The warm stone massage keeps me very busy all year round here at CaloSpa, and for good reason. I use all the beneficial techniques of our signature and deep tissue but with the added element of heat. The heat from the stones helps your muscles relax, allowing me to manipulate your deep tissue more effectively making for an extremely relaxing and effective experience.
For those who haven’t had the pleasure of having a hot stone massage, it consists of both hot and warm smooth river rock stones being used as a massage tool as well as being placed along different points of the body. The stones are heated in water, typically between 110-120 degrees. The stones are made of basalt, this allows them to retain and hold heat very effectively. They are all different shapes and sizes… larger stones are used for placement as well as used on the back and legs, my smaller/medium stones are great for the arms and neck. There’s even, very small, tiny stones that are placed between the toes and used on the face, (great for sinus pressure). Because the stones are very hot to start, the massage is very fast moving at first. I need to keep the stones constantly in motion so its effective and safe for my client until the heat has dissipated to a more comfortable temperature. This allows me to then slow down the massage and work deep into the muscles. After I’ve used the stones on the body and all the heat has been absorbed, I’ll tuck them under my client and move onto the next set of stones. If a deeper tissue massage is what you desire, I like to warm up the tissue with the stone first, after the muscles have absorbed the heat I’ll tuck the stones under the client and move onto using my hands and forearms for more effective trigger point therapy. Onto the history…
- Hot stone massage has a very interesting history and can be traced to thousands of years ago…
The Japanese used stones to warm their abdomens to improve digestion about 4,000 years ago (Brixton Therapy Center).
- Ancient Chinese used heated stones more than 2,000 years ago to improve the function of internal organs (Mayrhofer, 2010).
- Native Americans used hot stones during rituals and in sweat lodges hundred years ago, during ceremonies, hot stones were heated using “the four elements – water, fire, air, and earth and then passed around to rub against areas of the body with ailments” (Lipoff). The stones were also used on the lower abdomen to relieve cramps (Hahana Stone Massage).
- Hawaiian have used hot stones for massage and healing for many years (Lipoff). Heated lava stones are placed directly on the body to increase blood circulation (Lipoff).
- Stones were also used for healing in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, Egypt by laying them on the body, carrying or wearing stones for health and protection, and using stones for diagnosis and treatment of disease (Mayrhofer, 2010).
So why not upgrade your next massage to a warm stone? I find that there’s quite a cult following among my clientele with the warm stone, and they rarely stray from it.
Always check with your doctor before getting a hot stone massage, contraindications for warm stone include, pregnant women and people with high blood pressure–are advised to avoid this type of therapy.
Amy Green, LMT