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|Hot Stone Massage Therapy|
|Written by naddya819|
|24 August 2009|
Hot stone massage is becoming more popular in spas and massage parlors in the Western world. According to Wikipedia, “authentic massage utilizes stones as tools to deliver effective tissue and muscle massage at a pressure level comfortable to the client.” The pressure can be mild, moderate, or deep, according to the client’s need at the time. But the beauty of the hot stone massage is that the stone balances out pressure over a wider surface area of the body, making it a viable massage option for those whose medical condition might otherwise discourage massage therapy.
Heat has long been used in medical science for reducing pain, muscle relaxation, and increasing blood flow. Massage relaxes tight muscles. Hot stone massage therapy combines the two, utilizing volcanic basalt (“a common extrusive volcanic rock” Wikipedia) stones for their ability to retain heat and for the magnetism and mineral properties of the stone. Hot stones are always smooth in shape, and are usually flat. The stones are heated in water to a temperature of between 120 and 130 degrees F. The heat from the stones relaxes muscles, increases blood flow to the area being worked on which further accelerates the healing process and aids in mental relaxation.
Some therapists will also place the hot stones on certain parts of the body, often called the chakra centers, to rebalance the mind and body. Massage oil is applied to the body first, to ease the sliding of the stones over skin. The stones are then places over the larger muscle groups of the body, and pressure is applied. As the heat penetrates deeply, more pressure can be applied. In effect, it is like “ironing out” the kinks in the body tissues.
Many different types of people with different health problems can benefit from hot stone massage therapy. I was trying it to help relieve some of the muscle tension and pain from my fibromyalgia.Many people find the warmth of the hot stones to be comforting and get it for relaxation. Hot stone massage is suited to people who tend to feel chilly or who have cold feet. It's also suited for people who have muscle tension but prefer a lighter massage. The heat relaxes muscles, allowing the therapist to work the muscles without using deep pressure.People also get hot stone massage for a variety of health conditions:· Back pain and aches· Poor circulation· Osteoarthritis and arthritis pain· Stress, anxiety and tension· Insomnia· Depression Certain groups of people should not get hot stone massages. Massage is not recommended for:· People with infectious skin disease, rash, or open wounds· Immediately after surgery· Immediately after chemotherapy or radiation, unless recommended by your doctor· People prone to blood clots. There is a risk of blood clots being dislodged. If you have heart disease, check with your doctor before having a massage· Pregnant women should check with their doctor first if they are considering getting a massage. Massage in pregnant women should be done by massage therapists who are certified in pregnancy massage.Massage should not be done directly over bruises, inflamed skin, unhealed wounds, tumors, abdominal hernia, or areas of recent fractures.(http://altmedicine.about.com/od/massage/a/hot_stone.htm)
Even though I have only done this type of massage at home, and though the stones were of the ordinary and decorative variety, the massage felt very gentle and certainly served to relax me. In fact, the two nights that my husband and I have done this, I slept very well, and woke feeling almost “normal” again. I must say that, in myself, I noticed that my morning stiffness did not last nearly as long the morning after, and that my daytime fatigue was lessened as well. I also seemed to have less pain in the tender point areas.
In preparation for this massage, I made up a massage oil consisting of baby oil, lavender essential oil, jasmine essential oil, moldavite essential oil (a green gem resulting from a meteorite), eucalyptus essential oil, and tea tree essential oil. These essential oils all contribute to a pleasant scent and can aid relaxation as well.
All in all, I must say that my husband and I are pleased with the results. All it took was a little bit of research, some study and watching videos on You Tube, and a little bit of practice. We used a standard stock pot to heat the water and stones, a meat thermometer to keep track of how hot the stones were getting, a CD player with soft music and some scented candles, and we had our very own spa experience that not only felt good, but may contribute to my long-term well-being.You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62B2DyyDQXw ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAZ7DEZ1pCY&feature=related ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbuB2mWLwHo&feature=channel
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