The Hot Stone massage is a therapeutic massage technique in which a heated stone is held by the massage therapist who uses it to apply the customary and traditional Swedish massage strokes. Because they have the tendency to absorb heat and retain it for extended periods of time, the stones which are used are usual smooth, black volcanic basalt rocks of various sizes and shapes. For the most part, these rocks are heated in water at 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit.
Native Americans are known to also have used hot stones for medicinal purposes but those were heated by direct fire. This technique of fire-heated stones was restored by Mary Nelson, a native of Tucson, Arizona and she trademarked it as LaStone Therapy.
Primarily due to the effects of the heat from the stones, the Hot Stone massage is profoundly calming and delightfully relaxing as it rapidly releases the tension out of every soft tissue, be it muscle, tendon or ligament, which is included in this treatment while gentle and comforting peace washes over the client almost immediately. The hot stones are used throughout the entire session to massage, to stroke, to press, to manipulate and to knead the client’s soft tissues.
On occasion, heated stones are laid out to rest at strategic spots along the spine as well as in the palms of the client’s hands and between the toes. This maneuver promotes the optimal flow of energy throughout the entire body. As soon as the stones cool down, the massage therapist will replace them with newly heated ones but areas that are inflamed, injured or swollen, will often be treated with cold stones instead of the hot ones.
To derive the most out of the Hot Stone massage therapy, clients are encouraged to:
* Indicate any discomforts such as those which might be created by stones which are too hot, by the massage therapist applying pressure with too much force, by the background music which may be too loud, by the room temperature which could be too hot or too cold and so on.
* Refrain from consuming a heavy meal and to abstain from ingesting any amount of alcohol shortly before the session.
* Arrive in plenty of time to check in and to relax before the treatment.
* Remove all their clothing and be assured that they will remain completely covered with a towel. This will give the massage therapist better access and direct contact with the skin.
* Take slow, deep breaths throughout the session as it helps to relax the body and release more toxins.
* To banish irrelevant thoughts from racing through their heads by concentrating on the feel of the therapist’s movements over their bare skins.
* Drink extra water after the massage to flush out and wash away the toxins released during the treatment.
The Hot Stone massage is beneficial in many ways as it promotes deep muscle and soft tissue relaxation, eases stress, releases toxins, alleviates pain, improves circulation and calms the mind. Quite appropriately, therefore, there is an impressive list of ailments which are treated with Hot Stone massages.
The Hot Stone massage requires specialized training, it involved more preparation time for disinfecting and heating the stones, the session are often somewhat longer than usual and more time is spent cleaning up. As a consequence, the Hot Stone massage tends to be more costly than any other conventional massage. But it is worth it and you are worthy of it!
What is Swedish massage therapy? It is a technique designed to help the muscles in the body relax by applying pressure and then rubbing it in the same direction as the flow of blood returning to the heart.
Unlike other methods of massage therapy, this was first developed in the 18th century. It is also called the “classic massage” because it represents the Western way of relaxing those muscles.
The main purpose of the Swedish massage then and now is still the same. This is to increase the flow of oxygen in the blood so toxins are released from the muscles. These toxins include lactic and uric acid as well as metabolic waste.
When this happens, circulation is increased without increasing the heart load. The ligaments and tendons are both stretched keeping them supple and pliable. This also stimulates the skin and nervous system and soothes the nerves at the same time. As a result, stress is reduced.
There are various techniques in the Swedish massage. Some examples of these are friction, effleurage, kneading, tapping, long strokes, vibrations and shaking motions. The therapist may use the fingertips, hands or palm to achieve maximum effect and of course, a little bit of bending and stretching.
During the session, the person has to undress and lie down on the mattress. He or she is then covered with a blanket and the only time it is opened is when the therapist has to massage that region of the body with oil so this will be absorbed by the body.
If you do not feel comfortable about being nude, bring some old loose clothes because the oil may stain fabrics.
A Swedish massage usually lasts for 60 to 90 minutes. Before the session begins, the therapist may check your complexion then choose the type of oil to use based on your skin type. If ever you want to increase or decrease the pressure, just say so and the therapist will adjust accordingly.
In the room, you may hear some soothing music playing in the background as this has been known to help people unwind. If you don’t like it, just tell them so they can play something else or just turn it off.
You might notice that the therapist would like to chat while working on you. Just like the music, if you don’t feel like talking, just tell them. Don’t worry, they won’t be offended.
Lastly, some people sleep during Swedish massage therapy. Again, that is perfectly fine because it has been known to happen.
Swedish massage therapy is considered to be the foundation of other types of Western massages. This is because the principles behind it are the same as when you try sports massage, seated chair massage, hot stone therapy, deep tissue massage or aromatherapy. If you like the way you were treated, try out the others the next time you drop by.
Before going for a session, check with your doctor if it is safe for you to do. You should also avoid eating a heavy meal before going in.
Swedish massage therapy is good. Once the session is over, you will feel relaxed and invigorated. Since you will feel thirsty afterwards, you better drink up. Some places offer water while others hand out warm tea. Whenever you are ready, it is time for you to get dressed and head on home.