Hot stone massage is a type of therapeutic massage that uses the same techniques as the Swedish massage, but with the addition of heated stones.
It is typical for the stones used to be smooth river rocks. All stones we use come from Goat Rock Beach in Sonoma County, CA. These stones are heated in a bath of 120-150-degree water. Being natural stones, their chemical make-up helps them retain heat throughout the hot stone massage.
The heat from the stones during a hot stone massage helps your muscles to relax, allowing your massage therapist to reach and manipulate your deep tissues more effectively. For this reason, hot stone massages are recommended for all who are interested in a massage that does not require excessive pressure. They are especially recommended for individuals who suffer from arthritis, chronic pain and fibromyalgia due to the low-impact nature of these massages.
Another great advantage to hot stone massages is their ability to relieve pain and improve circulation. The massage therapist will apply the stones to specific trigger points on your body. Blood vessels in these areas become more open and allow for your blood to flow more freely. This can cause you to be relieved from a myriad of symptoms that come with having poor circulation including tense muscles, fatigue and a buildup of lactic acid. This constant heat, also, has been known to encourage feelings of peace and relaxation.
Lastly, stress relief is perhaps one of the greatest advantages to having a hot stone massage. Due to the effects mentioned above, hot stone massages can also have positive mental effects. Easing tension and encouraging relaxation, hot stone massages can reduce stress as well as ease some of the symptoms that are caused by depression and anxiety disorders.
At any time during the massage, it is important that you inform your massage therapist if the stones are too hot, or the pressure of the massage is too intense. It is better to have the massage therapist adjust these problems when they occur, allowing you to focus on total relaxation instead of your discomfort.