A hot stone massage is a type of massage therapy. It’s used to help you relax and ease tense muscles and damaged soft tissues throughout your body.
The stones may be placed:
Massage therapists may hold heated stones as they massage your body using Swedish massage techniques such as:
Sometimes, cold stones are also used during a hot stone massage. Cold stones may be used after hot stones to calm any engorged blood vessels and to soothe the skin.
All massages generally fall under the alternative medicine umbrella. They’re becoming a popular complementary therapy for many conditions. Here are some advantages of getting a hot stone massage:
1. Helps relieve muscle tension and pain
Heat has long been used to ease muscle tension and pain. It helps increase blood flow to the affected area. It may also reduce muscle spasms and increase flexibility and range of motion. Cold therapy helps relieve inflammation. Depending on your symptoms, alternating hot and cold stones during your massage may be helpful.
2. Reduces stress and anxiety
A study showed that a ten-minute massage improved cardiovascular responses such as stroke volume. A 15-minute, onsite chair massages in the workplace significantly reduced stress compared to a 15-minute break without massage.
A 2015 study found that people who underwent abdominal colorectal surgery had less pain, tension, and anxiety after receiving a post-operative massage.
3. Promotes sleep
Massages may be an alternative to sleeping pills in adults with insomnia. The research showed that back massage helped promote relaxation and sleep. Infants with sleep problems who were given a 15-minute massage by their parents went to sleep faster. They were also more alert, active, and positive upon awakening. Massage is thought to help you enjoy more restorative sleep, although it’s not completely understood why.
4. May help relieve symptoms of autoimmune diseases
Hot stone massage may relieve painful conditions such as fibromyalgia. Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread, chronic pain. According to a 2002 study, people with fibromyalgia who received a 30-minute massage slept longer, had fewer trigger points, and had decreased levels of substance P (a substance involved in transmitting pain signals) than people with the condition who received relaxation therapy. More research is needed, however, before massage becomes a standard fibromyalgia treatment.
5. May help decrease cancer symptoms
A study showed that massage, especially Swedish massage, improved cancer symptoms, even in those with substantial symptoms. Researchers believe the comforting use of human touch played a role.
6. May boost immunity
Massage may give your immune system a boost. A single session of Swedish massage therapy had a positive and acute impact on immunity. Blood samples taken before and after the massage showed a decrease in arginine-vasopressin, a hormone that helps regulate blood pressure and water retention.