Hot stone treatments alternate warmth and cold -- a technique which has proven beneficial to soothe an aching body. There's a method behind the madness of leaping from a toasty sauna into an icy pool, and hot stone massage uses the same principle.
Hot stone massage combines relaxing warmth and refreshing coolness to encourage the body to detox and heal. This also increases lymph flow and helps to flush out waste.
Heat relaxes your body in a short space of time, so your therapist can focus on a deep working of the tissues using both hot stones and hand strokes.
Hot stones also increase your sense of relaxation and calm. They are coated in fragrant oil which is smoothed gently onto your body, and each stone in turn is worked by your therapist's hands.
Hot stone massage can:
boost your circulation
release stored tension
recharge your energy levels
Hot stone massage is said to have health benefits for people with:
rheumatic and arthritic conditions
As with all spa therapies, never underestimate the feel-good factor. Hot stone massage will help you feel nurtured, pampered and special.
What to expect from hot stone massage
Hot stone massage begins with placing warm, oiled stones on multiple acupressure points around your body, perhaps even tiny ones between your toes. You may drift off into a dreamy state and lose track of where the hot stones are arranged.
Hot stone massage employs a variety of strokes and techniques using the stones and hands, working over kinks in your muscles. You are unlikely to feel the intensity, since your muscles will be relaxed by the heat of the stones. Your therapist may alternate between hot basalt stones and much colder, marble stones. As your body sinks further into a state of relaxation, you may even stop noticing the extreme changes in temperature.
Hot stone massage should trigger a deeply relaxed, blissed-out and meditative state. Some people have reported closing their eyes and seeing bright colours. Enjoy the afterglow -- float slowly back to the real world and re-hydrate your body by sipping plenty of water.
Different kinds of hot stone massage
LaStone is a branded form of hot stone massage and one you are likely to encounter in UK spas.
Hot stones are sometimes described as "advanced" versions of regular treatments in a spa's promotional material, and feature in more traditional massage treatments, such as Lomi Lomi.
Alternative names for hot stone massage include river rock massage, lava stone massage, or warm stone massage. LavaShells massage was developed in 2009 and offers the same effects by using recycled Tiger Clam Shells that self-heat.
Hot Stone tips!
Hot stone massage is a treat, so indulge as much as you can. Arrive early so you have time enough to relax and absorb your surroundings. It's not a good idea to eat a heavy meal or drink alcohol in the hours beforehand.
Your hot stones treatment is likely to last about an hour; plenty of time for melting away all your knots, aches and worries.
Always tell your therapist about any medical conditions you have. They will take your medical history into account when choosing the right stones and techniques for your body. For similar reasons, tell your therapist if you are, or think you might be, pregnant.
Don't be afraid to tell your therapist if the stones are too warm for you. You'll relax much more quickly and start enjoying that delicious feeling of total well-being if you're comfortable.
We recommend you should book hot stone treatments on a day when you won't have to rush out somewhere afterwards. You'll feel so relaxed and soothed after your treatment, jumping in the car and tackling the rush hour traffic might seem sacrilegious.