A hot stone massage is a common technique to release stress and fatigue. During a hot stone massage, flat hot stones are placed at various locations on the body. Some therapists massage with hot stones to release tension through various movements and get deeper into the muscles. Hot stone massage may not suit every body type and results in a few disadvantages.
- The hot stone massage is a body and soul healing technique used since ancient times but it is not suitable for all skin and body types.
- A hot stone massage is contraindicated during pregnancy and in chronic conditions like blood clots, heart diseases, and any allergies.
- Always visit a licensed massage therapist to avoid any associated complications.
Hot Stone Massage
The history of hot stone massage links it to the ancient techniques used to relax the body and mind. It is believed that a hot stone massage provides balance to the body by using 5 elements including earth, fire, metal, wood, and water.
A hot stone massage uses stones collected from rivers which are good at retaining heat. Basalt lava stones are the stones mostly used for hot stone therapy. The therapist uses heated stones on various energetic zones of your body. The minerals like calcium, magnesium, and iron present in the stone impart many health benefits.
The hot stone massage is a therapeutic technique that helps release stress and aids the management of chronic diseases like fibromyalgia and immune system disorders. It also improves blood flow to various areas of the body.
Hot Stone Massage Procedure
The process of massage using hot stones is;
- Hot stones are collected from the river and heated in the stone heater, reaching a temperature of about 110 to 130 Fahrenheit.
- These heated stones are then placed in a strategic manner at various parts of the body such as feet, palms, face, chest, stomach or spine, etc.
- The therapist can also massage the stones to reach deeper into the muscles.
Disadvantages of Hot Stone Massage
Hot stone massages are very beneficial as they cure many ailments and heal the body but it is not for everybody. A few disadvantages of hot stone massage are listed below as limited use in people sensitive to heat. However, to avoid these, hot stone massage must be done under the supervision of a certified massage therapist
Overheated Stones Can Burn the Skin
In a hot stone massage, stones are heated at a specific temperature. There is a clear chance that sometimes if the stones are overheated then they can easily burn your skin.
- The heat tolerance levels vary for each individual so a hot stone massage can cause severe discomfort and skin burns in people who can’t bear the high temperatures.
- Massaging with hot stones can worsen sunburn or wounds on the skin due to intense heat.
- Extreme temperatures can cause intense pain at wound sites and may increase skin sensitivity by breaking the skin.
The chances of getting your skin burnt are reduced if you are under the supervision of a certified therapist.
Hot Massage Therapy can worsen the diseases
The hot stone massage is not suitable for people suffering from certain chronic illnesses.
- Massage with hot stones can worsen the fever.
- People with diabetes become less responsive to temperature extremes due to numbness in sensory nerves. This increases the chances of burns in diabetics.
- Hot stone massage can aggravate heart disease symptoms in cardiac patients.
- Using common stones for different people can increase the chances of infections.
- This massage technique is not recommended during pregnancy.
People with any of the above or similar conditions are not advised to get hot massage therapy. The therapy can worsen their disease.
Heat can Increase Muscle Tension
A hot stone massage is in practice for 7000 years. History shows the use of this relaxing massage among Chinese and Indians but the massage can cause danger.
- Heat therapy during hot stone massage can increase muscle tension in certain acute injuries and inflammations.
- Some bodies may find it very relaxing but some may experience more muscle tension when heat is applied through the stones on the body.
Therefore, it is important to know your body type or any special conditions you are suffering from, before taking an appointment for a hot stone massage. It is not for everyone!!!
Release of Toxins
Another side effect of a hot stone massage is the release of toxins due to muscle relaxation. Heated stones when put on your body, release toxins deep down in your muscles. Releasing toxins from your body can cause;
- Frequent urination
- Fatigue or
Keep yourself hydrated during and after the treatment to avoid these associated disadvantages.
Changes in Thermoregulatory Mechanisms
Hot stone massage can cause affect the temperature-regulatory mechanism of the body
- It can cause frequent alterations in your body temperature which can result in fatigue or elevated blood pressure levels in the body.
- It is recommended to clearly talk to your hot stone massage therapist before going for any treatment to avoid certain conditions.
It is important to discuss with the massage therapist if you have any known allergies or are suffering from any acute or chronic condition. This helps reduce the adverse effects of hot stone massage. Always visit a licensed massage therapist to avoid any complications.
Hot stone massage therapy is found to be a beneficial relaxing and purifying technique. Hot massage has a few disadvantages, especially for people with fragile and sensitive skin. It is contraindicated during chronic conditions to avoid worsening the symptoms. Therefore, it is advised that before taking any therapy or treatment, you should first consult a licensed practitioner to save yourself from any adverse effects.
1. Are hot stone massages safe?
A hot stone massage is used to release stress and pain. It is safe for the majority of people except those suffering from chronic heart disease, or diabetes, or are pregnant.
2. Can you take bath after a hot stone massage?
A hot stone massage can cause inflammation or tingling sensations. It can also cause dehydration. Hence, it is advised to wait for 2-3 hours before taking bath followed by a hot stone massage.