Hot Stone Massage: Sleep, Muscle and Circulation Benefits
Updated: Dec 21, 2022
Hot stone massage is a type of massage therapy that is both deeply relaxing and therapeutic. Many people looking to repair damaged soft tissue, ease muscle pain and relax the body often turn to hot stone massage.
What is Hot Stone Massage?
You've probably heard of hot stone massage before. In the past, some therapists have referred to it as thermotherapy or stone therapy. Regardless of what you call it, hot stone massage techniques all typically work in the same way.
During a hot stone massage, a massage therapist will gently place water-heated smooth basalt stones in strategic places across the body. These stones can be applied with- or without pressure, and can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Next, the massage therapist will glide the stones across your body. As the stones begin to cool, new stones will be chosen until your muscles have fully relaxed. Finally, the therapist will combine specific massage techniques to maximize the relaxation benefits.
Hot Stone Massage Benefits
Hot stone massages can provide a multitude of benefits for anyone looking for a form of massage therapy that is both therapeutic and relaxing. While heat penetrates the muscles, massage works to stimulate the lymphatic system and soothe the nervous system. Other hot stone massage benefits include:
Pain Relief: Hot stone massage has helped people suffering from chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis ease their symptoms.
Increased Flexibility: People suffering from joint disorders or flexibility issues have said hot stone massages have worked to improve their range of motion and ease pain associated with joint conditions.
Improved Sleep: Many people report enjoying longer and deeper sleep cycles following a hot stone massage.
Decreased Muscle Spasms: Hot stone massages promote relaxation in the muscles and joints which in turn helps reduce muscle spasms and pain.
Reduces Chronic Stress: Hot stone massage has also been shown to be an effective treatment for people suffering from stress or anxiety. In fact, studies have shown that it also works to improve cardiovascular health.
Why Basalt Stones?
Basalt stones are the ones used in hot stone massages. They are made from igneous rock formed by volcanic and sedimentary geological action. Basalt stones are the most common type of volcanic rock and often consist of non-porous iron-magnesium silicate. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes and most importantly, can retain heat longer than any other type of stone.
During a hot stone massage, basalt stones are heated and placed across the body. They slowly sedate your muscles, increase the blood flow from the extremities to your tissues and work to increase circulation throughout your body. Hot basalt stones allow massage therapists to release tight muscles and decrease tension throughout your joints without having to do invasive (and often painful) deep tissue work.