hot stone massage 101: everything you should know

 In Lincoln Park

The word “hot” in hot stone massage can scare people away, but it’s probably one of the more soothing types of massages offered at a spa. If you have never had a hot stone massage but want to try it, here is everything you should know about this type of bodywork.

Equipment
Stones come in many shapes and sizes for hot stone massages. Depending on your body type, the massage therapist will determine which stones will be the most effective: bigger stones are used for the back and legs; smaller stones are used for the face and feet; and pointed stones are used to get deeper into muscles. The stones are heated in a pot with hot water. When the therapist is ready to use one, they will spoon out a stone, place it in a towel for a few seconds to cool it off.

Technique
Before using the stones, the therapist will gently massage the body for a few minutes using oil to warm up the tissues and loosen muscles. The therapist will then remove the stones from the pot and cool them down to a tolerable temperature for the client. Similar to getting into a hot tub, the initial feeling may be alarming since your body is not used to such warm temperatures, but you will adapt quickly. If you feel it is too hot, let your therapist know and she will give the stones extra time to cool off.

The therapist will begin by placing one of the larger stones, wrapped in a towel, near the end of the spine. This is a very delicate part of the back which is why a sedentary hot stone is used. The therapist will use a stone in each hand to gently glide them up and down the back to spread the tissue and release muscle tension. These stones should act as extension of the therapist’s hands. As we mentioned before, the therapist will sometimes use longer, pointed stones in order to get deeper into muscles, such as the scapula or the base of the back.

Benefits
The primary benefit of a hot stone massage is deep muscle relaxation. These treatments are more effective than other massages when it comes to getting deeper into the tissue. If you have overly stiff or tight muscles, you will get more out of a hot stone massage than any other type of bodywork. Additionally, as the heat from the stones infiltrates your body, this opens up blood vessels, allowing improved circulation.

A hot stone massage can also result in mental benefits as well as physical. Many clients find that the relaxation acquired through a hot stone massage can help ease and stress or tension in the mind. While massage therapy is not a substitute for traditional medical care, it should be an integral part of your well being.
If you’re considering scheduling a hot stone massage at Spavia, we welcome the opportunity to show you the many therapeutic advantages we have to offer.