Although not new and used thousands of years ago already in, for instance, India and China, applying hot and cold stones and crystals in massage therapy has become a prominent treatment service item on modern Spa menus.
Hot Stones Massage is a massage therapy treatment that uses smooth and heated stones (mostly basalt stone) placed on specific points on the body, or using the stones (or crystals) as a tool to give a massage session.
Apart from a certain beneficial frequency and radiation, stones and crystals contain numerous minerals, such as calcium, magnesium and iron, which are said to offer healing benefits. These flat, polished materials are heated and applied by placing them directly — or wrapped in cotton towels or cloths (sometimes with specific herbs included) — on body parts.
Hot stones are basically used to expand the blood vessels, which encourages circulation throughout the body. They are also applied to soothe abdominal pains and swellings, to reduce stress, to aid slimming, stimulate uterus involution, to promote relaxation, and to “regain heat.” The stones are typically heated in water with a temperature between 45-60 °C (Celsius).
The heat and weight of the stones warm-up and relax the muscles, allowing a massage therapist to apply deep pressure to the warmed-up zones without causing discomfort.
Cold stones and crystals are typically applied to treat recent injuries, sprains, inflammations and swellings. The cold narrows the blood vessels in the body, which alleviates swelling. Sometimes cold stones are also used in “contrast-therapy” to alternate between hot and cold stimulation with the aim to invigorate and stimulate blood circulation.