Hot Stone Massage
Hot stone massage uses soothing oils, warm basalt and sometimes cold marble stones to relax your muscles, allowing for a deeper and more intense all-over massage.
In hot stone therapy, your therapist applies smooth, water-heated basalt stones to key points on your body. This direct heat relaxes your muscles, which means that the massage itself is more effective and intense than it would be otherwise. The size of the stones varies, according to which part of the body your therapist is treating.
What is hot stone massage good for?
It is generally accepted that alternating treatments of warmth and cold are beneficial, and help to soothe an aching body. What we often need to do is combine both hot and cold. There’s a method behind the apparent madness of leaping from a toasty sauna into an icy pool: hot stone therapy uses the same principle. Heat expands the blood vessels, cold constricts them.
The combination of relaxing warmth and refreshing coolness is thought to encourage the body to detox and heal, increasing lymph flow and helping to flush out waste. With the addition of heat, your body becomes relaxed in a much shorter space of time, and your therapist can focus on a deep working of the tissues using both the stones and her hand strokes.
The stones are coated in fragrant oil to increase your sense of relaxation and calm. Oil is smoothed gently onto your body, and each stone in turn is worked by your therapist’s hands.
Hot stone massage can:
- boost your circulation
- release stored tension
- recharge your energy levels
- relax you.
Hot stone massage is said to have health benefits for people with:
- muscular pain
- poor circulation
- rheumatic and arthritic conditions
- back pain
As with all spa therapies, though, never underestimate the feel-good factor. Hot stone massage will make you feel nurtured, pampered and special.
Before your treatment begins, tell your therapist about any medical conditions you have. Share anything significant, as your therapist will take your medical history into account when choosing the right stones and techniques for your body. For similar reasons, tell your therapist if you are, or think you might be, pregnant.
What to expect from hot stone massage
You’re in for a treat, so indulge as much as you can. Arrive early so you have time enough to relax and absorb your surroundings. Your treatment is likely to last about an hour; plenty of time for melting away all your knots, aches and worries. It’s not a good idea to eat a heavy meal or drink alcohol in the hours running up to your hot stone therapy.
You won’t be able to wear much for this treatment, so check with the spa beforehand if you have any worries. It’s usually fine to wear bikini bottoms or knickers during this massage and – worry not – your therapist will be highly skilled at preserving your modesty with strategically-placed towels.
You’ll undress and lie down in private, while your therapist waits outside. When you’re ready, she will place the warm, oiled stones on many different acupressure points around your body, perhaps even tiny ones between each of your toes. As you relax, you may start drifting off into a dreamy state and stop counting or noticing where the stones are being arranged.
Your therapist will use a variety of strokes and techniques to massage you, working the stones and her hands over the kinks in your muscles. The massage may be quite strong, although you are unlikely to feel the intensity since your muscles will be relaxed by the stones.
Your therapist may alternate between hot basalt stones and much colder, marble ones. As your body sinks further into a state of relaxation, you may even stop noticing the extreme changes in temperature.
You will probably feel deeply relaxed, blissed-out and meditative after your massage. Some people have reported closing their eyes and seeing bright colours. Enjoy the afterglow, float slowly back to the real world and re-hydrate your body by sipping plenty of water.
The essential oils used in massages will make you smell and feel beautiful, but they can be very hostile towards hairstyles. Another reason why you should book hot stone treatments on a day when you won’t have to rush out somewhere afterwards. Besides, you’ll feel so relaxed and soothed after your treatment, jumping in the car and tackling the rush hour traffic might seem sacrilegious.
- Refrain from eating a large meal an hour or so before your sessions
- Drink more water after your massage session to assist your body in natural detoxifying ability