If you are visiting a chiropractor, he or she might recommend massage therapy as a part of your treatment. Massage can help warm the muscles in preparation for chiropractic adjustments, or it can be used on its own to manage different ailments. One type of massage therapy you may want to look into is hot stone massage. Read on to learn more.
How Does it Work?
Hot stone massage is usually used with another massage modality, like Swedish massage. Your massage therapist will warm up areas of muscle tissue with manual movements before applying the hot stones. Hot stones are beneficial since the heat can help relax sore muscles and joints.
The stones are smooth and are often made of basalt since that rock absorbs heat really well. The stones are sanitized and heated in hot water before they are applied. While some stones can sit in place, like on specific points along the spine, many therapists will move the stones along the skin to keep patients from overheating. If you are very sensitive to temperature changes, your therapist can also place a towel or cloth between the stones and your skin.
Is it Similar to a Cold Stone Massage?
Some therapists might opt to use hot stones with cold stones during the same massage session. The application of hot stones is very similar to cold stone massage, but cold stone massages use different kinds of stones, like marble or limestone. Also, cold stones are placed on ice instead of hot water; and when they are applied to the body, they cause blood vessels to narrow. Cold stones help reduce inflammation and swelling, while hot stones are meant to improve your range of motion and blood flow.
Is a Hot Stone Massage Safe?
Your chiropractor can go over the contraindications with you, but hot stone massages are generally safe for many patients. If you have very sensitive skin, then another massage modality might be better. Hot stone massage is generally not recommended for people who've had recent surgery, people with open wounds, people taking blood thinners, and people with a history of blood clots. But again, it's important to go over your health history with your chiropractor to see if you're a good fit.
What are the Benefits of Hot Stone Massage?
Hot stone massages are helpful for patients who are experiencing muscle tension, muscle pain, and/or anxiety. One study looked at the effects of hot stone massage on hemodialysis patients. These patients tended to have many sleep disorders related to the stress of their condition. However, the study found that hot stone massage therapy was able to enhance their quality of sleep. Another study found that hot stone massages could help patients in palliative care find some relief from cancer symptoms and treatment side effects.
Reach out to a chiropractor today to learn more about hot stone massage and other massage services.