Massage therapy using hot, soothing stones melts your stress
AH, MY REGULAR MASSAGE. I look forward to it for
days on end. Sometimes I even catch myself daydreaming about it
during long meetings at work or in the car on my way home from the
grocery store. I can't wait to get on that table to clear my head
and relax my body.
With the quiet, softly lit room, peaceful music, soft linens,
and the therapist who rubs and kneads away my aches and pains, it's
like a little piece of heaven. When I'm done, I feel as if I don't
have a care in the world. I can go back to my daily routine feeling
calmer and better about life. What could be better?
Adding hot stones, that's what.
massage is exactly what it sounds like. It's a type of massage
in which the therapist utilizes hot stones to help relax the
muscles. At Massage Envy, the treatment is called Hot Stone Envy,
and it is a 90-minute session that includes a full-body massage
along with the placement of hot, smooth stones and the use of
stones during the massage by the therapist.
The stones, which are typically made of fine-grain, volcanic
basalt rock because of its ability to hold heat well, come in
several shapes and sizes up to about the size of your fist. They
are heated in water and used as either placement or technique
stones. For placement stones, they're positioned on muscle groups
(with a towel or sheet between the stone and skin), and the heat
from the stones penetrates the muscles, encouraging softening and
With the technique stones, the therapist uses the stones
directly on the skin during the application of massage techniques.
Massaging muscles and muscle groups with the heated stones enhances
relaxation, increases blood flow and decreases pain by melting away
Why does hot stone massage feel so good? "The hot stones heat up
the skin and relax and soften the muscles, allowing the therapist
to reach deeper layers," says C.G. Funk, a licensed massage
therapist and vice president of industry relations and product
development for Massage Envy. "This treatment is especially
effective during the winter months, because muscles naturally
constrict and tighten in cold weather."
Beyond just feeling incredible, hot stone massage also can help
manage chronic pain resulting from a variety of disorders and
conditions. This treatment has been found to be beneficial for back
pain, stress and anxiety, poor circulation, rheumatic and arthritic
conditions, insomnia, depression and fibromyalgia.
-By Shelley Flannery
-Photos by Jeff Newton