Hot stone therapy has been documented as far back as ancient China and Egypt, where people used heat therapeutically. Native North Americans have long used rocks in rituals with a spiritual significance to symbolize life. Indeed, the stones a therapist chooses can have meaning based on systems of origin from an energic perspective. Most stones used for hot stone therapy are smooth from the action of thousands of years of erosion in a river, and are igneous, which means they are formed under great heat and pressure and are therefore non-porous and cleanable. They are selected by size and shape so they fit into the therapist’s hand just right when used manually, or to cover areas of the body accordingly.
The stones are heated up to a maximum of 60 degrees C, however, at this temperature they are too hot to leave in place and are intended to be moved around appropriately by the therapist to impart heat to the body while simultaneously engaging the tissues physically. When to be left in place they are used at a comfortably warm temperature only slightly warmer than the body, like that of a sauna ( 40-42 deg C). The heated stones encourage the movement of blood and lymph, while providing a deeper heat making deeper tissue work easier and more effective
The stones are placed on various places on the body depending on what the client needs, and the stones can be moved and manipulated to treat specific trigger points or activate muscles so they become more responsive. Cold stones can be used to help to reduce acute inflammation whereas heat is always used for chronic inflammation or pain conditions. Cold stones can be used alone to reduce acute inflammation in conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis and sinusitis. The stones are a great way to activate the body’s circulation by alternating heat and cold rocks.
Incorporating stones into massage can help relieve pain and muscle spasms faster than a normal massage with hands or elbows. When I work an area of the body with hot stones, it almost feels like the tissue is melting and softening. In light of the discoveries with connective tissue as we discuss in our other blogs right now, this makes sense. I think the heat from the stones facilitate positive changes the connective tissue when I apply with pressure movements and vibrations. Then end result is that there is greater mobility in the area I am working on and the pain is less. Additionally, clients feel a whole sense of relaxation and relief of stress. The connective tissue is stimulated to drain better into the lymphatic system, which aids in elimination of metabolic wastes and to decrease inflammation. This ends up supporting the immune system’s circulation of white blood cells, to help and repair injuries and keep out infection.
Having a hot stone treatment is an amazing experience for everyone, not only by releasing tight muscles, but also by increasing blood flow and circulation. The stones create a peaceful state of mind and a feeling of a spiritual well-being.
Book a massage now and ask for hot stones in the memo and we’ll have them ready for you!