At Defyin’ Time in Mt. Pleasant, TX, the hot stone massage is one of our most popular massage therapy services. During the session, your massage therapist will heat basalt stones to approximately 130 degrees Fahrenheit and place them on key areas of the body, such as the back, neck, or thighs. They will also hold heated stones while performing the massage, warming your body with each stroke of their palms. This style of massage is believed to have originated in India around five thousand years ago, but the amazing benefits have been recently re-discovered and popularized by modern day-spas and medical spas.
How Does a Hot Stone Massage Work?
Thanks to increased knowledge of human anatomy, we now have a greater understanding of why this ancient technique is so beneficial. The key is in the body’s internal response to heat. When heat is applied to the skin, such as with heated basalt stones, muscles become more elastic and increased blood flow is sent to the area. It is also believed that when the skin experiences heat, electrical signals are sent to the area of the brain associated with pleasantness.
7 Benefits of Hot Stone Massage
1. Pain Relief
The use of a localized heat source draws an increase in blood flow to the area. The circulatory system acts as the body’s highway, helping various materials, like nutrients, gases, and waste, travel throughout the body. So an increase in blood flow to a specific area carries with it nutrients and immune cells, which promote healing. This relief can be highly beneficial to those suffering from chronic pain conditions. The increased circulation also helps to clear toxins such as lactic acid, a waste product that results from overuse of muscles and causes soreness. We strongly recommend this treatment to our athletic clients for this reason.
2. Decrease in Tension
When the body experiences stress, muscles tighten to prepare ourselves for self-defense. In many parts of the modern world, this response is unnecessary, as most of our stressors are not physical in nature. But when our muscles are tense for long periods of time, discomfort can set in. When heat is applied to the body at a non-threatening level, the blood vessels expand. This makes muscle tissue more elastic, relaxing the muscles and reducing pain or discomfort. It also allows the massage therapist to give you a deeper massage by accessing more layers of muscle, fascia, and soft tissue.
3. Increased Flexibility
Increased muscle elasticity can also widen the range of motion a muscle can perform without discomfort. This increased flexibility relieves pressure on the joints, which helps prevent injury (especially in sports and athletic pursuits). Maintaining flexibility is a good lifelong practice for everyone, but becomes even more important as we age.
4. Improved Mental Health
People have long felt the comforting properties of heat, such as a warm summer day, or a cup of tea by the fireplace. However, we are only beginning to understand the science behind this common human experience. Some believe that humans evolved to appreciate heat because it was necessary for survival. Another possibility is that external heat applied to the skin results in electrical signals being sent to the brain. These signals specifically activate an area of the brain associated with pleasantness. Either way, heat applied to the body often leads to relaxation, lifted spirits, and can even relieve symptoms of depression.
5. Better Sleep
A 2019 study of patients with sleep disorders due to hemodialysis found that the addition of hot stone massage led to better sleep. This increased level of relaxation could be caused by the physical loosening of muscles, the activation of the brain’s pleasure centers, or the evolutionary association of heat with safety. There is still a lot of scientific research still being done in this area, but a link has certainly been established between heated massage therapy and the promotion of better sleep.
6. Boost to the Immune System
Increased blood circulation brings with it an increase in white blood cells, which are necessary to fight disease. As an added bonus, the immune system is also strengthened by lowering your stress level and getting better sleep, both of which are previously mentioned. Studies have shown that even one 45 minute massage can provide an immune system boost.
7. Better Overall Massage Experience
The hot stones elevate the massage experience by keeping you present. Some people find it hard to focus on the present moment, including during a massage. You may find the massage ended sooner than you expected and realize you spent the whole session thinking about your grocery list instead of enjoying the experience. The temperature of the stones is deliberately kept below the level which would cause pain, but they do elicit a strong sensation that draws your attention to the body. This helps keep you focused on enjoying your massage experience. Some also believe that the stones represent the Earth, and connecting to the Earth results in a sense of being more grounded.
Try for Yourself
Hot stone massage therapy provides a variety of physical and mental health benefits, which is why it has been practiced around the world for thousands of years. Contact Defyin’ Time in Mt. Pleasant, TX, today to schedule an appointment and experience these amazing benefits firsthand. We are a medical spa owned by licensed medical professionals, and we look forward to serving you.