A hot stone massage is a massage therapy that is used to relax and ease muscle tension and treat damaged soft tissues in the body. In a hot stone massage, flat and smooth heated stones are placed on parts of the body that require relaxation and healing. These stones come from a volcanic rock made up of basalt. These rocks retain heat when they are heated between 130 and 145 degrees. The stones are usually placed along the spine, on the stomach, chest, face, palms and feet. Various Swedish massage techniques such as strokes, tapping, vibration and circular motions are used in a hot stone massage. Six benefits of a hot stone massage are:
Relieves muscle tension and pain– Heat is known to be very useful while easing muscle tension and pain. Hot stone massage increases the blood flow to the affected area resulting in increased flexibility in motion. Moreover, it is also effective in treating muscle spasms.
Promotes better sleep – Massage therapies have been regarded by researchers as an alternative to sleeping pills. Massage encourages relaxation and therefore, results in restorative sleep. Infants tend to sleep faster and become more alert and active after awakening if they have been given a massage by their parents.
Reduces stress and anxiety – Hot stone massages are known to be very effective for stress relief. Research shows that a ten-minute massage session shows improvement in the cardio-vascular response of the body. Studies also show that massage breaks at the workplace reduce stress significantly when compared to breaks without massages.
Relieves symptoms of autoimmune diseases– Hot stone massages have also been found to reduce painful conditions like fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia causes widespread and chronic pain. Study shows that a hot stone massage decreases the level of substance P in a fibromyalgia patient and also helps in sleeping longer and having fewer trigger points. Moreover, it is also beneficial for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
Decreases cancer symptoms – A study published in ‘Journal of Pain and Symptom Management’ showed that massage had significantly affected symptoms such as pain, fatigue, stress, nausea, anxiety and depression in cancer patients. It positively affected patients with substantial symptoms, as well.
Boosts immunity – Studies show that hot stone massages may increase and positively impact the immunity system. It helps control the hormones of the body that regulates blood pressure and water retention.