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Hot Stone Massage can be a dual purpose massage. Due to the heat of the stones, it is always a highly relaxing, stress reduction massage. The hardness of the stones allows the therapist to address specific problem areas with more detailed work or deeper pressure.
Additional recommended knowledge
Basalt stones of various sizes, shapes and weights are used throughout. Some stones are the size of the tip of your thumb (these are used between the toes), while others can be very large - 2 or 3 pounds (1 to 1½ kg) in weight. These larger stones are normally used on the sacrum or low abdomen.
The stones are heated using water, and the ideal, safe temperature range of the heated water should range from 130 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit (54–63 °C). Heavy duty rubber gloves or a slotted spoon is used by the therapist to remove stones from the heating container. The job of the experienced, trained therapist is to closely monitor the heat level of the stones before placing on the client, plus keep track of which stones are to be used on various parts of the body. Stones which are too low in temperature fail to adequately relax the stressed muscle tissues and simply do not feel all that good. Alternatively, stones that are way too hot will impart extreme discomfort and anxiety to the client. Fortunately, the human body has an excellent temperature gauge and a client in most cases will and should, immediately respond in a negative way to an excessively hot stone, which tells the therapist to remove the stone. A good stone therapist will use a constant read digital thermometer in the heated water, keeping a vigilant watch on the temperature range.
The stones are used in two ways during the massage. One is to impart heat onto the body by laying stones under the client with a layer of fabric between the client and stone (a sheet or towel) and/or on top of the client, again upon a towel. Stone layout typically will be along both sides of the the spine, or along the chakra centers on top and baseball sized stones would be placed in the hands. While these layout stones are delivering concentrated centers of heat, the therapist is simultaneously massaging the client with oiled, heated stones held in the palm of the hand with firm strokes along the muscles of the legs, arms, and torso areas.
An authentic hot stone massage is not simply the "gliding" of heated stones lightly upon the surface of the skin, but rather the stones are used as tools to deliver effective tissue and muscle massage at a pressure level comfortable to the client. The client can request light, medium or deep pressure, which is the beauty of the hot stone massage technique. It can be customized in an instant to the request of the client. The hardness of the stones makes for a fantastic deep tissue massage and is easy on the joints of the therapists hands.
A good stone massage, when properly performed, will accomplish many of the goals and benefits of other massage modalities. Many paths often lead to the same destination - and so it is with a great stone massage.
The heat from the stones relaxes muscles, increase the blood flow to the area being worked on which further accelerates the healing process. The heat also greatly aids in mental relaxation.
Stones need to be kept heated in clean, sanitized water between 130 to 145 degrees. If your therapist is not using rubber gloves or a tool to remove the stones from the hot water, be cautious of unsanitary conditions. Hot water prevents the growth of bacteria. Water temperatures kept too low may allow the proliferation of bacteria, algae, and mold, especially if the water has not been changed. The best way to get a safe hot stone massage is to inquire how many hours of hot stone training the therapist has received. The best trainings consist of 3 to 5 full days of intensive training. A one day class, or 2 hour video training is not sufficient.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Stone_massage". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|