Hot Stone Massage – An Overview
The hot stone massage is a type of massage therapy that involves the use of smooth, heated stones. The stones used here at Vancouver Massage Center are special contoured Hot Stone massage tools that Synergize (or combine) the radiant heat, the relaxing Swedish and therapeutic Deep Tissue Bodywork of the therapist, and the relaxing environment provided at our center.
They are called “Synergy Stones” because of this special combination of stones and pressure on the body by the therapist, which together create not only relaxation in the body, but a sense of well-being and wholeness. They were developed by LMT Scott Wynn to enhance his client’s massage experience while also saving his hands from the extreme workout they were getting day after day.
Synergy Stones blend Hot Stone Relaxation with Therapeutic Results for the Ultimate Massage experience. The massage therapist places the hot stones on specific points on your body and will often continue to hold the stones while giving the massage, as opposed to letting them rest on parts of your body or spine. The localized heat and weight of the stones both warm and relax muscles, while the help-stone massage technique allows the massage therapist to apply deeper pressure to those areas without causing discomfort.
While basalt river rocks are typically used because they are smooth (from the river’s current) and retain heat well, Synergy Stones are man-made, with a special, patented mix of materials that not only replicate the basalt rock properties but extend and enhance the retention of warmth, better accessibility to muscles and tendons, due to their unique and specifically designed shape which perfectly fit certain body shapes.
In preparation for the Synergy Stone treatment, your massage therapist will begin by heating the stones in a controlled manner (so that they can never cause burns or uncomfortable feeling) until they are within a precise temperature range, typically between 110 and 130 F. It is especially important to note that in order to prevent burns, microwaves, ovens, hot plates, and slow cookers are never used.
While massage therapists often use anatomy to guide the placement of the stones, some therapists will also place stones on points thought to energetically balance the mind and body. The Swedish Massage therapy techniques is usually the style of massage underlying the massage, which may include long strokes and kneading and rolling.
People often describe hot stone massage as comforting and deeply relaxing. The warmth is especially soothing for people who tend to feel chilly. The heat of the stones causes muscles to relax, allowing the therapist to work deeper while also using lighter pressure.
While the benefits of heated stone massage have not been studied specifically, some preliminary studies are suggesting that massage, in general, may provide benefits to people with conditions including prenatal depression, pain syndromes such as arthritis or fibromyalgia, hypertension, autoimmune conditions and aging-related conditions including Parkinson’s and dementia. And thus, adding the extra benefit of warmth and pressure to muscles, limbs, and overall body massage, it’s hard to deny the benefits that many claims – without being a certified scientist!
Some uses for a hot stone massage could be for the following conditions:
Tightness in musculature
Is It Painful?
The usual answer must be No. The hot stones are all smooth with no edges or elements that could cause pinching or discomfort. However, if the stones ARE too hot or uncomfortable, be sure to let the massage therapist know immediately. This is sometimes hard to judge exactly, as different people have different reactions to hot or cold, warm or cool, or could be extremely sensitive on one day or another.
The heat of the stones allows the massage therapist to work on deep tissue if needed. As with any massage, however, massage therapy should never hurt (unless it is part of deep massage therapy, for example) and you should tell your massage therapist if you feel any pain or discomfort.
Some further benefits to Hot Stone Massage can be:
1) Warmth, Custom Pressure, and Heat-Wave Techniques blend into an Ultra-Relaxing SYNERGY of Sensation.
2) Warms muscles, tendons, and ligaments for true healing therapy.
3) Promotes relaxation of muscle knots and trigger points with custom pressure.
4) Relieves muscle pain and discomfort by spreading tight muscle fibers.
5) Soothes the Millions of Pressure, Motion, and Temperature receptors in the Skin.
6) Encourages improved Blood and Lymph circulation.
7) Helps detoxify the body and tone the skin.
8) Stimulates the immune system and activates the body’s Healing Response.
9) Calms the nervous system, Calms the mind, and Decreases stress.
What to Expect
During the massage, the therapist uses uniquely designed and formed stones on specific points on the body. While the points may vary depending on the areas of muscle tension and the client’s health history, the stones are generally used in the following ways:
Soothe: Slow and Soft like water flowing.
Circle: Small or large Circles feel Amazing.
Knead: Figure-8 motion relieves tension.
Sculpt: Deeper, Slower, more intentional.
Rake: Rapid back and forth get the Heat Going.
Wring: Out with Old Energy, In with Pure Love.
Rock: To and Fro like ocean Waves.. Ahhh…
Compress: Gentle Broad Wave of Pressure.
Tapote: Rhythmic Percussion Invigorates!
Small stones may be placed between the toes or on the forehead.
As the stones are used on your body, it may take a few minutes for the heat to penetrate, especially if used through a sheet or towel which may be initially used so that the therapist and you can both discern whether the stones are too hot.
The therapist applies massage oil to the skin first. Holding the stones in both hands, the therapist will then use gliding movements to move the stones along the muscles, spine and limbs. The length of a typical hot stone massage is 60 minutes but can often be lengthened to 90 minutes.
Who Shouldn’t Get a Hot Stone Massage
While hot stone massage is generally considered safe when performed by a trained and licensed massage therapist, it may not be right for everyone. Consult your doctor if you have a medical condition that might concern you.
Whether you’re deciding for a hot stone massage for the first time or are already a fan of massage and interested in trying something new, talk with our massage therapist about whether hot stone massage is appropriate for you.
You can contact us here:
Vancouver Massage Center
3021 NE 72nd Drive, Suite 5,
Vancouver, WA 98661