For most people, getting a massage is a treat and is often carried out when an individual is feeling particularly sore and stressed. The term ‘massage’ however, is quite broad, because truthfully there are countless different forms of massage and massage therapy, with each one being designed to provide the recipient with a whole cacophony of different health benefits. One form of massage therapy that is incredibly popular and extremely beneficial, is hot stone massage therapy, and it is this particular practice that we’ll be taking a more in-depth look at right now.
What is Hot Stone Therapy?
Put very simply, hot stone massage is a holistic healing process in which warmed stones are placed directly onto the skin of the recipient’s body, to offer them a series of therapeutic and wellness benefits. Typically these stones are smooth stones, often basalt stones, or the ones that you find in rivers and fast-flowing stretches of water, which get their smooth texture because they have been eroded smooth from the water. As the stones are so rich in basalt, once warmed through, they retain their heat for a very long time, making them perfect for prolonged massage sessions. Hot stone massage therapy is not a new concept, in fact, it is a practice which has been carried out for thousands of years, particularly in China, where it was, and still is in fact, an integral part of traditional Chinese medicine.
What are the Primary Health Benefits of Hot Stone Massage?
Now that we’ve looked at what a hot stone massage is, and what it entails, let’s now take a look at a few primary health and wellness benefits associated with getting a hot stone massage:
- Helps Ease Pain – One of the main benefits associated with hot stone massage, is the fact that it has been proven to provide substantial amounts of pain relief. For anybody dealing with muscular pain, joint pain, or any other form of internal pain for that matter, a hot stone massage could be exactly what they need. Because of the heat the stones retain, once placed upon the affected area, the massage therapist is able to really penetrate down much deeper than they would with a standard massage.
- Relaxes Muscles – Another great benefit of hot stone massage is the fact that the heat from the stones can also help to encourage your muscles to relax, which again, could also assist with pain relief. When the muscles relax, they will be far less tense and will therefore be far less sore and tender. Not only that, but when the muscles have relaxed, the therapist is then able to really manipulate the muscle tissues a great deal more efficiently, making the massage more productive. For easing stiffness, tightness, soreness, and tension, you really cannot go wrong with a hot stone treatment.
- Boosts Circulation – Hot stone massage therapy has also been proven to help boost circulation, allowing more nutrient and oxygen-rich blood to be pumped around the body. The heat from the stones helps the blood vessels to relax and it has a vasodilating effect on them, causing them to widen. The wider they become, the more blood they can transport around the body. This is not only beneficial for general health and well-being, it is also beneficial for people involved in athletic and sporting events, as the more oxygen the blood can transport to the muscle cells, the more efficient the muscles will work, and the better you will perform athletically.
- Relieves Stress – Not only can hot stone massages help to alleviate pain, tension, and discomfort in the body, it can also help to ease stress and to calm your mind in the process. Once the warmed stones come into contact with your skin, they instantly will have a calming sedative-like effect, that will help you to relax and alleviate your stress levels. Stress can manifest itself in all kinds of different ways, and if it is not addressed, it can go on to evolve into even more serious conditions, plus it can lead to various other health ailments in the process. For people dealing with stress, and similar mental health conditions, hot stones, when placed on specific trigger points, will almost instantly alleviate their symptoms, leaving them feeling calmer and more relaxed than ever before.
- Improves Flexibility – Some people are a great deal more flexible than others, and if you feel that your flexibility levels could benefit from a little improvement, then a hot stone massage could be exactly what you need. The hot stones, when placed onto the body, provide anti-inflammatory benefits that help to improve mobility and general movement in and around the joints, therefore increasing your flexibility in the process. For people suffering with joint conditions such as arthritis, or painful joints in general, a hot stone massage will boost your flexibility and increase your range of motion in and around the affected areas.
- Improves General Health and Well-being – Finally, as if all of the above wasn’t beneficial enough, there is also the added bonus of the fact that hot stone massage therapy has been found to promote health and well-being in general. To begin with, there are the psychological benefits as it has been proven to improve stress levels, then of course, there is the fact that it will leave you feeling less sore, less tender, and more flexible. The fact that the process will also boost your circulation and your blood oxygen levels is also very important, as poor circulation and poor oxygen transportation can leave you feeling tired and fatigued. By having a hot stone massage however, your energy levels will increase, and you will feel much better as a result.
Interested in trying out a relaxing, healthful massage in Dublin? Find out more on our Hot Stone Massage page.