What Is Stone Massage Therapy?
A stone massage has therapeutic effects and healing purposes. Adding stone massages to the regular massage increases client relaxation. With heated stones, it helps warm up the tightened muscles fast which help therapists work better and deeper into the muscle tissues. As long as there is proper training to conduct safe and effective stone massages, this can be a great addition to upgrade a spa business. Clients can take advantage of the top benefits of a stone massage including relieving pain, tension and spasm, improve blood flow and energy flow, remove toxins, and reduce anxiety and stress.
Stone massage therapy is a form of massage that involves using heated or cooled stones placed onto the body. It can be placed throughout the body including on the client’s chest, along the spine, and even up to the toes and feet. These stones are also used to massage the area using a sweeping or circular motion with different types and sizes of stones appropriate to the body part. Among the many benefits of stone massage is to alleviate muscle tension, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote sleep, to name a few.
Types of Stone Massage Treatments
Back Stone Massage
Using heated stones for the back can be effective at relieving back pains by increasing blood flow that eases muscle tension. Heated stones are placed at key points on the back, especially along the client's spine. The heat allows a soothing deep-tissue massage that increases the flow of nutrients to the muscles to help heal the damaged tissues faster.
Foot Stone Massage
Many people opt for a foot stone massage, especially for aching muscles, pain, cramps, and swelling. The stones can be heated to warm up the foot or can be used as a tool to apply a little pressure to massage the area. The most common stones used are small flat stones where the edge of the stone can be used to apply circular motions at the arch of the foot. From the arch, the therapist can also move on to the calf, heel, and toes of the foot. Eight small stones are placed in between the toes, letting them rest and release the tension in the area.
Facial Stone Massage
Similar to using the fingertips in a facial massage, small stones are used gently on the muscles of the face with sweeping motions. You can either use cooled or heated stones all for the same benefit of relaxing the muscles of the face, neck, and scalp. These areas may have unconscious tension which can cause a person to have sinus problems, headaches or stiffness. A facial stone massage helps improve circulation that melts away the tension and relaxes the nervous system.
Couples Hot Stone Massage
A couples hot stone massage is quite popular for couples looking for a sweet treat for their partner, a gift for a special occasion, or a relaxing getaway. This massage usually lasts for 60 to 90 minutes and can be customized according to the client’s preferred type of massage. The couple has the massage side by side for a fully relaxing and warm massage.
Types of Massage Stones
Hot Massage Stones
Hot massage stones are heated in different ways but at the same suitable temperature that is neither too cold nor too hot. It can be heated at a temperature between 100 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. At this level of heat, it can help relieve muscle soreness and relax muscle tension of the body.
Cold Massage Stones
Using cold massage stones is another alternative to hot massage stones that has the same therapeutic benefits to the body. Some therapists use both hot and cold stones as a combination of thermotherapy and cryotherapy. After a hot stone massage, cold stones can be used to relax blood vessels and calm the skin. With the two techniques used, it promotes vasodilation and constriction of the blood vessels which leads to healing of the tissues. Moreover, this combination can help decrease inflammation, ease pain, reduce eye puffiness, and improve overall skin tone.
Basalt Massage Stones
Basalt massage stone is a type of igneous rock that is also known as a volcanic stone made as an effect of volcanic activity. It is composed of magnesium, silica and iron, which makes basalt stone retain heat for a longer period. This stone is usually smooth, glossy, and black. It is one of the most popular stones and traditionally used by therapists.
Marble Massage Stones
Marble massage stones are the most ideal stones for cold stone massage therapy. These are cut and shaped in different sizes to have a suitable stone for each part of the body. These stones are most preferred since they can hold the cold temperature quite well while resisting the absorption of heat from the body. It is easy to cool them with cold water and has similar properties to ice but without the trouble of melting.
Himalayan Salt Massage Stones
Himalayan salt stones are among the most popular stones nowadays. These stones comprise 84 natural trace minerals that the body can absorb to replace the lost minerals. If the body is experiencing inflammation, the Himalayan salt stones can release negative ions to balance the positive and negative ions of the body. Thus, it can reduce inflammation and promote deep relaxation. After the massage, the skin is gently exfoliated which makes the skin softer and smoother.
Quartz Massage Stones
A quartz massage stone is a kind of gemstone that is made up of oxygen and silicon atoms. It is known to have the ability to absorb and release energy which can help balance the physical, spiritual, and mental energy of the body. One of the most popular types of quartz is rose quartz, a pink gemstone commonly used as a jade roller on the face and neck.
Granite Massage Stones
Granite massage stones are made up of quartz, feldspar and mica which are known to hold heat for a longer time compared to basalt stones. These stones are usually non-porous, which means the dead skin cells of the body won't attach to the stone for a more hygienic purpose. It is believed to have healing properties for the body's health and energy.
