The addition of hot stones to a massage dates back to Ancient China, where they were used to help improve the function of organs and tissues. Hot stones have been used in Native American treatments to relieve cramping, and have even been referenced in ancient Rome and Greece.
Not surprisingly, many people today see benefits from adding hot stones to their massages. The heat of the stones is one of the best ways to help relax the muscles and the mind, especially for those who are prone to cramps, or use repetitive motions. The warmth of the stones seeps into the body slowly, and can melt away tension in fascia.
Fascia is the connective tissue, like a web, that contains the muscle fibers and gives our soft bodies a tight structure. It contains a great deal of fluid that can get trapped and cause inflammation, stiffness, and pain. The heat from the stones helps to loosen the fascia, and allows it to release excess fluids back into circulation, reducing your pain and improving the function of the muscles.
Hot stones will literally help to melt away and release pain, since they can break up fascia that is too tight and bound around muscles and joints. As this releases, the body is free to move in a more natural way.
The warmed stones also bring more blood through the layers of the skin. This improves circulation in and around the areas that hot stones are applied to. This makes them useful in helping injuries to heal since nutrients will have an easier time travelling to the cells that need them. The increased blood flow will help to keep tissues more flexible.
Your massage therapist can leave stones on your body for a few moments to warm the muscles before working on them, or the stones can actually be used to massage the body. Since this is a deep, healing therapy, make sure to drink additional water. You’ll want to rehydrate all the fascia that has been loosened, and the increased circulation will mean your tissues are able to clean up internal debris more effectively.