Self Care

The Therapeutic Benefits of A Hot Stone Massage

Their are so many attributes to having a Hot Stone Massage. If you’ve ever had one you’ll know the lasting therapeutic benefits this indulgent massage offers when you’re in need of some TLC. 

I began my journey with complementary therapies after I had a car accident in 1984 which had a devastating impact on my life. This lead me to seek alternative therapies to support my recovery. I had just passed my test and the accident was NOT my fault.

In 1990, my sister moved to South Asia, During my first trip to see her in Hong Kong we decided to have a pamper at the Mandarin Hotel Spa.  This was such a treat! and we discovered the true nature of this heavenly therapeutic massage.   Yes, it was, Hot Stone Massage.

After this experience, healing work and therapies were integrated into my life. I begun my own journey as an enabler and trained in Reiki and Seichem in 1996 and as a Deep Tissue Massage therapist in 2000 .

When I first trained in massage I was working as a Head of Service for a Homelessness Charity and life was very stressful.

My sanctuary became having swops from other alternative therapists while I continued in my stressful day job. I strived to seek harmony in my life away from the pressures and stresses of life and my busy role as a senior manager.

Like other alternative and complementary therapists I have continued to train in many complementary therapies and have built up a repertoire of services which I use to support the people who come to see me.  

I trained in Hot Stone massage and recognise the importance of the mind, body spirit connection and how it enables people to switch off and indulge in their self care.

I think having a hot stone massage is not a luxury. It is a necessity and important for relaxation, supporting good mental health and for helping us to face the challenges of daily modern life.

A Hot Stone Massage provides a deeper massage and gives us between 4 – 6 times more therapeutic value than a conventional massage. Now if your surprised to hear this, I suggest you try one and experience this for yourself and I promise you will never go back to one without hot stones.

The reason it provides more therapeutic value is simple. The heat of the hot stones penetrate much deeper than a ordinary massage and you feel the lasting impact of it and its therapeutic healing

It also works much better on the central nervous system and the connections to the brain and body to help relax and create a sense of total bliss.

1. Helps relieve muscle tension and pain

Diagram which illustrates where tension builds up

Heat is well known for easing muscle tension and pain and has been used for centuries in Asia and Europe for pain relief.  In fact, some of my earliest memories are of my Maji my (grandmother) using heat for her aches and pains and giving us massages to ease away worries and anxieties. She was a beautiful soul who loved her grandchildren and would spoil us with head massages and was always there for our every need. Little did I know how important Massage was going to be for me then.

On a practical and therapeutic level, a hot stone massage offers heat to penetrate an area of muscle that needs this as heat helps blood flow and increases circulation. Hot stone massage can help a lot of common ailments which result in muscle tension.

Having a hot water bottle can be effective in the short term but there is nothing to replace a deep tissue hot stone massage. A regular Massage is restorative and therapeutic and helps any long term pain for pain relief. Using targeted heat reduces muscle spasms and increases flexibility and helps with motion.

For some ailments a Cold Stone Therapy with Hot Stone Therapy can help relieve painful symptoms and reduce /eliminate inflammation. Stress increases the build up muscle tension and leads to aggravation in the neck and back which can be excruciatingly painful if left unattended.

Hot stones is a must go to therapy for any anti inflammatory condition which can be complemented with anti inflammatory foods to reduce long term pain .

Depending on your symptoms, with proper professional support, alternating hot and cold stones during a treatment can be helpful and effective if repeated over a number of treatments. This maximises the benefit of this therapeutic relief. Seeing a therapist for a regular targeted treatment helps old standing issues too, so do not despair if this is you.

2. Reduces stress and anxiety

Massage therapy has been long proven as an effective therapy for relieving stress as it supports the endocrine and central nervous systems. 

There are many studies now which show that by investing in a quick 10 minute massage can improve cardiovascular responses. You may have seen onsite chair massage which gained a lot of popularity in the noughties when therapists visited workplaces and public spaces such as shopping malls. Onsite massages can offer short term relief for desk or workplace issues and many organisations adopted this who wanted reduce stress levels.

Taking breaks from the computer and using movement is so important to the welfare of people working in any company as sitting for long periods without breaks is known to be detrimental to health. Sitting without breaks may lead to the precursors of many common diseases which are in fact avoidable if people took better care or lead healthier lives. Movement of the muscles is important to everyday health. Diseases such as diabetes, inflammation, blood pressure and hypertension and cancer are gaining momentum as people lead more sedentary lives or find it hard to promote health into their lives.

3. An Effective Deep Sleep

Regular Massages offer a natural relief to people suffering in silence from hormone imbalances which result in stress, anxieties and contribute to many sleeping difficulties. Massage helps the central nervous system promote relaxation and thus better sleep.

Booking for a monthly massage could be used a a tonic to help boost better relaxation if your tired, stressed or busy at work.

There have been studies for infants with sleep problems who were given a 15-minute massage a day. This resulted in them sleeping faster and these children were reported as more alert, active, and appeared more positive after waking up.

For those of you who have had a Massage – I’m curious to know if you noticed what restful sleep you had after the massage! I certainly always do. This is because a hot stone massage, allow the cell to recover and regenerate on our ‘Chi ‘which is our life force. The Chinese TCM system links to the meridians which work as messengers for the entire body and the theory behind this is that supporting ‘chi means that we can repair synapses and visceral connections easier and support the bodies natural defenses and ability to restore and repair itself. So indulging in self care strategies using complementary therapies such as Massage is important to wellbeing.

4. May help relieve symptoms of autoimmune diseases

Hot stone massage is good for relieving painful conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis and other autoimmune and inflammatory dis-eases.  In my own research, I found a study which talked about having a regular 30-minute massage weekly to help people sleep longer, and decreased levels of substance P (which is a substance that is important in  transmitting pain signals).

5. Supports cancer symptoms

There is real sensory benefit for cancer patients with growing evidenced based studies which show time and time again how Swedish massage, and Reiki in particular improves many cancer patients symptoms, even in those with substantial symptoms because of the sensory integration value from human touch which is a key part of any massage treatment. The Mayo clinic and the Cancer research charity support massage and other complementary therapies on their sites and the world health organisation also report there value for improved therapeutic outcomes for cancer

They suggest the following types of massage:

  • Swedish massage – most common type of full body massage
  • aromatherapy massage – massage with essential oils to support the CNS
  • deep tissue massage – used for long standing, deep muscular problems and inflammation
  • sports massage – used before or after sport or to help heal sports injuries
  • Shiatsu – uses acupressure and stretching and inflammation
  • neuromuscular massage – helps to balance the nervous system and the muscles (tension)

6. Can boost immunity

Massage is known to boost the immune system as the brain sends calming signals to the body. Again Swedish massage is said to have a positive impact on immunity and helps regulate blood pressure and its been known since time for reducing water retention.

Anyone who is experiences regular muscle tension, anxiety, joint or muscle pain, insomnia and stress could benefit from a regular Hot Stone or Swedish massage or hot stone massage is an option for your therapeutic needs.

Please feel free to comment if you have enjoyed this post.

Randhiraj Bilan
Feel free to leave a comment – Randhiraj Bilan

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