-by Julie Campbell, LMT OR#15892
As a professional Massage Therapist I strive to create a calm and healing atmosphere that makes each and every client leave their treatment feeling transformed and educated. My practice covers several modalities, one being Hot Stone Therapy. I love using the Hot Stone’s because it relieves tension in the body and mind of my clients before I give a deep tissue massage. But, I’m often asked, “What are the benefits of using hot stones for massage”? The occurrence of this question in so many of my interactions with my clients is the motivation behind today’s blog post.
Hot Stone Massage has been around for more than 5000 years and is utilized by practitioners all over the world. In a article by About.com’s Antirna Brown She states that, “Hot stones warmed by fire were used by Native Americans to treat aching muscles, but the modern revival of hot stones in massage is generally credited to Mary Nelson, a native of Tucson, Arizona. She trademarked her style of hot stone massage, called LaStone Therapy, which has a Native American spiritual component and requires training and certification”.Other sources speculate when Hot Stone Therapy was reintroduced in the United States since massage in general is attribute to the ancients healing arts, but we have all seen it quickly grow in popularity during the last 20 years.
There are many types of Hot Stone Massage but for simplicity I will describe only two. The first is what I like to call, “Placement Stone Massage”. During this type of therapy your practitioner will position warm stones over the top of a sheet or towel on specific points of the body, for example; the sacral area, muscles along the spine and between the shoulder blades. Some believe that this type of hot stone placement assists in activating the Kundalini Energy leaving you feeling balanced and refreshed.
The second type of Hot Stone Massage what I will refer to as “Moving Stone Massage”. With this type of therapy your practitioner will incorporate the hot stones into the massage as an extension of their hands. Your practitioner will use the stones not only to warm up the muscles but to manipulate the muscle tissue as well. This is the type of Hot Stone massage I incorporate at Written on the Body Massage and Acupuncture Studio in Portland, OR. This type of therapy caters to deep relaxation for my client’s and allows me to work more deeply into the muscle fibers without as much soreness for the client in the following days. I have also had a lot of success and expedited healing times when using “Moving Stone Massage” for injury treatment because the heat acts as a conduit for muscle circulation.
The overall benefits of both “Placement” and “Moving Stone Massage”, include improved circulation, deep muscle and tissue release, deep relaxation of the body and mind, improved range of motion, and detoxification as well as many others. In the end I always trust that my clients’ know their bodies and if hot stone therapy resonates with them then the therapy will most likely be a benefit to their personal journey. The most important part of any massage treatment is that it feels good to you, you know yourself better than anyone!