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Hot and Cold Stone Therapy

At the Clinic Tracy uses hot stones to compliment her massage therapy and treatment which aids in blood flow, easing of muscle pain and has deep seated healing powers. However, if you should wish to have what is now called a traditional "Hot and Cold Stone Therapy" session you might ask;

What is Hot and Cold Stone Therapy?

This is a question we get asked all the time. Clinically, it is the application of Geo-Thermal Therapy through the use of deep penetrating heated stones alternated with chilled stones to bring about a chemical release within the body’s systems. It also balances and recharges our body and souls.

Stone therapy is a type of massage that combines the use of hot stones and cold stones in a unique and specific manner, (often incorporating aromatherapy) to relieve symptoms of pain, stress and fatigue.

Stone Therapy is also basically a contemporary approach to alternating temperatures in massage. It is a multifaceted technique designed to benefit the client and transport them to new heights of relaxation and balance.

The therapeutic potential of this treatment goes beyond normal measure. The physiological benefits of alternating hot and cold to the body have long been scientifically and medically proven, and adjusting different temperatures on the body to aid in healing and to gain certain reactions has been used throughout time. Stone Therapy capitalizes on these traditional practices and the body’s reaction to the hot and cold send wonderful new blood rushing through our organs to reach the specific and special spots the stones have been placed. Everywhere in the body is being flushed and refreshed!

In addition, massaging and alternating the hot and cool stones helps every cell in the body to receive more oxygen and nutrients and moves lymph thereby encouraging a more effective removal of toxins.

Blood vessels will rise to the surface and dilate when the hot stone is applied and then vessels will constrict and move blood back to the inner core muscles when cold is applied.

The opening and closing of the blood vessels causes a pumping action within the circulatory system, which brings in more blood to the lungs and heart. It’s pretty much a vascular gymnastics for the body. It allows the body to achieve the same level of relaxation and rejuvenation as going to a sauna and jumping in the plunge pool but with the benefit of a massage included.

The combinations of the hot and cold stones are extremely relaxing and clients often can’t tell the difference between the hot and cold when performed by a skilled therapist.

Receiving a hot and cold stone massage equally can bring the benefits and pleasures of combining both mind and body.

Although relatively new to spa menus of the Western world, stone therapy has been used for centuries to heal ailments of the body. Places such as China, Japan, Russia and Eastern Europe found that the soothing affects of the stones not only ease the pain of sore muscles but alleviate stress.

Since stress is at the core of most illnesses, the body is able to repair and restore itself to a healthy state once the stress is alleviated.

Hot rock therapy originated from stones being taken from river beds and heated in the sun, in coals, or in hot water.

Besides relieving muscle soreness, ancient Europeans used the hot rocks to heat saunas.

Hawaiians used rough stones for exfoliation and smooth lava rocks to massage and heal.

Ancient cultures of Egypt, Africa, and South America used stones in healing rituals.

Ancient Chinese societies used hot stones to eliminate pain and stress, as well as increase the flow of energy through the body.

Basalt is one type of rock used in stone therapy.

It is made up of igneous rock formed from volcanic activity and holds and transfers heat from its core to the tissues, inner organs, and nerves of the body.

Basalt stones: Basalt is the ideal material for hot stone massage. The composition of this volcanic rock (high silica and iron content) makes it hold heat longer than most stones.

Some people think that basalt stones should be a deep black color. The color does not necessarily determine how well the stones can hold heat. Most basalt stones are actually gray when dry, but they normally turn black after time with the use of oil. Trace elements influence the color of a stone, but as long as the stone has high silica and iron content, it will retain heat well.

Basalt stones are heated to between 125 and 135 degrees. 

Cold stone massage: Marble stones

Marble stones are considered the best option for cold stone therapy. The reason that basalt is good for hot stone therapy is that you can massage a person’s body for a long time before they cool. Basalt is also acceptable for cold stone therapy but not as good as marble. Marble stones have proven to be the best at retaining coolness. They do not heat up rapidly during a massage and can draw heat from the body.

Chilled marble stones cleanse and remove stress while promotion recirculation and healing.

The cold marble stones are cold but not frozen. 

Each stone is chosen to fit a specific part of the body, based on size, shape, color, porousness, weight and density.

A stone therapy massage begins by lying back onto a series of flat hot and cold stones laid out to trace the spine. As your breathing slows, massage oils are spread over the body followed by the gliding of stones all across the body from toe to head.

Therapy continues with gentle stretches and massage to warm up the body's muscle tissue. This is followed by massage using the stones. We then place stones of varying weights on the body's key energy channels.  

We also use both hot and cool stones as an extension of our hands while doing massage. Alternating between heat and cold both stimulates and relaxes the circulatory system, which is very detoxifying for the body. In cooperation with heated stones, chilled marble stones create a dramatic movement of fluids within the body.

The body is turned over to rest on the stomach and the second part of the massage begins with a single large hot stone being placed just above the tail bone. Cold stones are placed in key areas to alleviate stress while warm stones are used to massage the body.

The benefits of stone therapy offer more than just luxury. While the treatment certainly does provide pleasant sensations throughout the body at the time of the massage, the real healing continues over the following 24 to 48 hours. Drinking lots of water following the massage will help the body to continue to release toxins from the body and while the body is in such a relaxed state it able to focus on rejuvenating and healing itself.

Repeated treatments and regular visits are recommended to keep the body healthy and in balance.

Most stone therapy sessions last about 75 minutes but can easily be stretched to two hours.

Most stone massage therapy has many benefits. In the past few years, it has grown rapidly in popularity. Both hot and cold stone techniques have their own benefits. 

The use of massage stones is also a great way to increase circulation in and around the area being massaged. Increased blood flow will help clear out toxins and assist in healing an injured or strained area. 

The benefits of cold stone massage

Cold stones are excellent because they promote circulation and act as a powerful decongestant for the body. By promoting circulation, a cold stone treatment can ease inflamed tissues, decrease muscle spasms, and can reduce swelling or fluid build-up (for example, as manifested in dark circles under the eyes). Unlike with the use of ice, cold stone treatments will not severely desensitize the skin. The overall effect of a treatment is the reduction of tension with a simultaneous feeling of invigoration. 

Switching between cold and hot applications causes blood vessels to alternately dilate and constrict, leading to increased movement of fluids within the body, increased removal of toxins and increased healing. However, this type of treatment is not recommended for people with circulatory problems because they may be too sensitive to the sudden, increased circulation.