By: Sophia Bolos
Contributor: Kededra Patterson
It’s Autumn. The leaves are all brilliant shades of yellows, oranges and rich reds - not to mention a noticeably uncomfortable chill in the air. Reluctantly, we must admit that it is officially sweater weather. There’s no more denying that summer is stepping aside and autumn is making its graceful entrance. Some might say that winter is coming, but over here at KHLC, we say the season for Hot Stone Massage has arrived!
Hot Stone massage is a speciality massage where therapists use smooth heated stones, called basalt stones, to warm up tight muscles. Basalt stones are formed as lava cools after a volcanic eruption. They’re found in riverbeds and mainly comprised of silica and trace amounts of iron, making them great for heat retention. The heat from the stones enables therapists to give a deep, penetrating massage without putting excess stress on their clients bodies. While therapists often use anatomy to guide the placement of the stones, some therapists will also place stones on points thought to energetically balance the mind and body. Swedish massage techniques are typically used during the massage - meaning long strokes, kneading and rolling.
A hot stone massage is always relaxing and comforting, the warmth from the smooth basalt stones soothes that bone-deep chill. However, a hot stone massage can help with the following:
Easing Back Pain
Dealing with depression
Symptoms of autoimmune disease such as nausea, fatigue and chronic pain
What to expect….
Massage oil is applied to the skin and holding stones in both hands, the therapist uses gliding movements to move the stones along the muscles. Swedish massage techniques are used on the back, legs, neck and shoulders either while the stones are in place or after they are removed. After the therapist gets you to flip over onto your back, they will place the stones in the palms of your hands.
The length of a typical hot stone massage at KHLC is 60 or 90 minutes.
Who shouldn’t get a Hot Stone Massage
While Hot Stone massage is generally considered safe when performed by a trained and licensed massage therapist, it’s not the right treatment for everyone. Consult your doctor if you have high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, varicose veins, autoimmune disease, decreased pain sensitivity, cancer, epilepsy or are on any medication that thins the blood. You should also consult your doctor if you have recently undergone a surgical procedure, have any recent wounds or areas of weakened or inflamed skin.
Pregnant women and children should avoid having a hot stone massage.
Always remember to stay hydrated before and after your massage!
Hot Stone massage has been around for centuries, but like many traditional therapies, it is still evolving. Whether you’re trying massage for the first time or are already hooked and interested in trying something new, talk with your massage therapist (and healthcare provider) about whether or not hot stone massage is right for you!