Hot stone massage benefits

This year the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that nearly 80% of people across the globe will use some form of holistic treatment and alternative medicine as part of their health care, and massage therapy is one of the most popular.

Growing popularity in massage therapy

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Research conducted by the American Massage Therapy Association in 2014 suggests, “More than $11 billion was spent in the massage industry in the United States alone” (AMTA. 2015).

This just goes to show how massage therapy has grown massively in recent years and moved from the margins of the health and fitness industry firmly into the mainstream.

There is a plethora of massage modalities and techniques to look into and choose from. These range from the most common – Swedish, to the likes of: Jin Shin Jyutsu, Craniosacral Therapy, Deep Tissue, Sports Massage, Neuro Muscular Therapy, Reflexology, Shiatsu, Thai and Hot Stone.

What is a hot stone massage?

The history of hot stone massages dates back 2,000 years and is found within the studies of Chinese medicine where the stones were used for the treatment of disease as well as in ceremonies such as a medicine wheel.

Today a modern hot stone massage is similar to a Swedish massage, with long relaxing strokes but the therapist positions warm stones on the body and also uses them as part of the treatment.

Massage stones are often made of basalt which retain heat due to their high iron content. The stones are sanitized and heated prior to every massage in water ranging from 120 to 150 degrees so they reach a comfortable temperature of application from 105 to 110 degrees.

Hot stone treatments

The use of stones does not replace the hands during the massage but instead enhances the treatment as a form of thermotherapy. Indeed for some individuals who prefer a lighter touch, the application of hot stones facilitates warming the muscles and tissues thereby making it easier to work out the tension with less pressure.

The stones are placed on the body’s energy centers or chakras to help balance it with the energy pathways and the spirit. They may also be used between the toes and on the hands.

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Health benefits of hot stone massages

Warms the skin as well as the underlying muscles and connective tissues

The massage and the hot stones improve circulation and relieve aches and pains

Beneficial for menstrual cramps

Helps balance the energy in the body

May calm the nervous system, alleviate tension and reduce overall stress levels

Excellent for people who are sensitive to the cold or to deep pressure massages

Great for individuals suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia, insomnia, carpal tunnel syndrome, depression, other chronic conditions

An excellent tool for sports massages to reduce strained and overused muscles

Helps increase flexibility in joints which facilitates movement and mobility in particular after orthopedic surgeries

Hot stone masssage has been shown to benefit across numerous conditions and ailments as the above list suggests, so it’s certainly worth considering if you are looking for a new therapy. And of course it always feels sensational which is a pretty good reason in itself!

Connect with Expert Leslie Olsen

References:
American Massage Therapy Association (AMTA). (2015). Industry Fact Sheet.
Disabled World. Holistic Health Care Facts and Statistics. Alternative Medicine. 

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