Tips for Getting a Hot Stone Massage
What is the temperature of the stones used in a hot stone massage?
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Hi, I'm Missy Anderson, licensed massage therapist and owner of Barefoot Body Works in San Luis Obispo, California. I'm here today for About.com to give you some tips for getting a hot stone massage, using information from their Alternative Medicine website. This particular technique is fairly new in the United States, and has gained in popularity in recent years. Let's take a closer look.Before getting started, your massage therapist should have you fill out a health questionnaire and then spend some time going over it with you. It's important to note that hot stone massage may not be ideal for everyone, including those who suffer from certain skin diseases, blood clots, or have recently undergone surgery or various medical treatments. If you're unsure about a personal health issue, my advice is to consult your doctor prior to receiving a hot stone massage.Your massage therapist will use a series of smooth, round stones that have been sanitized and warmed in water by way of an electrical unit. The stones are typically at least 120 degrees Fahrenheit, but will not exceed 150 degrees. After applying a little lotion or oil, and warming up the tissue with some basic Swedish massage, your massage therapist will place the stones at key points along the body to relax the muscles and improve circulation. The massage itself consists of long, gliding strokes and movements similar to a standard therapeutic massage, but administered with small, heated stones in the hands of your massage therapist.The massage will most likely begin with you face down, your back being the area most emphasized. Your massage therapist will also use the stones to massage your legs, feet, arms, shoulders, and neck, and perhaps even your face, depending upon her individual technique. The stones are often basalt, which retain heat well. As they cool, your massage therapist will replace them with freshly heated ones.The sustained heat on various parts of the body causes the muscles to loosen up quickly, thus allowing your massage therapist to really work deeply, applying added pressure to any “knots” or problem areas. From an alternative therapy perspective, it's often thought that the heated stones improve energy flow throughout the body and have an overall balancing effect.If at any time during your massage you experience pain or extreme discomfort, speak up and let your massage therapist know. Whether it's the pressure she's applying, or the temperature of the stones, she can adjust her technique to suit your needs and preferences.It's best to remove all clothing for this type of massage, but you can leave your underwear on if it makes you feel more comfortable. You should avoid eating large meals before your massage as this can cause bloating and/or unnecessary discomfort. Most massages, regardless of technique, are essentially a work-out for the body, so you want to be well-hydrated before and after. Drinking plenty of water the day of your appointment is a must if you want to reduce your chances of being sore post-massage.And those are just a few tips for getting a hot stone massage. Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the web at About.com.