• 28/05/2024 00:11

What are the benefits of hot stone massage: 6 benefits and 3 reasons not to use it

Massage is a great way to relax. When hot stones are added to the equation, a regular massage quickly becomes a next-level indulgence. Warm stones are amazingly soothing and can be placed almost anywhere you feel pain or tension. But what are the benefits of hot stone massage? To some it seems like a waste of money. And some people don’t believe that this type of massage improves health.

ContentWhat a hot stone massage is good for: relieving muscle tensionHeat promotes the flow of oxygenWhat a hot stone massage is good for: minimizing painThey can improve your moodWhat a hot stone massage is good for: improving flexibilityThey can help you sleep better3 risks of hot stone massageIs a hot stone massage better than a regular massage?

WomanEL is also interested in the benefits and will share with you the insights of Brooke Riley, a licensed massage therapist in San Antonio, and Dr. Nicole Glat, a certified acupuncturist and co-founder of the holistic healing brand Elix.

What are the benefits of hot stone massage: relieving muscle tension

During a hot stone massage, a massage therapist places smooth, heated stones (usually made from basalt, a type of volcanic rock that retains heat) on specific parts of your body.

According to the American Massage Therapy Association, the stones should be heated in water at temperatures between 43 to 54 degrees is hot enough to be beneficial, but not so hot that it burns your skin. Sometimes the therapist also holds stones in his hands, massaging those parts of the body that require attention and care.

Placing smooth round stones on pressure points and muscles throughout the body before a massage helps to relax everything and prepare the mind and body for what's to come. Think of it the same way you would apply primer to your face before foundation. Hot stones are an important ingredient to get the most out of this treatment.

“Hot stones allow you to get more out of your massage,” explains Riley, because “the heat helps relax your muscles. By placing hot stones on key points of your body before beginning the massage, the massage therapist releases muscle tension before he or she even lowers his hands, making it easier for him or her to give a soothing deep tissue massage.”

Heat promotes oxygen flow< /h2>

As Glat explains, the increased temperature of the stones is needed to ensure that blood flows to the muscles, because this is how oxygen is transported through our systems. More oxygen means faster recovery. “Heat dilates the capillaries, bringing fresh blood to the area. This means that accumulated elements such as lactic acid are washed out. Healing nutrients, oxygen and new tissue building blocks are more easily supplied,” she says. “Heat has also been shown to be neurophysiologically calming and reduce all our stressors.”

What are the benefits of hot stone massage: minimizing pain

Just as any massage is beneficial for the circulatory system, it is also beneficial for those who suffer from chronic pain such as arthritis. “Hot stone massage is especially effective because it targets deep tissue,” says Riley.

“Many of my patients who suffer from chronic pain see benefits from hot stone massage,” she says. “Heat allows the massage therapist to manipulate deeper muscle tissue. Which results in greater muscle relaxation, decreased muscle spasms, increased range of motion, and most importantly, decreased pain.”

They may improve mood

More research is needed to determine the exact neurological connection between our pressure points and stress hormones. But as Riley explains, the placement of the hot stones is key to ensuring you find zen after the procedure.

“Stones are placed on specific pressure points to relieve tension, elevate mood and combat stress,” she says. “This physical reduction in blood pressure actually helps reduce mental stress. Because when the body is relaxed, the mind can relax, and after a hot stone massage you can feel rejuvenated.”

Benefits of Hot Stone Massage: Improved Flexibility

Think about trying to touch your toes when you're sitting in a cold office for hours, rather than when you're taking a hot shower. The latter is much simpler, isn't it? As mentioned above, hot stone massage can relax muscles, thereby improving flexibility.

They may help you sleep better

If you've tried melatonin gummies, meditation, and everything in between but are still struggling to fall asleep, you might want to consider adding a hot stone massage to your wellness repertoire. In 2001, researchers at the University of Miami found that babies who had trouble sleeping were able to fall asleep faster if their parents gave them a 15-minute massage. In addition, when they woke up, the babies were more alert, active and positive.

3 risks of hot stone massage

Who Shouldn't Get a Hot Stone Massage, Source: freepik.com

We now know that heat generates blood flow and directs it directly to these hot spots, helping to relieve sore muscles, improve circulation, and reduce chronic pain. But unlike a midday latte, heat isn't always a good idea. Here are some risks associated with hot stone massage.

  • They can cause increased swelling after recent injuries. “Heat should not be used for acute inflammation or fresh injuries, since increased blood flow can increase swelling,” Glat says.
  • They do not combine with some medications. If you are taking blood thinners or any medications that have heat-related side effects, you may want to skip the hot stone massage. Consult your physician.
  • They can irritate existing skin conditions. If you have skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema, the heat used during a hot stone massage may further worsen the skin condition.

Is a hot stone massage better than a regular massage?

The question of which type of massage is best depends largely on your personal preferences (and whether you fall into the category of people who should stay away from hot stone massages). Some people prefer the feeling of hot stones, while others prefer to avoid the heated element. Both types of massage can be beneficial. But keep in mind that it is important to do your research on your spa and/or practitioner to ensure you are receiving the safest and best treatment possible.

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