Massage therapy is a multi-faceted discipline, and each therapist you encounter will surely bring their own style to the table. Granted, there are professional standards of skill and knowledge that can only be acquired through proper training and experience – but experiences do vary from therapist to therapist.
This is the main reason why so many massage therapy patients stick with therapists and styles of massage that make them feel comfortable and relaxed. This is totally understandable. People like to know what to expect. They want to know that the treatment session will be relaxing and healing experience.
Having said that, there is one disadvantage to this “familiar” approach – people often miss out on styles and aspects of massage therapy they might not have known about. Hot stone therapy is one example. You’ve probably heard about it – and if you haven’t tried it, you might be wondering whether there’s any real therapeutic value.
The answer is, of course, yes! Hot stone therapy has been used for centuries, and it’s a practice that has stood the test of time. Also known as “thermotherapy,” hot stone massage involves the placement of hot stones on particular stress points in order to penetrate deeply into the muscle and promote both circulation and healing.
Because the stones hold heat so well, they radiate heat naturally into the body and are able to sooth the musculature in a sustained and penetrating way. Specifically, hot stones are often used on the back – but they can also be placed on the hands, face, back or stomach. Having hot stones place on your feet is an incredibly relaxing experience – especially when your massage therapy session includes traditional elements of Swedish and deep tissue massage.
So what are the benefits? People commonly report increased flexibility with the help of hot stone therapy. They report deeper sleep. It’s easier to relax when you’ve felt the deep relaxation of deep stones, and your muscles are calm. People with muscle spasms and other forms of chronic muscular tension can reap big benefits from hot stone therapy, as those trouble spots are given a sustained, powerful and natural form of heat therapy that allows deep relaxation and “ironing” of tight muscles. When this is paired with an expert pair of hands, the effect can be profoundly healing. It’s important, however, to remember that specific types of heat, stone, and techniques are needed in order to unlock the full benefits of hot stone massage.
Quality over quantity
Good massage therapy is all about quality. Whether you choose hot stone treatment or any other modality of massage, getting the best results really depends on finding the right practitioner. Look for a multi-disciplinary massage therapist in your area that has solid training, positive reviews, and a personality that makes you feel at ease during your therapy session. One of the great things about massage therapy is that you can choose different modalities and find out what works for you – but no matter what type of massage you choose, there’s never any substitute for professionalism and skill.