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What is Hot Stone Massage?

Hot stone massage was invented in 1993 by Mary Hannigan, a native of Tucson, Arizona. She has patented her particular style and it is known as LaStone Therapy, but most spas and therapists offer their own versions. Hot stone massage (also known as heated stone or la stone massage) is a unique therapy in massage that uses smooth, heated stones. This therapy involves the application of water-heated basalt stones (a black volcanic rock that absorbs and retains heat well) of varying sizes to focal points on the body, giving a deep massage and creating sensations of comfort and warmth. The direct heat relaxes muscles, allowing deeper reach to the key stress points with greater intensity than a regular massage.

The stones are usually placed on the key points of the body, like the spine or the hands, while the therapist gives a deep relaxing massage. Hot Stone Massage owes its popularity to the various benefits this massage offers. Experts recommend this type of therapy as the heat on the stones, when directed to the key points of the body, relieves the tired and fatigued muscles.

Apart from the basalt stones, malachite, zinc and black granite stones are also used in Hot Stone Massage treatment. Hot stones are also used along with frozen marble stones as an ideal treatment for muscular injuries and inflammation. The warmer stones expand the blood vessels, forcing blood and unwanted waste materials through the body. The cold stones cause the blood vessels to constrict, stimulating the nervous system and drawing blood and waste products along the body. This procedure ensures that every cell in the body receives more oxygen and nutrients while at the same time waste material is removed more effectively through the corresponding increase in lymph flow.


Benefits of Hot Stone Massage Therapy:


The benefits this therapy offers provide a good reason for everyone to try and experience this unique therapy. The key reasons that make this therapy popular are:


·Hot stone massage therapy is known to encourage the exchange of lymph and blood circulation throughout the body.


·Hot stone massage is known to have a calming effect on the nervous system, relieve stiff muscles, open the tight joints, and free blocked energies in the body, allowing the body to function the way it used to be.


·Other therapeutic benefits of hot stone massage therapy include treating various body disorders such as:
        oMuscular aches, pains, sprains, and strains
        oPoor circulation
        oRheumatic and arthritic conditions
        oBack pain
        oStress, anxiety and tension


How is the Hot Stone Massage carried out?


Here is a short description of how this therapy is carried out in therapeutic centers, spas, salons, and clinics all over the world.


·The massage therapist sanitizes the stones and heats them in 120 and 150 degree water prior to the arrival of the patient.


·The therapist incorporates traditional strokes of Swedish massage while holding a heated stone.


·As the stone cools during massage the therapist replaces it with another hot stone and continues the massage.


·The therapist may also leave heated stones in specific points along the spine, or in the palms of the hand, or even between the toes to improve the flow of energy in the body.


·Incase of inflammation or muscle injury, cold stones or frozen marbles are used alternatively with hot stones.


Hot Stone Massage Equipments:


Hot Stone Massage Equipments are usually various types of stones or sizes of stones that help provide therapeutic benefits. The exact number of massage stones that come in a kit will vary between products, but they all contain a number of large massage stones, large wellness stones, small wellness stones, body stones, palm stones, and stones for the fingers and toes. The massage stone kit will come with a full instruction guide on the many ways to use the stones. This type of massage can rarely be carried out by oneself. It is best done by a professional and certified therapist.


They can be used either hot or cold, and heating and chilling instructions are included with every massage stones therapy kit.

Typically the stones are heated by placing them in hot or warm water for a short period of time. Or, they can be chilled by placing them in the refrigerator until the desired temperature is reached.


There are various tools that come handy in a Hot Stone Massage. Here is a compilation of various tools your therapist may incorporate during a session:
·    Full Body Massage Stone Set
·    Pedicure/Manicure Massage Stone Set
·    Reflexology Massage Stone Set
·    Facial Massage Stone Set
·    Stone Heating Units
·    Wooden Tongs to remove stones from hot water
·    Instructional Videos


Expert Tips for Hot Stone Massage:


Here are some aspects that one must know before a hot stone massage therapy session:


·Communicate to the therapist if the stones are too warm or the pressure too intense and lead to discomfort.


·Technique is an important part of hot stone massage. Less experienced practitioners sometimes use too much pressure.


·Small local day spas may have less experienced therapists. Determine experience and knowledge of the treatment before allowing the therapist to take over.

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