What Is Hot Stone Massage

How does Hot Stone Massage differ from other massage techniques?

If you’ve ever wondered what hot stone massage was all about, I can give you some pointers and good reasons why you will want to try it out as soon as you can.

First, hot stone massage has actually been around for hundreds and hundreds of years.It is a great way to relax the tissue in ways that the human hands can’t. Our human hands can’t really carry or exude heat of course.

So, the best way to transfer heat to the tissue is to use hot stones which are usually rounded and smooth so that there is a little friction as possible made with the skin. These heated stones are a really nice way to relax the body’s tissue in one area or zone, while the therapist is working on another part of the body.

heat-wave-synergy-stone-upgradeEvery therapist has a different routine as well as types of stones used which include a wide variety of sizes and shapes. Each different type of stone is used in their individual routine as well as on particular parts of the body for which they were shaped. Some stones are warmed carefully in microwave ovens, while others are heated using temperature controlled warming blankets.

The stones are brought into play in combination with oils which most people already associate with a massage. The oils, of course, help the stones to not stick to and burn the clients’ skin. Using the oil, the stones glide very nicely over the skin, relaxing the tissue and muscles in ways that normal massage, without the warm stones, never could.

One of the reasons for using stones as a warming agent is because they hole the heat/warmth for a long time in a very controlled way, which is necessary with massage. After all, we do not want the client experiencing temperature spikes and dips, which would only confuse the body tissue and defeat the purpose of the massage session.

Using hot stones as a massage medium, only moderate pressure is used to begin. The stones usually stay hot for several minutes, so the therapist has a good amount of time to really affect that tissue.

Here, at Vancouver Massage Center, we use a particular type and brand of heated stones which come in many different shapes and sizes. These stones are ergonomically developed to fit perfectly to various parts of the body and work the tissues well beyond the capabilities of just the therapists’ hands.


Six Benefits Of Hot Stone Massage

Muscle Relaxation

Your massage therapist will be able to manipulate your deep tissues much more effectively after your muscles relax properly thanks to the heat of the stones.

Pain Relief

The heat from the stones provides great pain relief and helps with many different pain conditions.

Mental Benefits

Combats anxiety and stress and promotes mental clarity and peace of mind, and may combat certain symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders.

Improved Sleep

Hot stone massage, like other forms of massage therapy help, promote relaxation to fight insomnia.

Improved Circulation

The heat of the stones penetrates deep into the body’s tissues opening blood vessels to improve circulation and deliver more oxygen to the muscles to help ease muscle pain and aches.

General Relaxation and Stress Relief

A hot stone massage melts away stress, and the accompanying aches, pains and mental turmoil that it brings and the relaxation response it elicits brings calm to the body, mind, and spirit to counteract the many negative effects of stress.


How to Pick a Massage Center – What to Look For

When you’re searching for a spa that provides hot stone massage treatment you’re definitely going to want to look for one that’s a little higher quality and make sure that the massage therapist providing the hot stone treatments have been given a thorough education on how to do so. We pride ourselves on meeting those criteria here at Vancouver Massage Center, with team members who have been trained in using hot stones.

One of the questions that you can ask them is how ‘hot’ do they heat the stones typically. The answer you are looking for is that they would want to say somewhere between a hundred and thirty-five, to two hundred and forty-five degrees.

If they can’t answer that question you probably don’t want them to be using the stones on you. In extreme cases where untrained staff uses hot stones, the possibility exists that people can be lightly burned by the stones. But we want to stress that this is extremely uncommon, and usually is a sign that the person was not educated on how to handle the stones properly.

The stones should never burn you, and again this is actually very rare, but being armed with just a little bit of education and asking the right questions can save you a whole lot of time and pain, ensuring that you end up getting a well-trained therapist when you go looking for a great massage center to get your hot stone massage from.

Another misconception is that the stones are only used on the back, usually left to rest on the spine, as is often seen in photos of someone getting a hot stone massage. But that could not be further from the truth. The hot stone massage, especially using preformed and specific stones, is meant to be experienced over the entire body.


What Happens during a Hot Stone Massage

So what happens during a hot stone massage is a question that is often get asked. It’s much like having a typical massage a Swedish massage. You’re going to lay on the covers underneath the sheets and the parts of the body being worked on with the stones or the ones that are going to be uncovered by the sheet the stones will be applied to your skin.

vancouver-massage-center-hot-stone-foot-massageAt first when they’re hot, hopefully, your massage therapist will keep them moving at a speed that they don’t feel too hot on your skin. And this is where it’s important to communicate with your massage therapist so if at any time it feels a little too hot, just let them know and they can cool the stones down.

They can also select another set or they can work on an area of the body that can take a little more heat. Another technique is that of just speeding up the motion of the stones which actually makes them feel cooler.

Many people don’t know when they’re getting their first hot stone massage that you don’t just get massaged with the hot stones but they actually get placed on certain centers of your body.

For example, if you have a back massage the massage therapist will typically leave the stones behind along your spine in order to keep you continuously warm while the other areas are accessed and massaged. That is what you can typically expect from a hot stone massage and I am sure you are going to enjoy every minute of it.


Bringing the Hot Stone Massage Session to a Close

Once the therapist is done with the hot stone massage they will remove all the stones before allowing the client to get off the table. They will then make sure that there aren’t any stones hidden under towels that could accidentally fall and break or hurt someone, in their hands or otherwise on the table.

Once the stones are removed, they will likely do an overall compression, just to tie it all together. That would include a little bit of jostling, which is rocking, bringing the energy down.

Then, letting my client know that it’s time to get up, they’ll help you rise from the table. The preferred method is to have you bring your arms out, grabbing one arm of the therapist, then the other side, and then they help you get up from the prone position.

You might be feeling a little bit dizzy from the heat treatment, so you’ll want to make sure that you are up and feeling good before you leave the room.



Get well, get healthy…go get a massage!

Our team at Zanctuary – Vancouver Massage Center is one of the premier trained and certified massage centers in the Northwest and we look forward to helping you find relief and a healthier body through massage.

Call today to book an appointment with us! 360-869-0212

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