Hot stone massage is quickly becoming one of the most popular forms of massage in spas and clinics. Although a relatively recent development within the spa industry, stones have, in fact, played a similar role in a number of different cultures for centuries. As practiced in its modern form, hot stone massage combines many different traditions and practices including bodywork, thermotherapy and aromatherapy.
Although the use of hot or warm stones is more common, stones of any temperature can and are used, and sometimes both hot/warm and cold stones are used in the same massage session. The temperature of the stones varies depending on the application. Hot stones are most often used for active massage while warm stones are more suited for using in a sustained compress.
Ostensibly, the stones used in this particular form of massage therapy derive their healing power from the transmission of heat. According to some traditions, however, there are also healing powers intrinsic to the stones themselves. It is believed these can be accounted for in terms of the stone’s geomagnetic properties. Furthermore, certain types of stone are rich in ores in varying amounts and combinations. By increasing the activity of vital energies, these elements are believed to have potentially health enhancing effects.
The general outlook of hot stone massage therapy is holistic in nature with the goal being increased mindfulness and the restoration of equilibrium to the body and mind. More specific benefits include relaxation, pain relief, increased joint mobility, and stress reduction.