Stone Massage has been used for more than 3000 years; it has been used in ancient China, India and Rome. Stone Massage combines long strokes, like those used in Swedish massage, with heated stones being place on key spots on the body utilizing the benefits of thermotherapy (heat therapy). The stones usually chosen for stone massage are smooth round basalt stones (volcanic) and have the ability to hold heat.
Massage using the heated stones allows the muscles to be worked at a deeper level than they would be without the heat. The heat and massage allow muscles to relax and promote healing through increasing vasodilatation within the tissues. When this occurs, blood flow is increased in the area, blood rushes to areas of the body that have had injury to promote healing and help decrease inflammation. Muscles relax due to the heat and stimulation and the pressure applied during the massaging stroke. This helps the body to rid itself of toxins and waste products. Between muscle relaxation, decreased inflammation and less toxins in the body, there is less pain.
Normally a hot stone massage is given by a licensed practitioner. The massage therapist assesses the client’s medical history to determine whether or not a massage should be given. People with certain types of medical conditions are not appropriate candidates of stone therapy. Some of these conditions are diabetes, cancer, heart disease, skin infections, radiation, chemo-therapy or having had recent surgery. As this is not an extensive list, if the person desiring the massage has medical conditions, they should check with their health care provider before proceeding with massage. With that said, massage can be a god-send for those with muscle and back spasms or sinus pain and congestion.
Not only does the stone massage benefit the body, it also benefits the mind. It causes a deep emotional relaxation. This relaxation can help with problems of insomnia, stress and anxiety. As the practice of stone therapy developed out of eastern religions, they believe that the massage causes physical and emotional energies to be unblocked. This allows for healing sacred energies to move freely throughout the body, bringing harmony through the use of the basic elements of earth (stones), water and fire (heat). The experience is thought to bring one into closer union with a person’s true essence.
Basics of Stone Massage: The therapist heats the stones either in a stone warmer or in a shallow pan with water in the over. The stones are heated to between 120 to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Stones are removed from the water and rubbed with oil and wrapped in towels to help hold the heat. The body is then massaged with the coated stones in conjunction with the strokes of Swedish massage; different intensities of pressure are used. The massage can be started on the client’s stomach or back, depending on the client’s preference. Usually, at some point during the massage the stones are placed along the both sides of the spine. Stones are left in place for a duration and periodically replaced as they cool. The massage session lasts approximately 1 hours.
Some massage therapists will combine aromatherapy into the stone massage. Others will start with hot stones in areas of inflammation to help increase circulation; this will be followed by application with cold stones to stimulate vasoconstriction to thus inhibiting swelling and pain.
http://www.revolutionhealth.com/stories/stories/show/e416c3e0f61547d4b6c5f2ea11f58276 http://www.essortment.com/lifestyle/hotstonetherap_skrm.htm First person interview with TR Stehman, Massage Therapist