Health & Wellness

What is Hot stone Massage? Hot stone Massage Benefits and Side Effects

Looking for hot stone massage benefits and side effects? Hot stone massage or warm stone massage is a relaxing massage technique with roots from Hawaiian and Native American cultures. Smooth basalt stones are used for this technique because these are volcanic stones with enormous iron content that allows good retention of heat.

The stones are well heated up and then are placed on specific areas of your body. It allows your body muscles to relax, which eventually helps the therapist apply pressure to those areas comfortably. This therapy not only helps release muscle tensions but also proves excellent for your metabolism. It even works effectively for increasing your blood flow and healing muscular aches. 

Hot stone Massage Benefits and Side Effects

Hot stone Massage Benefits and Side Effects

We all know that heat is an excellent way of relaxing muscle tension or aches. So, when hot stones are used for massage, they provide numerous benefits. Let’s have a look at some of them :

1. Heals Muscle Aches

When hot stones are allowed to rest on the body, the heat penetrates the skin releasing muscle tensions and increasing flexibility. Hot stone massage is beneficial in relieving pain and enhancing range of motion. Especially for back pain, hot stone massage proves to be very comforting. 

2. Increases Blood Circulation

People with a lack of physical activities or older age generally have poor blood flow, which eventually causes muscle tensions and aches. With an excellent hot stone massage, the blood vessels tend to open, allowing blood to move freely and relieve muscle pains. 

3. Releases Stress

Research says that massage therapies are a great way of releasing stress and anxiety. Massage helps to improve cardiovascular health and thus reduces stress. 

4. Enhances Sleep

Many people do not get a considerable amount of sleep every day due to hectic schedules, tension, or insomnia. Studies prove that massage therapies are beneficial in reducing tension and promoting sleep. 

Read Also: 10 Foods that Help you Sleep at Night!

5. Increases Joint Flexibility

As we grow older, our joints tighten, and our range of motion degrades. Massaging can be very effective in such cases as it helps to improve joint flexibility. This happens because while massaging, the pressure applied stimulates the nervous system and lessens the tensions. 

6. Helps Patients with Autoimmune Diseases

In autoimmune diseases, the immune system weakens and attacks its own body cells. There are treatments and medications available for such conditions, but massaging can help increase the efficacy of those medications. 

7. Comforts Cancer Patients

Studies show that hot stone massage is beneficial for cancer patients as it helps boost the immune system. Cancer patients also have a lack of iron which makes bearing cold temperatures difficult for them. So, when hot stones are used, they feel comfortable and warm. 

Hot Stone Massage Side Effects

Hot Stone Massage Side Effects

Just like a coin has two sides, hot stone massage also has pros and cons. Though hot stone massage provides numerous health benefits, there are specific contraindications to it. Have a look at some of them:

1. Skin Breakage

If your body has an injury, cuts, or bruises, it might worsen due to a hot stone massage. The stones or the massaging oil can also infect the injured area. Such persons might inform the therapist about their injuries and ask them to be careful. 

2. Contagious Diseases

People suffering from contagious diseases like fever, cough, common cold, or flu should not opt for a hot stone massage, making them feel uncomfortable. 

3. Pregnant Women

A hot stone massage is not usually recommended for pregnant women. However, prenatal massage can be relaxing. 

4. Sanitation of Stones

It is essential to properly sanitize all the stones before and after every massage. If the stones are not well sanitized, bacteria might grow on them and get passed on to various clients and therapists. 

5. Overheated Stones

The temperature of the stones must be checked well before applying them over the body. Too hot stones can cause skin burns. Also, the stones must be placed on the bare skin or below the body. 

6. Other Diseases

People who have diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, or asthma should consult a doctor before going for a hot stone massage as it might discomfort them. 

Hot Stone Massage Procedure

The hot stone massage procedure starts with heating nearly 50 basalt stones of various shapes and sizes at a temperature of 130°F to 145°F in a water heater. And this temperature needs to be maintained because if the weather is too high, it might burn the skin, whereas, in a cold climate, some bacteria might develop on the stones. So, it’s necessary to keep a check on the thermometer.

Another key point to be considered is that the hot stones are never directly placed on the bare skin. The stones are firstly dried up by placing them over a towel and then are allowed to cool a little. Within that period, the therapist massages the oil gently over the body to warm up and is prepared for the hot stones. 

Once the stones are hot enough to be placed on the skin, the therapist then positions the stones on various parts of the body. Usually, the therapist puts the stones on the spines, palms, toes, and cheeks or forehead. Stones might also be placed on some specific areas of the body as per the need. After positioning the stones, it takes a few minutes for the heat of the stones to get penetrated into the body. 

The therapist then grabs the stones on the palms and gently moves them over the body. This comfortably helps in releasing muscle tension. The process continues until the stones are hot or the body feels relaxed.

In Closing

Who would not love relaxing with a hot stone massage? A hot stone massage is an excellent therapy for releasing all your muscle aches, stress and boosting your mood. But one must also understand that this massage is not for all. Anyone with physical injuries or certain diseases must not go for therapy before consulting their doctors.

While massaging, the therapist needs to take proper care and deliver the process with utmost patience and knowledge as hot stone massage techniques are enjoyable only when done cautiously. Otherwise, it could have adverse effects on the body. If all precautions are taken care of, then the massage procedure can be very comforting and relaxing. 

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article on hot stone massage benefits and side effects!

Dr Maria

MD. Board Certified physician. Fellowship In Family Medicine UK. 8 years of medical experience in Lifestyle-related health disorders. Graduated from AIIMS – All India Institute Of Medical Science, INDIA

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