Hot Stone Fusion – Not your average hot stone massage
Before I became a massage therapist, I thought having a massage was a luxury, a treat, something that you saved for special occasions because it just felt nice. I didn’t know anything about the physical and psychological benefits of massage. How massage could help with musculoskeletal pain and disfunction. How massage positively affects the central nervous system, helping to reduce stress, anxiety and facilitate your bodies own healing. How massage is a non-invasive treatment, that when coupled with exercise could get people moving better, without pain and off painkillers.
Since becoming a massage therapist I have done extensive training in Advanced Clinical and Sports massage, know all about the many wonderful benefits of massage and spend a lot of my free time reading up on the latest discoveries in the ever changing world of pain and exercise science so I’m in a better position to help and educate my clients.
Until recently however, when I thought about hot stone massage, my original ideas of something fluffy, luxurious and well ‘nice’ still came to mind. For me hot stone massage was something that happened in spa’s and while spa’s are great – I love going to them – it’s not the kind of massage I do.
I think the majority of the general public have the same idea about hot stone massage as I did. Search ‘hot stone massage’ in Google images and a plethora of pictures of attractive women lying down, their heads turned to the side, with flowers in their hair, a smile on their face and a few stones placed along their backs pop up.
Now I could go off on a rant about all the issues I have with this type of stock photo – seriously don’t get me started on the position of the cervical spine – but I won’t. Instead I’m going to talk about Hot Stone Fusion and why my opinion that hot stone massage was a fluffy treat, couldn’t have been more wrong!
Hot Stone Fusion – the clue is in the name – is a fusion of Advanced Clinical Massage and heat therapy. While a couple of stones may be placed on or under the body (the sacrum / pectoralis / trapezius / quadratus lumborum for example) to warm the area before going into deeper work, the majority of the stones become an extension of the hands and are used in conjunction with the hands to massage the body. Described best by creators Meghan Mari and Rachel Fairweather (directors of Jing Advanced Massage Training Ltd):
“Hot Stone Fusion is a dance of heat and hands”
Far from being a luxury, Hot Stone Fusion is a therapeutic heat treatment that can help with numerous common chronic pain conditions such as: low back pain / whiplash / RSI / carpal tunnel / adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder) / arthritis to name but a few.
Benefits of Hot Stone Fusion
- Heat decreases pain by producing an anaesthesia effect
- Heat stimulates sensory receptors in the skin so pain signals are muted to help transmit the temperature signals to the brain
- Heat causes blood vessels to vasodilate (widen), which increases blood supply to damaged areas, bringing more oxygen and nutrients to the area, aiding healing
Increased blood flow promotes synovial fluid production – lubricating joints – making them feel less stiff
- Heat helps the muscles and fascia become more pliable – decreasing feelings of ‘tightness’ and increasing ease of movement
- Heat allows the massage therapist to work deeper
- Heat is comforting and helps calm the nervous system aiding relaxation and decreasing stress and anxiety
Hot Stone Fusion incorporates all the techniques that make up a Clinical Massage treatment: myofascial release / deep tissue massage / trigger point therapy / soft tissue release either using a stone or using the hands after the stones have warmed the area. Chronic pain is not a simple ‘fix’ and requires a multi-faceted approach, by adding Hot Stone Fusion to my Clinical Massage treatments I’m hoping to see results faster.
Jemma Fordham is a clinical massage therapist who specialises in the treatment of chronic pain conditions based in Brighton. She works with her clients to help facilitate their bodies own healing through bodywork, exercise and education.
If you would like more information or need to book an appointment please call 07843 666 806 or use this form.