Hot stone therapy is a specialist massage that uses smooth, flat, heated basalt stones that are positioned along your spine, in the palms of your hands, along your legs and between the toes. Typically from river beds, basalt stones are used for massage as they have a rich iron content that retains heat. Cold marble stones are often used in the treatment to help aid with detoxing and healing the body.
Your spa therapist will warm the stones in water until they are within the precise temperature range of between 120 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
A hot stone massage may begin with a traditional Swedish massage technique to prepare your muscles. Your spa therapist will then place the warm stones on key acupressure points on your body. The stones warm and relax your muscles, allowing deeper pressure to be applied during your massage.
Using massage oil and a combination of strokes and techniques, your spa therapist will massage your neck, back, arms and legs, with and without the stones. You should always tell your spa therapist if the stones are too warm or the pressure is too intense.
Allow plenty of time for your hot stone treatment; arrive 10 minutes early to allow yourself time to relax. If it is your first time at the spa you’ll be asked to complete a pre-treatment health questionnaire. Avoid eating a heavy meal or drinking alcohol prior to the treatment.
The origins of hot stone therapy can be traced back to over 2,000 years ago, when the Chinese used heated stones more than 2,000 years ago as a means of improving the function of internal organs. You can read more about the history of stone therapy on our blog.
The combination of hot and cold stones encourages your body to detox and heal through increasing your lymphatic flow and encouraging your body to remove waste products.
Some other benefits of hot stone massage include:
- relaxing tense muscles
- aiding pain relief
- alleviating depression
- promoting sleep
- improving circulation.
Hot stone therapy helps people who suffer from:
- back pain
- muscular pain
- depression or anxiety
- poor circulation.
Hot stone therapy is not recommended for anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, varicose veins, migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, decreased pain sensitivity, recent wounds, areas of weakened or inflamed skin, tumours, metal implants, recent chemotherapy, radiation or surgery or are on medication that thins the blood. If you think you may be pregnant, let your therapist know.
If you have a serious medical condition you need to provide the spa with a letter from your doctor or practitioner confirming that the treatment is suitable for you.