When it’s cold outside, the thought of a delicious, warming hot stone massage is very tempting. Here’s why you should treat yourself to a hot stone massage ALL year round.
What is hot stone massage?
It is exactly what it sounds like – a relaxing Swedish-style massage using specially warmed hot stones to intensify the effects. During a hot stone massage, smooth, flat, heated stones are placed on different areas of your body, sometimes also used as part of the massage strokes if you have areas that need to be ‘warmed up’ and worked on.
What does a hot stone massage help with?
It can help soothe muscle tension or pain
We all know how nice it feels to apply heat to our sore muscles when we have aches and pains. Heat doesn’t just feel nice though, it also helps to increase blood flow, reduce muscle spasms and increase flexibility.
It’s great if you’re feeling stressed
According to the American Massage Therapy Association, massage therapy can be effective for stress relief, and research backs this up. A 2001 study showed that a ten-minute massage improved cardiovascular responses, and another study from 1997 study found that 15-minute chair massages in the workplace significantly reduced stress compared to a standard 15-minute break.
It might help you sleep
If you’re struggling to get quality sleep, there have been plenty of studies that show massage can help regulate your sleep patterns. Massage could even be an effective alternative to sleeping pills, according to a 2006 literature review – the results showed that back massage helped promote relaxation and sleep. Regular massage is thought to promote more restorative sleep, although the experts don’t really understand why.
Massage could help relieve symptoms of autoimmune diseases
Hot stone massage may relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia, according to a 2002 study. People with fibromyalgia were given a 30-minute massage – they reported sleeping longer, having fewer trigger points, and when they were tested for substance P (a substance involved in transmitting pain signals) they were found to have less in their system than people with fibromyalgia who just had standard relaxation therapy.
It relieves some symptoms associated with cancer
A large, three-year study published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management looked at how massage affected common symptoms that were associated with cancer and its treatment in almost 1300 people. The study was very positive; massage, especially the Swedish massage used with hot stones, improved cancer symptoms like pain, fatigue, stress and anxiety, nausea, and depression. Researchers think this is down to the comforting effects of human touch.
Massage can help boost immunity
Massage may give your immune system a boost. A study in 2010 showed that just one massage session had a positive impact. Blood samples taken before and after a massage showed that levels of arginine-vasopressin, a hormone that helps regulate blood pressure and water retention, had decreased after a massage too.
Of course, even if you’re perfectly healthy and sleep like a baby, a hot stone massage is a great way to relax and enjoy a massage. Why not book one today?
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