A sure-fire way to release tension in your muscles while relaxing is to book a hot stone massage.
A kind of massage therapy that combines regular massage techniques and heat, hot stone massage is the go-to for relieving stress and anxiety and feeling rejuvenated.
It is an ancient practice dating back thousands of years to India and China. People have been using hot stone massages over the centuries to improve their health and wellbeing, and it continues to be relevant today.
Before you go for a hot stone massage, you need to make sure your stomach isn’t full and that you’re properly hydrated.
People with the following conditions should not opt for a stone massage:
At your appointment, the massage therapist will ask your medical history before beginning the session.
The massage therapist first heats stones to between 110°F and 130°F. A stone heater is used to ensure optimal temperature.
The stones are smooth and flat and made of a volcanic rock known as basalt, which is ideal because it retains heat.
Then the therapist places the hot stones on different areas of the body, commonly focusing on:
The stones may be held in place by the therapist or left on the body for a while.
The heat from the stones takes a while to reach the deeper layer of muscle, providing gentle and soothing pressure. Sometimes the therapist will also glide the stones along the body to ensure even heating.
After the stones are removed, the therapist uses Swedish massage techniques to further relax the muscles. It is important that you inform your therapist if the temperature of the stones is uncomfortably hot, as stone massage therapy isn’t supposed to cause discomfort or pain.
The term, of French origin, translates to ‘to lightly touch’. It involves a set of long, gliding or circular stroking movements of varying pressure.
This is also a French term derived from the word pétrir which means ‘to knead’.
Petrissage is a massage therapy technique that involves the therapist physically compressing the soft tissues through rhythmic kneading, squeezing, and/or rolling.
These movements help stretch the tense muscles.
● Lifting: The therapist performs lifting using the thumb, index, and middle fingers.
● Kneading: During this the therapist lifts the soft tissues, then squeezes and rolls them back slowly and circularly to reach deeper muscle layers.
● Wringing: During this the therapist will first press the soft tissue layer to the
structure beneath it and then lift, squeeze and roll.
Another French term, tapotement roughly translates to ‘to tap or to drum’. It involves the therapist applying rhythmic taps across the client’s body, which help the circulation of blood and endorphins. Tapping can be performed using a closed fist, edges or palms of the hands, fingertips, or a cupped hand.