What is Stone Massage?
In this comforting and healing massage stones of varying sizes and weights are settled comfortably onto the body contours on areas that tend to hold tension like the back muscles, abdomen and face. Oiled stones are then used in flowing strokes to relax the whole body.
Why Stone Massage?
If you are experiencing mental or physical stress, stone massage can be extremely effective in relaxing both body and mind. The penetrating heat of the stones begins to elicit deep relaxation, almost immediately soothing the nervous system and melting the effects of stress. Muscle tension eases under the smooth pressure of the stones allowing circulation to increase. As a result, irritating toxins are flushed away and the flow of healing nutrients is restored to muscles and other tissues further aiding the release of tension and pain.
Stone massage can be especially helpful for people with fibromyalgia, arthritis and those recovering from injuries. It may also help relieve sinus pain and the discomforts of premenstrual syndrome. Athletes find it helps muscles and other tissues recuperate after a strenuous workout.
Partnering Heat with Cold
Though commonly known as “hot stone massage” you may be surprised to learn that stones ranging from cool to refreshingly cold may also be part of your treatment. Alternating cold and hot stones can increase circulation and reduce pain even more powerfully than heat or cold by themselves. Cold stones may be used to reduce inflammation and pain in a localized area such as a chronically tight shoulder muscle. Massage strokes with oiled cold stones can help you to relax and feel invigorated at the same time. Some recipients say the feeling is like breathing fresh mountain air.
What is a Session Like?
Sessions usually last an hour or more. Stones may be placed both under and on top of your body. They are usually set on the sacrum (the triangular bone at the base of your spine) on the back, in each hand, around the feet and between the toes. When you lie face up stones may be placed on your belly, chest and face and set comfortably beneath the muscles of your back. A towel or sheet is normally placed between you and these stones and temperature can be easily adjusted. With stationary stones in place gliding strokes with oiled stones allow your muscles from head to toe to completely relax. Many people fall asleep. You may wish to rest afterward to get the most out of this deeply nurturing experience.
Any condition requiring caution with heat therapies such as saunas also calls for caution with heated stones. If you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes or are under the care of a physician for any other reason, consult your physician and massage therapist before receiving stone massage.
It is advisable to drink plenty of water after any massage but because the stones’ heat effects your body temperature it is even more important when getting a stone massage.
Hot stone massage is a specialty massage where the therapist uses smooth, heated stones as an extension of their own hands, or by placing them on the body. The heat can be both deeply relaxing and help warm up tight muscles so the therapist can work more deeply, more quickly.
The Origins of Hot Stone Massage
Hot stones warmed by fire were used by Native Americans to treat aching muscles, but the modern revival of hot stones in massage is generally credited to Mary Nelson, a native of Tucson Arizona.
Enhancing the Stone Massage Experience
Aromatherapy is often incorporated into stone massage by applying pure essential oils to the stones. These therapeutic scents can enhance both relaxation and a sense of wellbeing.
Sometimes stones or crystals are placed on the chakras seven energy centers in the body defined by the ancient practice of yoga. The heat and grounding sensation of stones on the chakras are said to balance and strengthen them. Recipients frequently report a feeling of reconnection with the body and improved energy flow.
For your particular needs your therapist may combine stone massage with Swedish or deep tissue massage, injury treatment, Reiki or other forms of bodywork.
Communicating For Your Comfort
It is very important to tell your therapist immediately if the stones’ temperature is uncomfortable or if you feel ready to have them removed. In addition, if you have sensitive skin you may prefer warm instead of hot stones. Your therapist will be happy to adjust the session in any way to meet your individual needs.
Comforting, Nurturing Stone Massage
Whether you are seeking stone massage for an overall luxurious treat or for the reduction of pain and tension you will not be disappointed. The properties of heat and cold combined with the comforting mineral element of stone massage can offer you the ultimate in centreing, nurturing and healing. Indeed stone massage has been said to be a sanctuary for body and soul.