Hot stone massage therapy has gained popularity in recent years. In simplest terms this is a massage in which flat, smooth rocks are heated and then the rocks are placed at specific points along the body. The art of hot stone massage and exactly how it affects the human body is more complicated, however, than just placing warm stones on achy muscles.
First, the stones must be heated to a precise temperature. They’re usually heated in water that is 130 to 150 degrees. As the stones cool the therapist will use new ones that are heated. Second, the stones will be placed strategically, at just the right points on the body. Larger stones are placed on larger muscles. Finally, the warmed muscles allow a therapist to work deeper layers in the muscles. Sometimes the therapist will work the muscles using the stones. Other times the stones are removed and the therapist will use his or her hands for the massage.
There are many benefits when receiving a hot stone massage. With a natural sedative effect, the warm stones can reduce stress, expand blood vessels for better blood flow, and improve muscle and joint flexibility. It can even help improve metabolism. Sometimes cooler stones are used along with warmer stones. This technique is sometimes used after an individual has suffered an injury and has swelling in the joints or muscles.
An individual seeking a hot stone massage should do enough research to make sure the person giving the massage has been properly trained. This is a skill that even otherwise trained massage therapists are not necessarily qualified to do. Individuals with diabetes, heart disease, or those with a sunburn should consult with a physician before receiving this type of massage.
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