Crystal Massage Stones
Crystal stones have been widely used for overall body healing. The stones are mineral formations that have different types of crystals including clear quartz, rose quartz and amethyst. The stones are placed on the body's chakra centers which form an energy grid to surround the body with healing energy and realign the energy within. It is used to alleviate stress and anxiety, improve mental clarity and overall wellness.
Jade Massage Stones
Jade massage stones are composed of magnesium, calcium and iron. The type of jade used for a massage is Nephrite. It has a similar heating effect as a basalt stone. It can be used as a cooled or heated stone that is placed on the body or used as a massage tool. It promotes anti-aging and heals stressed muscles.
Shapes of Massage Stones
Stone Massage Wand
A stone wand is a cylindrical shaped tool that usually has a smooth rounded end on one side and a pointed end on the other. The pointed end should not be too sharp though as it can be uncomfortable or painful. The stone wand can be placed on different chakras of the body or as a massage tool for the face and hands.
Flat Ovular Massage Stone
The convenient ovular shape of the stone is perfect for the spine, back of the neck, stomach, forehead, arms and thighs. The round edge of the stone is comfortable on the skin and fits the hand easily. The soft edges are used to put gentle pressure and knead on the tensed muscle areas.
Large Ovular Massage Stone
The large ovular massage stones are normally used on the larger surface areas of the body including the stomach, backside, back of the neck, and thighs. You normally need one extra-large stone for the stomach and ten large stones for the backside, thighs and haunch.
Mushroom Shape Massage Stone
A mushroom-shaped massage stone has a convenient handgrip shape that allows neutral wrist positions, which is less straining for the therapist or the user. The two ends of the stone can be used for a more focused pressure point with less physical stress. It can be used on any areas of the body including the face or the backside.
Moon Shape Massage Stone
A moon-shaped massage stone is shaped like a crescent moon. The contour shape of the stone is widely used in the area of the shoulders and shoulder blades that lifts and scrapes it in a circular stroking motion.
Hot Stones Massage Therapy
What Is a Hot Stone Massage?
A hot stone massage involves the use of heated stones that are placed onto the body or used as a massage tool to increase blood circulation and help relax the muscles. The stones can be used to massage the body using long strokes, circular motions, kneading, tapping, and vibrating motions.
Hot Stones Massage Benefits
Because of the added heat to the focal point of areas requiring treatment, the therapist can treat the deeper tissues that can ease muscle pain and tension. It helps treat insomnia by promoting total relaxation for a night of more restorative sleep. In terms of mental healing, it can reduce stress and anxiety, as well as depression. Additionally, it can aid in alleviating pain in certain medical conditions.
Hot Stones Massage Kits
Most massage kits include one extra-large stone for the stomach, ten large stones for the backside, thighs and haunch, eight medium stones for the hands and arms, ten small stones for the forehead, face and neck, and two trigger point or deep tissue stones. If you need a complete set, some kits include a stone heater or warmer with a stone scooper.
Hot Stone Massage Contraindications
Since hot stone massage involves heat for increased blood flow, people with fresh wounds, burns or bleeding disorders must avoid this massage as it can cause more bleeding. Additionally, pregnant women, cardiac patients and those taking blood thinners and undergoing radiation treatments should not have this massage.
Hot Stone Massage Cost in the US
The cost of a hot stone massage per hour in the US can range between $85 to $150 or more. The cost varies depending on the type of spa or clinic and the city or state the clinic is situated.
Hot Stone Massage Quotes
If you are thinking of upgrading your massage business with stone massage therapy, then you'll need good inspirational and fun spa quotes to indulge customers. Get some inspiration from these sample quotes online:
“Massage day is the best day of the week.”
“Give your body a little love, it deserves it.”
“You’re only one massage away from a good mood.”
“Touch the body. Heal the mind. Calm the spirit.”
“A good weekend starts with a positive attitude and a great massage.”
Hot Stone Massage Certification
Since hot stones have contraindications for certain people and impose risks, comprehensive training is needed by a therapist from a reputable training school or provider. Many online training courses and physical training schools offer a complete course in using hot stone massage. These courses have everything there is to know about stone massages, from the types of stones to the appropriate pressure and massage techniques. Some online courses cost about $150 which includes learning materials and videos.
Massage Vs Hot Stone Massage
A regular massage and a hot stone massage both promote the same benefits of relaxing the muscles. The only difference between the two is the use of stones in applying pressure in a hot stone massage, whereas in a regular massage only the hands are used.
How to Heat Stones for Massage?
Make sure to purchase stones from legitimate speciality stores to get quality stones. Before heating the stones, it is important to wash the stones with hot water and clean it with antibacterial soap. Since the stones will be in direct contact with the skin, they should be clean for hygienic practices. After washing the stones, dry them properly and sanitize them as well after.
