone massage is a type of massage therapy. It’s used to help you relax and ease tense muscles and damaged soft tissues throughout your body.
During a hot stone massage, smooth, flat, heated stones are placed on specific parts of your body. The stones are usually made of basalt, a type of volcanic rock that retains heat. According to the University of New Hampshire Health Services, hot massage stones are heated to between 130 and 145 degrees.
The stones may be placed:
- Along your spine
- On your stomach
- On your chest
- On your face
- On your palms
- On your feet and toes
Massage therapists may hold heated stones as they massage your body using Swedish massage techniques such as:
- Long strokes
- Circular movements
Sometimes, cold stones are also used during a hot stone massage. Cold stones may be used after hot stones to calm any engorged blood vessels and to soothe the skin.
6 Benefits of Hot Stone Massage
All massages generally fall under the alternative medicine umbrella. They’re becoming a popular complementary therapy for many conditions. Here are some advantages of getting a hot stone massage:
1. Helps relieve muscle tension and pain
Heat has long been used to ease muscle tension and pain. It helps increase blood flow to the affected area. It may also reduce muscle spasms and increase flexibility and range of motion. Cold therapy helps relieve inflammation. Depending on your symptoms, alternating hot and cold stones during your massage may be helpful.
2. Reduces stress and anxiety
It’s the position of the American Massage Therapy Association that “massage therapy can be effective for stress relief.” Research supports their opinion. A 2001 study showed that a ten-minute massage improved cardiovascular responses such as stroke volume. A 1997 study found that 15-minute, onsite chair massages in the workplace significantly reduced stress compared to a 15-minute break without massage.
A 2015 studyTrusted Source found that people who underwent abdominal colorectal surgery had less pain, tension, and anxiety after receiving post-operative massage.
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