By Joy Sablatura, LMT
What are the benefits of hot stone massage? It’s relaxing and increases circulation to the specific area being treated. This increased circulation, called “hyperemia” brings in fresh blood with its oxygen and nutrients to assist in healing. The sedative aspect calms the nervous system and brings the client into a deeper state of relaxation. Brain waves slow down and the client enters into an alpha state, similar to meditation where peace and calm soothe the soul. The warm stones relax the muscles and allow for deeper penetration of massage techniques. They can be used on any tight muscles or spasms, and for increasing joint mobility, sweating and elimination. Cold stones constrict blood vessels and offer an analgesic effect. They provide relief for inflammation.
When a therapist applies alternating hot and cold stones to a client’s muscles, the extreme temperatures rapidly increase circulation to that area, flushing out toxins and bringing in nutrients to speed healing. Cold stones are also useful after deep tissue work, which breaks muscle fibers apart and causes some inflammation. The cool stones soothe the inflammation and aid in repairing the tissue. Any injury, inflammation or blockage in the body can be helped with cold stones. They also are beneficial in treating scar tissue and adhesions, arthritis, MS, constipation, and mild depression. While hot stone massage is a popular spa service, it is the rare massage therapist who offers both hot and cold stone massage.
The benefits of the alternating heat and cold create a very blissful experience for the client. And God knows, we need more bliss during these stressful times! Try it, you will love it!