As the cooler months begin to approach, it may be a great time to consider therapeutic Hot Stones Massage Therapy. This is a very wonderfully soothing treatment, not just to dispel tightness and tension in the physical body, but for easing out stress and tension in the mind.
What is a Hot Stones Massage?
I am always astounded that many clients who visit my therapy practice believe that Hot Stones Massage is simply the placing of warmed stones on specific areas of the body. I think their impressions have been fuelled by seeing images on the Internet and social media of stones being strategically placed along certain points of the body, especially along the spine.
Whilst Hot Stones Massage can include stone placement, which is the placing of stones on energy or acupressure points on the body, for the most part Hot Stones is more similar to Swedish massage, but instead of using hands, it uses Hot (or rather heated) Stones. The stones I use are smooth, flat-sided basalt stones with a shallow edge. Basalt stones are ideally suited, because they are rich in iron and as such retain their heat for longer.
A Hot Stones Massage uses techniques similar to Swedish massage, where the pressure may vary depending on where the Hot Stones are applied on the body. The main techniques I use are are long gliding and circulatory movements applying the flat edge of the stone (effleurage and friction techniques of Swedish massage); and with the narrow edge of the stone I twist, tap and vibrate the tissues and muscles (petrissage and tapotement or percussion techniques of Swedish massage).
In terms of stone placement I often place a heated large sacral stone just above the coccyx to soothe the base of the spine (especially whilst working on the legs). I also place slender, elongated stones behind the knees when working on the top of the legs or the back. Additionally, I may place these elongated stones within the client’s hands whilst working on the arms and the upper chest and face. Some other massage therapists may place small stones between the toes or fingers, but generally I find this an uncomfortable practice for the client so I don’t bother.
Preparing the Stones
Before commencement of the treatment, the stones are heated in a specially designed bain marie type basin. The inner basin is filled with water and the stones submerged in it. The outer container/element heats the water in the inner basin and maintains it thermostatically to a specific temperature setting. A thermometer is used to check this. Generally I never heat beyond 62 degrees Celsius. Some therapists heat at a lower temperature. The guidelines are 50-65 degrees Celsius. I prefer mine to be hotter so that they hold their internal heat for longer. I cool the outer surface by submerging the stones briefly in cold water before drying off and applying to pre-oiled skin.
A Hot Stones Massage should never cause discomfort or pain, either in terms of the heat or the pressure applied. Always explain your preferences and voice your concerns to the therapist who is undertaking the massage.
What is Hot Stones Massage Good For?
Clients enjoy the soothing heat of the stones, either because they’re extremely tense and stressed from a long day’s work (typically hunched over the computer). Or they love the effect the heat and pressure has on loosening and releasing tight or over-exercised muscles (especially after a gym visit, a run or after gardening work). Or they love the calming effect on the nervous system these stones have when easing out cramps, tender spots and pain in the body.
The Hot Stones massage treatment is particularly well suited for period pain, general back ache (especially lower back tension), tight muscles in the upper legs and calves.
Whatever your need though, be assured that Hot Stones Massage is a truly relaxing, mind, body and and soul reviving massage.
When to avoid Hot Stones Massage Therapy?
Hot Stones Massage is generally contraindicated for the following:
- open wounds
- burns on the skin
- a bleeding disorder or you’re taking blood thinning medication
- a history of blood clots
- have had major surgery within the last 6 months
- are suffering from a fracture (although there may be a work-around if this is localised to one part of the body)
- severe osteoporosis
- low platelet count
If you have any doubts, concerns or questions though, please do consult your therapist for more information.
These tips apply to most therapies and especially any type of massage:
- drink plenty of water to help with the toxin release and to prevent any headaches forming after a heat treatment (you will probably be feeling thirsty anyway)
- avoid any sporting activity, any vigorous or strenuous form of movement, at least until the next day
- avoid nicotine, alcohol, caffeine for the next 12-24 hours if possible to support the detox benefits of the massage.
For the Curious – the History of Hot Stones Massage
The earliest records of any type of Hot Stones treatment go back 5,000 years. This was the Ayurvedic practice of the Hindus in India. They placed heated stones on the body to relax tense muscles and relieve associated pain.
Approximately 3,000 years later (2,000 BCE), the Chinese used Bian stones combined with burning mugwort to treat diseases. They also placed stones onto the abdomen to aid digestion.
Later, the natives of the Sandwish islands (modern-day Hawaii), learnt that wrapping heated lava rocks in leaves and leaving them on the body brought pain relief.
Afterwards, heated stones found their use in the sweat lodges of North America. Although not placed directly on the body, the natives realised that the heat produced did ease out tense muscles and induced the whole body to relax.
Whatever your need, I’m sure a Hot Stones Therapy massage will be the tonic of the day, especially if undertaken in a wonderful ambience of low lighting, diffused scented oil and gentle, relaxing music.
Recent Client Review
There are have been many glowing reviews, this recent one made it to the tope of the list. He said he had many massages before, but the Hot Stones Massage he had…
Was the best massage I’ve ever had, 100% recommended. – Connor
Check out the Testimonials page for more rave reviews.
What our clients are saying about our massage treatments...
Wow! What else can I say? Had a neck, shoulder and back massage with Esther last night. I have had many massages but this was by far the best! Then I had a Reflexology treatment which was amazing. Thank you very much Esther. Next treatment already booked. Looking forward to it very much.
Myself and Sophie went for a full Swedish body massage from Esther and it was a great experience. Full consultation prior to the massage making us both feel really comfortable in a relaxing environment. We both felt very relaxed afterwards and would highly recommend Esther for anyone looking to take an hour out of their day to relax and enjoy a massage. Thank you - great service.
Had a wonderful experience with MindBody Oasis. It turned out to be just what I needed after a stressful couple of months.
Firstly, Esther is an absolutely lovely lady who makes you feel very at ease.
Secondly, I loved the treatments I had. I had the Swedish full body massage and a couple of weeks later, I had the ageLOC mud facial (both with Esther). The massage was fantastic. It was very relaxing and helped to relieve tension I had in my body, especially in my shoulders and in my calves.
The facial was also great and helped to deeply cleanse my problematic skin. Both treatments were great for resetting my mind and preparing me for the next working day.
I can't wait to come back and try more treatments! Thank you xx
Esther is a talented and knowledgeable therapist, who takes the time to explain your treatment and makes sure you're comfortable throughout. I can particularly recommend the hot stones massage, and face and foot reflexology.
I would recommend the Indian Head massage and reflexology. I have had both treatments and they were truly amazing.
Esther is very professional and her treatments are something else. This is why I am going to continue having regular treatments.
I spoke to Esther about a back, neck and shoulder massage for the purposes of relief of tension. The treatment was effective and I was able to fully relax and switch off; something I deeply value in the busyness that is life! I have recommended Esthers treatments to friends and I am happy to offer a 5* review.
Esther is the most giving, caring massage and age defence therapist you could ever wish for. She is 5* all the way. Thank you Esther for extending my birthday celebrations with your "beyond the call of duty" pampering.