Hot stone massage joins the benefits of heat with massage, using natural riverbed lava rocks, heated in water in the therapy room. Hot stones are a tradition that has been used by Native Americans and other indigenous cultures around the world for centuries. Bringing these natural elements into the massage therapy experience assists in the softening of tissues and fascia; helps the practitioner’s therapeutic techniques to be even more effective and gives alternative ways to use your hands and body, contributing to balanced body mechanics. Hot Stone massage may be done as a stand-alone massage session, and is an excellent addition to already existing treatment protocols, whether for relaxation or deep tissue massage.
What I find particularly outstanding in the use of Hot Stone massage, is how effective it is in helping people who have a hard time letting their “mind chatter” slow down so they can actually relax as fully as possible for that session. I have suggested hot stone massage to clients who were in this category and who felt that “deep” massage was the only thing that helped them. I used light to moderate pressure with the stones, giving them a full body treatment with minimal extra work on target areas. The client experienced full body relaxation including their usual target areas. They were amazed with the results, and said they had never felt that relaxed before.
This type of response is a great reminder to the therapist that there are many approaches that can lead to the desired therapeutic result for our clients. Being competent in the use of diverse methods for approaching a client’s concerns is a very wise strategy. With hot stone massage techniques more elements of nature are brought into the therapy room–warm water and rocks. Many clients have reported they enjoy hearing the sounds of moving the stones around in the water as they are readied for use on the body. I usually play music that has sounds of water to add to the aquatic effects. These elements, the warm stones themselves and the therapists already developed techniques combine to assist the client holistically to produce satisfying therapeutic effects.