Hot stone massage: how to get it right?
Hot stone massage is one of the most relaxing massages for body and mind. The use of heat-retaining pebbles derived from a volcanic stone helps to work deep down to relieve stiffness and relax muscles. It's a treatment that usually lasts around an hour and offers a great sense of relaxation and well-being.
So, if you'd like to find out more about hot stone massage and discover our tips, you've come to the right place. Let our article be your guide.
What exactly is a hot stone massage?
Hot stone massage is a type of massage in which stones, usually basalt, are used. To heat up the volcanic stones, they are placed in hot water to bring them to a sufficiently high temperature.
Once the stones are hot and the patient is lying down, the stones can be gently placed on different areas of the body. Very often, the basalt stones are positioned one after the other on the body's meridians, on and around the spinal column.
In a hot stone massage, the heat and weight of the stones warm and relax the body's muscles. The heat spreads gradually, helping to dissipate tension. It's ideal for deep massage without necessarily having to apply greater pressure.
As with all massages, good preparation is essential to ensure that the various stages of the massage go as smoothly as possible. The aim is to create the right conditions for relaxation of body and mind.
Everything you need to prepare a hot stone massage
Preparing the stones
Of course, stones are indispensable for this massage. That's why it's essential to choose the right ones and prepare them in the right way.
The most commonly used stones come from basalt, a volcanic rock. These pebble-shaped stones contain a lot of iron, which makes them easy to retain heat. River or sea stones can also be used. The aim is to use stones that are sufficiently smooth and soft to the skin.
Ideally, for a hot stone massage, a minimum of 20 stones is sufficient. The size of each stone can vary, but ideally the smallest stone should fit between the toes. The stones must be heated before the massage begins. As a rule, they are prepared 30 to 60 minutes before the massage.
To heat the stones, simply immerse them in hot water at around 50°. This prevents the stones from becoming hot. The ideal temperature for the stones is around 40°.
To find out whether they are hot enough, you can take them in your hands and squeeze them. If you can hold them for 5 seconds, the temperature is ideal. If you can't, the stones are too hot and need to be cooled down.
Like the stones, the atmosphere created for the massage is also important for the relaxation and well-being of the person being massaged.
The importance of the room and its ambience
Prepare a room so that the atmosphere is conducive to relaxation and well-being. Dim the lights with soft lighting, add candles or burn a stick of incense. This will further help the person to let go. You can also add relaxing music or the sounds of rain, waves or other ambient sounds.
Once you've prepared the room and the atmosphere, all you need to do is prepare the massage base. You can use a bed (though sometimes too soft), a sturdy table or the floor as a support. Add a little extra thickness to make it comfortable. A mattress pad or thick blanket will do just fine.
You can also add a clean sheet and a towel thick enough to hold excess massage oil.
Once you've prepared the room and the massage stones, it's time to start practicing hot stone massage.
Discover how to perform a hot stone massage
A few tips before you get started
To get the most out of your hot stone massage, it's a good idea to bear in mind a number of details and tips that can easily make all the difference.
- Make sure the stones are at a temperature of around 40°.
- Don't heat them in the microwave, oven or slow cooker, to avoid burn pain
- Make sure the stones are never too hot.
- Listen carefully to the person you're going to massage, to find out about any health concerns or needs they may have, and adapt the massage accordingly..
- Always place a towel between the hot stones and the client's skin.
- Once you've placed the stones on the body, allow 3 to 4 minutes for the heat to penetrate, and the person will be able to tell you whether or not the heat is bearable.
- If you notice that your client's skin is dry, don't hesitate to moisturize it with a hydrating massage oil.
- Offer her some water regularly, too, as hot stone massage is quite dehydrating.
With these key tips, your hot stone massage should now be a success.
How to successfully perform a hot stone massage
Hot stone massage is a very relaxing massage, so to make sure you get it right, here's an example of the techniques you can use.
- Invite the person to lie on their stomach to begin the massage on their back.
- Apply a small amount of warm or hot massage oil to the body, and begin massaging gently to prepare the skin.
- Wipe off the stones before applying them
- Along the 2 sides of the spine.
- In the palms of your hands.
- On legs, feet, neck and abdomen.
- Between the toes and on the forehead.
- Once the warmth of the stones has spread to all areas of the body, you can begin massaging with the pebbles.
- Don't hesitate to add a little massage oil to make your movements more pleasant and fluid.
- Use gliding movements along the muscles.
- Your movements should be gentle, and the pressure adapted to the person you're massaging.
You can use Swedish massage techniques, using long, kneading and rolling movements on the back, legs, neck and shoulders.
When you've finished massaging the back, you can invite the person to turn around and continue the hot stone massage on the stomach.
By following these tips and techniques, your hot stone massages should go off without a hitch. This will enable the recipient to feel the full benefits of the massage.
Hot stone massage and its benefits
Hot stone massage is a massage full of benefits and virtues for health, body and mind. The main benefit of this massage comes from the techniques used to apply the stones. The result is a great feeling of relaxation and well-being. But it doesn't stop there.
- Hot stone massage helps relieve muscular tension;
- Eliminates toxins from the body.
- It promotes blood circulation.
- It helps improve sleep.
- The warmth of the stones soothes both body and mind.
- Stimulates the lymphatic system.
- Relaxes and loosens muscles.
- Helps eliminate cellulite.
- Offers comfort and relaxation.
- It tones the skin.
- Hot stone massage also helps to relax the nervous system.
It's very interesting for people with venous return problems, as it facilitates blood circulation. Its virtues are also very good for people prone to muscle stiffness or joint pain.
Depending on the individual, some virtues are more interesting than others. However, the sensation of well-being and relaxation remains omnipresent.
Hot stone massage may be contraindicated for people with diabetes, respiratory diseases or other medical conditions. If this is the case, ask your doctor before performing this massage.
Hot stone massage is sometimes combined with cold stone massage.
Are you familiar with cold stone massage?
Cold stones combined with hot stones
Cold stones are also often used in combination with hot stones. The alternation of hot and cold helps to accentuate pain relief. Using both also helps reduce inflammation and eliminate toxins.
Cold stones and their use
Cold stones are often derived from marble, and are particularly useful for injuries and inflammations. They help to evacuate heat from the body and relax the affected area.
To cool them, simply place them in the fridge or on an ice bucket. The ideal temperature for cold stones is between -4° and room temperature.