Heating Massage Stones in Boiling Water
To heat the massage stones in boiling water, place the stones into the pan and add enough water to cover all the stones. Since we want to regulate the appropriate temperature suitable to the skin, don't forget to place a thermometer to measure the level of heat. When the water is heated between 100 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, remove the pan and check the temperature of the stone by holding one. If you can hold it without burning your hand, then the stones are safe to use. If the stones are too hot, you can cool them off using a bowl of cold water.
Heating Massage Stones in Microwave or Oven
You may see some people heating the stones with a microwave or oven with the same temperature between 100 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit. However, most therapists don't recommend using a microwave or oven for safety purposes and comfort. The heat in microwaves is normally very dry. If the stones are heated without any moisture, it can cause them to crack. Moreover, stones heated with water have moist heat that enters better on the muscles. With better penetration, it would produce more favorable results.
Massage Stone Warmer
A massage stone warmer looks similar to a rice cooker. It is advisable to place a white towel on the warmer to see the stones better especially in dimmed spa rooms. Place the stones on top of the towel, cover the warmer and adjust the heat until it reaches the desired temperature. Once it reaches the suitable heat, you can remove the stones using a stone scooper or tongs to grab the stones.
What Is the Purpose of a Hot Stone Massage?
The most common purpose of a hot stone massage is to relieve muscle tension and spasm. It helps alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and improve muscle relaxation through the heat emitted by the hot stones.
How Long Does the Heat Last?
The stones can retain the heat for about an hour. Depending on the stones you use, they can hold heat longer especially when you are using granite or basalt stones.
Is a Hot Stone Massage in Demand?
If it is within the client’s price range, a hot stone massage therapy can be in demand since it produces great results for the body physically and mentally. A lot of clients are already into regular massages so adding hot stones to their massage can make a great addition to the experience and benefits. As long as there are no contraindications to the client’s health and well-being, then a hot stone massage is worth trying.
How to Use Massage Stones?
Massage stones are either heated or cooled to the appropriate temperature. The stones are placed on top of the skin or used as a tool to massage the body rather than the traditional way of using hands.
How to Massage with Stones?
Use the stones to massage the area requiring attention by gently moving it over sore areas. The edges of the stones are normally used to place light pressure on the tensed areas. Therapists use different techniques or motions in moving the stones including long strokes, tapping, kneading, and circular motions.
How Often Should the Massage Be Done?
A stone massage can be done one to three times a week, depending on the need. Clients should always consult with a licensed massage therapist and report any underlying medical condition to know the best time to have a massage.
What Is Himalayan Salt Stone Massage?
A Himalayan salt stone massage uses warm salt stones that improve the overall well-being, especially removing stress and anxiety. Its salt component also lightly exfoliates the skin that can smoothen and relax the skin. Salt stones can be cooled or heated, depending on preference and purpose.
Is Stone Massage Therapy Worth It?
Pros and Cons of Stone Massage as Service
Though it has several known benefits, there are some precautions to consider. If prepared and done improperly, the stones can cause burns, irritation or severe body reaction. If using heated or cooled stones, these should be prepared at a comfortable temperature that is tolerable to the client. A therapist should determine the temperature by holding the stones with their bare hands and see if they can be held without any discomfort or pain. Before using the stones, these should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected to be ready for use for the next client. The client's body may feel a bit sore after the massage but this is due to the deeper tissues involved in the pressure. Normally, the therapy is painless. If the client feels any discomfort or pain during the massage, the client should notify the therapist right away.
As part of responsible service, a therapist must fully know the client's medical history to determine if a stone massage is a suitable treatment. If you are a client planning to undergo a stone massage, you should fully disclose with all honesty if you are taking any medication or have any underlying medical condition that the therapist should know about. Having full disclosure of client history ensures a safe and effective stone massage therapy.
Although stone massage has many great benefits, it is not for every client. The stone massage is not suitable for clients with medical conditions including diabetes, cardiac problems like hypertension, and pregnancy. People with skin conditions including open fresh wounds, burns, rashes, allergies, eczema, and psoriasis can worsen their condition with heat from hot stone massage. For cold stone massage, people with circulatory conditions, nerve damage, and abdominal problems like diarrhea and constipation should avoid stone massage as well.
Bottom line, stone massage promotes several therapeutic benefits as well as pleasure for its unique experience for clients. However, the overall experience highly relies on the expertise of the therapist. Having well trained and certified therapists ensures clients that they are in good hands. Though stone massages involve the use of stones, stone massage still provides a human touch which gives a sense of safety and personal connection during the therapy. Thus, giving clients a more relaxed and worthy experience.