A hot stone massage is really no different than a regular massage, except that warmed stones are used to apply pressure throughout the service rather than just the therapist’s hands. Stones used for this treatment are made of very smooth basalt river rock and are heated ahead of time to anywhere from 110 to 145 degrees F. Your therapist will place the rocks along your spine, chest, hands, shoulders or other areas while also using them in their hands to apply pressure during your bodywork.
The most significant benefit of hot stone massage is relief of pain and tension. Heat increases blood flow, which can assist in easing the tightness and limited range of motion that results in pain. Several studies have shown that hot stone massage reduced pain and enhanced strength and range of motion in those with fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis for approximately one month. The warmth and smoothness of the stone also helps induce the relaxation response, which can be beneficial for those who struggle to relax in a session, especially those with chronic anxiety.
Lesser utilized cold stones are also a beneficial way of enhancing your massage as the cold reduces inflammation. Cold stones are made of marble and are set in an ice bath to reach a temperature of approximately 30 degrees F. Some massage therapists may flip between hot and cold stones during one session, while others may assess the need for strictly one temperature or another. Strict cold stone use has been shown to relieve symptoms of chronic headache and even alleviate ongoing migraine pain.
If you’re interested in either of these services and are unsure if hot or cold stones might be right for you, simply ask your massage therapist and they will help you choose the right modality for your unique body’s needs. Here at St. Jude Wellness Center, all of our massage therapists off hot stones as an enhancement to you massage. Cold stones may also be added as an enhancement, or you may elect to have a complete cold stone therapy massage focused only on the head and neck for migraine and headache pain. Ask at the front desk to enjoy the relaxation and pain relief that temperature-modified stones can provide!