Stone massages are given by massage therapist incorporating either heated or chilled stones. These stones are placed on particular points of the body – neck, spine and back – to treat a variety of body aches or discomfort. These stones are also used as massage tools, moving them around the body for relief.
Every therapist has his or her own routine, and uses different kinds of stones. Selections of stones are based on their heat or cold retention capacity, shape, smoothness, and mineral content. All of these factors are important to enhance benefits.
Hot Stone Massage
Hot Stone Massage is a technique that helps transfer heat from the stones to the muscle tissues in order to relax it in ways that the human hands can’t. This is the most common technique than the chilly counterpart in spas everywhere.
Stones commonly used in hot massage therapy are igneous rock (basalt rock) from the hot lava of a volcano and sedimentary rock (marine stone, lime stone and sand stone) formed in coral reefs.
This technique involves heating the stones up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit using a crock pot, water or an oven. You should use oil also so as not to stick or burn the body. Hot stone therapy session begins by placing the smooth, heated stones at key points or acupressure points around the body. The massage therapist will incorporate a variety of strokes and techniques using stones and hands taking the pressure off your stiffed muscles.
Benefits of Hot Massage
- Hot stone increases your sense of relaxation.
- It expands blood vessels which improves circulation throughout the body.
- The hot stones have a sedative effect that can relieve stress, tension and muscular spasm.
- Provides relief from pain associated with arthritis and increases flexibility in joints for easier mobility.
- Hot stone massage has health benefits for people with fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel syndrome.
- It helps you also beat insomnia and depression because of its soothing effect on the body.
Cold Stone Massage
Cold Stone Therapy involves the use of cold stones to relieve overworked, chronically tense or inflamed tissue. The common stones used in this technique are metamorphic rocks (marble stones, slate and jade) which are very useful in the removal of inflammation, minerals (quartz, topaz, tourmaline, obsidian, hematite and amethyst) which are suitable for giving crystal massage and gemstones (garnet, diamond, pearl and turquoise) for cooling and healing purposes.
Ice is the fastest way to cool stones. Simply fill a bowl with ice and a little water, and submerge the stones. The stone temperature should drop below freezing point in a few minutes. You can chill the stones also in the refrigerator, or ice packs and in a mini cooler.
Benefits of Cold Stone Massage
- Reduces redness and inflammation if applied on the eyes, face and from a chemical peel or waxing.
- Cold stone works on sinus decongestion, soothe inflammation, and headache or migraine pain.
- This therapy cools your body and relieves discomfort associated with hot temperatures or hot flashes.
- Provides therapeutic benefits on arthritis pain and muscle injuries from sports, or trauma.
- Helps to decrease menstrual pain and restore energy level.
- Cold stone massage also provides stress relief and helps the body to relax equal to hot stone massage.
- Helps improve circulation and reduces high blood pressure.
Thermal Contrast Therapy
This is a technique where hot stones and cold stones are used alternatively to help stimulate organ reflexes and blood vessels, increases blood flow to areas with inadequate circulation, and helps remove impurities and give skin a firmer texture.