Written by Nikki Green, Therapist

If you google ‘hot stone’ massage the search engine generally leads you to images of beautiful, young women lead on Balinese style beds on exotic beaches with the waving lapping around. Focusing on piles of hot stones piled on their backs.

Hey!from a therapist and clients point of view the reality is very different. Firstly, there is no beach and definitely no Balinese style bed, which would be completely impractical and wouldn’t fit most treatment rooms.  So let’s breakdown those images and most importantly the misconception.  Hot stones is an extremely beneficial treatment from both of physical and mental health point of view.

The stone are generally preheated to around 60 degrees, enabling the basalt stones to absorb the heat.  Oil is then applied to create a barrier between the skin and the stone, achieving a beautiful glide for the therapist to massage across the skin.  The heat from the stone penetrates the skin through to the muscle giving the client a warmth and instant comfort and relaxation. Whilst, the therapist is able to manipulate and work the muscle without fear or damage to their own thumbs and wrists. Allowing the stones to take the strain and the therapist hands a well earned rest.  So the therapist and stones are working in perfect harmony together.

As a therapist I’ve been practicing in hot stones for nearly three years.  I have a wide variety of clients who find the treatment extremely worthwhile both physically and for their own wellbeing.  One of those clients in particular has suffered from chronic fatigue/ME for a number of years.  I regularly use the hot stones on her and she finds the heat releases the tension in her trapezium and pectoral muscle, which builds up from long periods of time being asleep or sitting in the same position.  The heat also lifts her spirits and mood, giving her comfort from her condition.

The stones are an incredibly sensory experience, which I am very aware of when treating another of my clients, who was born profoundly deaf and in more recent years, has become severely visually impaired.  With the loss of two of the major senses, sight and hearing, the remaining senses are heightened and extra sensitive.  The treatment allows him to instantly relax and adjust to the heat, whilst being reassured with the continuous touch.  The muscle are very defined in those who sign, from the continuous raising of the arms and hand movements. Giving those muscles groups the opportunity to release and ease the tension from a lifetime of constant use.

Another aspect to consider is the vulnerability and anxiety an individual who is either deaf or blind experiences on a daily basis. Daily rituals, such as walking in wet weather, obstacles on a path or crossing the road, an able bodied person takes for granted, is a major hurdle for someone is who impaired. Effecting their confidence, potentially causing anxiety and general effects on their mental health. A massage, hot stones or not, in a safe environment with a trusted therapist, is a welcome escape from struggles of daily life and a chance for them just to be at ease for an hour.

To summarise the hot stones can still be viewed as a luxurious treatment, due to the comfort of the heat, but is certainly not reserved for those on exotic holidays and must be considered for there well earned therapeutic and remedial benefits.

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