What is a hot stone massage?

IMG_5540A common picture used in massage advertising is a person with stones placed on them.  They seem remarkably happy that somebody took the effort to lay stones on their body.  Apparently these stones have incredible qualities that allows them to relax completely and remove all of their stress and muscle pain.

There is usually no explanation of why there are stones on them.  Are they there for a purpose?  Is it for decoration?  Is it an inside joke by massage therapists to see how many people they can get to do it?  Let’s find out.

There many different methods of performing hot stone massage.  I’ll just talk about the way I use them here.

Hot stones do indeed have a purpose.  The advantages they provide are warmth, increased pressure, and increased accessibility to muscles.

Warmth is soothing and calming to your body and mind.  It helps you to relax faster.  While hot stones feel good any time of the year, they can warm you up quickly when you come in on a cold day.  You will absorb some of the heat from the stones which allows your muscles to relax and can make the massage more effective.

Stones are hard, so I can use them to add extra pressure if needed.  Some muscles are deeper and underneath muscles near the surface.  The extra pressure can help in working those deeper muscles.

Stones can make it easier to get to places near bones that are hard to reach with my hands, or hard to use much pressure on with my hands alone.

Your hot stone massage will feel a lot like a regular massage.  The stones fit into my hands so there is still contact from my hands.  One difference is that when the stones lose their heat I will put them back in the warmer and get new warm ones out.

Special stones of smooth basalt are used that work well with heat.  They don’t crack and hurt you.  They do get very warm so if it is ever too hot for you speak up immediately.  I’ll have them in my hands before they touch you and I can cool them off before using them if needed.

Hot stone massage is not for you if you are a very warm-natured person or have a medical condition that heat makes worse.

If you try it and don’t like it as much as a regular massage, that’s fine.  Just let me know anytime and I will continue with the rest of your time with a regular massage.  Your massage is your time to get what you want.  You are not stuck with having to do an entire massage with hot stones if you do not care for them.

Some time is needed to get the stones warmed and set up so they are ready when you come in.  Just let me know in advance that you want to use them and I’ll have it ready for you.

Barry is a licensed Massage Therapist at Main Street Massage in Hudson, Ohio.  Find out more about him, his business, and massage at www.HudsonMassageTherapy.com

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